Kindness to strangers, and even more so to friends

@ATXinventor at AMMF

The picture here is a mini of one that was taken by a dear friend and much respected Hackbat colleague, Clio Dunn.
It is maybe the only picture that I have portraying me at the Austin Mini Maker Faire.

Were it not for her kindness (which she actually did very quietly, I had to wait until next day at Re:Make to thank her), I would have not a single pic of myself there.
By my side is another dear friend and Roboteer colleague, The Robot Group treasurer Wolf Dilworth, who left the TRG table for a few minutes to check on @ATXinventor.

Good times

Now, it is rather obvious from the pic that @ATXinventor is having a jolly good time. OTOH, @ATXinventor had had 1 hour of sleep the previous night, had been again frustrated beyond words in building the 19-foot geodesic dome (which didn’t get completed this time either LOL) And was starting to wrap up his usual junkyard. No joy there.

But, that one hour of rest was while trying to complete at the last minute and through the night his Patent #2 application. Eventually it gets all packed and sent that morning (very simple process if you do one of these a week, otherwise VERY complicated!). Then email arrives saying

USPTO received your submission at 10:25 ET on 03MAY2014.

@ATXinventor’s several improvements to #Geodesic #Domes are now Patent Pending, yay! Which is a good thing, because they were due to be presented at a public event at AMMF that very day… (up to then I had to have people sign NDAs if they were participating in building it)

I was late to the Maker Faire, the design needs still to be improved  (opportunity for more patents! triple ROFL!). I had a total, complete blast, also very much because whomever was assigned to this particular prime spot did not show up and Kami let me have it (Kami has no idea how grateful I am. She won herself a fan forever).

Then, hmm, how will I say it, this was a learning opportunity (code words for saying that I made many mistakes) – but that is another story.

Back to the kindness.

It didn’t stop there, two other Hackbats, Chad and Vlad showed up on their own to help me pack, which was done in a jiffy – my “official” helper being sick the previous night and couldn’t come.

The next day was Re:Make for us. Among the mistakes I made at Austin Maker Faire was not even taking one look at the rest of the exhibits. I learned from that mistake. As I always encourage my students, “be original! when you make mistakes, don’t just repeat yours or mine! be creative even in your fails!”. This time I gave myself some time to walk around the place, right before closing.

The idea was to network, see if someone was in the same kind of wavelength. In other words, look after #1, my own interests.

It sort of worked out, but

What I should have done, and the whole point about this post, is to have gone around to EVERY booth, especially those manned by only one person (meaning, that person likely had no respite and couldn’t go anywhere the whole day), and at the very least take a picture and exchange contact info and then make sure I get them on my twitter and whatever else. It wouldn’t have cost me much – but then, who knows, maybe I would have made somebody’s day be a bit more special, or a LOT more special, as it is for me now that I have the picture that Clio took. I might even have found someone who needs 20 domes right away, and who had no idea that a Master Builder was in the premises – and local too!

I would have made friends, some might have reciprocated and set me in THEIR twitters (as you should!) and that would have improved my networking and the kickstarter and stuffs.

Yet, the most important thing, I would have raised the level of empathy in the Palmer that day for at least 23%, give or take 6%.

Other exhibitors looked tired – they might have had even less rest than I did, probably were not riding the kind of emotional high wave that I was, after all day listening to parents, visitors and friends tell me what a genius I was, how wonderful is the stuff I make (I always mention the laser cutting was done at the ATX Hackerspace), and, best.ever.words anybody starting a small business can hear, please please please can I buy some? (sorry, not yet, was too busy preparing, but let’s connect, did you get my info? here’s a card)

Yes, some exhibitors looked (almost) as happy as I was, but others didn’t.
I could have made it nicer for them, help them see that they have one more person that cares. I missed that chance.

OK, lesson learned. I will do my best to (hmm, words of the Scout Promise, how appropriate) to care also for others – do for them what I wish were done for me (that also sounds like a quote from somewhere, anybody knows where it comes from? :-) )

Bottom line:

BTW, I need your kindness, everybody does. Add me to your Twitter, RePost or at least Favorite something I have there – neither cost you anything and the later doesn’t even “noise” your feed, but something valuable as I try to build “brand” and “image” and street cred.

Do likewise for other people. Whenever you can, help raise empathy everywhere – probably the best use of anybody’s time as we go along as a community. Don’t expect people will reciprocate, but some will – for example, I add to my feed pretty much everyone that adds me to theirs.

Adding people to Twitter is no big deal. Of course, if you can, do more, yet, every little bit counts, and builds us up as the stewards of this Earth, together.


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