I'm the Co-founder and CEO of The Grommet. We launch undiscovered consumer products. It's also the birthplace of Citizen Commerce. I write about design, cultural anthropology, and start-ups, mostly.

Time Magazine says this is “Jules Pieri Unfiltered”

Time Magazine made a big commitment to Detroit in opening a bureau in the Motor City focussed on innovation and revival.  They asked me to post to their Detroit blog, following my fascinating visit to this weekend’s Maker Faire Detroit.  Here’s an excerpt from the post, which they call “Unfiltered:  Jules Pieri on Looking Back at the Faire and Detroit.”

“In traveling around Detroit for various Maker Faire events, my GPS seemed to think it was still in Boston. It kept avoiding highways (did it not realize Detroit is highway heaven?) and directing me onto surface streets. The one time I did not mind the GPS confusion was when the surface streets took me by the west-side neighborhood where I grew up. I’d been meaning to stop by that tidy grid of modest postwar brick bungalows.

Growing up, everyone on my street earned a living making or fixing things. The sights and sounds of manufacturing punctuated our days and nights: bone-rattling roars of the freight train line, the constant throbbing of a massive Detroit Diesel Allison plant just past the railroad. My nostalgia turned to analysis during my 72-hour visit, especially because I met many Detroiters who convinced me that the city’s competitive advantages were just below the surface.”

If you’d like the whole scoop, here you go: http://detroit.blogs.time.com/2010/08/02/a-maker-looks-back-at-the-faire-and-detroit/#more-5432#ixzz0vThDtwh8
BTW I think I could get a lot more unfiltered than this post… but it’s quite true they ran my piece unedited, which was very kind of Time’s editors.

Here are some photos that did not make it into the Time piece:

This is my childhood home.  I snapped this furtively with my Droid early Saturday morning so it’s a lousy photo.  I really did not want to attract attention with my big camera.  My mom moved out a few years ago and I don’t know any of the current neighbors.  It’s not exactly a totally safe place to be walking around alone provoking people.
My brother pulled some real Smokey and the Bandit moves to get me to the venue for this talk.  My plane was late, the GPS acted up, and we hit a blocked road occupied by a film crew.  I think this was vital evidence of Detroit’s new creative class, smack in the middle of what looked like great car hijack territory.  Nonplussed, my bro just took his vehicle over grass and sidewalks, driving responsibly slowly past the gaping looks of the filmmakers.
This is Jim Bronersky of Op-Yop.  I tell a snapshot of his history in the Time piece.  As he says, his company is a classic “Detroit story.”  I’d like to return to that story again.  One factoid he told me is that the Maker Faire was particularly well-timed, in that the Michigan State Fair, the oldest such fair in the country, was cancelled this year due to budget cuts.
These are some of the original injection molds.  Wow.  Jim gave me one of the actual vintage Op-Yops too.   It’s mesmerizing and relaxing, as an activity.
Here is the “manifesto” from Bryce Moore and his company Context Furniture.  He’s singing my song.   Or, I am singing his.
This is the kind of hands-on workshop one finds all over the Maker Faire.  One of the big goals of the event is to share what you  know with other “Makers” and with the public.  Sweet.
I wish I’d taken even more photos.  Between trying to find my speaking venues, dealing with the usual AV challenges, talking to Makers, and the lovely distractions of my adorable nephew who came along for some of the time, I was running from pillar to post.   I can’t wait to do it again, at the next Maker Faire Detroit.

2 Responses to “Time Magazine says this is “Jules Pieri Unfiltered””

  1. Margaret McKenna

    Seeing your childhood home made the piece for me (but then my interests are a bit different!)

    And…your blog now has advertisers?
    M

    Reply

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