Where would I go?
Impatient and lacking in funds, I got real resourceful at finding deals. Many items were of their previous generation; new enough to work for me but often heavily discounted. Ebay was, unsurprisingly, a great place to shop. So was Pricewatch.
Sure enough, the White House just announced the next step in the series:
As part of the effort to build on the progress made and highlight the need for continued investment in American manufacturing, the President is announcing today a new competition to award more than $200 million in public and private investment to create an Integrated Photonics Manufacturing Institute, led by the Department of Defense, and the second of four new institute competitions to be launched this year.
If you’re looking for a steamy exposé on what can go wrong when a bunch of creative strangers start an organization, I’ll have to disappoint you here. But you might pry it out of me over a drink offline.
Instead I want to share the Big Gotchas that derailed us, in hopes that the knowledge can help someone else. I’m sure much of it will sound familiar to other organizers and leaders.
I’m going to pull YOU in as a potential prizewinner. That means a FREE TRIP TO HELSINKI, FINLAND for you if I win the contest (Facebook contest winner gets two tickets) and you get drawn from the list.
Yesterday in my zeal to win a trip back to Helsinki, Finland I lost all common sense and spammed the crap out of Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and a few texting streams.
I know better. I should have done better. Impatience is no excuse, but it got the better of me.
There’s no funds or funny stuff required. Visit Helsinki has arranged a contest where contestants’ photos are displayed in a Facebook media album and all you need to do is Like those of your favorite participant. In this instance, me.
And in case you need further motivation, as I noted in the previous post here I’m working on a book about maker communities. One of the coauthors, Jarkko Moilanen, works in Helsinki and I’d like a chance to get with him face-to-face for a bit. I also hope to interview former Maemo/MeeGo community members (now with Jolla) to get their perspective on collaborative communities.
I have many friends in Finland and several of them have jumped in to help. But so far it’s not nearly enough– I’m being beaten pretty soundly by another contestant and could use all the assistance I can muster.
All of this has been a lot of work, especially in my very conservative locale. Every time I hit some sort of social or functional wall, I think, someone should write a maker community how-to book.
And when a common political rant emerged on the hackerspaces.org general discussion list on that very subject, it all came together for me: *I* should write that book.
Fort Worth is surrounded by many nice lakes and as a consequence we have more than our share of committed fish stalkers. But I’m curious: why wouldn’t that sort of dedication translate to opportunities in technology?
That’s not just a rhetorical question. As I wrote last time [“Cowboys and Culture“], we can be a laid-back bunch in these parts, exhibiting a skepticism over urgency that would make Show-Me-Staters proud. And as I promised in that previous article, I will now share the perfect example of one that got away… and maybe shouldn’t have.
In case it doesn’t come across in other contexts, I’m ultimately a maker at heart. Nothing pleases me more than to be designing, writing or building. Something. Anything. I’m even happy with repairing stuff– assuming the designers put reasonable thought into that aspect of their product. I’m convinced though that pointy-haired bosses excel at ensuring all products leaving their domain are as repair-unfriendly as possible.
For most of my adult life, I’ve made things at the direction of others. At Texas Instruments, as a (now-reformed) defense worker, I contributed to radar and guidance system design. At Stanley, I worked on ways of improving existing mechanics’ tools as well as inventing great new things that Marketing feared to approve. At Medtronic, I mainly supported development and testing of surgical tools designed to cut into your skull and spine. At Nokia, I designed quality-monitoring software solutions and supply chain processes.
All of that was wonderful.