Values: where tech and handmade converge

Posted By on Sep 10, 2012 in Creative Business

The tools will change. Your values can stay the same.

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A friend of mine recently said this at a tech conference talk, but I think it’s applicable in so many places.  

Things change.

The stock market goes up and down.  Your desire to paint wanes but you pick up embroidery.  You lose a friend, but gain a new one.

In fact, the whole talk reminded me of the handmade community, specifically the conversations happening over at Oh My! Handmade Goodness and the weekly #OMHG tweet-ups.

This conference was about a specific technology, Ruby, but, like most things, being a Ruby software developer is really more mixed-media than any one particular craft.  The talk was about another language that we often use (Javascript) and how we should embrace it and the changes it brings.

We are a community.

Ruby programmers, just like indie crafters, are a community.  A community of people brought together, not just by technique and tools, but by values.  And many of those values cross the sphere of tech and handmade.  

Tech-wise, we’re all about Open Source. Craft-wise, just take a look at the Etsy forums or craft blogs.  They are about sharing the best way to make something or the best way to run your business.
Elegance and beauty
Does it seem strange to you that nerdy, pocket-protector engineers care about beauty and elegance?  WE DO! (Well some of us).  It’s actually a big topic in the Ruby community – Pretty code means code that is formatted nicely, is readable and understandable, and uses cool stuff without … overdoing it.  And what are crafts and art if not beautiful?  What are craft businesses if not bringing that beauty into the world in a consumable way?
Having an impact
You may have heard about Google’s motto: Don’t be evil.  Yeah, we heard it too.  The Indie Craft movement is nothing if not making an impact on the world – how we consume, how we create, how we make a living.  And, hello, it’s working!  Etsy continues to grow along with millions of small business owners.  It’s amazing!  How many of you remember Etsy back in ’06?

Fundamentally, both tech and handmade have had to reconcile the need for money and the need to make and be creative. We’ve had to realize that the same things that make us gravitate towards certain things (values, authenticity) also lead to finding and solidifying ways to make money AND make us happy.  

Your customers see your authenticity and values.
That’s why they continue to buy handmade.

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