Wednesday, January 12, 2011

What do a toaster and a pencil have in common? Low tech items? I don't think so...

...No one person knows how to make either one, in their entirety.  They are very simple products in their finished condition but complex to manufacture. They require the co-ordination and cooperation of 100's of businesses and 1,000's-10,000's of people to produce and deliver it to you at a low price.  Now look at something tangilble around you and marvel at how it came into being...Miracle? I say yes...

This is a variation of Milton Friedman's narration of Lenord E. Read's "I, Pencil" (See Second Video)

Thomas Thwaites: How I built a toaster -- from scratch
From TED Talks: ""It takes an entire civilization to build a toaster. Designer Thomas Thwaites found out the hard way, by attempting to build one from scratch: mining ore for steel, deriving plastic from oil ... it's frankly amazing he got as far as he got. A parable of our interconnected society, for designers and consumers alike.""
Here is Milton Friedman's discussion of a simple pencil...
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