Humanmade
By Dale Dougherty
July 9, 2022
0:00 / 17:15
Humanmade
Ryan

We really think that the next generation manufacturing is the foundation of our work here at Humanmade. It's really allowed for us to continue operating a Makerspace in the Bay Area.

Dale

I'm here with Ryan Spurlock, who is the head of Humanmade in San Francisco. And Ryan, just tell us about yourself.

Ryan

Hi, my name is Ryan Spurlock. I'm the founder and executive director of Humanmade here in San Francisco. And we are very proud to be on the show today with you, Dale.

So for those who don't know Humanmade is a San Francisco based non-profit. That is essentially part Makerspace, part advanced manufacturing trainer center and part career exposure program for youth.

Dale

How did you get into making personally and tell us about the connections that got you into this?

Ryan

I was always a creative kid, liked art, liked drawing. Wasn't your example student. Got a lot of D's, got a lot of non passing grades. But oddly, all of the things that, I was shunned for as a child are all the qualities that have allowed me to be successful and as a founder.

With that said I like to joke that I had the first laser cutter when I was a kid. When I was 13, I asked for a wood burning kit, which my parents at the time thought was quite weird. Or a rock Tumblr things that I could do to be creative and make things always drawing to a fault, one would say, or at least my teachers would say. I guess I was around in my twenties, late twenties, when I heard of this place called TechShop that a couple friends worked at, and I was asked if I was interested in applying. I actually got the original offer and laughed. And I was like I thought this was a tech company. But with that said, my goal to work at TechShop was, I wanted to be part of community.

I wanted to take the skillset that I learned as an industrial design student at San Francisco State and really foster them and grow them and allow me to have the experience to get a job in the industry. As a result of taking the job there, I fell in love with the maker movement and the model as a whole. When I started, I'll never forget, I show up to work that first day and I see a bike get chucked over the side of the building. And three guys look over the side and go, yeah, it made it. And they were testing a bamboo bike and that was kind my, my indoctrination into the community. What is this place that I'm going to?

And then slowly but surely I started out at a pretty low- level, front- desk position, just hoping to get access, to use the tools, to run my own business and make some money off of the ShopBot. At the time I was making science for some folks that I knew. I saw some low hanging fruit. I saw that there was an opportunity to grow the education department.

I always saw the maker movement as an education center and that offered membership versus kind of a TechShop model that we were a membership based organization that offered training.