There are no great inventors of history, after all. Henry Ford didn’t invent such a fantastic product, so much as stamp his name on the engineered optimization of a supply chain. Thomas Edison didn’t invent the light bulb, he just did materials research until he found a viable product. The Wright Brothers didn’t invent an airplane, so much as improve their understanding of aeronautical principles until they could produce a proof of concept. Even the most brilliant, game-changing, turtleneck-wearing designers of today are trapped within their own particular contexts of supply chains and funding cycles, material fact, and physical laws. As ambitious young designers are finding out every week, a successfully funded Kickstarter is not a product delivered. And for those of us on the receiving end of the great technological juggernaut that our society has become, the consequences for what happens when things happen less-than-brilliantly are more dire than some negative blog reviews and a company dissolved by its investors.

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