Realizing ideas before having engineer status

So obviously it takes a good while to attain the status of an engineer and even longer to get significant resources at hand to realize ideas that aren’t exactly cheap to implement.
Having a whole lot of concepts that one would like to test and realize if viable, it’s a frustration to know that by one’s own effort alone they are far away. Essentially I would like to present concepts to actual engineers who could have them realized before I have my own engineering status - it’s not just me that might benefit if certain new things were brought materially into the audio world, everyone wants benefits as soon as possible, naturally.
Now I might think, do I care about credit or overall progress? The latter more so…

And about the concept of an “engineer status”, I don’t personally view it as binary. I certainly will one day consider myself one, but no, I won’t have an official educational merit and I guess that would mean I won’t be working for any company unless they would hire through knowledge that I could simply present without any wax-stamped papers involved!

Please give some thoughts and guidance to the aforementioned approach. A self-taught way for an inventor to get things eventually realized with an external entity’s money and resources, shortly put.
(Now, this isn’t all adamant, life changes but this is how I currently view the path)

“Engineer status” isn’t a thing. Education for engineering is learning how to think more clearly and learning how to learn new things. You become an engineer to solve problems more reliably and more efficiently. IMO not for just a piece of paper.

Ideas aren’t worth much until they are proven by being implemented and working to design. That takes either money to pay someone to prove them or your own sweat equity. You can’t expect others to be as passionate about implementing your new ideas as you are. If you won’t put your money (or time) behind one of your ideas why would you expect someone else to?

After you have a track record of fruitful ideas that paid off, then its much easier to get external money to back development, but then you probably don’t need external money…


Righto, have to agree with all of that.
As is clear, some money of my own is required unless I find an investor who’s really into audio.
Now now, that essentially means not investing in audio as a hobby for a while and saving that for developing it. The sweat won’t perspirate until at least I have the necessary tools and materials for doing any actual work. Then there’s delegation as you mentioned and as I mentioned, which is kind of inviting, but then again investing in delegation will not allow investing in expanding the possibilities of private research and development. I’ll have to be balancing those depending on how expensive it is to prove an idea’s merit, I can afford an oscilloscope but probably not Audio Precision tools, etc.
In the meantime with no money, it’s free to develop the concepts further but there certainly comes a point when that won’t go forward until some intermediate things have been measurably verified, be it by meters or ears.

Of all the threads ever posted here, this one completely baffles me—I have absolutely no idea what it means, and obviously no idea what the significance is. I’m totally lost.

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You and me both….

This reminds me of an old joke when I was a 16 year old apprentice. “Last year I couldn’t even spell technishun. Now I are one.”
Anyway, @Arenith there is literally nothing stopping you (apart from the usual: time, money, skills) doing your own experiments, creating your own test circuits, breadboarding, making circuits, simulating circuits etc. You don’t need to be an Engineer to do all of those things and many more things besides. I think most engineering practitioners would be happy to describe the practice and learning, outside of a formal education, as tinkering or even just playing around with something that interests you.
Don’t confuse / conflate professional registration and status (Big ‘E’) with small ‘e’ engineering or even making. Depending on your discipline you’re going to need that big E if you are going to design a bridge (or even a structural element on that bridge). I also think @tedsmith was also describing what is called ‘craft’. You don’t get those craft skills without practice and it also counts towards recognition by your peers (those professional qualifications and certifications are essentially that peer recognition too). If you are in the US, they have a saying about having ‘skin in the game’. So good luck with whatever you decide to do.
I can’t help myself - but here is another saying my mum often used “If wishes were horses, beggars would ride.” Make of that what you will …


Palouse, I admit the wording is a bit off. I should maybe avoid caffeine altogether.

My point was, I have ideas developed and in development that are impossible to realize with my own money at this time, and even if I had the money it might be that an entity with the tools would refuse making me “one of this, please”
So obviously an actual engineer who even works in a company that has such tools available isn’t so limited in these regards.

For now though I’ll have to stick to trying to realize the… cheaper ideas. Some of that stuff inside the head is so far-out that it’ll most likely never get tested although it might have merit. But it is certainly fun being an idealist.

The significance would be the wise words written by people with experience, personally, I’m insignificant as of now, that’s why I need wise words.


You want to avoid the formal “path” that is hardest, and make someone else walk it. You can’t do that. Like Ted said if you aren’t willing to put the effort into figuring out the merits of your ideas validity, why would they?

You need to bring the idea fully DEVELOPED, and that means walking the technical walk, and to be knowledable enough to do it. Yes, people do make things with less formal education, but they still have to 'git-er done through the proof of concept stage, and to not pass that off onto someone else.

What is left, is the MARKET for the working device. Is it marketable in working fashion? Where is the need? Why is there a need? This is what the “other side” can do, the sales/marketing side can assist in that market assessement and not designing the product. That is you, and only you, to bringing the product in working fashion to them to decide to make/sell.

Even INSIDE a big company, you have to follow the same “path”. NO ONE will make your ideas! Proof of concept needs to be founded in the science and math as far as it can go on YOUR DESKTOP. Then and only then will a multi-million dollar, or more machines, be taken out of production to make it.

Having a formal education and an engineering degree does not mean you can get other people to verify your ideas. You still have to do all the peer review work. All the papers on cable design to validate WHY I made the cables the way I did? Who had to do all that? Me. Formal education or not, you have to be the one doing the proof of concept work.

