Shuttleworth Fellowship Application - 2014 - Marcin Jakubowski

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see also Shuttleworth Fellowship Application

Application Video

See also Script.

4 Application Questions

Describe the world as it is.

(a description of the status quo and context in which you will be working)

The world is grossly suboptimal in its development process of physical products. Companies develop products independently and many duplicate efforts of others. This is competitive waste predicated on a lack of standardization and financial extortion via planned obsolescence. Simply, much of our product innovation process is inefficient, as this process does not build on existing documentation - critical documentation does not exist in many cases - scuh as blueprints for a car, tractor, or other critical machinery of civilization. Addressing this is critical to making a better world because 80% of the entire global economy revolves around material production. Material production is related to the distribution of wealth and to resource conflicts. Getting physical production right has a huge potential effect on the world around us.

What change do you want to make?

(a description of what you want to change about the status quo, in the world, your personal vision for this area)

I would like to develop a protocol for Extreme Manufacturing as a viable route to decentralized production of goods. I predict that the Extreme Manufacturing (EM) paradigm will be competitive with centralized production. EM involves a model of production where people are guided by expert guides in the production of their prosumer goods. This model relies on open source blueprints, design optimized for simplicity and high performance - and parallel production where a number of production tasks can be done in parallel by a group of people - thereby converting the production process into a social experience. This addresses a critical deficit of meaning that I believe comes from a disconnect between humans and their physical environment. I believe that there is a huge demand for this because all the wealth that humans enjoy today comes from sunlight, rpcks, plants, soil, water. The productive mechanism based on these raw resources is currently far removed from the average person, and results in human alienation from the physical world and from each other. By closing the loop on small-scale, advanced manufacturing, individuals can reconnect to their raw power of productivity - and at the same time reconnect to nature - which provides all the natural feedstocks. This to me is a possible shift in human consciousness enabled by modern technology in the computer age - and it is potentially a fundamental shift that may correct many societal malfunctions via decentralization of control from power centers to personal autonomy, mastery, and purpose.

What do you want to explore?

(a description of the innovations or questions you would like to explore during the fellowship year)

I want to explore the limits of high, appropriate technology in unleashing human productivity towards full regaining of personal autonomy, mastery, and purpose. My route to this is devising a universal constructor for physical goods and infrastructures - the Global Village Construction Set - consisting of several other sector-based universal constructors.

The innovation is severalfold.

Organizational - can we create a scalable organization, based on the open source Extreme Manufacturing parallel production model - where core staff share and develop design, documentation, and enterprise models. Can an organizational bucket be created that promotes collaboration between a growing number of people, without these people defecting from the group to work independently?

Human Settlements - Can a city that enjoys modern comforts (up to metal and semiconductor production) be produced from raw materials found within its borders, with 200 individuals, with 2 hours of work per day?

Rapid Innovation - Can our prototyping cycles be reduced to a timescale that allows the entire GVCS to be completed within 2 years of time, by end of 2015? Can this be done with students, or do we need subject matter expert professionals to lead this?

Industrial - Our production data indicates that our productivity on our tractor is about 6x as high as the productivity of the largest tractor manufacturer in the world. I would like to explore whether our model of social production - the Extreme Manufacturing Workshop model - if it is truly efficient and if a feasible social and economic model is developed - will it displace industry as we know it? I would like to explore this question by determining whether 3 items: (1) reducing the build time to 1 day in a small workshop by using a CNC torch table and Collaborative Production (Digital Collaborative Production); (2) producing Computer Aided Manufacturing files and language-agnostic instructionals; (3) proven and documented performance in agriculture and construction duties - are sufficient to engender viral replication workldwide - at the level of approximately 100 replications within one year of realeasing the above plans. I would like to explore the optimal scale at which this can happen, knowing that larger machines have a small incremental cost with OSE due to design-for-scalability, while commercial counterparts feature nonlinear cost incrase for larger scale machines. Technological - Can we create a universal constructor, made of a limited set of modules, that can be used to produce an unlimited number of different machines? Can this system be so robust that individuals can readily modify the components into different heavy machines, or does weight or other practical consideration make this too difficult?

Personal - Does the open source, Extreme Manufacturing model promote a reduction in artificial material scarcity on a personal level - ie, is the GVCS relevant to liberating people from meaningless toil? If such artificial material scarcity occurs, does this reduction imply empowerment of humans towards autonomy, mastery, and purpose?

What are you going to do to get there?

(a description of what you actually plan to do during the year)

