"Constructive Criticism" and the Destruction of New Startups

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BJC

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I'm 35, high school grad, 1 year community college. Work background is construction, mostly homes/commercial/industrial in az, ca, sc.

And I'm glad you asked that. It ties in well with my point about "civility". On a construction site you will hear things and see things that you literally cannot believe sometimes. And that's just at work, (wait till the beer starts flowing after work). And there are guys that continue this kind of harrasment and talk around women and then there are guys, even the roughest of the rough, that will show some respect when a women is around. Its not that the women are weak or haven't heard it before, its about being a decent human being and showing some respect sometimes and knowing when its accepted to be rough, mean and crude and when its inappropriate.

If you are friends with John, Alberto (sp) and Pete and whoever, sure go ahead give um hell. But most times, you've never met them, have very limited knowledge on the backstory or why they are making the decisions they are. Obviously I'm the minority. The general consensus seems to think your doing the homebuilt world and GA a favor.

I politely disagree.

Chris
Chris:

I have seen some of your work. I again encourage you to post here regularily, and share progress on your projects with us. Yes, many of us are critical old grouches, mostly because we have been around long enough to see way too many examples of ideas that never are realized.

The fundamental issue, though, it this: You have designed, built, and flown your own creations, which is something that 99.999% of the posters here wish that they (I) had done, but have not done and never will do. So participate, and, by doing so, you just might set an example of behavior that others, eventually, may emulate.


BJC
 

Turd Ferguson

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I'm 35, high school grad, 1 year community college.
Chris, entertainment my friend. Like any internet forum this site has good entertainment value. Pay attention and you can see self-proclaimed claimed experts passing out engineering advice and or critiquing designs even though they have no engineering degree and have never designed and built a kite (and never will).

I noticed you have actually built and flown airplanes. Keep up the good work!
 

MikePousson

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I don't know any guys here personally. Most of you don't either. Ever since I was old enough to have memory, 4 or 5, I guess, every time I heard that engine sound above me I stopped doing whatever and tried to locate it in the sky. I thought, Wow, that is neat. Flash forward 65 years or more, and I still do it. EVERY TIME. Back then, it was a DC3 or a Stearman crop duster. Today, it could be anything. HB, factory, or a high flyer heading for the north polar route to Asia, usually. I guess what I'm trying to say, is that aviation is to be an awe to those that have interest in it. If there was no new design or innovation, we'd all be trying to hitch a ride on the Wright Flyer.
There is room for everyone. I'd never criticize anyone for an ugly plane, a pricy plane, or anything in between. If I had a million bucks in the bank, the Risen or the ICON would be in my hanger. Since I am a blue collar pensioner, I don't have a million bucks to toss around. I'm just trying to figure out how to make life work and build a $20 grand toy. But it don't make me stop yearning for $200 grand toy.
As far as an aircraft price point goes. None of that is debatable. It's a business decision. I see some kit companies selling wood kits all inclusive without a 2 cycle engine or half VW for $20 grand. That's more than the sheet metal plane kit I'm looking at.
I have a pretty good woodworking shop that's turned out a lot of beautiful furniture or kitchens. I got maybe 10% of the jobs I bid on. People want the quality and beauty to be cheap, in aviation or in life things.
As far as people defending their products on this sounding board, I'm proud to see Alberto justify everything about the Risen. I saw his interview byDanJohnson and I was quite impressed.
I guess that's my 2 cents, or as they say where I come from, "That's a lot of sugar for a nickel, mister"
 

steveair2

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Great thread Chris! It's the reason that MOST of the "real builders" and manufactures do not take part in this forum. I enjoy the soap opera myself.
Sheesh! Apologizing again this week. Sixteen hour work day had me a bit cranky. This is a great forum with many great members. I think I'll limit my post to my build thread.
 

wsimpso1

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First Comment: What you will find on an internet forum does not even resemble "a beating". These are just words with no authority and certainly no physical damage. If someone really does have the courage of their convictions, we won't stop them here, but we might warn them that new ideas are few and far between, with a lot of training and maybe experience to be able to execute on them. Last I saw, Synergy and Risen and Icon are not being stopped, they are going forward.

