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They looked for outside financing and charged forward into the unknown world of entrepreneurship, with trust in their brilliant minds and one another. They gave up security and a consistent paycheck to build products and a company based on their own ideas and beliefs and earned a new moniker, the Traitorous Eight.

Sherman Fairchild an inventor, serial entrepreneur and son of IBMs cofounder, George Winthrop Fairchild came to the groups aid as their financial backer.

Alexander Osterwalder, How to Intentionally Design a (Lean Startup) Culture, LSC15

They founded Fairchild Semiconductor, commonly known as Americas first venture-backed startup. In a few short but unpredictable years, under Noyces leadership, Fairchild grew to become the leading producer of technology in what was then known as the Santa Clara valley and nurtured employees who founded more than of their own companies, called Fairchildren, over the next 20 years.

Moore, opened in under the name Intel. Based on Noyces original integrated circuit innovations, Intel developed memory devices and went on to create the worlds first commercial microprocessor chip in Santa Clara Valley became known as Silicon Valley, and our world changed forever. More than 40 years later, we live in what Robert Safian describes as a place where the future of business is chaotic and impossible to predict. Employees no longer sign up to work for companies for their entire careers they work in uncertain economic times; they watch as traditional institutions struggle to find new structures to fend off disruptors, and they listen to warnings of a dim future.

There is one certainty, however. The next decade or two will be defined more by fluidity than by any new, settled paradigm; if there is a pattern to all of this, it is that there is no pattern. Safian calls those who succeed under the pressures of todays conditions Generation Flux. What defines GenFlux, he says, is a mind-set that embraces instability, that tolerates and even enjoys recalibrating. The status quo is an obsolete framework for innovation, so there is little choice but to invent new ways of doing things.

And invention is no longer reserved for the worlds best and brightest scientists, physicists and engineers. It took Shockley Semiconductor Laboratory to bring together eight minds that forever changed our world, but today the Internet has connected us all. We have the tools to collaborate, to educate ourselves and to build the things we want for our lives we are the inventors of our day. Online learning communities, crowdfunding platforms and social media outlets have removed barriers and increased the ways people can define and share their stories.

In todays world, it takes a well-told story to rise to the top one that connects the dots for us in new ways and designers are well-suited authors. These digital tools have broken down geographic boundaries.

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KERN AND BURN: A CONVERSATION WITH DESIGN ENTREPRENEURS on Vimeo

Billions of people access and connect to an overwhelming amount of information daily, and they search for ways to parse through the chaos. In his blog post Dear Graphic and Web Designers please understand that there are greater opportunities available to you, Ben Pieratt writes: The Internet, at this time in history, is the greatest client assignment of all time.

The Western world is porting itself over to the web in mind and deed and is looking to. Its every person in the world, connected to every other person in the world, and no one fully understands how to make best use of this new reality because no one has seen anything like it before. The Internet wants to hire you to build stuff for it because its trying to figure out what it can do. Its offering you a blank check and asking you to come up with something fascinating and useful that it can embrace en masse, to the benefit of everyone.

The Kern and Burn Book

Todays designers are equipped with the skills necessary for critical thinking, empathy and powerful storytelling. They are trained to identify problems and invent solutions.


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  8. No longer a sign of treason, entrepreneurship is essential. Those who do it best are not ostracized but are held in high esteem. This book celebrates these design entrepreneurs. We interviewed 30 individuals who embrace uncertainty and take risks.

    Kern and Burn Conversations With Design

    These designers manufacture products, start side projects, self-publish books and found startups. They ask themselves important, hard questions and use design to discover the answers. These designers are seasoned veterans, Internet sensations, and self-taught young guns but their rsums and degrees are not why we chose them. We chose them because they hustle; they are passionate, and they have a perspective. They are fully equipped for success in todays self-made environment. The designers in this book might not have been invited into Robert Noyces inner circle four decades ago but they channel the Traitorous Eights spirit.

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    They are like us. They are brilliant because they have the audacity to try. They took an idea they had at the bar, in the shower or at the office, and It helps when a good collaboration has a sense of playfulness too. Jess: Collaborating on a thesis project is fairly unheard of at competitive graduate schools. MICA does a wonderful job of accepting students from a wide range of backgrounds. Tim wanted to start a business, and I wanted to start a magazine. It was a natural partnership; it just took us a little while to come to the conclusion to take the leap and collaborate.

    We knew that we wanted to discuss topics relevant to designers interested in starting their own business—and in order to create something on that scale, we needed each other. Is there a link between your interest in entrepreneurship, design, and collaboration? Tim: Definitely. Design is the process through which we communicate and create value for others. Entrepreneurship is applying the right constraints on a problem to make it sustainable over time. It is also a lens to understand design through a more objective viewpoint. Collaboration facilitates all of this and allows it to happen on a larger scale.

    Jess: The dynamic of the collaborators is a key factor to whether or not a business succeeds. Opposing qualities—such as a broad approach versus day-to-day details, technically minded versus artistic expression, messy studio space versus an organized desk—add up to form the bigger picture of a working relationship that is balanced by these variances.

    The success of our partnership has always worked because we are different. Tim and I have different technical skills, priorities, work methods, and stress-levels, but those differences work in our favor because they force us to challenge one another. We love the name Kern and Burn because it represents each of us so well: Jess is the Kern detail and execution-oriented and Tim is the Burn ideation and big-picture. Entrepreneurship and collaboration are linked through design for us. We believe that designers are perfectly positioned to be entrepreneurs. Now, with the help of services such as Kickstarter, designers are in an easier position to take ideas of their own, rally the support of others, and launch their own ventures.

    After conducting all of the interviews with design entrepreneurs, can you merge their advice with your own experiences to offer a list of principles for younger designers interested in launching some sort of collaborative?