Fiche de lecture : "Zero to Maker" de David Lang

11 February 2018

Cela fait un moment que je n'ai pas écrit d'articles sur mon blog. Ce n'est pas que je n'ai rien à écrire mais plutôt que l'exercice d'écriture est difficile. J'essaye maintenant d'autres manières de communiquer pour faire passer mes connaissances. Ici, je propose une fiche de lecture du livre "Zero to Maker" de David Lang avec une introduction de ma part pour établir le contexte, puis simplement des passages que j'ai surlignés.

"Zero to Maker" décrit comment son auteur a découvert l'univers des Makers et comment il est devenu un Maker lui-même. La différence entre un Maker et un hacker est la même qu'entre l'Open Source et le logiciel libre, c'est-à-dire une notion politique en moins. J'ai apprécié ce livre car son auteur balaie plusieurs sujets de comment apprendre et ne pas abandonner à comment toutes ces initiatives collaboratives permettent d'aider la science et de créer de nouvelles formes d'entreprises. Le message que l'auteur cherche à faire passer c'est qu'aujourd'hui il n'a jamais été aussi facile que de créer.

Note : le livre est en anglais et j'ai copié les citations telles quelles. Je préfère ne pas m'aventurer à traduire chacune d'elles.

[...] be thought of as a “just-in-time” educational model, teaching on demand, rather than the more traditional “just-in-case” model that covers a curriculum fixed in advance in the hopes that it will include something that will later be useful (p.21)

When I asked Joel about his business, he couldn’t stop talking about how valuable this environment has been to his development. As soon as he opened up a physical store and showroom, his business took off. He was learning from his audience: what they liked, where and how they were using his knives, and how much they would pay. It was more than a store; it was a catalyst for building his community (p.22)

Have we drifted so far away from the things we use that we are completely unable to re-create the simple objects that are ubiquitous in our everyday life? (p.25)

Even after he scaled down his goal to re-creating only 5 of the nearly 100 materials, Thwaites still had an enormous challenge on his hands. He had no idea where to get the materials, or even where to start looking (p.26)

The project was a huge success in proving the complex interdependency of our world. Thwaites discovered that the novelty of Do-It-Yourself, or DIY, is misunderstood—or as he phrased it, “The point at which it stopped being possible for us to make the things that surround us is long past. (p.27)

But making, as I discovered early on, was about the art of finding other people—seeking out teachers, creating and joining like-minded groups, collaborating with strangers—and co-creating together. As long as you have an initiative to get started, it quickly evolves to Do-It-Together, or DIT. (p.27)

We’ve also discovered, contrary to popular belief, that we can build a profitable business with this open model (p.40)

The group has collaborated to create a number of different autonomous flying devices, including the ArduPlane and the ArduCopter autopilots. In addition, Chris has spun out a company, 3D Robotics (p.42)

[...] chances are there’s someone out there with the advice you need. All it takes is a little Internet research, a thoughtful email, and a little bit of audacity (p.45)

[...] the more we share, the more people share with us, and the better our project becomes (p.57)

We’ve worked hard at sharing, and the better we’ve gotten, the more help we’ve received. (p.57)

The builders were given sets of IKEA furniture to assemble, whereas the non-builders were given completed sets that they could inspect. Later, they were asked to bid on their furniture. Not surprisingly, the builders tended to bid much more, an average of 63 percent higher (p.70)

And again, they found the builders valued their own creations five times more than those of others! (p.70)

The team ran another variation of the experiment with LEGO kits, but this time had the builders and non-builders disassemble their kits after completion. They found that once the kits were taken apart, the builders and non-builders valued them equally (p.70)

Buying = Thing Making = Thing + Learning + Story (p.71)

In my experience, unfinished or unsuccessful projects still hold a lot of value because the learning and story still accompany the process: Buying (Fail) = Crappy Thing Making (Fail) = Crappy Thing + Learning + Story (p.72)

“It took nine months, involved traveling 1,900 miles to some of the most remote places in the United Kingdom, and cost me £1,187.54 ($1,837.36). This is clearly a lot of time, effort, and money expended for just an electric toaster that didn’t work… an object that Argos sells for just £3.94 ($6.10). (p.72)

I still refer back to the book that guided the course curriculum, Rapid Viz, by Kurt Hanks and Larry Belliston (Cengage Learning, 2006), and block off hours of the week to work on my sketching (p.73)

But before I gave in to my weakest consumer instincts, I figured I’d try to fix it. At the very least, I’d take it apart to see how it worked. (p.75)

Market forces, like low prices and convenience, have created an arms race for product unfixability (p.76)

It is based on the idea that “If you can’t open it, you don’t own it (p.76)

This turns out to be great news for all of us because Gene decided to offer the software to other tool-lending libraries to use. The service is currently in place at the Vancouver Tool Library, with others planning to adopt it soon. You can learn more about the specifics on their website, localtools.org (p.90)

Not that I totally disagree with Rogers’s and Moore’s analysis of technological innovation, I just think it only tells half the story; it focuses solely on the rate of adoption, ignoring both the nature of use and the rate of “un-adoption.” (p.109)

