The BOM : Decentralized Wireless Networks w/ Clarissa Redwine

powered by Sounder


Today, we’re joined by Clarissa Redwine. When I first met Clarissa back in 2017, she was the West Coast Design and Tech outreach lead for Kickstarter. She’s also an NYU Law Fellow focused on open source hardware and is now the Grant’s Program Manager at Helium, a wireless network that’s working to build a decentralized telecom.You can follow @Supplyframe and @Hackaday on Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Twitter, and @SupplyframeDesignLab on Instagram and Twitter.

The BOM is a Supplyframe podcast hosted by Majenta Strongheart, written, produced, and edited by Frank Driscoll and co-edited by Daniel Ferera. Executive producers are Ryan Tillotson and Tyler Nielsen. Theme music is by Ana Hogben, with show art by Thomas Schneider. Special thanks to Giovanni Salinas, Bruce Dominguez, Thomas Woodward, Jin Kumar, Jordon Clark, Matt Gunn, the entire Supplyframe Team, and you, our wonderful listeners.

The BOM (or “bill of materials”) is a weekly Supplyframe DesignLab Podcast hosted by Head of Design & Partnerships Majenta Strongheart. Each week, through digestible conversations with the world’s leading innovators, hackers, and entrepreneurs, Majenta and her guests explore the future of how hardware projects are built and brought to market, investigate technological solutions to the world's toughest challenges, help bridge the gap between makers, startups, and investors, and celebrate the transformational power of design. Presented by Supplyframe DesignLab

Episode transcripts

In my work at helium, Iam very cognizant of like, okay,
what grants are we giving to whichpeople? Are we giving grants to people
who live in the global north tobuild infrastructure and own that infrastructure in the
global south? We don't want todo that, you know, like they're
they're all of these sort of sensitivities. But I think, Um, I
think, I think we kind ofjust need to be real about a lot
of the crypto space and say,like, this is not necessarily a revolution,
as a lot of people think itis, because it's not a social
revolution, but it's more an evolutionof corporate governance. Sorry, and right,
which which is really just a slightchange. We live in a time
where design and technology touch every aspectof our lives. But where did it
all come from? Who designed it? How was it built and brought to
market? What will it look likein a year, two years, a
hundred years? From the phones andSmart Watches that help us in our day
to day to the cutting edge spaceshipsthree D printers that are leading us into
the future? Modern design is constantlyshaping the way we work, communicate,
problem solve and play, and everynew design bigger. Small starts with an
idea and a bill of materials.I'm a GENTA strong heart, and this
is the bomb, where we talkedto leading innovators in the tech world and
celebrate the transformational power of design.Today on the podcast we're joined by Clarissa
red wine. When I first metClarissa back in she was the west coast
design and tech outreach lead for kickstarter. She's been an N Y U law
fellow focused on open source hardware andis now the grants program manager at Helium,
a wireless network that's working to builda decentralized telecom we'll talk about how
a tweet got her into the techworld, what she's doing now to jump
start innovative concepts using IOT and howcrowdfunding for design and tech is changing.
Thanks so much for joining us today, Clarissa. Really excited to have you
on our podcast, the bomb,and we are here in beauty full Barcelona.
Were very lucky to be here workingtogether on a collaborative event between your
your current company, which we're goingto get into how you got there,
but Helium Foundation and Hacka Day prize. Were so appreciative for helium's support for
challenge for, which is just aboutto launch climate resilient communities, and we
were here doing air quality center forUrban River Environment's workshop, which we just
had the other night, and Ithink it went really awesome. I was
so proud of how that came together. Yeah, yeah, well, I
mean it was amazing when almost allthe way through there was music outside.
I felt like a celebration of thework. Yeah, I was like we
made it, because it was apretty intense. It was like a four
hour workshop. About halfway through Iwas like trying to gauge everyone and people
were so still like focused and excitedabout what they were building, which I
think just is one of my favoriteparts about the kind of open source hardware
community that we get to be apart of is that people are so stoked
to just nerd out about new hardware, learning new skills, learning how to
solder. We had an awesome mixof, you know, people they're totally
their first time picking up a solderingiron and then folks that had developed Um
hardware, you know projects before someonewas showing me their their build at the
end of the workshop that they werereally excited about Um and I was like
you gotta put that on Hackaday.Um, they're like we've been reading hackaday
forever, but I haven't posted anyprojects. I'm like, Oh, I
guess so. Yeah. So it'sgreat to connect with people in person again.
