A desk at Autodesk. Credit: Robin Capper / Flickr Creative Commons
Carl Bass has been making things for a long time.
Before he finished college, he spent five years building boats and furniture.
And a couple of months ago, Bass created an autonomous go–kart with his son. He says he was “part of the Maker movement before there was one.”
Bass is also the CEO of Autodesk, a company whose software helps people design houses and high-rises. It’s likely that many of the buildings around you were designed using Autodesk programs.
But over the last several years, a funny thing has happened to the quiet company: they’ve seen Hollywood borrow their software to create special effects, and they’ve watched scientists use their software to visualize biological phenomena.
And Bass believes the notion of tailoring (or hacking) a product to fit your needs will only grow.
“I think that we’re going to be designers, I think we’re going to be hackers… I think people are going to want to have a greater say [in the objects we own] because people love making things."
He's excited by the increasing prominence of makerspaces, by the growth of the DIY community, even by the fact that people are altering their IKEA furniture. He envisions a time when people design jewelry for everyday use, when DIY is truly mainstream.
“What you need now is digital craftsmanship as much as the old analogue craftsmanship,” says Bass. “And for many who are digital natives, they come to that more naturally. So you just draw something out, put it on the laser-cutter, and the laser cuts it perfectly.”
Physical objects will always need to be built, but the tools people use to build them can now be programmed. For someone more used to Adobe Photoshop than working at a lathe, this is a major boon.
Bass thinks it all boils down to one simple concept.
“In some ways we’re taking the most imaginative, creative people in the world and giving them the tools to realize [their ideas].”