David Lang, author of Zero to Maker and co-founder of OpenROV, recently decided to stop what he has been doing for years and look for something new to look for on his next adventure. It seems difficult to think about your next adventure during a pandemic. However, I suspect that many are thinking about what’s next and preparing for a new challenge. David says it’s just as scary this time as it was when he walked into TechShop and didn’t know about being a manufacturer. He seems to be following his interest in science and how scientists can learn from the maker movement.
Subscribe to Make: cast on iTunes or Google Podcasts. You can also find it on Spotify, Deezer, Podcast Addict, PodChaser, and Spreaker. A list of previous episodes of Make: cast You will find here.
David Lang viewed making as an adventure, which he talked about in his book Zero to Maker. He went from someone who didn’t know about making to a manufacturer at TechShop and then after meeting Eric Stackpole became a co-founder of OpenROV. He worked for many years to create an inexpensive platform for underwater exploration.
You may have seen Eric and David in Maker Faire Bay Area standing next to an above-ground pool and people taking turns steering their underwater robots. Eric and OpenROV were featured on the cover of Make: Vol. 2. 34.
When OpenROV merged with Sofar Ocean, David worked there for a while before deciding last fall to leave and find something new. He wrote an article about this transition called “This is an Experiment”.
My favorite part of this decade-long chapter was the beginning: the early days in the garage when we weren’t sure anything was going to work, the time we at TechShop spent learning to use new machines, the thrill Meeting others who were in the garage did a similar type of exploration. Of course, this time was also difficult.
David has moved to Seattle from the Bay Area and wants to live on a wooden boat, even though he is discouraged by everyone he speaks to. David talks about the difficulty of starting over. He’s such an optimist, someone who doesn’t mind if it’s difficult to get where he wants to – traveling through the unexpected is the adventure.
This conversation was recorded in December 2020. He has explored new ways to look at scientists and what they do, a view that may link them more closely to those who do it. He interviewed scientists at SciBetter.com to gain insight into how they work and what interests them. He asks some what tabs are open in their browser and some are reluctant to answer. David believes there is a need to encourage more amateurs to participate in science – people who do science because it is more of an adventure than a career.