Makers to me are latest embodiment of the cyclical interest in crafts. This incarnation marries modernity with the craft skill set to make either interesting things at scale or in ways previously impossible. For instance, 3D printing has allowed almost anyone with an interesting widget idea to make said widget. Additionally, access to supply chains have allowed new people to make things with previously unavailable parts whether it be cheap micro controllers or GPS chips with what was previously military-level accuracy.
The first presentation I went to was by Seth Goden who commented on the failure of the US education system to produce useful results. He spoke very well without notes and had some good one-liners:
- If what you’re doing doesn’t have a chance of failure, you’re not making.
- The person who invented the ship also invented the shipwreck.
- The first person to put a urinal in a public space was Marcel Deauchamp, an artist. The second was a plumber.
- If you make something amazing, how dare you not share it.
- Freelancers are paid to work, entrepreneurs use other people’s money to make something bigger than themselves to make money while they sleep.
During the Question and Answer segment, a person asked him to comment on how the internet had killed the serendipity of the library. He replied that he would do so only if the questioner could say that they’d never gotten lost on wikipedia.
The next presentation involved Bre Pettis and Chris Anderson talking about 3D printing and the lack of a next industrial revolution. Both were interesting and compelling and both agreed that should kickstarter.com stay relevant it will have completely changed how gadget start-ups work.
After this, I walked around the venue a bit and started experiencing camera trouble which put the kibosh on many of the shots I wanted to take.
One display that struck me was the nerdy derby where one could race on a pinewood derby track with any car they wished and even with auxiliary power. There both a hump in the track and overhang bar that prevented abuse of external power sources. This is something I’d like to bring to Scouting in the area.
The final presentation was on The Illuminator which beamed populist messages on surfaces around New York City. My respect of the presenters rose appreciably when I found out that they had day jobs.
On the way home, I executed one of my five most illegal driving maneuvers by making a U-turn in the middle of a six-way intersection.
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The ride home was quiet and I had dinner in the sous vide rig in the form of spare ribs. They turned out quite well as indicated by the near reverent silence in which they were eaten.