Second Comment: Every man has a good idea that will not work. I know this from here and from having obtained patents and from being on a major company's patent committee. My goodness the crap that folks will present as new, novel, and workable when it is either 60+ years old or been done lots of times or does not work physically.

Third Comment: No one likes being told that their baby is ugly, but we regularly get ugly babies put before us and earnestly asked "isn't she beautiful?"

Billski
 

Lemans

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There is one particular scenario that never plays out well here: Someone comes on with a "revolutionary" idea, but won't present enough details to allow anyone to evaluate their claims, citing "proprietary" knowledge or impending intellectual property protections. And yet, they claim their idea is the Best Idea Ever, even if it seemingly contradicts proven practice, known history of "what's possible", or even basic physics. They let dribble little hints here or there, but never come clean with any real information or data.
Really? You knew I was going to take this personaly.
Still waiting for your answer....
 

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BoKu

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Really? You knew I was going to take this personaly.
Still waiting for your answer....
With no answer in eight years, I think it safe to assume one is not in the cards now.

So, how's the engine coming along?
 

Dan Thomas

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There are way to many "Everyone gets a trophy" activities. Aviation should never be one of them.
Exactly. Too many kids in school (and at home) are praised for everything and criticized for nothing, all in the name of protecting self-esteem. Self-esteem is important, but it's way over the top these days and kids come out of school feeling entitled to endless praise and affirmation and protection from the harsh realities of life. It's something of a shock when the boss fires them because they won't or can't do the job properly. We're not doing a good job of preparing young people anymore. Everybody gets a gold star and a diploma.
 

BoKu

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...Second Comment: Every man has a good idea that will not work. I know this from here and from having obtained patents and from being on a major company's patent committee. My goodness the crap that folks will present as new, novel, and workable when it is either 60+ years old or been done lots of times or does not work physically...
To a degree that nobody should be comfortable with, the history of aviation is written in blood. And red ink, but that's not nearly as consequential. The best way to prevent more of it in the future is to reflect on that spilled in the past.

As for new and novel ideas, my favorite curmudgeon in that regard is Don Lancaster, whose Energy Fundamentals and How to Bash Pseudoscience (.pdf docs) should be required texts for every high school student.

Thanks, Bob K.
 

Topaz

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... For example, read through the Synergy threads again and you'll see the the type of "constructive criticism" i'm talking about. Hardly life saving truths and compassionate honesty...
I thought, perhaps, that this was where your point was coming from. I'm glad you brought it up.

Synergy is, perhaps, the perfect example of the scenario I held to "never work" here: Show up, proclaim that you have a "revolutionary" idea, and then proceed to not release any significant detail because you're "protecting your intellectual property." Why on Earth would you expect us to cheerlead something that makes claims to being "revolutionary", yet we aren't given enough facts for qualified people to perform an adequate evaluation? That's asking us to cheerlead something on the faith that the inventor has created something great, just because "I say so."

Even with what limited information was given, people here far more knowledgeable than I were becoming increasingly skeptical of John's claims for the aircraft. That may have been simply the inherent conservatism of aviation that I alluded to in my earlier post. Or those highly experienced people just may know what they're talking about.

The fact that the Synergy project has seemingly vanished within a few months of cashing in a $100k+ Kickstarter campaign doesn't exactly increase their credibility. While I'm explicitly not calling them a "scam" (we have rules here about that), the fact that their situation is looking more and more like other failed projects such as DreamWings doesn't make me any more comfortable about their prospects - or their claims.

If and when Synergy flies and proves out their claims, I will give them all due congratulations and credit for their accomplishment. When that happens. But until that time, I'm not going to cheerlead a project where extraordinary claims are made, but the means to evaluate them has been withheld.

YMMV, of course, and that's your choice.
 

Topaz

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Don't you guys ever wonder why there's no greats or heads of the industry commenting or contributing on here?

