Are You a Tinkerer?
Bre Pettis is the CEO of MakerBot, a company that makes 3D printers. He's trying to bring desktop manufacturing to everyone. You design it and MakerBot will produce it. Pettis says: "I make things that make things."
I found it interesting that Pettis describes himself as a "tinkerer" not an engineer. He says that a tinkerer uses a "trial and error" method to get to the simplest and cheapest solution using the materials and tools available.
Most people try to be perfect right out of the gate, but Pettis knows it's rarely possible. Creating something new is often an act of discovery with dead ends and blind alleys, but persistence seems to rule out in the end. Consider the Wright brothers airplane, Edison's light bulb, Dyson's vacuums or Google's creators.
Perhaps the best path to the future is one of exploration and discovery.
Pettis' advice for tinkerers: "Take apart anything you can get your hands on." Discovering how things work could lead you to how things could work.