Author Topic: Help! Product Engineer won't respond to calls, emails.  (Read 6947 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline envisionelec

  • Frequent Contributor
  • **
  • Posts: 271
  • Country: us
Help! Product Engineer won't respond to calls, emails.
« on: May 06, 2013, 02:21:55 am »
Let me give a bit of background on my situation. I run a small business at night designing various products that range from power supplies to run a Behringer digital crossover in a 12V car stereo system (rather than using Mains power converters) to Class D audio amplifiers for OEMs.

Recently, I decided to make a drop-in replacement LCD screen for a popular music production device called the AKAI MPC2000XL. The original screen was discontinued and replacements were nothing you could find off the shelf. After a few people spent upwards of $15k in NRE with no results, I decided to take the plunge. I was successful and sold 200 units through an exclusive dealer agreement. Of course, there were some first-run issues with the display. We used a PIC Micro 18Fxxxx to read, buffer and spit out the data to a custom design LCD screen. It was a little bit laggy which is a negative when you're dealing with a nearly "real time" music system.

Here's a little discussion on the display:



So when it came time to improve the design, I hired a different engineer that has a verified resume and came highly recommended for a redesign using an FPGA (the first engineer was unfamiliar with VHDL). Everything seemed to go well at first. He wrote code, drew a schematic and showed me some test data appear on the screen. But now...He will not return my calls or show any evidence to support his claims. I've waited since January to put it into production. I've been quite patient. I don't understand why someone would just stop responding.

Has anyone else dealt with a situation like this? Is so, how was it resolved. Or...was it ever resolved?
« Last Edit: May 06, 2013, 03:16:32 am by envisionelec »
 

Offline David_AVD

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 2607
  • Country: au
Re: Help! Product Engineer won't respond to calls, emails.
« Reply #1 on: May 06, 2013, 02:55:27 am »
So your problem is the guy who designed the replacement screen board (that you sold 200 unit of) can't be contacted to fix the issues for a new batch ?
 

Offline envisionelec

  • Frequent Contributor
  • **
  • Posts: 271
  • Country: us
Re: Help! Product Engineer won't respond to calls, emails.
« Reply #2 on: May 06, 2013, 03:10:31 am »
So your problem is the guy who designed the replacement screen board (that you sold 200 unit of) can't be contacted to fix the issues for a new batch ?

Sorry I was not clear. The first engineer did an excellent job with the PIC. However, the second engineer - totally new hardware design around an FPGA - is the problem.


 

Offline David_AVD

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 2607
  • Country: au
Re: Help! Product Engineer won't respond to calls, emails.
« Reply #3 on: May 06, 2013, 03:17:55 am »
OK, that's a lot clearer!  Has the 2nd guy been paid at all ?
 

Offline AlfBaz

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 2061
  • Country: au
Re: Help! Product Engineer won't respond to calls, emails.
« Reply #4 on: May 06, 2013, 03:22:28 am »
Business being business and sometimes bordering on the criminal, I'd be checking to make sure he isn't trying to strike a deal to cut you out.
 

Offline marshallh

  • Supporter
  • ****
  • Posts: 1462
  • Country: us
    • retroactive
Re: Help! Product Engineer won't respond to calls, emails.
« Reply #5 on: May 06, 2013, 03:23:06 am »
What was the arrangement you both decided on? What deliverables, etc. I hope you didn't pay all up front.

1. He may have family issues (health, divorce, etc)
2. He may have gotten some much better paying work and been too busy.
3. He may have bitten off more than he can chew and was not able to make the thing work.
4. He may have realized he was not getting compensated enough and decided to cut his losses.

As an engineer, I've dealt with clients (in this case who wanted some work done) that have gone a long time without responding. You need to be pragmatic and move on. If the guy comes back you will have to explain that his lack of communication forced you to pursue other options.
Verilog tips
BGA soldering intro

11:37 <@ktemkin> c4757p: marshall has transcended communications media
11:37 <@ktemkin> He speaks protocols directly.
 

Offline envisionelec

  • Frequent Contributor
  • **
  • Posts: 271
  • Country: us
Re: Help! Product Engineer won't respond to calls, emails.
« Reply #6 on: May 06, 2013, 03:58:03 am »
What was the arrangement you both decided on? What deliverables, etc. I hope you didn't pay all up front.

1. He may have family issues (health, divorce, etc)
2. He may have gotten some much better paying work and been too busy.
3. He may have bitten off more than he can chew and was not able to make the thing work.
4. He may have realized he was not getting compensated enough and decided to cut his losses.

