This is a love song.
Don’t worry though; I’m not going to start singing! But I really really can’t think of how I would have done this without you, the all mighty Internet! There is no way, and I mean, no way I could have gained all the skills I have gathered for the past 3 years had it not been for the amazing, and mostly free, learning resources at your disposal nowadays.
One perfect example, in my experience, would be a piece of software called AutoCad. This is the architectural drawing tool of excellence and one that many product designers also use. When I started on my Jumbo journey I had never used it before.
So I had my lovely “concept” drawings to the T which I even managed to turn into a nice little foam scale model made to help me check the proportions (this step was hugely helpful, it's incredible how different things look in paper and in reality!) . Tomas was getting bigger and bigger inside my belly and I was working non-stop to safe money to be able to take a good maternity leave break (I’m a freelance so no lovely maternity leave package here! ;-) So time wasn’t specially an abundant commodity at my disposal.
I knew I had to turn the concept drawings into AutoCAD drawings, something the machine that cuts the pieces out of wood would understand (the machine is called CNC: a super hi-tech, computer controlled machine that precisely cuts many sheet materials such as wood, glass or metal). Someone might have thought, just like my partner did, hiring someone to quickly do this ‘translation’ job for me would have made so much sense back then. And they would have probably have been right for so many reasons. But I figured learning how to use the software I was going to use at every single iteration of the manufacturing process of my furniture made complete sense! And oh dear was I right! It would have been so much more difficult and time consuming (and hugely more expensive!) to develop Jumbo and all his friends if I had to rely on someone else to produce and edit the drawings every time we tested elements, produced a prototype or a finished product!
I have to admit, I’m also a geek: I love technology and knowing how things work. I feel I spend most of my life learning how to use software that involves the things I love, be it design, music, film… I’m the eternal learner and I love it.
So that was settled, I needed (and wanted) to learn CAD. Now the problem was that I didn’t have the time (nor the inclination!) to go back to a classic ‘school’. Being a full time film editor to start with and then a new mum on maternity leave meant my time availability was a little crazy at best (as I’m sure most new mums can relate to) so I started searching on good old Google and found hundreds of tutorials covering all the aspects required to get my drawings in shape and also all the technicalities of working with this particular machine. All done at my own pace, in my own time; 3am tutorial on how to edit polylines during a long feed? Oh yes!.
And very importantly: FREE.
How amazing is that??!!! This option worked for me like a treat. In fact, this is the only way it could have ever worked!
And the same goes to the business side of things. The resources out there at your disposal are just unbelievable, some of them free, some of them at a very reasonable price but just something that is invaluable for someone in a situation like myself, wanting to learn something new and having limited resources, be it time or financial limitations!
So THANK YOU Internet.
Thank you Internet for being home to such incredible learning communities whose efforts bring so much knowledge so close to so many people. Thank you for giving crazy people like me a fighting chance at going on rather fun adventures!