2014 Schedule
Interactive: March 7–11  •  Film: March 7–15  •  Music: March 11–16

How the DIY Movement Is Reinventing America

#sxsw #DIYAmerica

The Founding Fathers were do-it-yourselfers, from Jefferson's explicit idealization of the self-sufficient yeoman farmer to Franklin's intrepid experimentation with electricity. Over the centuries, a return to this kind of independent DIY spirit has helped fuel the Industrial Revolution, the radio era of the early 20th century, the hippie movement, and punk rock.
Now, after decades of outsourcing and offshoring, the Maker Movement is rekindling a DIY spirit in the U.S. 3-D printing startups like Makerbot have become real businesses, while thousands of people embrace DIY projects of their own, from pickling things to raising chickens to making cars.
Meanwhile, American companies like Motorola and GE are beginning to return manufacturing facilities to the U.S.
Are these trends connected? Can DIY help spark a resurgence of manufacturing?
This panel will look at the opportunities and challenges facing the DIY movement and its potential to revitalize American industry.



Alice Brooks



Alice co-founded Roominate, a company with the goal to inspire the next generation of female technology innovators.

Roominate, a line of wired dollhouse building toys, develops hands-on problem solving skills, spatial skills, and self confidence, all while turning girls into creative engineers. Wire up motors and lights to create working windmills, merry-go-rounds, elevators, and lamps. Create your dream structure and design furniture to go inside.

Alice has a BS from MIT and MS from Stanford in Mechanical Engineering.


Dylan Tweney



I’m the editor-in-chief at VentureBeat, where I’ve been running the news team since June, 2011. As a completely independent media property, unrestrained by corporate or investor control, we’re increasingly aiming our reporting firepower on uncovering stories that no one else is telling. My job is to help our editorial team (currently about 14 reporters and editors) make that happen, while maintaining the highest standards of quality in our writing and reporting.

I also publish tinywords, the world’s smallest magazine, and have done so since 2001.

Previously, I was a senior editor at Wired, editorial director at PCMagCast, executive editor at Mobile (aka Mobile PC), and contributor and columnist at a wide variety of publications including Business 2.0 and InfoWorld.


Eric Gradman

Co-Founder & Mad Inventor

Two Bit Circus

Eric Gradman is an inventor & entertainer who makes others see technology as magic. He has a colorful history as a circus performer, professional whistler & roboticist.

He is cofounder of Two Bit Circus: a Los Angeles idea factory making education more entertaining and amusement more enriching. He is one of the brains behind the STEAM Carnival, reimaginging the carnival with robots, lasers, and fire.

Eric is on television: as an on-screen inventor for ABC's Extreme Makeover Home Edition, a talking head for Outrageous Acts of Science (Discovery), and as a special guest on several shows including Invention: USA (History), and The NEXT List (CNN).

His interactive artwork has been exhibited at LACMA, Sundance Film Festival, The Leonardo, Mindshare.LA and the TED Conference.


Mitch Altman


Cornfield Electronics

Mitch Altman is a San Francisco-based hacker and inventor, best known for inventing TV-B-Gone remote controls, a keychain that turns off TVs in public places, he was also co-founder of 3ware (a SillyValley RAID controller company), did pioneering work in Virtual Reality at VPL Research in the mid-1980s, and created the Brain Machine, one of MAKE Magazine's most popular DIY projects. He has contributed to MAKE Magazine, has written for 2600, and for the last several years has been leading workshops around the world, teaching people to make cool things with microcontrollers and teaching everyone to solder, as well as promoting hackerspaces and open source hardware. He is also co-founder of Noisebridge, and President and CEO of Cornfield Electronics. He has recently launched his latest project: NeuroDreamer sleep mask, to help people rest, and help people lucid dream.

Wikipedia page:

TEDxBrussels talk: "The Hackerspace Movement":

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