As an engineer, I've dealt with clients (in this case who wanted some work done) that have gone a long time without responding. You need to be pragmatic and move on. If the guy comes back you will have to explain that his lack of communication forced you to pursue other options.

1. No, I actually know many of his friends and they report seeing him well. He has a company that is still open. Link Removed
2. Probably
3. Almost certainly.
4. See below:

I'm an audio amplifier designer and he's big into audio. So he insisted that I do not pay him and that we'd work out a barter for a future amplifier design since this project was "very simple" (his words). I offered him fair pay and he flatly refused many times. Trust me, the thought of him bailing became a possibility, so I continued to offer him money.

On a related note: he's also screwed a company that paid scores of thousands to him and has stopped replying to them. How do I know this? In a strange turn of events, Engineer #1 works for the company that hired Engineer #2 prior to Engr #1 arrival. Weird, huh? And their stuff worked for the most part. I think there were some remaining serial com errors that weren't complete show stoppers but needed resolution.

« Last Edit: May 07, 2013, 07:29:14 am by GeoffS »
 

Offline c4757p

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 7805
  • Country: us
  • adieu
Re: Help! Product Engineer won't respond to calls, emails.
« Reply #7 on: May 06, 2013, 04:03:29 am »
I'm an audio amplifier designer and he's big into audio. So he insisted that I do not pay him and that we'd work out a barter for a future amplifier design since this project was "very simple" (his words). I offered him fair pay and he flatly refused many times. Trust me, the thought of him bailing became a possibility, so I continued to offer him money.

Problem solved. He realized it was stupid to do something like this without compensation, so he quit and went looking for something else. Felt too sheepish after all that insistent refusal to tell you.
No longer active here - try the IRC channel if you just can't be without me :)
 

Offline envisionelec

  • Frequent Contributor
  • **
  • Posts: 271
  • Country: us
Re: Help! Product Engineer won't respond to calls, emails.
« Reply #8 on: May 06, 2013, 04:14:35 am »

Problem solved. He realized it was stupid to do something like this without compensation, so he quit and went looking for something else. Felt too sheepish after all that insistent refusal to tell you.

Nice to hear it from someone else, I suppose.

Well, I'm hiring a VHDL-writing engineer on contract starting tomorrow morning.
 

Offline codeboy2k

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 1838
  • Country: ca
Re: Help! Product Engineer won't respond to calls, emails.
« Reply #9 on: May 06, 2013, 06:50:02 pm »
Hire me .

I'm out of work now (major corporate layoffs 3 years ago), but I have over 25 years experience in electronic design, software engineering, and embedded programming. I'm not a VHDL expert, but I have written both VHDL and Verilog code for Xilinx and Lattice before.   I prefer VHDL simply because it is strongly typed... I think that makes for better code the first time through.

Please, review my past posts here to know a little more about me.  I'm old school, so I don't have a blog or any body of work online to be my portfolio, and I only participate in this forum.  Perhaps I should have my own blog one day, but I don't.

Cheers!
 

Offline Fraser

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 9741
  • Country: gb
Re: Help! Product Engineer won't respond to calls, emails.
« Reply #10 on: May 06, 2013, 07:05:27 pm »
It may sound too formal or petty but anyone who needs to engage another person on a mission critical element of a project, that could effect on going profit or reputation, should have a written contract detailing the deliverables and compensations on either side. Not doing so is purely a 'Gentleman's agreement' and unless you fancy challenging him to a gentleman's dual you have absolutely no recourse against the engineer. I am very sorry that you have found yourself in this situation and hope that a new engineer will deliver what you need quickly.
« Last Edit: May 07, 2013, 09:36:19 am by Aurora »
 

Offline elgonzo

  • Supporter
  • ****
  • Posts: 690
  • Country: 00
Re: Help! Product Engineer won't respond to calls, emails.
« Reply #11 on: May 06, 2013, 07:30:28 pm »
What was the arrangement you both decided on? What deliverables, etc. I hope you didn't pay all up front.

1. He may have family issues (health, divorce, etc)
2. He may have gotten some much better paying work and been too busy.
3. He may have bitten off more than he can chew and was not able to make the thing work.
4. He may have realized he was not getting compensated enough and decided to cut his losses.

As an engineer, I've dealt with clients (in this case who wanted some work done) that have gone a long time without responding. You need to be pragmatic and move on. If the guy comes back you will have to explain that his lack of communication forced you to pursue other options.

