Job Posting -- Product Design (Palo Alto, CA)

Speck Products is seeking a highly motivated product designer to aid in the rapid growth of our iPod mp3 player, Sirius/XM satellite radio, and
TREO/Motorola cellular accessory product line. The perfect candidate has a minimum of 3 years experience in a fast paced consumer product environment such as the toy or consumer electronic market. This team player should have experience bringing designs from conception to manufacture. CAD skills are essential (both SolidWorks and ProEngineer), and he/she must be highly skilled at surfacing.
In addition to a strong engineering background the ideal product designer should have an industrial design sensitivity that can help support ID direction. Speed is critical and the ideal candidate should be able to work very quickly while maintaining the appropriate level of detail that consumers have come to expect of our products. Project management experience is a plus as growth into higher level positions is strongly encouraged. Some travel may be required. Ability to speak Mandarin Chinese or Cantonese a plus. A fun, collaborative attitude is a necessity.
Speck Products designs, manufactures, and sells products that accessorize the consumer electronic enthusiast. We currently have 60 SKUs for sale that accessorize products ranging from the Apple Video and Nano iPods, to the TREO 700 and Motorola RAZR phones. Please refer to our website for our current product line up at www.speckproducts.com. We are a fast paced, innovative, and fun group that prioritizes time to market and an appropriate level of quality.
Samples of your work are required. A B.S. in product design or mechanical engineering with emphasis in industrial design, and a minimum of 3 years of relevant work experience is required. Qualified candidates should send their resume to snipped-for-privacy@speckproducts.com.
Compensation: $60-85K depending of experience
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Isn't rent in the Bay Area around 25k a year? Do you think that 85k a year would be enough to buy a home within a hundred miles of there? If I do work there just what kind of a commute to work could I expect?
I would rather work for 35k to 45k a year and live in NC then CA

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You can't realistically expect a decent designer to show up in Palo Alto for less than $50/hr.
Don't believe me? http://rschwarz.tripod.com/resume.html
Went back to the Midwest. Make half as much, live twice as well.
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We are a fast paced, innovative, and fun group that prioritizes time to market and an appropriate level of quality.
Translation: Lots of stress and overtime.
-

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That70sTick wrote:

Hey, you worked at Wisconsin Machine Tool Corp, eh? I worked there, when it was Wisconsin Drill Head from 1989 to 1992.
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Do these products get molded? I don't see any mention of desiring a person with experience with injection molded parts.
Typical, I guess. ID guys worry more about how it looks than whether it can actually be made.
jk
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John,
You can say that again. Almost every job we take on here, there are issues with impossible to mold geometry, incorrect drafts, inconsistent geometry (where geometry could/should be identical), bad geometry (so overly complex that it won't import clean), etc., etc.
I have a friend (damn fine mold designer and SW user) that just left us here to go do a little ID work with plastics, in a fairly large company. He tells me horror stories about how most of the other engineers there have no clue what it takes to actually manufacture some of the products they design.
But I know we don't have anyone like that in this group ;-)
--
Seth Renigar
Emerald Tool and Mold Inc.
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tsk, tsk...its beat up on ID people time again... have you guys looked at the back end of a bus lately and marvelled at the texture and shut lines? ID people - the artistes of the tech world - are quietly saving us from skilled engineers and we should all be grateful ;o)
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No one would think to date a woman that was designed by an engineer without ID direction.
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Not beating up on them. Just reporting my experience. Maybe I've just been the poor unfortunate guy that received all the crap stuff....
But seriously, I know there are plenty of creative ID guys that truly do know what they are doing, AND know manufacturing processes. I am simply a mold designer. I really wouldn't want the responsibility of the ID. I honestly don't know if I could do as good as good a job as what I have even experienced anyway.
--
Seth Renigar
Emerald Tool and Mold Inc.
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I'm love working with creative ID guys. Once one establishes a decent relationship, the work can be satisfying and rewarding. There's very good money to be made in getting ID people as close as possible to their vision (much better than $85K/year, especially in Palo Alto).
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Tooling guys are getting squeezed unmercifully on price and delivery. Then when we actually land a project, we find that the first thing that needs to be done is re-design key areas due to it not being moldable. With the clock ticking and no extra allowance in the price for doing somebody else's job.
Maybe this is not the ID guy's fault. but there needs to be a step in their process to step back and consider the practicalily of all of these cool shapes.
I'll never forget having a conversation with a mold-maker several years ago. He was staring at a swoopy part that had a very mundane function. He asked me why in the world (language sanitized) the designer had incorporated all of this compex geometry into what could have been a simple part. My answer was: because he CAN. Perfect example of powerful design tools in the wrong hands.
jk
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On Thu, 13 Apr 2006 17:01:03 GMT, "Seth Renigar"