  • Pivot Core Team to Production Education It is becoming increasingly clear that our core team should be self-supporting. So far Chris and I live by this paradigm, and Catarina intends to do the same. Complete pivot to this model can be made by linking staff work product more closely to revenue - via the Extreme Manufacturing Workshops. By reframing each staff member as a Documenting Producer Educator, we engage them to generate revenue via the Production Workshops. In this model, performance evaluation is built into the core work - as success is measured directly by production earnings. We can invest in the development of Production Workshops via a Residency Program, where our interns (Dedicated Project Visitors (DPVs)) pull together with the Residency Program to take product development to the Last Mile.
  • Attain Population Targets - our current target is a minimum of 12 DPVs and 3 residency participants on average for the entire year at Factor e Farm, with overflow population during summer break and other university break months (all of March and April). To do this, we will recruit students throughout the year, and include international students to fill in the year schedule.
  • Lean the organization. This year our prototyping efficiency (prototypes produced divided by cost) has not been impressive. To address this, we are shifting critical functions (finances, logistics, community) to dedicated professionals, managed by an Admin Assistant and overseen by the ED. We have already identified a local accountant to fill all book keeping, accounting, and fiscal compliance at a total of about 40 hours per year. To this we will add a House Manager to take care of human resource functions with our development team. Meanwhile, we are allowing longer-term contributors to self-select from a constant flow of onsite contributors. For core staff, any core staff member will be required to find and teach skills to develop a portfolio of freelance producers to run Extreme Manufacturing workshops.
  • Pivot Infrastructure from Survival Architecture to World Class - We installed facility utility infrastructure, and have gotten a great success with our Microhouse build. We will build more Microhouses; summer housing; a recreation center, and an office/electronics workshop. Budget: $150k - house materials + infrastructure. $150k - prototyping materials; deadweight - $500/month.
  • Establish Residency Program. We are starting a joint program with Catarina Mota of Everywhere Tech to develop the Extreme Production Model. We invite experts to take technologies to the last mile of development. We will aim to provide each Residency participant with a support team. Support team: (1), Documenters + graphics artists - produce language agnostic instructionals. (2) Industrial Designers - produce parallel build procedures and Parallel Fabrication Diagrams. (3) Documenters - Videographers - produce build instructionals. (4) Engineering review - soliciting user communities, engineering grad students, professionals, forums, and other networks to provide feedback on our design. We need to figure out a good protocol for performing crowd-based review.
  • Organize on-site and off-site Extreme Manufacturing Workshops - Basic Model: one day training; one day production; one day documentation + lessons learned. Meals and housing included.
  • Train apprentices for Production Workshop Leadership. - We see our work being distributed to a large number of freelancers doing OSE work. To do this, we will establish specific training curriculum to do this.
  • Develop Curriculum for 2 Week Crash Training Workshops - Support Residency Program with students who gain hands-on experience in crash training courses. (1) Introduction to Module Based Design - how ~50 modules can make hundreds of different machines. (2) Introduction to CAD - how Sketchup, FreeCAD, and Python can be used in engineering design. (3) Flexible and Digital Fabrication Crash Course - hands-on tool use. (4) Open Source Product Development platform - development and documentation platform for collaborative, parallel production - part of Extreme Manufacturing. (5) Business Development - taking documentation to an open enterprise model for production workshops.
  • Reframe from production to documentation. Taking our products The Last Mile - the Residency Program develops documentation, which is a foundation for enterprise (Extreme Manufacturing Workshops).
  • Reframe from 50 Machines in the GVCS to 5 Construction Sets in the GVCS. We have already shifted to Module-Based Design - with about 50 modules total that can be used to build hundreds of machine variations. We have demonstrated the LifeTrac Construction Set - a lifesize LEGO set - where the same construction method was used for a tractor, backhoe, ironworker, or trencher - and We will continue this to the 21 agriculture and construction tools. Then we will do the same for: Precision Machining Construction Set; Metallurgy Construction Set; Power Electronics Construction Set; and Energy Construction Set.
  • Optimize Prototype Building. We have proven that we can reduce prototyping time scales from the month to the day scale. We will continue this machine by machine.
  • Address Weaknesses. Proper review has not happened to date. To address this, we will dedicate one person on a development for Study of Industry Standards, Outreach to Allied Groups, Tech Trees of Choices, and Review Requests via social media.
  • Continue pilot projects. We have had great success with the LifeTrac 5 pilot project in New Orleans and the Microhouse build. We will continue to build Microhouses for clients.
  • Documentation - We have succeeded in real-time creation of instructionals, and we are continuing that as a normal practice.'
  • Clarify Critical Path - Clarified to Production Workshop Model of Extreme Manufacturing; Residency program for Last Mile design; Crash Training Courses to support Residency clients by learn-by-doing crash courses. Restructure team ecology around production and thereby address Peak Performance Management.
  • Improve BHAG Expectation Management - Improve recruiting process to filter out unstable, misaligned, or negative-attitude people, and not hiring anyone without seeing how they react to the Factor e Farm experience. To help people survive Factor e Farm, we need to do better in communicating expectations prior to people arriving, and we need to increase the number of applicants to select the better-suited ones. Currenly we accept nearly 100% of candidates. We have gotten extremely clear that delivering the GVCS is a BHAG, and that delivering the GVCS by end of 2015 is even more Mission Impossible. High levels of maturity, responsibility, competence, and other factors are required. To manage a high level of intensity, work hours are limited to 40 hours per week. From a certain perspective, the project is supposed to fail. However, various evidence (day time-scale prototyping cycles, module-based rapid prototyping, radical cost reduction, realtime documentation, and other milestones) keep teasing the Founder with a notion of possibility. To help people not freak out upon stepping to Factor e Farm, it is crucial to announce several features: (1) governance is BDFL; (2) maturity, teamwork, positive attitude, and emotional stability is required for participants; (3) there can be many distractions and site is designed for a certain level of McGyver'ing to simulate third world conditions of deployment; (4) it is a huge challenge, and you will burn out unless you are a rarely qualified person; (5) the expectation is that of serious work for the benefit of all humankind. The difficulties that can occur need to be communicated clearly. DISCLAIMER: From one side, the BHAG nature of the project may be seen as a design failure. However, recent events indicate that a strong core team is forming around these principles. The distinction should be made that the core team should be a group of individuals with high flow-state percentage. The same expectations are not placed on our interns.


  • Chris Reinhart - OSE Architecture Product Lead - Letter of Support - [1]
  • Rob Kirk - OSE Documentation Manager - Letter of Support - [2]
  • Nat Turner - Our School at Blair Grocery urban gardening project - Letter of Support - [3]
  • Catarina Mota - Everywhere Tech - Letter of Support - [4]
  • Catherine Austin-Fits - - Letter of Support - [5]