1. No, I actually know many of his friends and they report seeing him well. He has a company that is still open. Link Removed
2. Probably
3. Almost certainly.
4. See below:

I'm an audio amplifier designer and he's big into audio. So he insisted that I do not pay him and that we'd work out a barter for a future amplifier design since this project was "very simple" (his words). I offered him fair pay and he flatly refused many times. Trust me, the thought of him bailing became a possibility, so I continued to offer him money.

On a related note: he's also screwed a company that paid scores of thousands to him and has stopped replying to them. How do I know this? In a strange turn of events, Engineer #1 works for the company that hired Engineer #2 prior to Engr #1 arrival. Weird, huh? And their stuff worked for the most part. I think there were some remaining serial com errors that weren't complete show stoppers but needed resolution.

If you know friends of this guy, and you still bother caring about him, you might want to tell them (the friends) about what happened exactly (if you have not done already). I am not going to make an opinion of the little information here, but it smells a bit like mental health issues...

In any case, no matter whether you can't be bothered caring or not, the best is to write it off and get another engineer...
« Last Edit: May 07, 2013, 07:28:52 am by GeoffS »
 

Offline MrsR

  • Regular Contributor
  • *
  • Posts: 118
  • Country: au
Re: Help! Product Engineer won't respond to calls, emails.
« Reply #12 on: May 06, 2013, 08:24:19 pm »
I have seen this a lot, it's a shame really as years ago a shake of the hand was a binding contract (A MATTER OF HONOR).
You did not have a contract and that is it I'm afraid.

To have a contract money must pass hands. Make sure who you are making this contract with. Is it a person,Is it an entity such as a Company and is the company a Pty Ltd. or a Ltd. One is a personal company and the other is a Public Company.

We had a business not pay for work carried out with parts. The business was a trading name of a private company. SHORT OF IT, I told my solicitor to sue the company and have it's registration removed as it didn't have the Value to cover its Debts
I was so up set I didn't care how much it would cost me, He paid me :-DD

So just pass it off as a learning experience and please DO NOT DEFAIM him   as he will sue you.

KIND REGARDS
Rachael :-+
 

Offline nctnico

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 19839
  • Country: nl
    • NCT Developments
Re: Help! Product Engineer won't respond to calls, emails.
« Reply #13 on: May 07, 2013, 12:36:16 am »
Even if you pay someone you may end up with nothing. Many years ago a customer hired a kid to do quite a lot of programming for him because I was too expensive. After spending a couple of thousand -let's say US dollars- the kid didn't like the project any more and quit. My customer came back to me asking if I could fix the program. I did look at the sourcecode to asses the damage but the quality was so low that -in all honesty- it would have taken me more time to fix it then to start from scratch.

A bit more on-topic: the display project looks interesting. These kind of projects are usually fun to work on.
« Last Edit: May 07, 2013, 12:38:52 am by nctnico »
There are small lies, big lies and then there is what is on the screen of your oscilloscope.
 

Offline Corporate666

  • Supporter
  • ****
  • Posts: 2007
  • Country: us
  • Remember, you are unique, just like everybody else
Re: Help! Product Engineer won't respond to calls, emails.
« Reply #14 on: May 07, 2013, 06:15:09 am »
Engineers are often brilliant on the design side and not so great on the communication/business side.

I have no idea why this guy has stopped replying to you - but you can be sure he knows you want to contact him, so it's sort of like a relationship with a girl who isn't returning your calls... she's telling you she doesn't want to be with you anymore.

I am not suggesting it is your fault.  It may be entirely his fault.  He may be a childish or rude SOB or he may be too timid to tell you the truth that he can't/won't finish your project.

I agree with the above, it's time to move on.  If you are interested in what he has produced thus far, you may send him a friendly email saying you understand he isn't looking to continue the project and that you would appreciate receiving copies of whatever code/design he's done thus far, or letting you know what that is and what compensation he would like for it.

Some people are just flaky and they jump from lili pad to lili pad always chasing the bigger fly - and end up catching nothing because they aren't willing to put the time in.  This guy sounds like one of those types. 
It's not always the most popular person who gets the job done.
 

Offline envisionelec

  • Frequent Contributor
  • **
  • Posts: 271
  • Country: us
Re: Help! Product Engineer won't respond to calls, emails.
« Reply #15 on: May 07, 2013, 02:40:36 pm »
I have no idea why this guy has stopped replying to you - but you can be sure he knows you want to contact him, so it's sort of like a relationship with a girl who isn't returning your calls... she's telling you she doesn't want to be with you anymore.

