#014 – Engineering World Class Bicycle Wheels – Matthew Urquhart

Published On January 31, 2016 | Materials Eng, Mech Eng

Matthew Urquhart studied Mechanical Engineering at Queen’s University, specializing in Materials Engineering. After graduation, he moved to California to become a Product Design Engineer at Specialized Bicycle Components. A few months ago, Matt began work at Nest Labs, the home automation producer of programmable, self-learning, sensor-driven, Wi-Fi-enabled thermostats, smoke detectors, and other security systems.

Matt shares with us:

  • his passion for bicycles.
  • how he landed his dream job at Specialized.
  • the importance of understanding first principles.
  • insights into the product development process.
  • and much more…

Reach out to Matt via LinkedIn.

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Discussion timestamps:

06:40 Guest Intro
07:06 How Matt discovered Engineering at a young age.
09:23 Solar photovoltaics materials research internship in the Materials department researching on.
11:23 Matt shares his passion for bicycles and biking.
12:21 The targeted job hunting procedure.
13:36 Matt shares the incredible story of how he landed his dream job at Specialized.
17:42 Setting yourself apart from the countless other candidates.
18:42 High-performance bicycle wheels.
19:47 The tools and human resources at Specialized and how they come together during product development.
21:45 Various software programs that Matt used at Specialized.
22:39 What were the objectives of business trips to Taiwan and China?
25:47 Personal or professional qualities vital for success as a Product Engineer.
27:36 What is Nest Labs? What do they do?
28:51 How Matt got his position at Nest.
30:59 The objectives of a Process Engineer.
33:30 Tips about working in Asia.
36:22 The power of introverts in a world that won’t stop talking.
37:40 Matt is bullish about machine learning.
39:50 Final advice to future engineers.

Episode related content:

The story of Mike Sinyard and the Specialized Bicycle Components company:

King of the mountain bike from CNN Money and Hippie Capitalist: Specialized Bicycle’s Mike Sinyard from Forbes.

Specialized Technology website:

The Nest Cam:


The Culture Map – Breaking Through The Invisible Boundaries Of Global Business – Erin Meyer:


The Power of Introverts – Susan Cain TED Talk:


Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain:


The Master Algorithm: How the Quest for the Ultimate Learning Machine Will Remake Our World by Pedro Domingos:


Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder  by Nassim Nicholas Tale:


The Value of Statistics – Career Opportunities:


“The Soul of Statistics” – 15 Minute Intro by Harvard Professor Blitzstein – Must Watch:





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