I spoke to Sam, Dan and Adam via zoom, Adam who was wearing his team t-shirt and confessed, that ‘I’ve been wearing a Make48 shirt 6 days a week since Memorial Day.’ Lucky for Adam we gave each team member three tees each! The ‘guys who like making things’ recapped their time at the Kansas City event and learned a few things about themselves along the way.
Why did you apply or want to compete on Make48?
Sam: I first heard about the competition through Tom Gray at the National Hardware Show in Las Vegas. I signed up because I like to make stuff. Pretty simple.
Dan: Then Sam says, “Hey Dan, wanna be on this Make48 team this weekend?” and I said sure, I’m not doing anything that weekend. I didn’t know too much about Make48. I looked into it and was intrigued. I’m familiar and have done Hackathons and pitch competitions. Make48 seemed like a cool combination of both.
Adam: Sam asked me about the competition and showed me a video. It seemed low risk and a good excuse to work with these guys. That’s what really drove me to say yes. I wanted to be on the team and then the competition itself.
At first I didn’t understand the potential of it, but going through it was so much richer than seeing everything online. I used to do hackathons, then they fell off the face of the earth. I like how Make48 has brought back all the elements of technology and creativity.
What was the most difficult part about the competition?
Dan: Preparing for the hardware run. We didn’t have a real full idea, more like half idea….coming from a makerspace, We’re used to having stuff around. We had to get materials to build something that we have a half an idea of what we’re going to do. I’m much more used to just having stuff around.
Sam: Personally for me it was making sure I got enough sleep. We paced ourselves pretty well. That last night after the competition, we all went out to the bar. And then the next morning we woke up at like 3:00 a.m. and then fell down the stairs and was cursing up a storm right before we hopped in the airport.
Adam: I think the toughest thing was trying to make sure everybody’s skills shine through in some way, shape or form; while trying to create a relevant product in such a short time. We had worked around each other, but not together nor so intensely. Being newly assembled and we were sensitive to the working environment and really wanted to make the right choice.
Looking at the teams skills, each team member brought something different.
“Dan is ridiculous at script writing. Came out of nowhere! And he has the skills to prototype and is hands-on with tools.”
“Sam has experience in early stage concept products and he’s taken some of them far. He’s had the most opportunity to take products to the next level with varying degrees of success.”
“Adam has incredible social bandwidth. Adam has the ability to meet someone new and look them in the eye and get to know them. It’s good to have someone on the team with great social skills.”
“Anasha couldn’t get to Kansas City until the last day, but he came in at the right time at the end. Anasha was our video graphics and production guy. He pulled it all together. “
Did you learn anything new from doing the competition?
Sam: Getting to know the Tool techs (and what they do).
Dan: We wanted to use the power tools, but we understood that they had to have safety protocols.
Adam: We were worried about if the tool techs made a mistake, and made contingency plans. But the experience was like a simulation of working with a manufacturer. You have to trust them.
We learned a lot from Warren Tuttle and had a great conversation with Josh Malone. This community of Make48 resonates with me. I was kinda amazed at how coming out of Make48, and the months since then, that I’ve had the opportunity to gel a lot of things for myself. I (broke a barrier) and it brought a lot of things together for me. It changed my perspective of what’s possible and how quickly (it can happen).
Sam: Also, I learned in life you want to build skills AND relationships. We built stronger relationships with ourselves and built relationships with other people. Like Jimmy DiResta, he’s here in New York and we hope he can come by the workshop. One thing I learned is I always liked making stuff, and that is MY form of expression. I didn’t realize that, in those words/terms before.
Looking back, is there anything you would’ve done differently?
Dan: Get to know the other teams. It wasn’t until we were sitting among people who were doing some of the pitches that I finally got to talk to some people.
Adam: I wouldn’t have worn my kooky neck shawl. It was so cold in there, and I was wearing that whole thing. And then all of a sudden I saw the video. I don’t normally wear a neck shawl!
Overall what was the best part of the Make48 experience?
Sam: It was all great. Flat out fun. It’s hard for me to choose one thing specifically. Getting to know Dan and Adam and Anasha better. That was great. I really enjoyed that.
Dan: And getting to know the mentors to stop worrying about the rest of us forever. It’s always great to talk to Josh there. Josh just did a video presentation for the makerspace, so that was a great connection. And he was a really great speaker to have.
Adam: Just to feel that pressure for the 48 hours was awesome. High energy and a lot of fun. Also getting to gel our skills, open our minds, and learn about each other and seeing how other people work. What we’re doing is not a very widely advertised skill and it’s cool to see everyone’s skills.
Sam: Seeing all that together, (playing off what Adam just said), there is something about how we all used our own skills to make the team. It’s almost, in a way, like we’re playing jazz and we did that. We worked together very well and that was awesome. Also, a couple of hours before the competition, we all went out. We had Kansas City barbecue and had this great waiter who’s name was Kafi. And we went to this little café afterwards.
Adam: Honestly, that hour at the café was awesome. We were really ready for the presentation. We were the only people in this café without the 48 hour pressure. We’re done and now we’re just decompressing and getting ready for the presentation. That was a lot of fun. A good social moment versus a learning moment.
I think I can speak for everybody, including Anasha, who was super supportive of it. We all work in this space and industry and would love to keep going with you guys and supporting however we can. There’s a lot of potential for this, especially with how global industries are changing right now. The independent maker movement needs a lot of help and thank you for what you guys are doing.