See the photo below? THAT is where you need to be to present your work. Those two books off to the the left? All the paper work that had to be done before I built the devices, and the lab steps and errors when I did make it. No one will do that for you. Just because I though of a bandwidth controlled equalizer didn’t mean I went to someone and said to make it and thus, “I did that”. I had to build and test the BW circuit, top box, and then build the next box with the equalizer, bottom box. It all had to WORK, or 100% of the reasons it didn’t needed to be proofed and fixed. If you can learn to do all that without a formal education no one will care. I couldn’t so I got one, and this project told me making good electronics is a monumental task to do really well.



I am certainly willing to do it up to the point I can. On paper, with math that’s manageable, maybe even math managed by the computer. Measured with rudimentary tools. I guess I am pondering on the difficulties involved with eventually getting the review process in action to warrant production and more sophisticated measurements if needed. Convincing the entity that does the manufacturing, especially in the start of the process where I really would be asking to manufacture “one or two of this and that”, now considering something that can’t be built by hand.
The wording was off in my original post surely, by realizing a concept I meant what happens after my personal process of developing the concept as far as possible.

Anyway, I totally agree with what you’re saying Galen. (As always… You are never wrong with what you present so what comes to technical aspects, I sometimes wonder if I limit my views on “right design” too much by agreeing totally with your approaches as I start viewing a lot of other designs in lesser light although they might have other merits to them. Luckily the number of unknowns in audio is great so there is a lot to find out (well, after I’ve found out the basics at least!), and your designs certainly act as something to always refer to.

No, I’m wrong a LOT so eventually after 35 years I seem to know a lot.



Yep, that’s right.

My friend I may be able to offer some advice from a different angle. I have been a Venture Capitalist since I retired and before that my expertise was in raising money for hedge funds. I was a CFO as well and managing partner but really in the hedge fund world raising money is 3/4ths of the game. If you have an idea, one that you really believe in, you have to get in front of money and then pitch yourself, the idea however good won’t attract money if it doesn’t like you. If you’re small you still have to show you have skin in the game, money follows money, I’d want to see the founders made serious sacrifices and ate a lot of ramen if they only had small money before I backed it with real money and trust me that’s how it works. First I need to find something in you that says this guy means it, then the idea has to make sense even if it’s in a field I am not expert in, I’ll do the due diligence to find out if it has legs or if it’s a pipe dream but before I even commit to that it at least has to be proposed in a way that makes sense to me. Bottom line, make it your life to a degree it’ll impress smart people, then get in front of money. Lots of VC’s out there who specialise in every imaginable sector, find them and do everything you can to get their ear.

Good luck favours the prepared mind.


One of my kids has always been creative and wanted to go to art college. I told him that would likely result in him starving to death, so he studied product design. He’s doing fine. His formal training included everything from market research, budgeting and costing, manufacturing and production technology, an introduction to all sorts of engineering disciplines, marketing and branding, things like safety standards, licensing and all the legal stuff, and a year of work experience.

The whole point of product design is to come up with commercially viable solutions for all sorts of ideas, wherever of your own invention or more often a solution to a client’s design concept. The hardware and software engineering has its place, and may require innovation to meet the specification. The product designer doesn’t need the engineering skill, just the understanding of what may be possible.

This is not new. It probably started with Bauhaus over 100 years ago, which was succeeded by Dieter Rams at Braun, who was a major influence in Jony Ive, the most successful product designer ever, who studied Industrial Design at a technical college in Newcastle. He is not a trained engineer. Many of the products he designed for Apple are closely related to Rams’ designs. I’m sitting at a desk designed by Rams in 1964.

So in the modern world a product won’t get funded for development until it is shown to have a reasonable prospect of commercial viability. It is very rare for a worked up design to get manufactured because the engineer is unlikely to have assessed the commercial viability.

I once had a client who invented a plating system that cost $250,000 each and that he thought would transform the electronics industry. It didn’t, but there was no persuading him. He invented another product that cost him $10 to make and sold for $25. It was a kit for teaching schoolchildren about electrical circuits, made up of components on magnetic tape and all contained in a video cassette box. He sold tens of thousands of them and poured all his profits into the plating system.

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“When there’s ever a breakthrough, a true breakthrough, you can go back and find a time period when the consensus was ‘well, that’s nonsense!’ so what that means is that a true creative researcher has to have confidence in nonsense.” – Burt Rutan

Burt Rutan has some of my favorite quotes related to engineering. Anyway, I realized quickly that all my great ideas in life weren’t viable because:

I was never willing to do this. oh well, I guess I decided to make other people rich by not risking poverty. I’ve done fine for myself but I’m not retiring early. Just never could stomach the risk. and it took years for me to realize that’s why no one would fund me. Why should they take a risk in me if I’m not willing to take the risk in myself.

Good luck with your projects. Interact with others as much as you can and make engineering friends. All the great concepts are complicated and few are ever fully developed by one individual. That means creating a circle of trust within the expertise you need. That means gaining the trust of others in that field. That often means humility, a willingness to do whatever it takes to learn, and a commitment to sharing that knowledge.

Fewer out of what, though? It’s so relative to consider that I don’t really view it as fewer and it certainly doesn’t cause me any worry or concern what other people are inventing and at what rate.
I do agree of course that the number of possibilities is finite as there’s a finite number of particles in the universe to permutate.

Good luck favours the prepared mind.

“Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.”

-- Roman philosopher Seneca