I really missed that, and andto get to collaborate in person on
events again. And I was tryingto remember when the first time we met
was. I thought it was atthe art center, Um event. We
did a design lab. I'm prettysure that I remember. Like, you
in an amazing outfit and that's whyyou stood out. You know, love
that looks. Yeah, I gottabring the jumpsuits back. I feel like
that helped me, like uh,it was like part of the brand will
recognize me for and I stopped wearingthem all the time and I think it's
like who's that without the jumpsuit?You know, you were talking about embroiderate.
You can now do the bomb.The bomb a new round of a
new iteration of the look. AbsolutelyUm. So, yeah, I think
it's been incredible that we've just beenable to continue to work together since then
and I would love to just learnmore about how you kind of got to
now being the grants program manager athelium. So take us all the way
back and tell us about that journey. Okay, yeah, yeah, yeah,
I know you're you're interested in peoplewho, like, didn't start in
tech but somehow found their way intotech, and that's definitely me. Um,
so, when I went to school, I actually took so many different
classes, a lot of them inhumanities. So I have concentrations in linguistics
and philosophy and social science. That'ssort of what my degree, it's an
integrated studies degree, is for.But yeah, I took some really great
classes. is by the a linguistthat studied under Noam Chomsky. You know,
everything between like, you know,poetry, to microbiology, just like
any class that looked interesting and Iwould take and and through that time I
sort of started taking more and moreclasses that were related to entrepreneurship or like
building things, and I was likeOh, this, this seems cool,
but the school that I was atdidn't really have the classes that I wanted
on how to build a startup orhow to actually make something and put it
out in the world. And,Um, funny enough, I actually tweeted
our city councilman and said, Hey, let's start a like tech meet up
group, and he was like okay, sure, at my house. And
Yeah, so, like when weshowed up, it was me this like
twenty year old in this room fullof like thirty and forty year old men,
because that was like who showed upin this like city councilman's network.
And it was actually, even thoughit was a little bit of an odd
meeting, it was a really excitingevent because there was real momentum and people
felt like, yes, we needthis meet up. There are people in
this town that like want to buildprojects together, want to learn from each
other, and there's enough tech skillsets and experience that we can actually build
something interesting. And how did thatcame? A bunch of meat ups,
a bunch of like hack nights,and that was whenever I got really into
that like maker culture. And thenwe were like, okay, we have
all of this momentum, we're meetingregularly, we need our own space because
right now we're out of coffee shopsand at that people's houses. Yes,
and we were like filling up thesmall coffee shops in town. It was
just like and it wasn't that many, it was like maybe twenty people,
but for our little town that waslike a big deal and and so a
couple of US got together and we'relike, okay, let's make a coworking
space or like a maker space together, where we can have three d printers
and, you know, machines thatwe can build things together on, and
that's yeah, that's one of thefirst ways that I got into like the
maker space culture. That's so neatbecause you entered it but also like founded
something at the same time, whichis sort of crazy, but also I
feel like, if you see somethingmissing in your in your community, or
something that you want and you're notseeing other people doing it, you're just
like, okay, I'm going tofind a way to make this happen.
The important note, too, isthat oftentimes it's successful through community and through
collaboration with others and finding like thiscommon ground with others that were also feeling
like this was missing in their area. But one thing that I'm really excited
about is when spaces or efforts cancontinue on without the founding members. So
Um eventually the city actually took overthe space as like Um as, like
a communal space, and ended upfunding it so that it would stay um
up and running for the rest ofthe community, even though most of the
Co founders are not there anymore andit's still running today. Yeah, that's
a cool to be able to lookback and be like, I started that
and it's still happening. Well,I was, I was. I mean,
this will probably be a common themein our discussion, but I was
like a small part in putting thistogether. You know, I was sort
of a person who was excited,enthusiastic, had the energy in the time,
which is important, and I washelping people who knew a lot more
about like renting spaces and, youknow, buying equipment than I did.
Um. It's so important to cometo efforts like this and know that you
don't have to be the core player, like you couldn't do it together.
