ALA President’s Program: Mick Ebeling

I walked in a little late to Mick Ebeling’s talk, but still came away inspired and uplifted.

Here are my notes. The end of the talk came from audience questions and comments:

Mick Ebeling

Making things to change people’s lives.
They changed one guy’s life.
Then it was listed as one of the greatest inventions of all time.
They just sought to help one guy.
They got an email from him. It was the first time he’d drawn in 7 years — they decided they had to do it again.

Started Not Impossible Labs
Based on the concept of Technology — making Technology for the sake of humanity.

The concept of Impossible — Nothing was *always* possible

Everything that is possible today was once impossible.

Impossible is hinged to the concept of permission. Roger Bannister breaking the 4-minute mile is an example of that.

Dr. Tom Katana – The only doctor within a 50-mile radius in a wartime situation.

Mick’s method: Commit. Then figure it out.

Surround yourself with people who make you feel stupid.

Made prosthetics for a kid who lost his arms.

Their plan was to teach *them* to be makers as well.

If it could go wrong, it did.
They made a prosthetics lab the locals could run themselves.

Lens they look through: Help One. Help Many.

He learned: You can get carpal tunnel shaking a tin cup.
“You never change things by fighting the existing reality.
To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”
–Buckminster Fuller
Changed the model to for-profit.
You can do good and make money!

In 14 weeks, they had 420 Million Earned Media Impressions
Won at Cannes

Want to show that Doing Good is Good Business.
Also: Doing Good is Good Branding

The 3 Rules of How:
1. Singularity of Focus (Help One.) Doable and attainable.
2. Give it Away. (Open source)
You can’t argue with free. You can’t hate on free.
Release early and release often and with open source, you’ll get help.
3. Beautiful, Limitless Naivete
“I know just enough to know I don’t know what I’m talking about.”
What can be done without our preconceived notions.

The Power of Story
Not Impossible Now — a blog that tells the story of people who are doing the not impossible.

All the technology they make isn’t as powerful as the stories they’re telling.

What is your story?
In the concept of Help One, Help Many, Who is your one?
Who is your Daniel?

Libraries should get 3D printers!
A 3D printer is the industrial revolution in a box.
It’s a new way of looking at the world.
It opens kids’ minds up.
Help kids know that nothing that exists now wasn’t impossible at one point.

Walk not impossible — low cost robotic legs teaching kids with cerebral palsy to walk.
The genesis of it starts with the need, not the solution.
The more we tell our story, the more people come with ideas.

Librarians are the Sherpas on the mountains of information.

Listen to those moments when I’m inspired. Walk down the road to explore where the inspiration comes from.
The permission is already granted. If you fail, you learn something.

It’s hard to sue an entity that’s giving it away.
In the maker culture, if you can’t afford something, make it.
Companies are bringing their prices down as a result.
They don’t have patents, and may get sued. But so far, no problem with that.

Comment: Libraries are at the forefront of free and sharing.
Libraries can make a policy that things made on the 3D printer are free and shared.

Smart people find them.

Comment: Like him, as librarians, we can tell stories. How do we tell our stories better?
We are stewards of stories! Collect stories and give people freedom to tell their stories. Be a sherpa and advocate for story.

Comment: Look at those stories of past human ingenuity.

Biggest mistake in project Daniel: They trained all guys. Now they will always train 50% women as minimum.

The editor of a documentary is the storyteller.

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