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Engineering: The Race Against Mediocrity (Interview)

Many thanks to Francois Kern (aka Chef Francois) from C2P Inc. ( for giving Display Alliance an engineer's perspective. You can get Francois' contact information at the end of the interview, and if you're on LinkedIn you should join his Capacitive Touch Panel group. Display Alliance is published by Mass Integrated, Inc., a global display distributor. We supply LCD display panels for Digital Signage, Industrial, Military, Medical, End-of-life, Projected Capacitive Touch (PCAP), Laptops, and more. Call or email Jason for panel sourcing or to be featured on Display Alliance: (978) 465-6190 ext. 585 or

DA: What drives you as an engineer?

The Race Against Mediocrity

Our main drive as engineers and designers is to create compelling products that change the world.

We hate mediocrity. The display industry is exploding as we endeavor to create new human machine interfaces. How can we design a display in a product to work better, faster, smaller, thinner, or lighter?

But what is not obvious is the psychology of the usability. How can we make our products more intuitive and allow for a person to have a joyful user experience? This is what we like to do with our projects.

DA: What challenges does touch technology present to engineers, particularly in its application to real-world products?

Customization, Lead Time, Cost, Life Cyle

There are many challenges, however the most common are: A) Customization, B) Lead time, C) Cost, and D) Life cycle.

Believe it or not cost is not the largest factor. Our clients want robust displays but more importantly is the ability to scale up. We have developed special monitors that are scale-able and can be produced in low runs of 25 at a time. End of life is no longer an issue.

We also provide our Steel Glass which is stronger than the original Gorilla Glass from Corning and it can be ordered in minimum quantities of 5-10,000 units with an optically bonded ITO. We can also reverse silkscreen the glass and bevel the glass as per customer specs.

DA: What kind of research information do engineers rely on?

Connections And Networks

We rely heavily on our connections and networks.

Our suppliers keep us abreast of the latest technologies and we as a team are constantly on the look out for better products and technologies, even after hours.

It's a lifestyle. We are ALL on the lookout and comb the web, attend trade shows, and push our suppliers for better products.

DA: Can you talk a little about the supply chain?

It Comes Down To People

Ah yes the supply chain issue. Everyone has an issue here.

We have gone to great lengths to develop extraordinary relationships with our suppliers. We treat them with great respect and have an open door policy and daily communication with them. We invest in them and they see that we not only order from them but that we want to help them drive their business too, but not just for us.

People don't care about what you know, they just want to know how much you care.

DA: What is C2P working on at the moment? Is there something you are particularly excited about?

Microwaves, High Security Keyboards, Touch Products

We are working on some pretty interesting projects. It's always been that way here.

We are developing a new machine for cooking soup faster than a microwave oven. We are looking at a machine that can cook french fries with 30% less fat, that will cook them in less time than a fryer and yet make them more crispy and utilize less energy and less real estate than conventional machines.

We are working on special new keyboards that have high security features We are really excited about the high speed machines we will be bringing in to machine a unibody ultrabook that would normally take an hour and a half to machine, but now will take about 6 minutes.

Most of our products require some sort of interface be it capacitive touch, LCD or gesture control.

DA: I try to keep interview questions to 5 but I know you from LinkedIn and there's something I have to ask: What is the "Cookbook for Men Who Can't Cook," how did it come about, and how do we get a copy?

Cooking For Dummies And Cavemen

Now for the fun part. How did I get my really cool job at C2P?

They wanted someone who was knowledgeable and creative. They wanted someone that was fun and spirited.

In my spare time I am a passionate cook. I created a cookbook DVD for men who can't cook. I decided that I could teach any caveman to cook like a gourmet chef by breaking things down, upping the fun and also make it relate to the average guy by using power tools.

C2P hired me because I'm different and fun. I inspire our team and actually cook meals for our customers. They don't quite know why they like us except it just feels like home.

You can order the DVD cookbook at:

Bon app├ętit.

Contact Francois / C2P Inc.


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