It takes a village, exactly,exactly. Yeah, and so when I
met you, you were the designand tech outreach lead for kickstarter right on
the West Coast, specifically Um,which we are so lucky to have you
on the West Coast. I feellike everyone who's, you know, involved
in Techn kickstarter was like Clarissa makestreamscome share. So I know that that's
like, you know, I'm notalone in that, in that feeling.
Um. So, what was ifyou could help us, you know,
connect from helping start this space inTexas to then that role on the west
coast. What was sort of thein between there? Yeah, oh my
gosh. So, Um, likealmost right after we started up the coworking
space, maybe a couple of monthsafter uh, we had this big event
that was like, Um, theDenton doer event or something like those Denton
Texas and and like literally the nextday or within that week, I was
flying on to be an intern,basically in London for a fintech accelerator.
So I was really interested in themodel of accelerators. I was like,
Oh, this, this is interesting. It's sort of from my perspective,
it was a program to bring foundersthat were in similar stages together, needed
similar resources and similar education, andsort of build out content for them that
made sense and allowed them to allhelp each other. Like. That was
sort of what I imagined at thetime. Um, and so I wanted
to learn how that works so thatI could bring it back to our small
town in Texas and maybe build aprogram similar, like an incubator accelerator for
our co working space. So Iwas really interested in that and flew to
London and for three months I wasa program associate, Um, at the
Tech Stars Program. It's like Barclay'sfintech accelerator, that ownership. So their
bread and butter is making partnerships withlarge leaders in the industry and Um.
So whenever I flew to London,it was specifically the partnership between Tech Stars
and Barclays, which is a hugebank in London and out the world,
and and all of the startups therewere fintech focused. And after that program
I was like all set to goback to Texas to take back what I
had learned. I came back toDenton and then I got a call from
Tech Star saying hey, we wouldlove for you to be the program manager
for the qualcom robotics accelerator in SanDiego, and I was like, Oh
Gosh, like I love our littlecoworking space, but yeah, I was
like, Oh man, that soundsso cool. Robotics just was like this
huge space that I was really interestedin. So I packed up everything and
actually my partner and I both movedto die go. Um, and yeah,
that was a wild ride as well. Being part of QUALCOM. For
people who don't know, qualcom makesa bunch of chips, like they're the
brains of most of our phones andUm. And Yeah, starting that program
from scratch at Qualcom was also interestingbecause it's a it's an intellectual property machine.
So that's really where qualcom makes itsmoney, by creating and generating I
p. So an accelerator where peopleare building new technology with the help of
QUALCOMM is a very like sticky subject. And did they did they make it
clear that they wanted I p?If these accelerators, you know, if
the startups were successful, if itwas something that was relevant to their business,
they wanted that I p or theywere totally just supporting they were cool.
So at the time they had thislittle project that, you know,
had a secret name and it wasthe snap dragon, which is like one
of their biggest products. And andso the reason, one of the big
reasons, that they were starting upthe accelerator was to have startups come in.
That made sense, as you know, Um, users of the snap
dragon, right, so these arelike drones. Um, uh, yeah,
like different, different types of robotsthat would really benefit from a board
like Snapdrag, snapdragon, and andso they wanted to have these startups come
in and see how they used thattechnology and if it was like viable or,
you know, what kinks they neededto work out. That was really
their core interest in the program.But it was funny because most of the
time for these tech stars programs theyhave a suite of mentors that come in
from the partner company. So likeBarclays had a suite of FINTECH experts come
in and help the startups for Calcolm. It was really hard to get those
people because they didn't want any typeof overlap of Um skill sets or knowledge,
because they didn't want something to happenwhere one engineer was actually working on
a similar technology, just in parallel, totally unrelated, come talk to a
startup and then there was any likequestion of whether or not that idea came
out of that. So it wasreally difficult absolutely to navigate that. Yeah,
so a lot of times we endedup having to pair people from qualcom
that we're not the best fit mentorwise because it would be too close to
yes, yeah, it was very, very interesting situation. So, Um,
yeah, that that program was reallyinteresting. I think one of my
favorite projects that came out of it. There were several good ones. One
was like a robotic arm. Thatwas incredibly cheap. It's like a thousand
bucks, which at the time wasvery, very cheap. And then another
one was clever pet, which wasalso a kickstarter project, and it was
a little like uh machine where youput your dog food in and then your
dog has to push these buttons thatlight up and solve a puzzle to get
one piece of food, and Iloved it and my dog is played a
bit. You're like tested and proven. H Your are we even friends?