me me me - LOL - As time goes by I find I can get away with having to do less and less detailed work on the parts I design .
Here is why -
Some time ago - 9 years ago now I did my first plastic part for a company in the US that was going to get it made in China.
Uptill then for 7 years I had mainly done plastic parts that were then tooled and made here in UK. This had been using a 2d Acad and drawing boards. All the draft angles, shut offs, shrinkage over important dimensions toleranced etc etc were all incorporated into the limited ID that I had decided to implement, because any fancy stuff was just too much of a headache to draw !!!
1997 - I got SW and did this all over again in 3d and thought - wow this is brilliant - I can actually design things much better now. I sent the SW part files and 2d drawings off to America with my bill. The next phone call I got was them thanking me for the time and effort spent on the parts but there was really no need to put draft angles and and split line posiitions on the drawings and parts. I could not quite understand how they thought they did not need such detailed drawings for tooling a plastic part. The explaination makes sense but does take a leap of faith. If the parts are sent to out to China without draft and just the bare bones of the design, then competeing Chinese bidders for the contract will use what ever tricks they can muster to produce the cheepest quote. If the part has draft angles and other definitions on the drawings etc , then the Chinese bidders assume this is exactly how the design is required and will increase their quote to meet this 'extra' definition. So I now don't bother putting in draft etc when I know its going off shore as they will take care of it - This sloppyness has probably filtered through to younger ID guys who have only ever known designing parts that mysteriously get made 'offshore' where talented pragmatic hungry for work engineers just make the designs into reality.
Does this chime with other people ?
Anyway - toolamkers - you think its bad working with ID people - try working with Architects :-) - its much much worse.
TTFN
Jonathan
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"Does this chime with other people ?" No.
"you think its bad working with ID people - try working with Architects..." BoNotes: try working with some homeowners who go through architects, designers and contractors like fast food.
Seriously, in manufacturing today in a competitive, litigious, and often regulated environment, you would be nuts to let go of your design, and absolute control, and put it in the hands of someone who will never be taken down by a lawsuit or government regulation.
Without draft specs in my models, nothing would fit on mating parts.
When I specify an ISO 22mm or 15mm anaesthesia taper fitting, that thing damn well better be exactly how it must be to make the spec., as I have to be able to reproduce tooling with identical results later as needed.
When I make snap fit and taper fit assemblies, almost ever surface has draft. Without it, there wouldn't be a controllable reproduceable part, and no way to satisfy the FDA on Design Control.
Liability & Regulatory control in lots of places mean you darned well better control your product, or you put your head on the block.
The first time you recall a product, and replace it and the bill goes to say 3-5 million U.S.D., you will NEVER let someone else design/spec your parts.
Of course, you may never get professional or product liability insurance at a rate you can afford either.
Bo
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Bo - I think you state a very good case and I try and operate as close to a fully defined design as possible - but it really is 'horses for courses' and I am afraid I think that for alot of industries there is a commercial imperative to reduce the expensive design content in the West with greater design content offshore and this includes the prodictionising of SW parts - I am more and more just being asked to send the raw SW part files without detailed design work being done on them such as draft, simple moulding flow optimization etc and letting the client get this done offshore.

I would agree with you - but then again this is how alot of 'stuff' is made.

I think you equate the requirements of your industry to the requirements of the majority of stuff that is created and it is not as highly regulated as you might think.

True but still this is how designs are sent offshore for tidying up and productionising.

Whos taking about recalls only - companies have gone bust doing this sort of thing , but still it goes on and I can smile as I got paid before the final curtain for this particular client.

