the makers' society

Life is too damn short to wait to do awesome things.


... for an art and creativity focused, technology oriented, forward leaning association of individuals who want to get stuff done. A place-event-idea around which software and hardware creators can gather to share their work, inspire and be inspired, learn, teach, explore, and grow.


This is not about hobbies, this is not a meetup. Hobbies are what you do to pass time. Meetups are what you do to bum a slice of pizza and chat. We're tired of talking and tired of listening. We're not interested in chatting anymore. We're not interested in talking about the list of things we like and what we wish we had the time to do.


If we have time to consume, we have time to create.

This is what's next, and you are invited to join us.

You need running partners. You don't find running partners to talk about running, you just run. You don't have to be friends, you just have to be willing to do the work. Everyone who runs does it for their own reasons. Each runs, ultimately, for themselves. No one can run for you, it is meaningless without the effort.

We want to share our ideas in writing, in code, and in physical form so that they can be challenged, not just blindly celebrated or ignored. We want to grapple with ideas actively, not passively.

It starts with each of us intentionally following our own interests. From there we have something to show, so we show it to anyone who'll sit still and listen. After that we make something else.

Rules for the makers' society

Read these as rules I'm inventing for myself to follow. Pick and choose your own if any interest you or just ignore everything and keep doing your own thing. This is an invitation, not a mandate.

Something new every time.

Through code and hardware, I want to create things that don't already exist just because I want to see them. I want to learn enough to build things I couldn't have even conceived of before.

Don't regret what you miss.

This is not a race. Go back and look closer at the interesting things you find along the way.

Embrace constraint and the place where you are. You will not be perfect.

What I don't know, I'll learn. What doesn't exist, I'll create. What I don't own I'll find, make, or purchase.

Never compare your own talent, time, and interests to another person for the purpose of determining your worth.

Show someone else how to do what you know how to do.

Ask questions, be inquisitive. Exercise your right to understand the world.

Learn from your success. Doing is success.

Learn from others.

Learn the hell out of your tools (software and hardware) so you can make better tools.

My tools include: Processing, vim, ruby, libcinder, openFrameworks, node.js, HTML5, arduino, puredata, supercollider, c, python, javascript, java, c++, scheme, objective-c, handsaw, block plane, cabinet scraper, dremel tool, pen, pencil, paper, tape, scissors, and anything else that I need.

Remember that Learn is another word for Explore if you're willing to remember what you find.

In a society which emphasizes teaching, children and students -- and adults -- become passive and unable to think or act for themselves. Creative, active individuals can only grow up in a society that emphasizes learning instead of teaching.

Christopher Alexander, A Pattern Language

Enjoy what you make.

Follow your interests, not someone else's interests and not the interests you think other people think you should have.

Work with others in collaboration, but don't feel obligated to follow their path in your work.

Whoso would be a man must be a nonconformist. He who would gather immortal palms must not be hindered by the name of goodness, but must explore if it be goodness. Nothing is at last sacred but the integrity of your own mind. Absolve you to yourself, and you shall have the suffrage of the world.

from "Self-Reliance"

Offer and accept help, but never rely on others to make your work great.

Never believe you won't ever be able to do what you just saw someone else do. Figure out how they did it, then do it.

who's it for?

This isn't limited in any way to a particular skill level or skill set. It would be boring if everyone knew the same things, worked on the same projects, and worked the same way. There won't be instructional time (tutorials or classes) or handholding initially, so you'll have to find your own way into the field if you're not already there. If you've never made anything remotely related to art, code, or hardware, you'll probably want to do that first.

when do we meet?

We will meet at least once a month to show what we've been working on, get criticism and comment, and share our intentions. Something like Hack and Tell meets dorkbot meets writers' workshop except much less formal. Outside of meetings we keep in touch (that's what the internet is for) to encourage and push. We communicate our work to the outside world through writing, prose and code, and through presentation of the things we make.

Location and date are fluid depending on who is interested and when they can make it. The point isn't the meeting, it's the doing.

who am I?

My name is Adam, I live in Baltimore, work for Figure 53 and have stuff up on Twitter, Tumblr, and github. I make things with code and I want to do more of that, better. I'm also a huge fan of my family, who is awesome, and coffee, which is great.

Send me a note or get in touch on Twitter if you want to talk more about this or grab coffee or something. Seriously, I drink coffee every day.


Here's a very short incomplete list of inspirations:

It's sad that so many of those interesting spaces are controlled by schools.

If I had $250,000 I'd lease a building and start a gallery and workshop. If I had $25,000,000 I'd build a bridge between JHU and MICA and open a Media Lab in the middle.

This comes before that.