Like many of you, I toss off probably 5 good ideas (some major, most minor) a month just because I don’t have the right collection of tools or talents at hand to manifest and test my concepts. For a career, I propose, specify and develop technical and human relational solutions for RF test systems in the device design, test and manufacturing industry. And like you, I’ve heard the word “disruptive” about as many times as the term “perfect storm” – which when either are invoked, neither seem to have been. While in the office I am surrounded by and exposed to an incredible volume of information, creative minds and incredible ideas which just seem to flow like a wide-open water faucet in California without a water meter in sight. Oh, the wastefulness. How many times have you winced to see an idea or product from a competitor or even the open market which reminds you of something you or a colleague mused about months or years ago, but did not act on?
I’m recently a self-taught hack with 3-D CAD tools to feed my basement 3d printing hobby. The notion of custom developing and immediately prototyping my ideas and designs in the basement is scintillating. I’m not sure I’ve ever felt more creative and productive at the same time – aside from my very early days of coding software on 8051 micro-controllers to read analog sensors and drive stepper motors. With the proliferation of openly published 3d designs, I can download any design and – within reason – “smesh” it with any other design fragment to create yet an entirely new concept instantly (OK, at my skill level it may take a few hours and three different CAD tools). But this is still incredible and empowering! Then, in the morning I come back to my desk at the office and wonder, “where are my 3-D concept visualization and prototyping tools?” Yes, I’ve done the mind-mapping thing, and tried various and sundry “visualization tools” available on the market and in open source, but nothing has reached past the useful v. painful ratio enough to stick.
Make “her” Mine
I watched the move “her” – A Spike Jonze Love Story the other day while commuting to Europe. When it was over I was left with a distinct sense of OS envy. It’s not that I want an OS girlfriend like the heartbroken leading actor, while I do admit the theme was provocative. But illustrating something more tangible, I’ve had conversations with several [straight] women friends over the years who have said, “Craig, what I really need is a wife”! OK, gender and other socio-cultural issues with that statement aside, I get what they’re implying. And Scarlett Johansson’s character in the movie embodies the function, utility and pleasant working companionship many, if not most are longing for – A friendly, reliable individual who is always there to effectively help us organize our calendars, thoughts and manage our ever-increasing clutter (and this ain’t Siri, folks). For me, I desire the same assistant to be a facilitator who can catalog, “molecularize” and employ the appropriate tools (ok, apps) to better visualize the associations embedded within ideas and concepts. Then, with the ease and utility of a well connected and well mannered search algorithm, reach out across our increasingly disaggregated, maker-ecosystem to connect with those around the planet who can manifest and mainstream the best ideas and concepts.