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The Engineering Entrepreneur Podcast

May 9, 2017

Former IDEO Mechanical Engineer turned Startup Freelance Consultant – Jen Davis-Wilson– Ep30

Jen Davis-Wilson worked for 12 years at IDEO. Since then, she has gone off on her own to be a startup freelance consultant. She typically works with clients in the San Francisco (Silicon Valley area).

While Jen and I are both Mechanical Engineers, our careers and the way we go about creating client projects is quite different and it was interesting to hear a different perspective on the process.

Some of the highlights/links we discuss:

  • Industrial design versus Engineering
  • Her work with Magic Instruments on a cool new guitar product to help beginners learn guitar
  • How to test products? Make a rendering and put a product on ebay, kickstarter, etc. Also, 3D print a product and put on the same websites Examples:
  • com
  • com

Key Takeaways

  1. It was interesting to see how Jen’s process is compared to what I am used to. She tends to work with bigger startups than my company and as a result seems to have a bigger team on her end, often backed with IDEO employees.
  2. It was also interesting to discuss the Solidworks work flow versus Industrial design CAD tools. While I prefer Solidworks because it is easy to update a file, I can understand why some designers work in other programs that are not parametric. And from my experience, some shapes are easier in other programs like Blender (and Jen mentioned Rhino).
  3. We had a good discussion about product testing. Some companies will make renderings to see if people will buy a product before it is made. However, traditionally big companies will use focus groups and interviews.


To Contact Jen



The Engineering Entrepreneur Podcast is produced by Scott Tarcy, President of You can reach me at