Chris
Orion died. Rutan is retired and working on his own projects. We get Barnaby Wainfan here from time to time. Most of the others have legitimate IP considerations, and the remainder probably want to have a level of discussion above what we can accommodate and still allow neophytes to be full members with a full voice.
 

Topaz

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To reinforce what Topaz is saying in this paragraph with a couple of examples, we were all skeptical of Malish with his ducted fan design...
Malish is probably the perfect example. When he first showed up, skepticism ran very high. He has thoroughly and completely won over the majority of the boards by simple virtue of showing that yes, his team's airplane is not only more than a fantasy paper airplane, but actually does what they claim it does. All of us have the choice to decide that we might not want that particular airplane, or might do some part of it differently, but there's no denying that Malish's project does as he claims and simply works.

If the others with extraordinary claims were to do as much, I'm absolutely positive that they'd find a more accepting reception.
 

Himat

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Don't you guys ever wonder why there's no greats or heads of the industry commenting or contributing on here?

Chris
Orion died. Rutan is retired and working on his own projects. We get Barnaby Wainfan here from time to time. Most of the others have legitimate IP considerations, and the remainder probably want to have a level of discussion above what we can accommodate and still allow neophytes to be full members with a full voice.
Rutan is maybe not on this forum, but at least one of his team is and keep us regularly updated. Also when reading, it look like some of the pseudonym poster have an insight into the aerospace business they probably could not have without working in the business. There are some great heads of the industry posting here, maybe not the most recognized names, but even for me that is outside the business I can recognize some that have to be on the inside.
 

Wanttaja

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No. Because many do, including CEO's and CTO's from the big players. Just anonymously or under a pseudonym. Many people can't reply under their own name, either due to company policy or risk getting their name smeared. Doesn't mean they don't contribute.
Yep. We don’t really know how many (or if) top homebuilt designers are involved in this forum. Allow me to list some other reasons they might not be participating. We’ll use a fictional designer named Sidney Slipstick as an example.

1. Most of us, after a long day at work, want to do something different. After putting 8-10 hours into aircraft design work, why would Sidney watch a bunch of amateurs try to design? Only real reason is that he’d find it entertaining…might even mock some of the concepts himself. We’d hope Sidney would be nicer than this, but it’s certainly a possibility.

Being a decent guy, Sidney, of course, tries to mentor upcoming designers. But he’s more likely to do that in-person, with a mentee he can directly monitor, than catch-as-catch can on a random aviation forum.

2. Sidney designs airplanes as his employment…probably even owns the company. Why in the world would he splatter his latest design ideas in a public forum? He’s just hurting himself. So, if he participates in HBA, he doesn’t join the string of “What do you think of this idea” posters.

3. If Sidney DOES post publicly, then he’ll be seeing a bunch of “Sidney Slipstick, Please Look at my Design” postings. If he critiques one, then others will demand equal time. If he ignores them all, he’s "stuck up." If he’s negative about someone’s refrigerator drawing, then he’s "a meanie who doesn’t help aspiring designers." It’s a lose-lose situation.

4. Sidney can get in trouble just being AROUND people expounding their neat ideas. Say Sidney’s been working on an airfoil modification for five years, and is ready to go into production. Then somebody posts a refrigerator drawing that shows “kinda” the same thing. When Sidney’s new design is announced the refrigerator magnate claims his idea was stolen by Sidney. If he finds the right lawyer, he can sue and tie up Sidney’s new design for years.

Note that this can happen even if Sidney is participating anonymously. If a subpoena shows Sidney was reading the guys stuff UNDER A FALSE NAME, it looks even worse in court.

This is why many major authors don’t participate in online forums that discuss their work or, especially, speculate on where their characters might do in later works.

5. Sidney will also become the target of people who, for some reason, don’t like him. Every post followed by accusations, etc. Who needs it?

6. Sidney’s comments will also be scrutinized by the lawyers of anyone suing him or his company. Online comments can be twisted in court. His lawyers will tell him never discuss design philosophies online, and don’t make suggestions that might lead him to get sued later if they’re not right or the receiver implements them wrong.

Ron Wanttaja
 
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