Sunday, April 25, 2010

Pieces of the Puzzle

I have spent the last few days babysitting my nieces, while work on the WikiSpeed car continues day and night at the shop. The girls and I have watched Dora the Explorer, had princess parties in the backyard, and pretended we were fish swimming in the ocean. One of my favorite things has been playing a board game called Blokus. It involves fitting Tetris-shaped pieces together in puzzle fashion until you have used all your pieces. Who ever uses the most pieces and is not blocked by another player wins.

At one point my three-year-old niece asked if we could do it differently: could we just use all the pieces, fit them together, and create our own picture? "Sure! That is a great idea," I told her. Inside I was thinking, "This little one knows how to think outside the box and knows how to collaborate . . . NICE!"

I continue to be shocked and amazed by the number and the caliber of people drawn to this project. Take Mike: Yesterday, someone from the Seattle Robotics' Yahoo! group showed up at the shop to solve an electrical problem. We had never met him, but he agreed to come by and give up his Saturday afternoon to fix a couple things!

Then on Friday I received a message that Todd, the owner of the canopy-manufacturing company had made an offer we could not refuse---he proposed that if we would fly him out to Seattle, he would build the canopy frame and mount the canopy to the WikiSpeed car for free. He was willing to offer his time away from the shop, his expert skill, and his labor gratis. Because of his help, we will be guaranteed to get it right the first time. Furthermore, he'll be able to give us pointers for the layup of the next version of our car. (Joe is always thinking of the next iteration . . .)

Don't let me forget Bryan. Last Wednesday we posted the following on Craigslist:
Mechanic/MacGyver (Michigan International Speedway)
Team WIKISPEED is competing in the final rounds of the Progressive Automotive X Prize, and we need a fantastic Honda mechanic to support our team at the Michigan International Speedway the week of May 2-8. We're building a prototype car that will go 100 mpg and will retail for under $20k. The challenges we'll hit will probably be pretty novel---no repairs are routine on a prototype car. Ideally, the candidate would be willing to work at a reduced rate or gratis, since we're a small team of volunteers. An appreciation of MacGyver is helpful.
About our team: We are a group of high-energy volunteers who want to change the way we think about cars. We started building the car in a garage in Denver, have moved to Seattle, and now, with volunteers from all over the country, are heading into the most exciting part of the X Prize challenge, the competitive road tests at the MIS. Sound like fun to you? Join us! For more information, please call us ASAP. Because we're so close to the event and we need to get you credentials, we'll only accept calls regarding this post April 21-22.
WIKISPEED for the Win!
Would you believe it? We had ONE call. His name is Bryan. He is an ASE-certified technician with Honda experience, specializing in electrical systems. Furthermore, he said he's willing to take off work (and work is hard to find out there right now) to volunteer at the Shakedown.

At WikiSpeed we threw out the rules of traditional automobile construction a long time ago. Thinking outside the box and building the car using agile principles is fundamental to our efforts.What is amazing is that every time we open ourselves up to collaboration an expert shows up at just the right time and fits in perfectly.

Nice to know that the next generation of WikiSpeeders get this already!

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