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What’s my age again?

Let’s talk about being young. Not as individuals - but as a collective here at Corinthian Engineering. It is no secret that we are a new business and so is our talent, but is that a bad thing?


Let me convince you it is not.


So, industry, manufacturing, and engineering: three interlinked processes which are heavily reliant on skills, experience, and knowledge. A company’s experience (typically defined as years in the industry) is a stamp of reliability and in most cases a seal of quality. But does this experience value demonstrate a company’s ability to develop?

As engineers we are at the cutting edge of technological and industrial advancements, we are pivotal in advancing the physical world around us. But how often are phrases like “what he doesn’t know, isn’t worth knowing”, and “I’ve been doing this man and boy” heard – both of them sad representations of the stagnation of industrial engineering and its dismissive attitude. But these thrown-around lines are an attempt to assert a specific idea. Arthur C Clarke once summed this approach up in a blunt and effective manner:


“When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong”.

So, what does he mean by this?


Let’s look at humankind’s most outstanding achievement (no, not sliced bread) - the moon landings. [Firstly, we recommend listening to the 13 Minutes to the Moon Podcast on BBC Sounds].


For the rest of time, we - as a species - will be benefiting from the effects of projects Gemini and Apollo. It can be postulated that the combined 11 years spent focusing on these projects catapulted us all into a world of technological advancements and engineering marvels that wouldn’t exist otherwise. Think about it, we landed on the effing moon, a trip of around 238,855miles (384,400 km) in a system that utilised woven core memory (yes, the memory was a fabric physically woven into the lunar module. As Janice would say “OH.MY.GWARD”) and a guidance system that had a RAM of 4KB. The iPhone 13 has 4GB of RAM.


So, we know how important technologically the ’60s were, but where did experience come into this? I mean - the technology needed to achieve these marvels was literally invented then and there to overcome the challenges faced.


Well, it’s common knowledge that NASA relied heavily on a large network of experienced contractors such as ILC Dover, Aerojet Rocketdyne, and Grumman; but when it came to their own employees, well NASA opted for a fresh, young team. The average age of the engineers in mission control at the time was 28 (!). In engineering terms that is considered still very young; however, NASA didn’t see it this way. Whilst failure wasn’t an option (😉), the inexperience - and to some degree naivety of the young engineers - allowed them to not be afraid or deterred by danger. It allowed them to take the risk required to develop. But ultimately, their drive and enthusiasm are what helped provide the thrust required to make that one giant leap.


So, it’s great to talk about this - and very enlightening to a certain degree, but we’re engineers, so we also understand the importance of putting good ideas into practice. And from the practical nature of things, while we agree that experience is extremely important to the success of an individual and a company, ultimately, we recognise that experience in itself is a concept that is extremely personal. And what truly works in practice is incorporating the right people into your company - that is the best way to maximise quality and keep products and development initiatives at the forefront.


Learning from our experience and the products we develop, we have designed our company structure inspired by a doctoring system: allowing a rotation of young engineers to flow through the company, scraping knowledge from them which is at the forefront of technological developments; whilst simultaneously smoothing their rough edges out with our skills and experience.


You(th) are the future. There’s no escaping it, so why not make the most of it?




References:
Carter, J. (2019). 5 facts about the Apollo 11 moon landing. [Online]. rlo.acton.org. Last Updated: 18 July. https://rlo.acton.org/archives/110300-5-facts-about-the-apollo-11-moon-landing.html
Fisher, L. (2023). What tech would the Apollo 11 mission have today?. [Online]. https://www.sciencefocus.com/. Available at: https://www.sciencefocus.com/space/what-tech-would-the-apollo-11-mission-have-today/

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