Okay, he has a Hoity twityname. His name is mctigue. Yeah,
there's a book. There's a bookand a movie actually called Mictigue,
the story of San Francisco, whichis where we got him. He's actually
a failed dentist in the book andI was like a dog would not be
a good dentist. So, yeah, you're like appropriate, mctigue. It
is awesome. So you went fromthis. I'm like thinking, you know,
the fintech is an interesting part ofthe origin story because sort of a
full circle moment now being at heliumright, maybe you could explain helium to
us at this point, just sopeople have a good context of helium foundation
and what you all do. Sohelium is a wireless network. It's actually
a network of networks. So thereare different protocols, like say you have
five G is one type. Um, Wifi is another type. Laura,
if anyone's heard of Laura or Laurawhen, is another type, which is
a specific type of connectivity for verylow power, low bandwidth devices, like
anything in IOT really Um, lotsof temperature sensors, you know, air
quality sensors that we've been working withinthis workshop, Um. And so what
what helium is doing very successfully rightnow is building a distributed telecom. So
if you imagine telecoms, they takeyears and years, ten years to set
up new coverage in a network becausethey're, you know, acquiring the land,
they're building these giant towers, they'remaintaining the infrastructure with lots of highly
specialized equipment and people, um.So all of that costs a lot of
money. Instead, helium is actuallydecentralizing that work. So there's a whole
ecosystem of people building miniature towers basicallyin their yes, I mean there are
makers that can put these together orfor very little money, like maybe a
hundred bucks or so, Um,and then there are also people like seed
or rack that are actually manufacturing thison a wider scale. But the idea
is that you take these miniature towers, you set them in your window on
your roof, you can climb upa full, you know, fole and
you can provide coverage to your communityand Um, even beyond your community,
to areas that really need especially thiskind of like Um Laura IOT coverage.
So, for instance, if you'resort of if you're trying to build a
smart solution for an orchard, orchardsare very spread out, you know,
there sometimes in the middle of nowherethat doesn't really have coverage. You can
actually just pop up one of thesehotspots and cover an incredibly wide area,
like a mile or more. Soit's Um it's a network that hasn't existed
before and we believe that it reallyis a catalyst for the Internet of things
that we all imagined five years ago. So, yeah, that's what helium
is doing. Also, maybe wecan plug the grants program so you're specific.
World there is to manage these grants, which are really to like Um,
I was going to say kickstart,but to jump start projects utilizing the
helium network in an interesting way.Right. So basically what I do every
day is meet people out in thecommunity that are building IOT solutions that use
helium, like use the network thatwe're building together and Um and say,
you know what, that looks reallyscalable, it looks like something that would
have an amazing impact and it wouldshowcase the importance of having this decentralized community
built network. We're going to fundit, you know. Um. And
that's really exciting to see someone gofrom an idea or like an early concept
to having the funding they need toactually build out their proof of concept or
their M v P. Um.And Yeah, we we've been giving funding
out to some pretty amazing projects.I could talk about. What are some
of your favorites? You guys havegiven the grand too so far. Yeah,
okay, so my favorite one isa little bit out there. So
there there's this project called exclosure andit's in the bay area and this creator
is making miniature observatories. So basicallya telescope, like a smart connected set
of telescopes that images near Earth objectsand shows sort of like the traffic jam
that's happening in space right now.Yeah, so, like satellites, any
like debris. Um, it istracking those objects and sort of like creating
a smart map of them, andit's something that become increasingly important in the
future. Yeah, and it's amazing, honestly, that there's already a business
for that. There's already like peoplewanting to give this creator money in order
to track space junk. Yeah,yeah, but that's that's a really cool
one. And and yeah, theCreator got a little bit of funding to
do that. And it's sort ofan interesting case because it is, you
know, when you're putting a telescopeup, you need it to be kind
of in the middle of nowhere wherethere isn't light pollution. So they're often
isn't coverage as well. and Um, yeah, in order to do that
work you really needed some some coverage. So it made sense. That's awesome.
And now at helium there is acrypto component to what you all do.
Right, maybe you can get intothat a little bit and like cryptophanes.
