How to Become an Engineering Consultant with Chris Gammell

Harris and Shawn interview electronics engineer, Chris Gammell. Chris shares his insights into how he manages his clients and education for his businesses.
In this episode of the Hello Blink Show, Harris and Shawn interview electronics engineer, Chris Gammell. Chris shares his insights into how he manages his clients and education for his businesses. Chris works as a hardware engineering consultant designing boards for clients as well as teaching through workshops and YouTube videos. He is a co-host of the Amp Hour Electronics Podcast and organizes several Meetups, such as the Hardware Happy Hour in Chicago.

Listeners will hear Chris's advice as he delves into his wisdom from his principal companies, including getting initial clients for consulting, billing, and managing his time.

One Powerful Quotation
  • 3:10 - Chris: “When it comes down to it, I usually say you know get your name out there somehow…it could be a YouTube channel, it could be a Twitter account, it could be a wide range of things, but it has to basically be as what I say is who thinks of you as the second person to call…if you can start to build those second connections, that is the most powerful thing you can do.” --
Key Topics
  • 1:18 - Shawn opens the show by asking Chris about his background and why he wanted to start his own consulting business. 
  • 2:36 - Chris goes into how he acquires clients and why he believes you should build that second connection.
  • 5:05 - Chris explains his hourly billing and deliverable process. Check out Website - Steve Friedl's Tech Tips: So you want to be a consult-ant…?.
  • 6:22 - Chris shares his latest workings with RF/firmware as part of his consulting expertise. 
  • 7:21 - Shawn inquires with Chris about finding tutors for learning about RF/firmware. 
  • 9:56 - Harris asks Chris his thoughts about diversifying in the areas of his personal brand.
  • 13:43 - Shawn curiously asks Chris how he transitioned himself into managing contract work with his other roles. 
  • 18:07 - Shawn shares the sentiments with Chris and asks why he avoids academia learning.
  • 23:02 - Chris expresses his intrinsic motivation and how he likes to freestyle his work. He also describes how this lead to the creation of the Hackaday Supercon from Maker Faire. 
  • 29:00 - Chris agrees with Harris’ remarks on the rise of hardware and explains why he believes sensor technology is the future. 
  • 30:20 - Shawn and Chris discuss designing neural networks for anomaly detection and machine learning on microcontrollers. 
  • 35:00 - Chris shares how his inbound client leads come from his podcast and referrals. He notes how this process is more open ended and conducive for his business. 
  • 36:44 - Shawn asks a follow up question to Chris on how often he declines client leads and manages their interests. 
  • 39:03 - Harris inquires with Chris on if he has experimented with value based pricing for projects. Chris delves into why that strategy is more applicable to software than hardware by proof of the end customer value. 
  • 43:13 - Harris asks if Chris believes in strategic advising and selling prototype hardware sets the tone for lead generation. 
  • 55:53 - Shawn and Harris wrap up the show, and Chris shares his contact information to listeners. 
List of Resources
Website - The Amp Hour Electronics Podcast
Website - Contextual Electronics
Website - Analog Life LLC.
Website - Steve Friedl's Tech Tips: So you want to be a consult-ant…?
Book - The Start Up of You: Adapt to the Future, Invest in Yourself, and Transform Your Career - Reid Hoffman
Website - ABB
Website - Supplyframe
Website - Hologram
LinkedIn - Brock LaMeres
LinkedIn - Thomas Lee
Website - Hackaday Superconference
Website - Maker Faire
Website - Tiny ML
Website - Embedded FM - A Little Bit of Human Knowledge With Daniel Situnayake
LinkedIn - Daniel Situnayake
Website - OpenMV Camera
Website - The Engineering Commons
Book - Value-Based Fees by Alan Weiss
Article - Saas Pricing by Patrick McKenzie
Website - Tindie
LinkedIn - Ryan Cousins
Website - Krtkl
Website - Punch Through
Website - KiCad Forum
Website - Hardware Happy Hour

Guest Information
Chris Gammell is an electrical engineer, podcaster and consultant from Chicago, IL. He has over 15 years of experience in the electronics industry, working for companies in the industrial, silicon, communications, and test and measurement space. Chris runs the following ventures:
  • Full time consultant for Analog Life LLC, where he creates designs for clients ranging from learning platforms to connected sensor networks.
  • Co-host (along with Dave Jones of the EEVblog) of The Amp Hour, a weekly show discussing trends throughout the modern electronics design industry. 
  • Instructor and owner of Contextual Electronics, which focuses on teaching electronics design skills for beginners to intermediate students.
Host Contact Information
LinkedIn - Shawn Hymel
LinkedIn - Harris Kenny
Twitter - Shawn Hymel
Twitter - Harris Kenny

License Information
“Hello Blink Show” by Kenny Consulting Group, LLC and Skal Risa, LLC is licensed under CC BY 4.0
Intro and outro song is “Routine” by Amine Maxwell is licensed under CC BY 3.0
Special Guest: Chris Gammell.

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© Skal Risa, LLC and Kenny Consulting Group, LLC | Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY)