Consult an Expert

I once owned a BMW and it was the best car I’ve ever driven and the worst car I’ve ever owned. Maybe that’s not fair to the car. The problem wasn’t that it was fundamentally a bad car, I just couldn’t afford it. It was out of my price range when I bought it used, and therefore each maintenance issue that would arise would either be put off or send me further into debt. When the battery went bad, the bill was several hundred dollars. I did some research online and found what the MacGyver type home mechanics were recommending as a replacement and decided that I would rather spend $80 at Autozone and buy the battery that was “pretty much the same.”

I bought it, installed it, and was pretty proud of myself for a day or two. The regret overtook the pride soon after when the car started shorting out when taken over increasingly small bumps. I tried to tighten the battery down and shim it into place to no avail. I put my tail between my legs and took it back to the BMW mechanic, who promptly told me the ill fitting battery caused some electrical arcing, ruining the wiring harness it was connected to. I was very close to causing a fire in the car and possibly totalling the whole thing. I ended up paying much more than the $300 I was originally quoted.

That experience taught me quite a bit, namely, it pays to hire an expert and not cut corners. This is a lesson that I have been reminded of several times as a professional designer. Often times we have prospective clients come in that have hired a novice to do some preliminary work, and want us to make it into a functional product. Time after time, the concepts are not created with manufacturing or electrical components in mind and have little to no chance of making it to market. When you work with teams that have years of experience in product development, it's easy to spot those pitfalls and avoid them, making an elegant and exciting product that has the engineering and manufacturability built in. I can’t blame the entrepreneur for trying to save some money, I have been in those shoes. It can be a hard lesson to learn, but it ends up saving money to hire an expert the first time.