No, but you know, explaina little bit of how that all
relates and and also we can getinto some of the kickstarter projects that you
worked on as well. Yeah,yeah, absolutely. So this this idea
of a community owned, decentralized telecomessentially wireless network. Um, it's not
necessarily new. You know, peoplehave been thinking about this for a long
time and seeing a need for areally long time. The problem is that
the incentives weren't quite aligned. So, Um, you know, you may
buy a device put it in yourwind but until the rise and the sort
of acceptance of web three or cryptoAH infrastructures, that wasn't really possible.
So what's new about helium and what'sreally allowed it to have this, Um,
really explosion of growth? So,to give you an idea of the
growth, it's gone from about twelvethousand, fifteen thousand devices in January to
now nine hundred thousand devices. Hewas just telling me that. That's amazing.
Yeah, that's really incredible. Yeah, it's it's to see the growth
even since I started. It's likeWhoa, Um, so we'll probably be
like over a million in in alittle bit, maybe a couple of weeks.
Are Afo. You Guys gonna havea giant Party and I invited to
party. Then we'll just keep working, honestly, but because, I mean
you have to remember also that that, like we are not necessarily doing that,
you know, like it's this communityof people. But to answer your
question, like yes, so,so that that's one of the that's one
of the key innovations that helped thisnetwork actually grow. and Um, as
someone who's very skeptical of Crypto,you know, coming into this role,
I was like, all right,let's see how this is going to go.
It seems to be a model thatis doing something interesting. Let's see
if it actually brings you know,value or Um, you know, sensible
disruption or like useful disruption to youto the space. and Um, so
far what I've seen is, youknow, it's working, which is,
I feel like a lot of thekind of messaging that Um, you know,
proponents to Crypto want to put outthere is about it opening up accessibility,
decentralizing you know, money and financialsystems, and that will allow,
you know, wealth to kind ofbe accruede in places that it wasn't before.
But something about it feels like that'snot the way it's going so far.
So that makes me kind of Um, yeah, you know, sus
of it, because it does likethe people who knew about it first are,
Um, cashed out under God.Yeah, you know, are you
know, not who we're thinking aboutwhen we're thinking about like underresourced areas in
the world, you know, whereit might provide new opportunities, you know,
to them to be able to haveum access to wealth in a way
that they weren't before. Like Ithink it's only the beginning still, but
I don't know if I buy thatit will really open up access to all
these UM communities. I would agreewith that. I think we share a
lot of these perspectives. But butyeah, I think in my work at
helium I am very cognizant of like, okay, what grants are we giving
to which people? Are we givinggrants to people who live in the global
north to build infrastructure and own thatinfrastructure in the global south? We don't
want to do that, you know, like they're they're all of these sort
of sensitivities. But I think,Um, I think, I think we
kind of just need to be realabout a lot of the crypto space and
say, like, this is notnecessarily a revolution, as a lot of
people think it is, because it'snot a social revolution, but it's more
an evolution of corporate governance. Sorry, and right, which which is really
just a slight change. But Um, but for things like helium, it
does seem like you could just lookat the actual progress and the traction that
the that this community has built acrossthe globe, and that is like very
exciting, Um. But I thinkwe just need to find ways to make
it actually accessible and decentralized, becauseas soon as something gets hot or exciting,
of course people with existing resources aregoing to hop on board, right.
Um. So yeah, it's ait's a tricky area, but well,
it's an exciting time, I think, to be in the space and
I'm glad you're one of the peoplehelping, you know, get to manage
kind of the resources there. Iwill say that. And so you said
it was your first time being ina role like this, as far as
you said, managing a grants programbut I do think there's a lot of
similar kind of overlap to what youwere doing at kickstarter. You were supporting
Um, you know, hardware designand tech projects and helping these creators get
funding through kickstarter. So in away it was similar as far as project
development, how to tell your storyeffectively right and and again try to get
um some money backing your you know, the future of your project and trying
to develop it further. But I'dlove to hear some of the projects that
stood out to you? Yeah,I think. I think at kickstarter,
other than the crowdfunding model itself,the closest I sort of like came into
the orbit of the idea of webthree was really with open source projects.
