As many of you know, I worked for over a decade at a major newspaper and when I was working there, there was a word that you just weren’t allowed to say it was like Voldemort.
It was the name of a product, a product that sounded like a great idea at the time, but in practice it almost bankrupted the company, a product that I’m, holding in my hand right now, ladies and gentlemen, the cue cat here’s the thing about the cue cat: if you know what this is, you’re laughing right now you are laughing at this.
It doesn’t even need a punchline. Just looking at this thing is the punchline. If you don & # 39, t know what the cute cat is. It’s, basically a barcode scanner that was created in the early days of web retail.
The early 2000 sees the the newspapers and the traditional media. They started to realize that everybody was buying things online, so they came up with this and put barcodes in the ads in their newspaper and you would scan the barcodes with the cue cat and then it would open up that web page and you could buy it Online, the problem is at the time people were still pretty wary of buying things online, especially the type of people that still had a newspaper subscriptions, and also you had to have another peripheral attached to your computer.
You had to like read your newspaper right next to the computer. It was just it just didn’t work now you might think this is a ridiculous idea, but think about it right now. If you’re running out of shampoo, you can pull up the Amazon app on your phone.
Take a picture of the barcode in order more shampoo, it’s kind of the same idea. There’s, a saying in business circles, that being early is the same as being wrong. History is littered with businesses and people that had great ideas that the world just wasn’t ready for, and perhaps nobody fits that description better than Buckminster Fuller, Richard Buckminster, Fuller was born in 1895 in Milton Massachusetts and he excelled at school at being A pain in the ass, apparently, he frustrated his teachers because he refused to just kind of go along with what they said and they asked impossible questions to answer like what temperature is a triangle and what is the weight of gravity? His teachers, of course, thought he was just trolling them, but he was genuinely curious about these things.
He was also extremely farsighted, which went pretty much undiagnosed until he was eight years old. He was practically blind, which means that he’d, learned mostly through feeling things. He had a very tactile learning experience, and this hands-on approach to learning literally is one of the things that informed his obsession with geometric shapes later on in life, because they weren’t just abstract things to him.
They were tangible. There were things that he could hold. He could feel how strong they were. He attended Harvard for a few years, but was eventually kicked out for hanging around too much with a vaudeville troupe and then later he got kicked out again for just being too nonconformist.
How much do you like this guy? Already he married Ann Hewlett in 1917 and in the 1920s he went into business with his father-in-law, creating a company called stockade building systems which they were trying to build, affordable housing.
The story is that his first daughter died of polio and spinal meningitis just before her fourth birthday, and he always blamed the damp and drafty conditions of his home for her death, and this was the catalyst for him to start this company with his father-in-law.
He wanted to create weatherproof fireproof housing that anybody could afford, so that nobody else would suffer this fate, unfortunately, that business failed in 1927 and Bucky fuller had a breakdown. Now, whether this actually happened or not is up for debate.
Some people think that this was an embellishment that he added later on in his life. But the story is that he went through a period of really heavy drinking and eventually went to a bridge to kill himself so that his family could collect the insurance money.
But as they stood on this bridge ready to take his own life, he had an epiphany, an epiphany that came to him in the form of a voice and a voice. That said this, you do not have the right to eliminate yourself.
You do not belong to you. You belong to the universe. Your significance will remain forever obscure to you, but you may assume that you’re fulfilling your role. If you apply yourself to converting your experiences to the highest advantage of others and from that point forward, that’s exactly what he did.
Mr. fuller tirelessly spent the rest of his life trying to solve the world’s, problems specifically in finding ways to save resources and provide for everybody on the planet to do more with less, as he would say, Bucky called himself a comprehensive anticipatory design.
Scientist he was obsessed with finding the fundamental truths of the universe and then applying those to design an invention to sustain the human race. He was most famous for the geodesic dome design that allowed for maximum space, with his little support structure as possible, creating several buildings and pavilions for world Fair’s, a few manufacturing centers and inspired a trend of mid-century dome houses, but the ultimate expression Of his ideas and home design came in the form of the Dymaxion house, an idea that he worked on for the majority of his life.
Dymaxion is a portmanteau of a few different words, dynamic maximum and tension. He was very fond of creating new words. Tensegrities was another word that he came up with, which is a combination of tension and integrity, but Dymaxion is a term that he applied to all kinds of things from houses to cars, even maps buckey’s.
Dymaxion house consisted of a single support attached to a foundation from which ancillary supports radiated outwards like spokes, on a wheel to form a modular circular home that featured some unique benefits.
For one thing, it was passively cooled event at the apex of the design, Bennett hot air from the structure, while cool air entered from the intake vents on the side, creating a convection that not only cooled the home but also funneled dust and events on the floor.
Meaning it was easier to clean and keep up the home featured a grey water system that collected rainwater and gutters around the diameter of the house and then used that for non drinking purposes. The dome design also made it more resistant to weather, because the wind flowed more easily around it.
In fact, it was said to be tornado and hurricane proof and being a radial design. The rooms could be shrunk and expanded to fit your needs. So say, if you were throwing a party, you could just make a living room.
