Fried’s approach is sometimes called “open-source hardware” — similar to open-source software, but instead of the source code being open and malleable, the source materials are. Is there something anti-corporate in the way that she likes to encourage the hacking of consumer products?
“Absolutely not, I’m totally a staunch capitalist,” she says. She just thinks hardware hacking is good business. Adafruit has become something of a business incubator itself, inspiring others to start similar businesses. “They see how Adafruit is run, and say, ‘I’m gonna go off and start a company that makes 3-D printed robots!'” Fried says.
But there’s more to it than business. “I think of Adafruit as a cause, not just a company,” she says. “There’s a company that sustains me, but that’s not enough to drive what I do. What we’re trying to do is make electrical engineering exciting, cool, and fun.” —David Zax
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