Your explanation rocks. Nailed it.  :-DD

This guy has a history of disappearing for weeks and not returning calls. Of course, that's learned after querying his other clients. You know...the ones he doesn't put on his website. It doesn't matter if you pay him or not, he just stops replying. He's simply over-committed. I know I've been there, but I emerge from the cave once in a while!

« Last Edit: May 08, 2013, 01:17:20 am by envisionelec »
 

Offline elgonzo

  • Supporter
  • ****
  • Posts: 690
  • Country: 00
Re: Help! Product Engineer won't respond to calls, emails.
« Reply #16 on: May 07, 2013, 02:45:14 pm »
Seriously, what is going on in this thread???
 

Offline envisionelec

  • Frequent Contributor
  • **
  • Posts: 271
  • Country: us
Re: Help! Product Engineer won't respond to calls, emails.
« Reply #17 on: May 07, 2013, 06:14:15 pm »
Seriously, what is going on in this thread???

What do you mean?  I hired an engineer to do some contract work and he bailed. Part bitch-and-moan, part camaraderie.

 

Offline elgonzo

  • Supporter
  • ****
  • Posts: 690
  • Country: 00
Re: Help! Product Engineer won't respond to calls, emails.
« Reply #18 on: May 07, 2013, 06:45:20 pm »
Seriously, what is going on in this thread???

What do you mean?  I hired an engineer to do some contract work and he bailed. Part bitch-and-moan, part camaraderie.

No, not your issue. I wasn't (and still am) not really sure whether your reply of 'nailing it' to the 'rocking' tautological diagnosis of "He doesn't talk to you because he doesn't like to talk to you" was meant seriously. I am sorry if i got it all wrong...

I mean, if you don't care about the guy, stop being obsessed and trying to analyze him. If you care, don't continue this gossip here but rather send a clear message to his friends or family.
« Last Edit: May 07, 2013, 06:50:55 pm by elgonzo »
 

Offline KJDS

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 2442
  • Country: gb
    • my website holding page
Re: Help! Product Engineer won't respond to calls, emails.
« Reply #19 on: May 07, 2013, 06:53:53 pm »

To have a contract money must pass hands. Make sure who you are making this contract with. Is it a person,Is it an entity such as a Company and is the company a Pty Ltd. or a Ltd. One is a personal company and the other is a Public Company.


Under English law the requirements for a contract are Offer, Acceptance and Consideration. Whilst Consideration is usually in money, the high court has upheld that getting someone to dance a jig for your entertainment is also Consideration, so the contract was valid.

Offline envisionelec

  • Frequent Contributor
  • **
  • Posts: 271
  • Country: us
Re: Help! Product Engineer won't respond to calls, emails.
« Reply #20 on: May 08, 2013, 01:09:49 am »
Seriously, what is going on in this thread???

What do you mean?  I hired an engineer to do some contract work and he bailed. Part bitch-and-moan, part camaraderie.

No, not your issue. I wasn't (and still am) not really sure whether your reply of 'nailing it' to the 'rocking' tautological diagnosis of "He doesn't talk to you because he doesn't like to talk to you" was meant seriously. I am sorry if i got it all wrong...

I mean, if you don't care about the guy, stop being obsessed and trying to analyze him. If you care, don't continue this gossip here but rather send a clear message to his friends or family.

I don't know his family. His friends are my friends and nobody is that close to him. He's a grown man, close to my father's age - I think he can deal with whatever is happening on his own terms.

Nobody is analyzing him as much as you have. Your conjecture adds nothing to the thread except to bring up a possibility of mental illness. My post is appropriate to "General Chat", relates to Engineering and was done without prejudice.

I'm taking a rather lighthearted approach rather than getting extremely upset (which I have every right to be). I've already found a possible replacement with whom I've worked before.



« Last Edit: May 08, 2013, 01:18:51 am by envisionelec »
 

Offline codeboy2k

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 1838
  • Country: ca
Re: Help! Product Engineer won't respond to calls, emails.
« Reply #21 on: May 08, 2013, 01:42:42 am »
There is something to be said for using someone you've worked with before.  I hope it works out.  However, if your replacement doesn't have the time or can't do it for whatever reason, please consider me. I'm not working, I'm definitely not over-committed, and I've got the time.

Cheers!
 

Offline HackedFridgeMagnet

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 1982
  • Country: au
Re: Help! Product Engineer won't respond to calls, emails.
« Reply #22 on: May 08, 2013, 05:14:18 am »
Yes give codeboy2k a go, he's helped me before.
 


Share me

Digg  Facebook  SlashDot  Delicious  Technorati  Twitter  Google  Yahoo
Smf