I I feel like that's a similarvibe. So yeah, so it was
really interesting to see projects come inand say, okay, we're building something,
we're going to raise funding for iton kickstarter, but it's entirely open
source. You know that. Thatwas a really interesting thing and my entire
team at kickstarter, whenever we sawa project like that, tried to put
our weight behind it. Um,but the funny thing is it always like
our support for a project had limitations. You know, it always stopped at,
you know, putting it in thenewsletter and you have promoted as much
as possible. But then it waswhat the community? Yeah, if they're
going to get actual get backers.Right, right, right. But yeah,
so that that my time at kickstarterreally sort of like set me up
to Um, you know, buildaffinity around these ideas of like cooperation and
Co ownership and, yeah, andlike funding projects together that we feel need
to exist in the world, becausethat's one of the big problems with wireless
coverage especially. You know, telecomschoose where to put coverage based on so
many factors that don't include where peopleneed coverage. It's how are they going
to make money, right, orlike you know risk assessment. How cheap
can they you know, put upthe infrastructure? Yeah, just like all
kinds of things. And this newthis new way of building networks allows things
like redundancy, which is so important. You know, if somebody's hotspot goes
down, there's somebody else's hotspot thatcan cover the area, which a telecom
would never do. Right. Ifthey're like yeah, yeah, they're like,
are you kidding? Redundancy, that'sso expensive. So when you began
at cake starter, crowdfunding was prettyyou know popular, widely successful, right.
Yeah, and what kind of changesdid you see on the platform,
in the community, Um, inthe kind of success of crowdfunding throughout those
years? Yeah, that's that's asuper interesting question actually. So, Um
I came in in which was thetail end of a huge investment, you
know, push into Iot and consumerhardware specifically. So the years of like
to were really like gang buster yearson kickstarter for design and technology hardware devices.
Um and I came in specifically toUm harness some of that like excitement
and energy in the bay area.So I started in the bay area Um
and over the years investment really droppedoff for these types of consumer hardware projects,
like we saw even now. Youknow, both is sort of like
the people who worked at bolder nowbow Kuntz and they're like opening up the
gates two different projects and things likethat. That's a trend that happened over
the last few years and and soit became a lot harder to fund on
kickstarter, to, you know,gain a lot of traction on kickstarter,
because what a lot of people don'trealize is that when you see a campaign,
you're seeing the tip of the icebergof all the work that went in
to building that momentum. You know, if you're if you're raising a million
dollars on kickstarter, unless you havethis amazing viral campaign that you really can't
plan for, you have put alot of money into ad spent or you've
spent years and years building up anincredibly engaged community. Like all of that
work takes time and investment, andso they're there are definitely ways to fund
an amazing project on kickstarter without fundingfrom vcs or investors. But it just
takes a lot of time and effort. So that is very hard. Something
else if you don't have money anymoretime, yes, or whatever. Yeah,
Um, honestly, there were someprojects that didn't get the funding that
they really needed to thrive. Likethey got just enough funding for the Creator
to be super stressed for two years, you know. You know, like
Oh, they have this commitment ofall these orders that they have to fulfill
and not really any cushion. Andyou know, a lot of times they
were able to use that to getfollow on investment, which was great.
Um, but it was sometimes reallyhard to see creators take on this huge
amount of work and commitment and go, okay, I even like these products.
Now to getting these products out thedoor, which sometimes is like what
you kind of need, need thatkind of like push in order to get
to me out of the world.Yeah, but Um, but yeah,
that was a little bit. Ithink when we were talking about what was
hard about that job, that wasthe hardest is saying like all right,
good luck, creator, you know. Yeah, and while you're a kick
starter, your role shifted. Um, you went out to New York at
a certain point doing more of thesame awesome stuff, but at a kind
of larger scale. Cover, morecoverage, right in a way. And
unfortunately, Um, you ended up. Um, I'm like, how to
put I can I can maybe putit in more a positive way, I
think. Um. So, youknow, kickstarter, like we were talking
about, is crowdfunding platform and anotherway to think about crowd funding is collective
action. Right. It's a bunchof people getting together to create something in
the world that couldn't be done by, you know, a single person,
and that that ethos really was embeddedin a lot of people who worked at
the company and saw how much greatwork and creative projects could be put out
into the world when there were manyhands working on the project. And it's
sort of a natural um development atthe company, especially at the time when
sort of the idea of unions werecoming into the popular imagination again. Um,
so many of the workers that kickstarterwere like look, we do great
work, we have all of theseideas. Sometimes the ideas don't make it
up the chain, you know.Sometimes great ideas were being squashed by management
for various reasons, you know,being risk averse part of their job.
