Stanford EE Computer Systems Colloquium

4:15PM, Wednesday, February 13, 2013
Skilling Auditorium, Stanford Campus

Makers, Hackers and the Personal Computer Revolution

Lee Felsenstein
The Fonly Institute
About the talk:

Things are changing in the field of product development. Bottom-up, open-sourced and crowd-funded efforts are creating a Cambrian-type efflorescence of software and hardware products. People are creating and patronizing institutions like hackerspaces, open-source hardware manufacturers and open machine shops. This maker movement appears to be a logical extension of the open-source software movement to the field of tangible products.

This is not news to someone who was present at the creation of the personal computer industry, when most industry experts could not understand why relatively unqualified people were striving to build, understand and program machines that could only be called primitive. Rather, it forms an interesting confirmation that similar motivations are at work and that significant outcomes are probable.

I will explore the motivations underlying both phenomena and some parallels and divergences in the hope of providing a deeper understanding of prospects for the maker movement. I will examine how this movement might fit into economic and social currents at play within industrial society.

Slides and Handouts:

Download an outline of talking points in PDF format.

About the speaker:

[Speaker Photo] Lee Felsenstein is an electronic product development engineer who was instrumental in establishing the first open social media system in 1973 and who conceptualized the architecture of personal computers based upon such possible applications. He designed several important early personal computer products and structured and ran the meetings of the Homebrew Computer Club from which numerous companies emerged in the 1970's and 1980's. He works as a consulting product developer in Palo Alto.

Contact information:

Lee Felsenstein
Fonly Institute