TTFN
Jonathan
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Unfortunately, yes. I hate to work that way. The Chinese are not responsible for how the thing goes together with other parts unless you farm the whole thing out to them. I've worked on projects like this, and have always been uneasy sending my stuff out into this black box. I usually want a proposal back from them to show how they intend to do things, which gives variable results.
I've seen companies take that mentality one step further, and just send a competitors product over to China and say "make something like this", forgoing all design functions altogether. The next outsourced job might be mine or yours.
Every chance I get where it makes sense I try to get people to use local molders. There is something about being able to go down to the shop and seeing what is going on. Based on what I've seen, picking the cheapest Chinese source is a bad bet. If you have to go Chinese, then pick one you can communicate with and who delivers a quality product.
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Mold cost is only a SMALL PART of the overall cost of bringing a new product to market.
YET...if you screw up the design &/or tooling, you may cause more assembly, reject, and quality costs over the next year than you would have paid out if you got a Class A tool from a U.S. local vendor. I could scream at people who claim to be rational and then DO NOT look at the total costs, and that means ALL COSTS in a new product project. Sheesh.
Everytime I hear some manager (& one we just removed) yell "Use Chinese tools", I cringe.
One guy ordered a quick sample tool from "China" without telling anyone else because it was real inexpensive, shall we say.
They actually put the new cavities in an old mold base and it had to have been 10 years old and well used. It wasn't set up with the right locating bushing or ejector connections, and the stripper plate action was farm machinery style. It was a total disaster and when the part was snapped together they got the sizes wrong and the parts split. Critical sizes were out to lunch. Total frigging disaster.
On the other hand, I have a friend who is a chief engr. of a sportings good manufacturer based in Hong Kong, and he uses toolmakers and molders in China, but they get interviewed and the controls are tight, and they get the parts they need.
He stated you can get class A tools in China. There are probably only 1% of Chinese toolmakers who can do class A quality which will keep major multinational vendors like Baxter or Bayer happy. Their Chinese tools may be 40-50% the price in the EU or US, you have to support that long distance activity in extra time and effort and that has costs.
Time for Lunch - Bo
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Yeah, and then there's the type that says because everything's expensive, none of the costs matter, just bend over and take it. You still have to manage every link in the chain. Everything's a compromise between a product that won't sell because it's imperfect and a product that won't sell because no one can afford it.
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Matt you & I agree:
"Everything's a compromise between a product that won't sell because it's imperfect and a product that won't sell because no one can afford it."
Unfortunately, some "executives" shoot from the hip rather than from a spreadsheet of the total time (people) and costs, shall we say.
In my arena in disposable medical breathing products, the tools are not large or complex. I've never designed a part that would take a $200,000 mold to make a part. Nothing has been over $100k. I've seen attempts to save $s on a low cost supplier wind up costing far more than a Class A tool from the finest shop in the area, simply because of literal stupidity.
When you need to work in the quality arena for medical products today, you can't get away "cheap" without paying a price somewhere else in expenses peripheral to the tool price.
Delay in time to market is the worst possible price of all, as that one can be a silent killer.
Bo
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So I'm not alone :-)

You make the crucial point - they have to get the contract for the whole job so that they are responsible for delivering a working product - if not, its just impossible to get the bits to go together ;-) even if the draft is specified

LOL - Things land on my desk all the time with a note to design something like this. I just console my conscience with the thought that there are no new ideas anyway. However I always try and make it better because every design is a sequence of comprimises particular to that project - so I just try to figure out where they are in the competitors product and eliminate them from the competitors work. I must say German products tend to be the most difficult to crack - they tend, in my opinion to be a really good balance of production efficiency and innovative design. But thats just me .

I'm afraid you're probably correct.

Could not agree more.

Funnily enough I have recently found that when I needed to use a good quality Chinese supplier recently, their prices were matched within 10% by Eastern European EU contries and they were far easier to deal with, which easily made up for the 10% difference ...and the communication for me is in the same timezone. I detect a a breeze blowing into places like Estonia, Latvia Poland etc
TTFN
Jonathan

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