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Homegrown in Hillsborough Call for Presenters & Exhibitors!

22 Aug

Homegrown in HillsboroughThe Homegrown in Hillsborough Festival is a special event celebrating the cultural diversity of Hillsborough County, and  will feature the following categories:

The Visual | Arts & Crafts: Artists, Artisans, & Architects
The Audible | Words & Music: Writers, Musicians, & Dance
The Edible | Gastronomy: Food, Farmers, & Chefs

 

Where: John F. Germany Public Library
When:  Saturday, October 26, 2013 from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Set-up: 8 a.m. – 10 a.m. & Break-down: 3 p.m. – 5 p.m.

Programs can include lectures, panel discussions, demonstrations, exhibitions and food. The library will provide exhibit space and/or tables as needed, all displays must be free standing.  Click here for a copy of the Interest Form and apply by  September 14, 2013.   Email programming@hcplc.org if you have any questions.

 

GadgitKids and the Power of Reverse Mentoring

31 Jul

Gadgitkids logoHere’s an awesome idea! GadgitKids works “to create a society of mobile device users whose capabilities keep pace with the sophistication of technology.” – They do this through “reverse mentoring”  – a collaborative intergenerational win-win process of employing high school and college students as “GadgitKids”  giving them the tools and training to be effective communicators with a passion for helping others learn technology.

“Young people, our future leaders, need confidence and support,” says GadgitKids. “You need their technical knowledge. The end result of effective reverse mentoring is a working relationship between a young person and an adult which is mutually beneficial. “

GadgitKids invites college students, or high school students entering their junior or senior year, to review the position descriptions on their website and submit an application to become a GadgitKid.  Currently, applications from Hillsborough, Pasco, Pinellas and Polk counties are being considered.

Visit  GadgitKids at http://gadgitkids.com/apply-to-be-a-GadgitKid to apply or learn more.

Invention Alive and Well in Tampa Bay

29 Jul
gabotronics

Gabotronics at our 2013 Makers Fair

The Tampa Bay Business Journal ran a piece earlier this month titled, “Tampa tech industry is healthy, but local inventors are needed.”  Clearly TBBJ hasn’t been to one of our Maker Fairs, but more to the heart of the matter,   TBBJ says what’s missing is funding – “Industry observers say lack of local funding has cost the Bay area promising startups such as TourWrist, a Tampa company that moved its headquarters to San Francisco to be closer to potential investors.”

We’d suggest local entrepreneurial and community support is also critical.  Having a community that supports small scale innovation and invention is vital to nurturing that innovation and invention and keeping it here.   And invention does thrive here in Tampa Bay!

Over the last couple of years, we’ve highlighted dozens of Tampa Bay area inventors, from Snapit Screw to Gabotronics, and FRETS1 Satellite, In10did and Mentagy at our Fairs, to website profiles of inventors like young Hunter Morera and his Select-a-Wrench, John Doyle and his Doctor Door Stop,University of South Florida associate professor Daniel Yeh’s Gates’ funded water snap it screw photopurification device, and others.

More recently, South Tampa inventor  Jeff Bonnell  has been in the news with his Splashtablet Case – a unique suction-mount, waterproof case the iPad , and Palm Harbor inventor,  Tanya Lewis, who signed with Master Broker Jack Di Salvo (of Oxyclean fame),  and was also lauded as  Mom Inventor of the Year ,  an honor that included two airings on QVC for her Green Glider reusable mop pad.

Inventors are alive and well in Tampa Bay, and our community is growing and getting stronger all the time.  Here at Gulf Coast Makers, we celebrate makers big and small, young and older and will keep celebrating them, and working for the types of spaces and places where we can all invent and create together.

If you have an invention, an entreprenuerial experience, idea or best practice to share, or just want to talk shop,  contact us . We welcome guest bloggers and maker news from all over the Gulf Coast.

In Celebration of Competitive Creativeness

14 Jul
IMG_1309

LI4E Makerspace Project team working on Red Bull Creation 2013 contest build.

A couple of years ago the America Competes Reauthorization Act was approved granting federal agencies broad authority to host contests to spur innovation. In How Contests Spur Innovation, Inventors Daily reported, at the time, that this signature event was critical to invention and economic development in America.

“In short,” Inventors Daily wrote, ” invention contests and prizes work. In fact, when applied to big problems, contests can deliver big solutions with big economic impact.

“…The Act provides a “clear and simple legal path” for Uncle Sam to run invention contests, much like the private sector. The U.S. public sector, it should be noted, accounts for approximately 25% of our $15 trillion economy.”

From America Competes was born Challenge.gov , “an online challenge platform administered by the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) in partnership with ChallengePost that empowers the U.S. Government and the public to bring the best ideas and top talent to bear on our nation’s most pressing challenges.”

So if you like making stuff – mechanical stuff, 3D stuff, coded stuff, design stuff – there’s no shortage of federal and private industry nationwide competitions to in which to try your hand and your head.  If the incentive of a cause, or a prize are your best inspiration, start with  Challenge.gov and Challenge Post.

And there’s plenty of other resources.

Visit back here often for announcements about contests both local and national that we learn about throughout the year.   And share your news about contests, both entered in and hosted! We’d love to feature your stories and photos!

Brand vs. Heart

7 Jul

making stuffOur move towards becoming an independent DIY festival and community network has triggered some interesting discussions among friends and associates.  Some have expressed concern about the ability to build and support our growing maker community without the name brand behind it.  Others have applauded our DIY initiative.

An interesting piece ran in Big Think today about the perceived value of “brands.”

“How important is brand name recognition?” columnist Jack Myers asks. ” It’s extremely important to establish a link, a connection through whatever process, through social media, through marketing, through in store presence, but in the long term I think it’s more important what’s on the inside than what’s on the outside of a product.”

He goes on to suggest that for those growing up with the internet “a person’s color, a person’s gender, a person’s beliefs, religious beliefs for example, are far less important than their beliefs as human beings, their attitudes toward human equality, their attitudes towards diversity, their attitudes toward giving back to the world, to their schools, to each other.  So the branding, the external packaging is far less important to them than what is inside, whether that’s another human being or a package of cereal …”

Or, we’ll add, ” an event. “

Because when you get right down to it, the picture above from the Tampa Bay Mini Maker Faire could have been taken anywhere – a science festival, a family fun day, an engineering expo.   Sometimes brand is important – especially if you’re trying to sell something tangible like magazines or products.   If you’re a maker, creator, entrepreneur you want your brand to pop, to stand out, to be sought after – but even then, at the heart of your brand is – heart – what you put into it to make it special, why you believe it’s unique or useful or necessary.

And if what you’re selling – giving away, in this case – is an idea - and that idea is about a collaborative community that supports DIY self-reliance and self-sufficiency, about empowering people  to develop the knowledge and skills they want and need to make whatever it is they want to make, to be creative and successful self-starters,  then brand is irrelevant.  It’s the idea that’s valuable, and being free of the limitations of a brand allows the full expression of that idea.

Free of a brand, we can talk about all kinds of magazines and products, honestly assess things on their own merits, and  freely celebrate in the truest DIY spirit of independent, self-reliant, unfettered creativity and fun!

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