I think but um, but,yeah, so, so, um.
Over the course of about a year, the employees at kickstarter built a union
together and it was actually the firstwall to wall, which means company Wide
Tech Union, in the United States. It was a really big deal at
the time and now you see allkinds of tech unions popping up, which
is super exciting because it's the sameconcept as helium, like we need more
people involved in order to make betterdecisions as a group. and Um,
that was the idea that a lotof the employees that kickstarter had in their
back pocket when they were linking armsand joining a union. And I was
incredibly fortunate to move to New Yorkright as the union drive was ramping up
so that I could, you know, be part of the process and observe
and I just learned a ton Um. After kickstarter, you then started a
really awesome open source focused Um Fellowshipat n y U. Right, yes,
yes, actually it was right beforethe pandemic. I don't know if
I remember that, but you wereable to make, like still do incredible
work with it and I think italso maybe talking with all the different Um
organizations that are part of open sourceand you know, it is just such
a huge network around the world thatit's like probably a lot of that work
would be done remotely anyways. Right. Or I'd love to hear how it
impacted, Um, the research youwere doing for that. Yes, so
I was brought on as a fellowat N Y U Law and it was
working with Michael Weinberg. You knowMichael From Oshwa? Yes, yes,
yeah, so, Um, hebrought me on and he was like,
Hey, we're gonna create a bigevent that's going to bring all of these,
you know, people across the globethat contribute to open source, in
our really Um, core contributors toopen source. We're going to bring them
to one place and we're going tohave this conference to talk about some of
the major challenges and major opportunities inopen source hardware. And I was like,
awesome, that sounds great. I'dlove to do that. You know,
I was sort of working on asustainability event for kickstarter. So I
yeah, I love doing network andbasically, I think a week or two
after I was brought on, thepandemic hit and we had to sort of
like the y're out, what elsewe would do to still bring um a
resource to the community to help themunderstand challenges and opportunities, but not in
the format of an event. Soinstead we created a weather report of open
source hardware. talked to so manydifferent people in the hardware space that have
been proponents of open source for,you know, a decade or more and
Um, and learned a lot.Talked about sort of the big challenges when
you're building a business, especially opensource. Um. And Yeah, put
that out to the community as alittle like refresher of what's new in open
source hardware and how people can approachbuilding businesses. And where can people find
this awesome resource, you know whatlike. We'll link it in the show
notes. I'll send you a link. But yeah, but it's Uh,
the N Y U Engelberg Center isthe center that is part of N Y
U Law. They have so manythings, including the whole podcast about the
kickstarter union that I put together,which was another I think Michael just heard
me give a talk about it andwas like do you want to do a
bigger project about the union drive?Um, yeah, so that was another
amazing project that came out of thatfellowship. Um, you've mentioned a few
times that in your different points inyour career you were sort of like the
only woman in a sea of menin a lot of these spaces. Do
you feel like you've seen, Um, a change in that over the you
know, the last ten years ofyour career and moving throughout these different spaces,
but always kind of in the hardwaretech ecosystem, open source hardware ecosystem?
Yeah, I think that's a difficultquestion. I think. I think
in the spaces that I am themost active in. Yes, I have
seen a shift where people are bringingin different voices, different perspectives, especially,
you know, voices that are mostclosely aligned with myself, which is
really nice to see echo through thespace. But I think hardware is still
like, really, I mean ingeneral, still, Um, yeah,
very like male dominated space. Um. So I don't know if it's okay.
I think it's important to be honestabout it. Like there's still a
ton of work to do, Um, that I think we're both always kind
of working on, and I'm sure, I'm sure you've like noticed this,
I'm sure a lot of people havenoticed, but there there are more like
women, but not necessarily in positionsof power, and that's that's the difficult
sticking point. Yeah, and somethingthat makes me a fan or, like,
you know, really believe in tryingto get more people involved in tech.