Bigger the entire home weighed only 3,000 pounds. It could be shipped to its location in a metal tube on a single truck and assembled in a matter of days. Bucky was IKEA before IKEA was IKEA. The shower was more of a fogger that atomized the water around you to give you enough to clean yourself but save on water.
All of this was innovative and cool, but that wasn’t enough for Bucky. He wanted to completely redesign the way we lived. He wanted the Dymaxion house to be a fully automated machine that works around you.
This means mechanical closets that tucked away into the walls and bring the clothes to you in a packaging toilet that sure crafts waste for composting purposes and the problem with some of these more advanced features was that the technology didn’t exist, yet, especially Some of the materials needed didn’t exist, yet he first designed this house in the 1930s and then redesigned it.
In 1945, the only two prototype houses were built. An indoor exhibition version called the bar wise house in an outdoor version called the Danbury house. A hybridized version was constructed by an investor named William, Graham, which heavily modified Bucky’s original design, but it was lived in from 1948 through the 70s and apparently the people who lived there really loved it and another version of the house.
A further redesign that was called the Wichita house was built in post-war World War two and it came up to really glowing positive reviews, but it never really was fully manufactured and that prototype can be found today in the Henry Ford Museum.
So why didn’t any of this catch on critics of the design focused on its inflexibility? There was really only one version of the house that you could buy and there wasn’t a whole lot that you could do to modify it.
You just kind of had to be okay with what you got. You know. Homes are a very personal thing: we want our homes to be a reflection of us and who we are, and the Dymaxion house, just didn’t allow for a whole lot of personalization there’s, also something to be said for standardization.
You know something went wrong in a Dymaxion house, you couldn’t, just go down to the Home Depot and get a replacement part, and there were only a few people in the world that knew how to repair these kinds of things.
It’s also possible that the standard boxy homes we’ve. All gotten used to is just kind of become ingrained in us over the years. You know they’ve been several different circular home designs that have come and gone, and some people love them, but they’ve.
Just never really caught on these homes are kind of a reflection of a specific point in time. Modern design, aesthetic that just kind of came and went kind of like Bucky himself, bookies inventions and designs.
Weren’t the world-changing ideas that he thought they would be and he never reached the height of success that we celebrate so much in today.’s society, part of that has to do with his obsessive perfectionism.
I mean one of the reasons the Dymaxion house never took off is because Buckminster Fuller was never fully satisfied with it and he refused to release it into the world unfinished. So there’s that and then in this means that Bucky was a failure, necessarily in the 60s and 70s.
He tirelessly toured around the world and gave lectures. They said he was only home about 60 days a year. He would famously walk out on stage with nothing planned whatsoever and just open his mouth and talk off-the-cuff.
He would speak at the speed of thought. He would say he would just unleash his consciousness on the crowd for six to seven hours. At a time, he engaged his audience in his philosophy and had them solve problems right there alongside him and in the process.
He inspired an entirely new generation of designers, engineers and architects. Bucky died in 1983, just shy of his 88th birthday. Never having really changed the world in the way that he wanted to, but he left an indelible mark on the universe that can still be felt to this day, for example, while the Dymaxion house and this whole idea of a machine that works around, you never quite Happened today we do have smart homes that lock for you when you come home and change the temperature.
The way you want and do all kinds of things that they couldn’t have ever dreamed of back. Then everybody, except for Bucky. Now there’s, so much more about Bucky’s, life and design, and philosophies that I could talk about here and in fact one of his big projects that he wanted to do was put a dome over Manhattan which could have possibly Worked because apparently these geodesic domes get stronger, the bigger they are and I & # 39.
Ll be honest. I knew very little about Buckminster Fuller before I started working on this article, but I got a good crash course on everything Bucky by listening to the book. He belong to the universe buck.
Mr. fuller, in the future. Inaudible Jonathan Keats is the author of this book and it gets deep into the life and the philosophy of Buckminster Fuller and also gets into sort of the myth making process that he had created around himself because he understood the power of story and it’s been great listening to this audiobook because I’ve been traveling lately, so I’ve been able to listen to it.
While I was on a run or waiting for planes or just sitting around doing nothing. I got nothing against reading. Reading is great, but there’s. You know audiobooks, you can listen to them. While you’re doing other things like driving, don’t, read and drive.
Audible, of course, is the premier audiobook platform, with thousands of books by your favorite authors, sometimes read by your favorite actors, or even the authors themselves, plus audible has exclusive audible originals that you just can’t, find anywhere else, guided Fitness and meditation programs.
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com slash Joe Scott or text Joe Scott to 500 500, I’m, not gon na lie. I was kind of late to the audible party. For some reason. Oh no. I just took me a while to get around to it, but when I did, I thought it was awesome, so I think you might like it too.
If you’re curious, you can check it out for free. You got nothing to lose thirty. Three days, if you go to audible.com, slash, Jeff, Scott or text, jokes got to 500 500 links down in the description, big thanks to audible, for supporting this article and thanks to you for watching.
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