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"Tell the chef, the beer is on me."
Hearing of Pete Seeger's passing hit me hard today. His work to revive folk music and use music as a powerful weapon for positivity in the world inspired me.
In 1992 I went to Kobe Japan and studied at a college there and then stayed with a lovely Japanese family in Yao, Osaka. I fell in love with American style, old timey, banjo music in Japan.
While I was in Kobe, my friend Joe Pepi Benge, an avid banjo player, took me to Shaggy's which was a western bluegrass bar that played the best authentic old timey and bluegrass music. Everyone but us was Japanese. In Japan, people take their hobbies SERIOUSLY and the Japanese guys had studied Scruggs and then kept going. They were fantastic. Pepi was pretty good too!
It was the first time I'd heard American folk music and I fell hard for it. I returned to the states, Claudia bought me a banjo, and I got Pete Seeger's book and checked his records out of the library and made cassette copies.
A week later I wrecked my bike and gave myself a good gash and spent the rest of the summer learning to play banjo when I wasn't limping around. A few years later, in London, I met Tom Paley of the Lost City Ramblers at the Cecil Sharpe House and bought a fiddle off of him.
For a few years, I thought that I might have a future as a professional banjo player. It turns out I'm not gifted with a great singing voice and while I can read music easily, I don't have an ear for picking up tunes easily.
Playing banjo is one of the things that makes me happy. It's really hard to be miserable while playing the banjo. Pete Seeger gave me hope that doing art and following your passion can lead to wonderful things and have an impact on the world. I admire his work and I love that his banjo said, "This machine surrounds hate and forces it to surrender."
I was a teacher in Seattle Public Schools in the early 2000s. I had a generalist certification and I had a background in puppetry so, even though I was qualified to teach anything K-8, I mostly taught middle school art with a two year stint thrown in there teaching K-5.
I'm really happy to be announcing MakerBot Academy. It's our initiative to put a MakerBot in every school in the USA. I'm personally jumpstarting the movement by putting in a chunk of change and Ralph Crump and Autodesk are joining me to empower the next generation with advanced technology.
We also put together a Thingiverse Challenge to make math manipulatives so that the community can do their part to get materials ready so that when teachers get their MakerBots, they can have things ready to make that will make their classroom better.
I can't wait to see what teachers and students do with MakerBots!
Yesterday we announced that we closed our merger with Stratasys. We have a lot of work to do so this isn't a finish line, it's a milepost. It's like we've finished a video game level and it feels really good to have completed the level, but now we're on the next level and the terrain is a little different and the challenges are fresh.
In the early days of MakerBot in 2009 after we started the company and before we started shipping, I really thought that MakerBot would be a side project. I met Zach and Adam in the early days of NYCResistor. It promptly became clear that MakerBot wasn't a side project as we started logging 100 hour weeks. We spent the early days lasercutting, banging on keyboards, acquiring parts, and packing boxes. We lived on ramen which turns out to not be very healthy. I sold my musical instrument collection and started a secret cafe in my apartment to get through that first year before we paid ourselves.
Fast forward to 2013 and, as of yesterday, MakerBot is now a public company as a part of Stratasys. Since 2009 we've shipped an epic amount of machines and now have the capacity to keep cranking them out at our Factory here in Brooklyn. We're getting ready to launch the MakerBot Digitizer which allows people to make 3D models out of physical objects using LASERS.
We didn't get here alone. All of the people who have ever bought a MakerBot, everyone who has ever worked at MakerBot, and everyone who works at MakerBot now helped us get this far. I am proud of the work we've done together and thankful to get to have worked and be working with such smart people. There is a lot of potential energy in the universe and exploring how we use it to empower creative people is our frontier. We've got a lot of work to do and the future looks bright.
(Factory image: Core 77)
"Tell the chef, the beer is on me."
"Basically the price of a night on the town!"
"I'd love to help kickstart continued development! And 0 EUR/month really does make fiscal sense too... maybe I'll even get a shirt?" (there will be limited edition shirts for two and other goodies for each supporter as soon as we sold the 200)