How MythBuster Adam Savage Solves Problems


In this Maker Faire talk from 2010, Adam Savage explains how he went from being a billiards player to a prop-maker to a special effects master, and ultimately a MythBuster (among much else). It boils down to problem-solving. Savage sees basically everything in life as an exercise in problem-solving, and he makes a series of points about his process for solving problems. My favorite is an anecdote about MythBusters cohost Jamie Hyneman. Hyneman asks people around the MythBusters shop to "drill a hole in the X," draws an X on a piece of wood, and walks away. The result reveals a crucial problem with communication: what does "in the X" mean? Does it mean the intersection of the X, the corners of the X, the entire drawing of the X? People interpret the problem statement differently, but proceed to act on whatever they think is the right action. And communication is just one problem in the set.

Do you make stuff? You should watch this.

As the video tells you about a zillion times, there's a longer version of the talk online.

Also fun: Adam Savage’s Impassioned Speech on Reason; Adam Savage Talks Feynman, Eratosthenes, and Fizeau; Mythbuster Adam Savage on Failure; Adam Savage: About My “Indiana Jones” Hat; and MythBuster Adam Savage Isn’t Done with the Dodo. Obviously, we're fans.