kk.jpgThis year, we decided, besides covering the birthdays of icons of technology and science who are no longer with us, we’d celebrate some of the living icons who’ve directly influenced our lives as makers.

When I started brainstorming my list, Kevin Kelly was one of the first people on it. Kevin was an editor of Whole Earth Review and the Whole Earth Catalog, publications that had a profound impact on me and helped set the course of my DIY life. He was also a founding editor of Wired and was instrumental in setting the tone of that hugely influential publication.

Kevin’s books include Out of Control: The New Biology of Machines, Social Systems, and the Economic World. This book was a big influence on my own Absolute Beginner’s Guide to Building Robots and my continued interest in biologically-inspired technology (e.g. behavior-based robotics). Kevin’s recent projects include the indispensable Cool Tools mailing list, Street Use (a site of folk technology and clever street hacks), and the Quantified Self (self-knowledge through self-data tracking).

Happy Birthday, Kevin. And thanks for decades of inspiration, thought-provocation, and “access to tools.”

Kevin Kelly’s website

Gareth Branwyn

Gareth Branwyn

Gareth Branwyn is a freelancer writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor for Boing Boing and WINK Books. And he has a new best-of writing collection and “lazy man’s memoir,” called Borg Like Me.

  • Phillip Torrone

    kevin kelly is one of my favorite writers – if it’s an article of his that takes 5 minutes or so to read – i build in an extra 15 to 20 minutes to just process the latest mind bomb he’s dropped.

  • Gareth Branwyn

    I feel the same way, PT. He comes up with ideas, skews on things that, even I don’t agree with the arguments, I’m thrilled by the thoughtful journeys I go on, the discussions/arguments I get into, etc. And I love that he doesn’t paint inside of anybody else’s lines. He’s a true independent thinker, which is, sadly, all too rare.