This concept came out of a game I used to play on my own during lean times…basically what could I make over the course of a weekend with just the objects I have in my house.  How could I re-imagine my possessions, my profession (and on a bigger level my reality), completely mix it up, and create something new.

This is a very important project to me.  I’ve probably been working on it for over 10 years. I’ve run small tests in the past, but in Feb 2013 we ran the first large-scale global Deconstruction.

What is the Deconstruction?  It is a global event about re-thinking the world as you know it, taking it apart, making a few adjustments, then putting it back together a little awesomer-er.  It’s a light-hearted competition, but it’s really more of a large-scale collaboration between friends, participants, and the public. The concept is to make the world a slightly better, more fun, and more interesting place over 48 hours. The 2013 Deconstruction had over 40 teams participating in 5 continents and over 15 countries.

This event is sort of my answer to something that’s always sort of bothered me about TED, and other “events that inspire”. The people who are standing in front of the crowd, or the camera, have done amazing things and deserve to be celebrated, and their ideas need to be shared. Most of the people watching though, are just…well watching. The Deconstruction is setup so that anyone can participate, and manifest their own new ideas.  It’s not really about creating the next earth-shattering creation or idea, it’s more about creating a scenario where people can push themselves (myself included).

The entire 48 hour event was live-streamed.  For the competition we operated a next-generation streaming studio which acted as the event’s “brain”.  Each team participating operated their own live feed. We also created a host feed where we could speak to and interview the participants, and inspiring special guests. We communicated in real-time with teams around the world via Skype, Facetime, and any other streaming digital platforms.  We were also able to facilitate collaborations with other teams, and individuals who were just watching our stream.

The Deconstruction streaming studio in action. Many of the systems we needed to use did not exist as an out of the box solution, so we had to piece it all together using multiple platforms.

We brought in some great special guests to share their stories about creating greatness from the ground up. We had musicians, painters, artists, filmmakers….creative people from across all genres.  Our only criteria was that they created something from the ground up.  We wanted real stories about creating great things from scratch. However, we wanted the real scoop, no matter how spectacular or practical it was.

Scott Beale, founded of Laughing Squid being interviewed about the early days of The Cacophony Society, Burning Man, and San Francisco’s Tech Scene.

A special late-night music performance (via Skype) on host feed.


This was a truly experimental event and we had no idea what to expect. We knew something was going to happen..I don’t think anyone expected the outcome…the final submission were truly mind-blowing.   A team in Virgina produced a fully functional propellor-powered car (Deconstruct: Transportation), a team in Los Angeles created an entire remixed musical album (Deconstruct: Music), a team in Sweden created an art instillation about DRM called the “DRM Chair” (Deconstruct: Musical Chairs), and a group of students in France created a Rube Goldberg in their dorm room that explained Photosynthesis (Deconstruct: Photosynthesis).   We had lots of others…Deconstruct: Film, Deconstruct: Zombies, Deconstruct: Public Space, etc.   The final blogs are really worth taking a look at so you can see the process. Here are a few of the video favorites:

I cant even begin to thank the team who worked on this. Especially Tyler Hanson, Alicia Soliz, Eddie Codel, and Molly Freedenberg.  We all worked incredibly long hours, and had some very challenging technological hurdles to overcome (and not a lot of money to make it happen).  In the end though, it was probably one of the most rewarding and powerful experiences of my life.  We played our own game…and we made something new.