In the real world, adoption can hardly ever be explained by a simple bell curve. Tools and technologies are continually replaced. The reasons are endless: shiny and newer, cost barriers, unforeseen market shocks, supply issues, and so forth. (p.109)

Goods made by passionate consumers-turned-entrepreneurs tend to radiate a quality that displays craftsmanship rather than mass-manufactured efficiency (p.114)

In the past few years, dozens of new companies and products, like Pix4D and OpenDroneMap, have sprung up to capture this interest and find economic application. (p.123)

We’re trying to maximize our Return on Adventure; we wanted the project to add something to our lives and the lives of everyone in the OpenROV community. The strategy has paid off. Of course, we’re leaving a lot of money on the table by selling the kits at the lowest price possible, but we’d rather more people have access to the ROVs (p.140)

It’s the new American Dream: a person has a wild and creative idea, prototypes it until he or she gets it right, throws the project up on Kickstarter, makes gobs of money, and starts a new business. On the surface, that’s easy to digest. It’s the story all the blogs and magazines want you to believe. However, for new makers, this over-simplistic idea can be dangerous (p.141)

[...] have come from people or teams that made something that they themselves actually wanted (p.143)

With Kickstarter projects, I think the natural tendency for creators is to spend too much time thinking about the pitch and not enough time thinking about the audience. Not that the pitch isn’t important, but more time should be spent thinking about the audience (p.148)

But what was more interesting to me was the rallying of the TechShop community around Adam’s success, with numerous other members chipping in to help with various steps in the process. (p.154)

After seeing a flyer that Adam posted offering hourly work and seeing the growing work area that the Coin Cube was taking up, he decided to join the fun. During that month, he worked over 30 hours for Adam. (p.155)

For a software company, going from a thousand users to a million is a matter of server space and code. For a hardware company, it’s an entirely different process and supply chain. (p.160)

If you look behind the curtain at the fastest-growing companies in the maker movement, you’ll likely find a writer or media person behind it. (p.167)

Driven by convenience and a glut of consumable entertainment, the DIY ethos was slowly replaced by DIFM (Do-It-For-Me) (p.178)

Great innovations and inventions were almost always correlated with a childhood that had access to tools and making experiences (p.179)

Of course, that all sounds dangerous, and it actually is! But Gever found that danger could be a tool. He theorized that, through controlled and careful experiments with danger, kids could learn the true value of safety as well as develop the creative confidence they needed to succeed on future projects (p.181)

The default behavior is to stop working when things get hard. But at a young enough age, you can teach them that working hard is fun (p.182)

Children whose parents gave them tools to build with, or who involved their kids in home repairs, were the same children who had no fear of failure. (p.182)

All of the learning and tinkering she was doing at Crash Space (and even at home) wasn’t suited for children and, in many cases, wasn’t even a safe environment for them (p.183)

My generation grew up with Saturday morning cartoons. My kids will grow up with Saturday morning making (p.187)

Astronomy and ornithology both have a long track record of including the work of nonprofessionals in their research. In both cases, the formula is simple: Low-Cost Tools + Open Standards + Connected Enthusiasm (p.194)

As Timothy Ferris wrote in Seeing in the Dark (Simon & Schuster, 2002), it is these low-cost tools combined with the networking enabled by the Internet that has fueled the renewed momentum for amateur astronomy (p.194)

The culture that emerges around these groups has always been the critical glue for turning interest into networked science and discovery (p.197)

Collectively, the group knows more than any one individual, and the Internet enables this to happen at scale (p.197)

For too long, science has been isolated in the ivory towers of academic institutions, accessible only to a few. This is a new way forward that invites everyone to explore, get involved, and take responsibility—each of us a critical node in the new planetary nervous system (p.198)

Not only are the tools allowing scientists to do their jobs at lower cost, they’re changing the audience completely and making it so anyone can ask the questions. (p.200)

frugal science toolset (p.200)

Again, as with the Foldscope, he recognized the limitations of using expensive medical diagnostic equipment in developing country settings, this time seeing an expensive centrifuge machine being used as a doorstop in Uganda because there was no electricity to run it (p.201)

That organized enthusiasm usually takes the form of a “hackathon” or “makeathon,” where a group of people form teams and work diligently for a weekend-long blitz of ideas and hacks (p.202)

Everyone coming together for that weekend and working in the same direction showed them what was possible when they worked together. They discovered more than tools—they found each other (p.203)

Make for the Planet (makefortheplanet.com) The Smithsonian put on event called the Earth Optimism Summit. The goal of the event was—instead of focusing on all the challenges and threats to the natural world, ecosystems, and species—to focus on the solutions. (p.203)

Tikkun Olam Makers (tomglobal.org) Tikkun olam is a Hebrew phrase that means “healing the world.” Tikkun Olam Makers is an Israeli startup focused on using the creative power of makers to solve problems for people with disabilities (p.204)

It was exactly that optimistic ignorance that put us in a position to succeed (p.206)

Instead of hiding behind what we didn’t know, we flaunted our ignorance (p.207)

(Eventually, many of the early OpenROV contributors became employees of the company (p.207)

Either way, we’ll have an interesting story to tell, and at the end of the day, I think that’s what we’re all looking for: a better story to tell. A narrative with more meaning, more excitement, and more agency (p.208)