4 August 2014
Bethany Koby is the CEO and co-founder of Technology Will Save Us. Born in Los Angeles, California and now living in Hackney, East London, Bethany is on a mission to help everyone become a maker of their own technology. Technology Will Save Us' kits are rooted in the belief that teaching technical skills and offering design solutions for real-life problems will give people the encouragement they need to try technology for themselves.
How would you describe what you do?
I am a CEO, mom, wife, designer, art director and artist interested in creating brands, businesses and experiences that help imagine a more positive and collaborative future.
My goal is to grow Technology Will Save Us to create more impact with its products and services, whilst shaping a collaborative, creative, beautiful and fun business to work in.
What tools and materials do you use in your work? Do you have a favorite material, and is there a tool you couldn't do without?
As a maker I use lots of found objects. I love re-appropriating everyday things and using new techniques, like screen-printing, powder coating and technology, to give new life to objects.
I also couldn't live without stickers. I use stickers on tons of things from organizational tasks, to present wrapping, to design work. They are flexible, inexpensive and add a playful and thoughtful dimension to so many things!
Can you remember the first thing you made?
The first thing I made was a painting. It was a canvas that my mom and I stretched together. I used primary colors to paint three fish - a red one, a blue one and a yellow one. That was all...BUT it was a complete process - mixing the paint, stretching the canvas and then creating the artwork. I think I was three years old and remember this being a real experience in materials, tools and processes.
What do you feel the role of makers and designers is today?
My answer is obviously heavily rooted in the maker movement and my perspective as a designer/entrepreneur. But here goes!
Many designers, myself included, have questioned their roles as designers for consumption rather than designers of enterprise. For me the role of a designer today can't just be about artifacts, but about designing outcomes. Makers are problem solvers focused on materials and craft. Makers have the ability to think through making which allows for new and innovative solutions and outcomes that thinking alone can't generate.
For me, designers and makers are part of a new core that is not just about digital and bits. Physical 'making' is the new frontier. We are on the cusp of an opportunity to fully tap into our creative potential, driven by significant technological innovation which democratizes the means of production and enables connections between resources and markets. The Maker Movement is disrupting economies, businesses and education at a rapid pace.
Can you tell us what you're presenting with SMP at LDF?
Technology Will Save Us is hosting a Make a Speaker workshop on Sunday morning. We will use one of our favorite hands-on kits to design and create custom speakers. Participants will learn how to solder their own amplifier using real electronics and a custom circuit board we designed. They will attach it to an exciter, which allows participants to turn any surface into a resonating surface or speaker.
James Carroll is then hosting a speaker-housing workshop for our kit that afternoon. Participants will create their own beautifully designed and engineered wooden speaker housing. Wood is an especially well-suited material for amplifying sound and James expertly uses these natural properties of his locally sourced London Plane wood.
These are great back-to-back workshops as they combine the electronics and skills connected to making with technology, with the design and craft connected to making with wood.
Why should people come and get involved?
Soldering custom electronics
Learning about technology though making it yourself
Designing custom speakers out of local wood
.... And the speakers sound AMAZING!
The real question is why shouldn't people get involved?!
Photos courtesy of Bethany Koby & Technology Will Save Us