[Adam Savage] Giving A Speech About The Maker Movement


[Adam Savage] gives an interesting talk titled “why we make” at the Bay Area MakerFaire. Many have been comparing the leaps we’ve been taking in home engineering/hacking/making etc, to the early days of computers. People are making things at home that are actually making a difference.

[Adam] is a huge collector and maker of movie prop replicas. When he was talking to someone and showing off some of the amazing replicas that determined individuals are constructing in their homes, the person lamented the lack of originality. [Adam] does a good job of representing the other side of that argument. He explains how the drive to replicate these things is sometimes what is pushing the methods and technology further and supporting the community. It is an interesting video to watch, if only for the fun stories you get to hear.

Though he does open the speech by mentioning that he wants to play with an Arduino, you should continue watching. He’s done some amazing work and has some great insight.


32 thoughts on “[Adam Savage] Giving A Speech About The Maker Movement

    1. So you are a maker and a host of a popular tv show, you see a country that near 50% believe creationism is a legitimate science and you are annoyed that the people that host this show think that Obama is good because he wants to bring the country out of its scientific illiteracy ?

      1. Well I am an atheist and I too believe it was unfortunate that Obama was brought into this (and not the first time either). Obama doesn’t have a monopoly on promoting science and technology (e.g. Bush’s Moon and Mars initiatives) and carries a truck load of left wing baggage with him at the same time.

    2. @Conner

      I understand your concern. Invoking the name of a divisive and partisan political figure (of any party) doesn’t advance the greater goal of encouraging people to “make.”

      On the other hand, it’s possible that you’re being too sensitive. This speech was about science, technology, and “making” things, not about endorsing a particular candidate for reelection. My sense is that Adam is a genuinely humble person who felt honored that the upper leadership of his country would tap his celebrity and influence to improve the technical literacy of our populace as a whole. And, whether you like it or not, Obama IS the president right now.


      If you honestly think that a belief in God automatically equals scientific illiteracy, then you’ve apparently never heard of Newton, Faraday, Maxwell, Kelvin, Planck, Compton, Fleming, or a whole host of other scientific “illiterates.” Ever hear of Mendel, the founder of the science of genetics? Pick up a history book and find out what he did for a living.

      1. “If you honestly think that a belief in God automatically equals scientific illiteracy, then you’ve apparently never heard of…”

        Someone once said to me, that you can explain a computer with magic as long as your magic book contains the right procedure for creating transistors. You don’t have to know why it works.

        You can figure out stuff, explain phenomena and find working solutions from completely misguided premises, and explain things away in an infinite different ways, but at some point your assumptions will break down and fail to model reality, because they are not reality.

        At that point, a scientist will throw all the old presumptions away and find new ones that work better. A religious person will not, because their faith forbids them from abandoning their most important premise: God and whatever they believe it represents.

        Do you think that Mendel who studied heredity, could have admitted that God did not create man?

        In that sense, a religious person can never truly be a scientist.

      2. He didn’t say religious, he said “Creationism”, which is an attempt to validate the Christian creation, and only the Christian one, by way of half baked psuedo-science. It involves claims that the earth is only 5-6,000 years old and that man walked with dinosaurs. This movement wants equal time given to this nonsense in classrooms. When making arguments they role issues like Evolution and the Big Bang Theory into ignorant single sentence arguements that show a complete lack of understanding of the elements involved. I have no problem with the beliefs that individuals or groups hold, but when they intentionally try to damage children’s educations with outright and obvious falicy created only to damage scientific truths in the classroom, it irks me. I suggest you may want to do research before claiming other arguments are invalid for the same reason.

      3. There’s marked difference scientists of faith and fundamentalists, of any faith who are so weak in their own faith and of their faith’s ability to endure they fear science.

  1. Meh. Build stuff. Take pics of it or don’t. Do it for you and not to show off to the rest of the world. Keep taking things apart and putting them back together again. Don’t buy crappy kits with incorrect instructions under the guise of “Open Source” as there is no followup. Mix equal parts HaD and ThereIFixedIt and you will be just fine. My point is that many folks have done just fine being lone captains on the sea. Get involved or don’t. Just keep doing what you love. Often gearslutting isn’t your friend, and is not impressive to your other friends. Make the most of what you have and enjoy what you do, no matter what it is, and you will always have a good time :) I look forward to Dino’s talk on this one day :)

    1. I agree that you should make for your own satisfaction, but it can also be very satisfying to share what you make with others, as it can be inspiring. If we all just made in our own workshops and never shared it with anyone, Hackaday would not exist, and we’d have less ideas. I get inspiration and ideas from others, and when I share what I’ve made, I hope I inspire others.

  2. I enjoyed that, being british I could care less about references to obama, Adam’s ethos seems to be do it because you want to and because you can and have fun while you’re doing it. It seems he has learnt his craft first through mimicing and then used the skills learnt to make things through his own innovations :)

      1. I Could care less about your comment but I won’t as it would take extra effort, well done you for picking someone up on their choice of words rather than engage in debate.

  3. Until “electricity and electronics” is taught side by side with mathematics, science, history, ect as a required subject matter(grade school and up), Obama or anyone in the government has yet to do anything.

    1. I believe it falls under the general category of “physics”, which IS being taught as a proper subject.

      I remember being taught how a battery works in primary school, how and why it lights up a lamp etc.

    2. Students are generally introduce to electricity in a science class, further science and math classes help those students who decide to explore electricity further. That is also true of other things as well. There are not enough hours in person’s learning years to take all the course some would declare mandatory.

  4. No doubt the reasons for making are as varied as the makers themselves, Adam barely gave that thought notice. I have to laugh when I read a hacker bring up the “left”, hackers are so far removed the mainstream DIY they are the left, and that’s one reason why we have problems with doing what we want to do things that don’t interfere with others without interference.

  5. his claim that the best way to learn to weld or whatever is to just pick a project and start on it is fine except one thing:
    if you screw up major you can die.

    been one of my biggest issues with EE. im a programmer if i screw up major, like so major you have to be TRYING to screw up that bad…the worst that can happen is i might break my computer.
    EE you barely need to do anything to kill yourself just do something with electricity or flammable gases.

    and it can be expensive. programming is free it just takes time. i have found some making things that are free too: woodworking can be free or at least cheap. leather tanning/leatherworking can be free or at least cheap. styrofoam, carboard, paper mache, etc can be cheap. but get a nice servo or brushless motor…
    and all the coolest things involve high voltage which requires you to know what you are doing, but to learn what to do you need to do it…its a catch 22…

    i like things that just take time and effort and have very low mortality…

    …though his mention of hat making sounds interesting…even though i dont wear hats…

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