Sheep testicles

I came across a “TED Talk”  by the guy that does Dirty Jobs. In the comments, there was a link to a podcast he did giving some background on how it came about. The first in fascinating, funny, and thought provoking. The latter I thought was hysterical. Mike Rowe is sharp, and surprisingly well educated (I don’t mean just “he has a degree,” but seems to be familiar with Classics, Greek and Latin). He’s an excellent speaker. [Edit: Hmmmm… It doesn’t like to embed the frame with the video. Link to TED Talk is here.]



8 thoughts on “Sheep testicles

  1. I had first seen the TED Talk a few years ago. Finding out that it was ad libbed with little or no preparation beyond drinking a bottle of wine makes it even better.

    • Just say that you type “tacticals” too much and have developed a finger macro. I *cannot* type “custom” quickly without adding “er” on the end automatically…

  2. Back when I switched jobs from servicing new semiconductor tools in factories to working on the factory floor as a process engineer, I committed several heresies that engineers are not supposed to commit.

    I asked the floor workers how they did their jobs.
    I watched what they did, and compared it to what they’d been told to do.
    I asked them what they needed/wanted/dreamed of that would make their jobs better.

    And I explained what I wanted them to do, personally, whenever I changed anything in a procedure or a specification instead of just posting the appropriate change order on the bulletin board.

    This saved me from several potentially horrible mistakes, helped me prioritize the workload I had to attack the important issues on the factory floor first, and allowed me to look like a genius a few times when an operator would alert me to a problem immediately instead of sending it through channels and wasting a day or two of product.

    I credit Mike Rowe and his Dirty Jobs show with helping me get that job transition correct.

    I got criticized by other engineers for “falling on my sword” when I’d admit an error to my manager. I got criticized by my manager for insisting that we needed to do A rather than B because the operators said A was more important to production, while B made the manager look good to his supervisor. I got criticized, and eventually fired, for not bringing a newly purchased, previously used elsewhere, multimillion dollar tool online in as timely a manner as management wanted – because I couldn’t get it to work as well as it needed to work.

    But I think I valued to contributions of the floor workers equally with the contributions of my supposed peers, the other engineers, to the success of the business. And I left knowing I had not screwed them all over by giving them a tool that was a piece of crap that should not have been bought.

    I’d vote for Rowe for just about any elected office, from dog catcher on up, because I think he would do it to the best of his ability and with the best advice he could get on how to do it right.

  3. It’s nice to see both of those videos still making the rounds. As much as I really like Mike Rowe, I like what he’s trying to accomplish even better. He’d prob run for some sort of office- but I think he’s right that he can do much more and better work on this side of the podium/camera.

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