How David Sands balances 3+ careers (Physicist, Blacksmith, Metal Artist)

by | Aug 5, 2022

Meet David Sands. He’s a multi-careerist based in California.

I’ve known him for years through the music community. I’ve always been impressed with his curious mind and ability to traverse many fields.

David’s Careers

  • Physicist / electrical engineer (SRI International, Tesla, Zoox, Range Energy)
  • Music producer / performer / audio engineer (the Music Annex, Snads Metal Music)
  • Blacksmith / metal artist (Snads Metal Works)

On his motivations for many careers

Many disciplines interest me, and I derive great pleasure from learning how to be a professional and expert at these disciplines.

Being able to earn income from them is just an added benefit to the sense of accomplishment.

“Don’t do a half-baked job!”

Advice to aspiring multi-careerists

Ask questions of the experts in any field; learn how they became experts and emulate, leaving lots of room for your own creativity.

On overcoming obstacles

I have been fired from numerous tech and music jobs; I never felt that I was a failure, however, I just had different ideas and was open to pursuing another opportunity to learn new skills.

Eventually I found that running my own business meant that I probably wouldn’t fire myself, (music/art) and have developed my engineering skills to the point where I am always in demand, at least in the Silicon Valley.

On how careers are mutually beneficial

To me, there is a synchronicity to the apparently disparate careers.

But the physics informs how the sound moves which then informs how the electronics can control the capture and generation of an emotion connected to the sound which also informs the aesthetically pleasing shapes that metal can be formed into but the manipulation of materials is based on molecular states, which is related to vibrations, which are sounds that can be mathematically described by Newtonian physics…

And so forth and so on in an endless cycle, just like that sentence.

So even though they are differing disciplines, it all seems like different facets of the same, larger cycle of living.

Yep, that’s my story!

On finding balance

Well, my wife Lisa is also a multi-careerist (Sound artist & Environmental scientist) so she understands being on the edge of ADD (!!).

But the sheer joy that we derive from being immersed in multiple disciplines creates the spark that we call “being a light” and is the central tenet of our ketuba marriage contract: to spread soulfulness as our Yetsirot or creations/emanations)

On what he wished he knew earlier

More fun, less work!

On what to share with others

I typically blab about everything that I do, but try to be aware of that “glazed eyes” look that most folks get when I go on too long, with those folks, I just keep things focused on the tasks at hand.

People who express an actual interest get the full story.

On how to sublimate ego

Even though I may be very good at what I am doing (on any particular day) there is ALWAYS something new to learn.

So I keep my mind open to gaining new skills, such as delegating the banal tasks to a direct report, who can then experience the sheer joy of filing documents.

A Day in the Life

6:30A: get up, slurp coffee, and eat.

If its a weekday go to the jobsite by 8:30A to be an engneer.

12:30P, workout ( run or cycle or row)

Then back to the EE stuff from 1:30 to about 6:00 P.

Then go to my workshop (have 2000 SqFt of blacksmithing studio in San Mateo CA) and be a metal artist, or rehearse music for any active projects.

Then go home to spend 6 hours with the wife.

If its a weekend, then instead of the day job, get to my workshop by 9:00 or so and beat the bejeezus out of red hot metal, or go work on the 1933 wood sloop that I am restoring at the marina, or work on the in-law unit in the backyard that I’m refurbishing.

I will get back home by about 4 or 5 in the afternoon, and either go out for home supplies, or make dinner or play music / engineer with Lisa for a while.

Where to find Ross


Kabir Sehgal is a Multi Grammy & Latin Grammy Award winner, as well as New York Times bestselling author.

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