Zak homuth at Hardware Innovation Summit 2013


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The 1-1/2 day event kicks off with a VC panel, "Pitch Your Prototype," and "Getting Started, case studies of maker pros with early stage products. The Innovation Showcase follows, a unique opportunity to casually engage with over two dozen makers who have their cutting-edge products and devices on display. Creating an almost magical atmosphere where hardware innovation and creative genius generates spirited ideation, the Innovation Showcase is not to be missed.

Wednesday was an all-star lineup with over 30 speakers representing leading entrepreneurs and thought leaders at the forefront of the maker movement. Investors, industrial designers, product development teams - anyone looking for insight into the early stage companies with the potential to change the global business landscape - should attend.

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  • I’m going to be a bit contrarian I think innovation is broken.
  • Here’s how I know. First, our economy has slowed down. - Technology is responsible for economic growth - dropping from 3% post WWII - to just over 2% in the 70's - to below 1% in the 2000s Second, we move slower now than we have since the 1960’s. - Highway travel slower. - Air travel slower. - We no longer fly supersonic. - We no longer go to the moon. Third, we’ve stopped getting older. - At the start of the last century life expectancy increased 3x faster than it does now And lastly, 80% of parents believe their children’s generation will be worse off than they are. Economist Tyler Cowen calls it the “Great Stagnation”. And if thats not grim enough, its going to get worse. - retirement of the baby boomers - education system continues to decline.
  • But this isn’t where we we are supposed to be. - Standard of living should already be double the 1970’s. - Virtual elimination of bacterial and viral diseases. - Space colonies - Interplanetary travel - Ocean-farming - Control of the weather - Creation of artificial life - Translating telephones - Reliable speech-to-text. Cars were supposed to be 100% electric. We were supposed to cure cancer, the common cold and live to be at least 100.
  • So what happened? What went wrong? Most of the doomsayers seem to think that the world has run out of ideas. - We did the easy stuff. - Sanitation helps us live longer than drugs ever will. - Antibiotics were the result of messy lab work. But I have a different theory. three forces that are particularly responsible for the absence of innovation.
  • At the highest level, society is getting in the way. We adopted a culture of assuming the world was going to get better. - We ran out of enemies. - We stopped encouraging our children to become scientists or engineers. - We canceled the space program. - We gave away our manufacturing sector. And through government regulation, and the increasing cost of energy, we’ve made it systematically harder to do things with atoms.
  • But engineer culture is also broken. We hide our innovations. - We don’t share, collaborate or educate - We can’t agree on new standards. - We do our best work in college or at home. - We use the same tools and ideologies we did decades ago. And we’re terrified of China and India stealing our jobs, while simultaneously making it harder to be an engineering in America.
  • But maybe worst of all, the few engineers and scientists that we do have are completely and utterly handicapped by their tools. Legacy tools. Tools which were largely developed in the 80's.
  • But I believe that if we are able to fix these problems we can return to a period of growth. My vision is of a world where society wants scientists and engineers as badly as it needs them. - a world where engineers work in harmony, sharing and reusing and consuming the work of their peers. - a world where startups can build devices for healthcare, as accessibly as photo sharing apps. - a world of free and available education, tools, hardware compilation, and product distribution. Thats my vision, and I think we can get there.
  • And its starting to happen. In February, Upverter partnered with the startup investment firm YCombinator to host a hardware startup hackathon. - 300 applications - 200 attendees - over-capacity - incredible, incredible things got invented and hacked on. - we had retired rocket engineers - and children Some of the hacks: - haptic feedback glove - google glass - a circuit board printer - a mobile controlled self-rocking baby seat It was amazing
  • Zak homuth at Hardware Innovation Summit 2013

    1. 1. Zak HomuthFounder and CEO,Upverter@zakhomuthBoard Building
    2. 2. Zak Homuth
    3. 3. The future aint what it used to be.- Yogi Berra
    4. 4. So what happened?
    5. 5. We’ve been punishing engineers in this country for40 years, people are not allowed to build things.- Peter Thiel
    6. 6. If you have an apple and I have an apple and weexchange these apples then you and I will still eachhave one apple.But if you have an idea and I have an idea and weexchange these ideas, then each of us will havetwo ideas.- George Bernard Shaw
    7. 7. In 1950 an average R&D worker in Americacontributed almost seven times more toinnovation than the same worker in 2000 did.- Pierre Azoulay & Benjamin Jones
    8. 8. Vision
    9. 9. Upverterdata(parts & reference designs)knowledge design toolsgreat productcollaboration