Perspectives

180° Shift: (Unfortunately) Not Everyone is a Maker

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  • (Photo by Asa Mathat)

Speaker

Jordan Brandt
Technology Futurist, Entrepreneur, Autodesk


Jordan Brandt discusses his role in the growing maker movement.

Read the full transcript below. (Transcript by Realtime Transcriptions.)

Kirkpatrick:  So, Jordan Brandt last night announced that he was doing a 180 on his 180, so I have no idea what he’s going to talk about, but he’s going to do it next.

So, Jordan Brandt, please come up and tell us whatever you were going to tell us, through those chairs.

Brandt:  Full 360 now.

Kirkpatrick:  Full 360. Okay. Whatever.

Brandt:  Good morning, everyone.

Yeah, so I mentioned last night that I changed direction. So I’m new at Techonomy. It’s my first year. And I was inspired by Stewart’s comment that makers are the new revolutionaries. So I decided to switch to a topic that was much more personal to me, something I could sink my teeth into.

So it’s interesting now that DIYers and folks from farming communities around the world now have this cool new moniker that they’ve unwittingly adopted. They’re “makers.”  So I know that space. Growing up in a farming community, I remember a friend of mine and I were out camping on his harm, in the middle of nowhere. It was getting cold.

We said, “Wouldn’t it be really cool if we had a hot tub right now?”

We looked around. We had a horse tank, we had a PTO pump on a tractor, we had a 55-gallon drum, and we had a moonshine still. A few hours later, a few swear words later, we had a functioning hot tub sitting on cinderblocks sitting in the middle of nowhere.

So growing up, going to architecture school, everyone’s designing and making things. Working at engineering firms, same thing.

So by the time I got to graduate school, I did what any poor Ph.D. student would do, I generalized from my really small sample set, everybody is a maker.

Fast-forward a few years. Small New York apartment. Just got my new MakerBot, had it set up and humming in the corner, making something absolutely worthless. And I was sitting down to dinner with my girlfriend, a nice freshly delivered meal from Seamless, and I was pushing that shitty little plastic fork into my korma. It was bending and deflecting as I didn’t think it should.

I said, “Honey, wouldn’t it be awesome if we could design and make our own silverware?”

And she looked at me with this like scowl of incredulity, saying, “Isn’t that what people like you are supposed to do?”

I realized that even the educated and ambitious people don’t really want to sit down and design and make all of their own things. But many of them have ideas. Talking to Connie last night, I had an idea to make bowls for her dishwasher that actually fit.

So now the challenge, and what we need to do, and can we get the image up on the screen? So the problem is that we all need to be makers.

People in the situation in the Philippines don’t have a choice. They have to be resourceful. So we need to enable them with the tools and the capabilities to make for themselves. And then hopefully they’ll come back and teach us how to consume less and how to make and mend our own products.

That’s it. Thank you very much, guys.

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