Is that? I do think youcan kind of make your own path
in a lot of ways, whichI feel like I've heard in your career
journey a little bit, that you'vebeen able to bring all these passions that
you have together in your different roles. Do you have any kind of words
of wisdom to make that happen forpeople who are interested in getting in the
space? Yeah, wow, wow, yeah, I mean for me,
honestly, I just feel like I'vegot really lucky. You know, yes,
I am very enthusiastic and we'll putin the work, but Um,
but there were these amazing opportunities thatjust I was in the right place at
the right time. So I dofeel like luck places into it a lot.
But Um, but other than that, like knowing people who are who
really believe in you, you know, like like Um, like Sophie,
like she really, you know,championed me getting this job and Um,
and like kate as well, isa great who I know you've had on
the podcast. Is a great personwho really believes in people really like helps
them reach their full potential, oror at least like find a path to
their full potential and like yeah,so, I guess like knowing the right
people and then just like taking chances. I think is another another thing that
people don't do enough, I think, being open opportunities that maybe, I
wouldn't seem like the obvious next step. Always, I do strongly believe that
most people can do most things,especially if they want, really want to
do it. And one thing thatpeople don't always realize until later in their
career is most of the people aroundyou are making it up as well,
you know. So like you shouldjust give it a try. You know,
the worst thing that could happen isyou'll learn some things along the way.
Exactly. I'm going to wrap itup with a few of our favorite
questions that we kind of always askeveryone. One is just what's inspiring you
outside of tech and hardware at themoment? Gosh, UM, yeah,
my mom recently recently got me asewing machine. That's really exciting. I've
been like whenever you mentioned that,you cropped your topic and I was like,
I can do so many things.That so handy for quick alterations.
Yes, yes, like having havinglike a new tool is always super inspiring.
I think yeah, being here inBarcelona and like I am. I
feel like I am a broken record, but I am really excited about the
labor movement in this country right now. I think everyone listening to this podcast
should have a say in the workthat they do and in their working conditions.
It's like the basic thing that youneed in order to do great work
is to have some control over yourconditions. So that's super exciting to me
right now. Um, but yeah, then then that just enjoying Barcelona.
Y, awesome cheer. I likecheers that. And, Um, we
ask all of our guests what ison your personal bill of materials, since
we are the bomb podcast. Sothis can be kind of like what gets
you out of bed in the morning, what gets you through your week?
Some people, you know, arejust like some people are like I need
my sossarmy knife in my backpack atall times, you know. So what
kind of keeps you going? Yeah, oh my gosh, well, I
just moved to a place that's literallyright above a falafel place, so you
know, I can relate to this. Yes, but I think like actually,
I brought with me to Barcelona alittle Bandana that my grandmother had actually
and I take that with me onhikes and stuff like that. So I
feel like that's like a core,a core part of my that's awesome.
Yeah, so I think that wouldbe on my on my bomb. Have
you ever tried making flawful? Ihaven't made good before love. Yeah,
I still end up buying it.I don't know. It's so tedious sometimes
to make the H it's gonna becauseyou just throw it in a blender.
But good do you okay, I'vedone both. I haven't found a huge
difference for me, so I don't. I swear my yeah, yeah,
no, I did that the firstthing. That's what made it really tedious.
I stopped in that, but Ididn't feel like it still was like,
I don't know, there's so manygood flavors at the store too.
I'm a sucker for the store,Bohas. Yeah, well, thank you
so much. Clear. So,if you're taking the time today, we
have a crazy agenda. I'm excitedfor part two of our workshop tonight and
Um, yes, just always greatto have a conversation with you. So
thank you. Yeah, thanks,thanks for Jetta. This is great.
If you like the bomb, don'tforget to subscribe, rate and share the
show. Wherever you get your podcasts. You can follow supply frame and Hack
Day on Instagram, twitter, linkedinand Youtube, and design lab at supply
frames. Design lab on Instagram andtwitter. The bomb is a supply frame
podcast, written, produced and editedby Frank Driscoll and Co edited by Daniel
Ferrara. Executive Producers Are Ryan Tillotsonand Tyler Nielsen. Theme Music is by
Anna Hagman, with show art byThomas Schneider. Special thanks to Giovanni Selina's
Bruce Dominguez, Thomas Woodward, JinKumar, Jordan Clark, Matt Gunn,
the entire supply frame team, andyou are wonderful listeners. I'm your host,
Magenda, strongheart, right boss St