Tag Archives: engineering

going Viral-ish on TIkTok

Confession time: I’ve been messing around on TikTok this year after COVID crashed my business networking plans.

Gary Vaynerchuk is completely to blame. For a while he’s been pushing business owners to use TikTok as a way to get amazingly wide and free content reach.

I finally caved when I had to admit I had some free time open up. Thanks, Global Shutdown. PFFT.

I started a personal account and a business account but didn’t really do much with either for the first several months.

Erin McDermott’s TikTok account can be found @erinmmcdermott

More recently, I began using the app more and I saw how many niche content creators were building strong, focused audiences.

Below is a TikTok I made about…this TikTok phenomenon. Oh, we’re getting meta now.


How to suck your old friends into TikTok @garyvee @iamtabithabrown @kerrycowboy @cailinrua @lowham_ceramics @jesseeckel #middleaged #wap #skils

♬ original sound – Erin McDermott
An @erinmmcdermott TikTok. Tah-dah

After noticing other successful users of this app — some even with super strange niches — I decided to give it more attention. I started posting more regularly on my personal account.

And then one of the videos took off.

No, not with 5 million views, or even 500k, but this video below now has over 115,000 views, and hey — I think that’s more reach than for any other single piece of content I’ve ever produced. And I write for 2 magazines!

This is the one, the only one, that everyone really likes. 🙂

This whole story about my viral-ish video even made news on this other website, DanaNicoleDesigns.com:

SO OK, FINE, GARY. YOU WIN. I’ll work on my professional TikTok account under my business name, too: @spirestarter

So far, I’ve been working on quick, but valuable tips for freelance engineers on the account for Spire Starter, and humorous engineering things that non-engineers probably don’t get.

One of those is “The Engineer’s Curse” which was one of my first pieces for Solid Smack. Back then, I focused on engineering designs that weren’t done well enough. Recently, however, I realized The Engineer’s Curse can extend into over-engineered products — such as a microwave that doesn’t shut the hell up:

The Engineer’s Curse: an Extreme Case, Demonstrated.

Are you on the TikTok with the cool kids, too? If so, look me up, say heeey, and if there freelancing issues you want tips on, drop me a line!

Female Engineers: 5 Tips for Getting More Respect at the Office

In September, I reached my tolerance limit for sexism at the office and peaced-out.  For years, I tried to determine whether the disrespect was just the regular kind or because I had lady parts.  Finally, enough evidence amassed to tell me, “no, when people regularly neglect to invite you to important meetings where your expertise is vital, don’t make eye contact when talking about technical subjects, don’t ask for your technical assistance when you are the assigned matter expert, and when high-ranking employees vocally make distinctions about candidates and audiences because of their gender, it’s your vagina that’s getting in the way”.

I still find it hard to understand, as I was treated with so much more respect earlier in my career, when I obviously had less experience and knowledge, and fewer stories of technical Goliaths slain.

I’ve had a lot of time to think here, though, alone and jobless in the woods of Ireland.  Maybe there is an extra 13% of effort I could have put in beyond the 110% I expended each day refraining from stabbing myself in the eyes.  Below is an instructional video with 5 things I now realize I could have done differently to earn more respect.  Hopefully it can help female engineers currently struggling.  Please share if you know any.

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