As a child, Limor Fried was known to take apart VCRs and once modified a Radio Shack tone-dialer. This sort of curiosity helped her found of Adafruit Industries, a factory manufacturing DIY open source electronic hardware kits in New York City. Today, she and her team work alongside machines like pick-and-places and reflow ovens, not outsourcing the company’s top asset: knowledge. “When something’s not working, I know instantly, not two or three weeks later. Being next to the machines, I can revise and adapt quickly.”
Adafruit’s customers are encouraged to ‘hack’ the designs in the kits they buy, tweaking the final product. Listen to this chat with Fried from the factory floor as she explains how her approach demystifies hardware through education and makes certain types of engineering more accessible to creatives of any stripe. She’ll also explain why she doesn’t have a cell phone — and how it keeps her focused.
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