Mastering the Machine

In 2013, I created a document called Mastering the Machine, a 26 page e-book about planning and building a machine or production line with an emphasis on documentation. I had just started my business again after spending 6 years working for a large custom machine builder, so much of the content was based on my experiences at Wright Industries and running my own machine building/systems integration business.

I posted the document on my business site and on this blog as what’s known as a “lead magnet” or opt-in. That’s right, like Big Brother the goal is to collect e-mail addresses and market to them via newsletters, pitches or “CTAs”, etc. The problem was:

1. I didn’t really have anything to sell and…

2. I suck at writing ads and pitching products.

But a lot of people have downloaded the document. I have two of these lead magnets, the other is on PLC Programming and Templates. Guess what? More people download the Mastering the Machine document than download the PLC one.

So quick: before you continue reading this post, click on one of the links in blue above, download one or both of the documents, and give me your e-mail address so I can sell to you.

Funny, but until very recently I sent a “welcome and thanks for downloading” e-mail and never sent anything else. I imagine people quickly forgot about me and eventually the emails drop off my list. Like I said, I suck at marketing.

The Automation Academy

The Automation Academy has been open since the end of November. I started out with all of the features I have talked about in previous posts; PLC courses, career assistance, some downloadable software and a lot of pdfs. And of course the community with forums.

The feedback I have received so far has been good, but several members have told me that the reason they joined is to get more system integration insight from my experiences in industry. The problem is this: System Integration includes too many other topics and categories. I don’t know how to organize the material. In the Academy there are sections for Career, PLC and HMI courses, the Library with all the downloads, and the Community. This topic doesn’t fit into any of these, or rather maybe it fits into all of them.

One of the members has given me a great list of questions and topics to start with. I am working on an “automation feasibility study” for a company, and some of his questions are related to this particular project. Of course there can be problems with non-disclosure, use of pictures without explicit permission, etc. I also may not be involved in the project as it moves along, because I really don’t build things anymore.

But I think there is a lot I can discuss without betraying confidentiality, and I also have a huge amount of other material to work with from other companies and projects that I can use.

So… this is to announce that within the Automation Academy I am starting a new series of videos, discussions and written material called Mastering The Machine. For those familiar with my “Odyssey” series of PLC videos, it will be kind of like that, and include a lot of different topics from system integration, machine building, applications and quoting, machine or system analysis and other stuff. Tomorrow my old compadre Doug Alward will be stopping by to discuss this also, he was the guy who wrote all the guest blog posts for me while I ran off to Central America in 2012. I hope to also talk with him live in the next webinar.

And I still suck at marketing, so don’t worry about getting overwhelmed with e-mails if you download the “lead magnets”. But please join the Automation Academy, there really is a lot of great stuff there!


Electrical Engineer and business owner from the Nashville, Tennessee area. I also play music, Chess and Go.