I can’t really understand how the various special interest groups I sign up for tend to simply have other “interests” appearing in my email box. today I was looking at the headlines form Medium. com (you don’t have to sift so much to get decent content) and I read one article that was a waste of time, that got me to another one that talked about time, and that seeming chasm with how much of the world uses and values time, versus how a creative or maker thinks of time. this quote stood out:
Paul Graham has a famous essay about managers vs makers. There are two ways to run your life, he says. Managers know that their day is divided up in pieces for meetings, calls, and administrative tasks. Makers, on the other hand, need to have large blocks of uninterrupted, unscheduled time to do what they do. To create and think.
I am not sure if I am simply an inventor, innovator, entrepreneur, fool, or a mix of all – as I simply never really fit the traditional mold of anything – but what I do understand is the distinct way of thinking between the maker and the manager, the open and closed brain, and the difference between an obligation and a priority. what are you in this simple, yet highly complex world of time we each get 24 hours each day to do?
as we have become more specialized and there was a time not too long ago when layers of bureaucracy were put into organizations, you had layers of meetings to seem at times, simply have meetings. This is simply how academia, politics, and business ran. As the landscape between making something and trading paper for valuation of something, what I notice is that with the exception of business, the bureaucracies in politics remained or got larger, while the market has changed dramatically with the corporate world.
right now, my frustration in the maker world stems from most universities wasting a lot of money to have a shiny new toy they can show off to people that write large checks. the political world, and the time I spent working up some prototypes in Santa Fe, NM gave me a great view from the outside looking in of the trajectory of what really appears to be more nepotism, cronyism, favoritism, ego, “tribalism,” or "causes" - seeming to meet folks with plenty of brains and money – but they won’t put their own skin in the game. this is the stuff you see in other parts of the world, but I forgot how much it really exists and is “managed” by the powers that be inside this country? perhaps more so now, than ever before? or has the country somehow got in the habit of not asking, “who is going to pay for all this?”
that leads to the business side of it all - there is no shortage of people with ideas or needing/wanting/asking for help. what I found is there is a big shortage of people with the skills to really make things. I am not sure if this is simply that many would rather purchase ready made stuff in our instant gratification? the service industry is alive and well in the USA and we are simply a gigantic distribution system? Did we lose our skills sets from offshoring jobs? have we simply taken our trades and diluted them down to a place where quality suffers because of the reality of cheap prices? I don’t blame any CEO that offshored when they could get the same or better quality for 10% of labor costs. what I do question is why didn’t the domestic market change more with the times and create a structure of balance with a system of livable wages inside the country? I might joke about the high cost of labor in Switzerland for what one pays for things that simply are not worth it to me. the to people that grew up in it, they don’t realize how easily their markets could be flooded with inexpensive goods that would destroy the system if they didn’t protect their borders. (Walmart proved people are only loyal a little bit when it comes to the commodification of price versus helping small businesses)
what am I rambling about here? I guess I am seeing very clearly that line or membrane that I can cross over with open and closed brain thinking – and that of managing versus maker/creative mindsets. it is no different than deep meditation in silence versus allowing yourself to be blasted by all the noise of society. until you experience it – people think you are nuts trying to explain there is more than one way of thinking or doing.
people are asking, “what are our plans, where are you going?” and I lay out what I have on the plate and the various ideas and products and then the realities with costs, locations, countries, and all the other fun things most people don’t realize or think about when it comes from taking an idea into the market and not being enamoured with market cap and scalability – but rather, “will this help human beings and can we make enough to be sustainable as an organization?”
I guess it is the “how much is enough?” question. I have learned that money doesn’t guarantee to solve a problem, it really only guarantees to prolong the death of a bad idea. but it is a great tool to have. in the past two years, I have traveled through Europe and the USA looking for what is a great space for inventors/innovators/makers to thrive in – and have found no one has the perfect space. the main reason is that the people charged with making the spaces are managers. they think like them, they are more tuned into the first words being, “we have to worry about liability,” versus asking, “what do you want to make? how can we help?”
so what are we doing today – basically we are designing our own skunkworks maker lab. why? because the managers of spaces, be they in Europe or the USA really are missing the boat on how to get the maximum return out of the space and tools they have at their disposal. there is one space in Chicago that I have heard of that I need to visit, as they might have more ducks in a row than many universities and even some companies.
our space. it is actually exciting. it is a part research lab, part maker space, part craftsman shop with the latest digital control systems to make things for plants and people to grow.
it is like a kitchen with what appears to be lots of unrelated ingredients, yet, they all get blended together to work on similar technologies that can bridge into different market needs (sans weapons of mass destruction or surveillance)
who knew 35 years of work in senses, entertainment, global work, and failure would lead to such a space. but I had to work through the ways of thinking from management and maker. from open and closed brain thinking, and from realizing priorities mean more than the obligations of many people lives. when you step back from the gerbil mill of what work is on this planet and ask “why?” all the time – perhaps you can see this seemingly think line that is probably why I can sit in a room for months working on things – and why I can go to a coffee shop and talk to a complete stranger and listen to their story.
everyone has a story in them. the sad reality I see is that with all of our social tools – we have made people almost disposable – just like the stuff we want to buy in life.
why not “make” your life? it is so much more fun and rewarding. (disclaimer – it also is not all a bed of roses and fun all the time)
now if only I had a mobile fMRI that didn’t interfere with the EEG signals…I could show you what happens between the open and closed brain transition – sans having your brain hurt. really there has to be some sort of brain brake – like you have on a car. if someone interrupts you, it is simple to get right back on track with momentum. I have yet to figure out how to do that if anyone has any idea or techniques – please forward them along.
now back to the layout of the space, and where to build it on this planet? still, haven’t figured a way to make it all mobile and inexpensive….yet. :o)