Clock-building celebrity Ahmed Mohamed had a super-concentrated World Maker Faire experience this weekend in New York. He raced a DeLorean go kart, turned the crank on the life-size Mouse Trap game, flew some drones, and got smiles from everyone he met.
We were glad to welcome Ahmed to the Faire. As both Maker Media founder Dale Dougherty wrote in Re/Code and I said on Make:, we feel that there’s a little bit of Ahmed in every young Maker, and we wanted Ahmed to be able to experience being with his people (the nerds) at Maker Faire. We also hoped that he could in turn inspire other young Makers to start making cool things.
Walking around Maker Faire with Ahmed was a fun and exhausting experience. For one thing, Ahmed was zipping around on one of those self-balancing sideways skateboards; the rest of us, including his family, were on foot.
But every time we caught up with him at a Maker Faire exhibit, we’d find him chatting with some exhibitor or show attendee, and having a lot of pictures taken with smiling people. Ahmed is a gracious 14-year-old with an easy smile, which he clearly doesn’t mind sharing with other people.
I also had a brief talk with Ahmed, and it’s clear that, like many of the attendees at every Maker Faire, he has just started down his path as a tinkerer, inventor, and builder. He’s proud of some of the skills he has, and eager to pick up new ones. He realizes, just as the most experienced Makers do, that there’s still a lifetime of skill learning in front of him.
This young Maker has been dropped into a surreal circumstance, but he’s making the best of it. Here at Maker Faire, he’s giving back the energy and optimism of all the Makers who rolled out the red carpet for him, in the form of his smile, his enthusiasm for sharing his story, and his willingness to be an active part of our community.
Thanks, Ahmed. We loved having you at the Faire, and we hope you had a good time.