Friday, September 14, 2012

Top Five Twitter Posts: Manufacturing Pianos, Crowdsourced Manufacturing and Managing Info Overload

Friday funday! We're a day out of our first-ever Astra Matchmaker Expo, this one in Seattle, where we networked with a plethora of other woman-owned businesses and supplier diversity scouts from various corporations. It was an interesting, productive day and we can't wait to share more news with you about our membership with Astra and its umbrella organization, Women's Business Enterprise Council. While we were busy at the expo, among other things, we also enjoyed a busy week on Twitter, where we learned more about recent changes to the U.S. manufacturing workforce, the way pianos are made and how one government agency is asking the public for ideas about how to better design military technologies. Here's a sample of what we found interesting. Follow us on our way to next week's "Top Five" post at @BWCnews!

1. How Steinway Makes Pianos by Hand on CNN Money: The manufacturing workers at Steinway have 150 years of craftsmanship on their shoulders — well more than a century of tradition, style and quality
Credit: CNN Money
behind their handiwork. It's a lot of responsibility and a little nostalgic since piano-making is somewhat on the decline as digital keyboards become better in quality and more affordable. Fall in love with pianos all over again by watching this video clip of employees at work inside a piano-making facility. It's hard to imagine pianos will ever go out of style.

2. Women in Manufacturing on CNN Monday: Can you tell we were a little stuck on CNN news this week? Here's another interesting story from the network, this one about the burgeoning female manufacturing workforce. Even though the nation lost 15,000 manufacturing jobs from July to August, per the latest info released last week by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of women filling manufacturing and machine shop roles is on the rise as the field becomes more high tech with the simultaneous increase of computer-aided machinery.

3. Making the Information Firehouse Manageable for Data-Driven Decisions on Fast Company: Suffer from "analysis paralysis?" Information overload? This article picks the brain of a data technology expert, Dimitri Maex, who says the best approach is to figure out how to use the data instead of just taking it all in. Interesting insight from someone whose book on the subject recently hit stores across the nation.

Credit: New York Times via G.E. Research
4. Pentagon Pushes Crowdsourced Manufacturing via New York Times: The lead time for a military manufacturing project often runs from a decade to 20 years because of research, funding and the spiderweb of government red tape. But an arm of the Pentagon wants to change that. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency aims to reduce that design-to-production process by up to four years, according to this NYT story. How? By rewarding students at various universities a prize for their efforts in helping aid military research. Interesting — seems a productive way to speed up public manufacturing, research and technological development.

5. Newb in Space on In exactly 510 seconds, the fuel runs out and the rocket engines halt. Silence falls. As a newb in outer space, the first thought to enter Richard Garriott's head was, "We aren't very high. Hope we don't fall back to earth." Listen to the rest of the interview in this video clip. Amazing insight from someone new to the extraterrestrial universe.