Humor Dos and Don'ts

Optimist: The glass is half full. Pessimist: The glass is half empty. Engineer: The glass needs to be redesigned.

3 min read

I’ve told that joke at parties many times and have always gotten a laugh. Tell it to a group of senior engineers who have heard it a hundred times, though, and you’ll get a polite, stony silence at best. Your ability to use humor can play a positive role in your career, but judgment is called for. Here are a few dos and don’ts.

Back in 1997, I met baseball legend Henry ”Hank” Aaron. He had arrived early for a meeting at my office. We were alone, and he seemed uncomfortable. Sensing this, I had the New York brashness to tease him about the recent World Series in which the Yankees beat his former team, the Braves. We had a good laugh. Use humor to break the ice.

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Asad Madni and the Life-Saving Sensor

His pivot from defense helped a tiny tuning-fork prevent SUV rollovers and plane crashes

11 min read
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Asad Madni and the Life-Saving Sensor

In 1992, Asad M. Madni sat at the helm of BEI Sensors and Controls, overseeing a product line that included a variety of sensor and inertial-navigation devices, but its customers were less varied—mainly, the aerospace and defense electronics industries.

And he had a problem.

The Cold War had ended, crashing the U.S. defense industry. And business wasn’t going to come back anytime soon. BEI needed to identify and capture new customers—and quickly.

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