Video - Don't Follow Your Passion

That seems like a harsh thing to say, but I think Mike Rowe makes some good points. When I was watching the video I couldn’t help but think about the story of Inventables. I don’t remember if it was an interview, or a blog post, or some other thing. I just remember that I found it interesting to hear @Zach_Kaplan talk about how the company evolved to follow opportunity. It just struck me as good advice, and this video brought that back.

Anyway, enjoy…or not.


Excellent video. Society is filled with lots of untrue “truths”. Good to finally see a video about applying logic.


Good stuff.

@BradT I think you need to be careful with the generalizations here. He says “just because you’re passionate about something doesn’t mean you won’t suck at it” which I think is a good point.

For me I was interested and passionate about broader area of product design, technology and mechanical engineering. The opportunities I have pursued have been within those domains. Over that time I’ve developed a passion for running the business as well. By following my passion I’ve been able to identify several opportunities that have yielded financial success for the business. We’ve been able to get to a purpose and mission for the company that gets me and our team excited every morning to come in to work:

Inventables Purpose
To bring out the maker in all of us

Inventables Mission
To put a 3D carver in every school by the end of the decade

I think it’s good that he draws attention to the issue because I think it is more nuanced than people give it credit for with these sound byte lines. Simon Sinek did a great TED talk about how great leaders inspire action. If you are purely following opportunity you risk ending up like Samuel Pierpont Langley instead of the Wright Brothers. In my experience I haven’t followed my passion blindly and I haven’t followed opportunity blindly either.

In my experience it also wasn’t passion vs. opportunity but a mixture of both plus a heavy bias towards action, perseverance, sheer effort, and teaming up with people that had complimentary strengths.

It’s important to remember Inventables is a team not a person.

One of my favorite TED talks ever. This stuff should be taught in schools.

I tend to feel that this statement includes not only the wonderful folks in the brick and mortar in Chicago but to some extent all of us out here in the "ether"or forum as well. For myself, the Xcarve is as much about the community and community mindset as much as it is about the machine itself.

I didn’t mean to generalize. I think I just used my words poorly. It is a very nuanced topic as you said. I apologize if came across wrong.

Obviously I would never question your passion and love for what you do (or that of any of the other folks involved with Inventables). The video just reminds me of some elements of this podcast you were on, Zach Kaplan on this weeks Makercast podcast. The acrylic story you told is a great example. As is the Makerslide story. They both struck me as seemingly small moments of opportunity that ended up creating pretty substantial turns in the history of the company.

I think a lot of us, once we find our passion, we tend to set our eyes on a goal, and it would be very easy to miss our “acrylic” because it doesn’t necessarily fit the direction we think we should be headed.

This conversation is exactly what is being pointed out in the video! Passion can be a narrow vision of what a person “wants”. Opportunity is what is available to an individual if they broaden their vision of things around them. We can pick a word or phrase and beat it to death, but if we read between the lines and just let the person voice their opinion, everyone wins. Just saying that for a lot of actors, it is a passion to get discovered and win an oscar but the reality is that you will wait tables and find out that an opportunity will show itself and it may or may not be in pictures!


@JkWestphal TOTALLY! The Inventables community is a critical part of what we are doing. As we spread into schools we are seeing people from the Inventables community all over the country act as mentors and leaders and just plain helping out. Somehow what we are doing resonates with people in a way that brings out their maker spirit and they realize it’s bigger than the machine or the software.

@BradT thanks for bringing this video to the forum. It’s a cool addition to the conversation because so many of us are involved because of passion and also looking for opportunity. I’m constantly blown away at the different types of products and businesses X-Carve owners do with their machines. As these robots become more accessible I think you’re going to see even more businesses pop up. Maybe one day it will come with the machine! Zoink!?!

Maybe we should invite Mike Rowe over to take a tour and have a chat!