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Monday, October 3, 2011

Coolest Ribbon Cutting Ever: The Grand Opening of TechShop SJ

TechShop San Jose recently held their official Grand Opening. Hubby and I arrived bright and early and were greeted by giant balloon gears, the TechShop logo, and lots of interesting vendors and presentations.

The opening took place both in the TechShop building and in the huge parking lot across the street. The street between was closed to traffic to allow the celebration to easily flow between both areas.

And YAY! San Jose's Moveable Feast, a gathering of gourmet food trucks, was there giving me the opportunity to try some new food by vendors like Soulnese and Louisiana Territory.

Watch the sparks fly beginning at 2:05 on this ribbon cutting video.

You have never seen a ribbon cutting like this! TechShop made this super cool metal ribbon on their waterjet cutter. Paper? Scissors? No way! They used a plasma cutter to cut through the metal.

The video also includes a welcome by TechShop Founder Jim Newton followed by Councilman Sam Liccardo and TechShop CEO Mark Hatch.

If you can't watch it here's a photo to show you what the big moment was like. But the video is way cooler so watch it if you can.

That's Carl Bass, CEO of Autodesk doing the honors.

One last spark and the ribbon was cut!

As the day progressed the crowd grew larger and larger.

There was a neat chalk board where you could fill in the blank of what you would make if you could make anything. It attracted people of all ages with all kinds of dreams. . .

For some, pictures speak louder than words.

One of these ideas belong to my hubby and one is mine. Can you guess which is his and which is mine?

There was a mini Bizarre Bazaar.

Loved these "Window Druzy" necklaces by Ashley Kim Jewelry.

Make Magazine was there.

The Team Filo Lost in Space Robot and jet packs were there. And I'm not a surfer but thought these wooden longboard fins by JETT FIN CO were pretty cool.

Yes and Yes designs had the most unusual jewelry made of upcycled book covers.

Of course no grand opening would be complete without a tour of the facility.

The crowds were thronging in to check out all of the cool equipment in the wood shop, CNC Studio, electronics room, plastic fabrication area, welding stations, metal cutting area, 3D Lab and more.

TechShop CEO Mark Hatch (in top image above) and Founder Jim Newton (in lower image above) both spoke in the afternoon. Mark about some of the things members of TechShop have accomplished and Jim about how it was his desire to use cool equipment that led him to creating the first TechShop in Menlo Park.

Mark shared with us great success stories about companies that used Tech Shop to help develop their products. Some are now saving lives, winning awards and all are changing the world.
  • Clustered Systems
  • Their tagline "Extreme Green Cooling" describes their high performance cooling systems they've developed and market for servers, storage systems and related applications. They also design, sell and license adapters to enable standard volume servers to be used with racks made to their specifications.
  • Drip Tech
    Because global water usage is unsustainable from a food security perspective, Drip Tech's mission is to alleviate poverty by creating affordable and efficient irrigation systems for small-plot farmers in developing nations. Based in Silicon Valley, with offices in Pune and Beijing the company distributes its systems in India and China. The Tech Awards honored Driptech as a Laureate in 2009 for its innovative use of technology benefiting humanity. BusinessWeek featured Driptech as one of the top five most promising social enterprises of 2010, and as one of the 25 most intriguing new startups of 2009.
  • Embrace
  • In rural areas and developing countries the odds of a premature baby surviving can come down to minutes and body temperature. Because they are not able to regulate their own body temperature thousands of babies die for lack of an incubator. The embrace infant warmer keeps a baby's body temperature at 98.6º (37º celsius) for 4-6 hours allowing their parents to get them to the medical help they need to save them.
  • Solum
  • Solum is an agricultural technology company that develops advanced measurement systems that enable fast and accurate field sample analysis. Founded in 2009 by a team of Stanford physics and engineering graduates, Solum’s first commercial application allows growers and agricultural service providers to affordably obtain unprecedentedly high-resolution soil nutrient information.
  • Square
  • Chances are you may have already used Square. It's the credit card reader and payment system that allows companies large and small to use mobile devices (like iPhones) to process credit card payments. Square Register allows the same functions but on iPads. What I love most about Square is that your receipt is emailed to you instead of being printed on paper. That's so eco-friendly! Here's a great Forbe's article all about how Square works.

The grand finale of the afternoon was a performance by EepyBird. They're the two guys who drop Mento mints into 2 liter bottles of Coke to create volcanic type eruptions. By rigging the bottles with pins and string they create a wet and minty show they now perform on a fairly regular basis. It's fun science you can try at home but they recommended not trying it in your car. LOL

Watch EepyBird's exploding Coke and Mentos performance.

Not sure why my video camera created moire patterns on the brick wall behind the stage but imo it kind of makes the whole thing look cooler in a psychedelic way.

And we can't forget the food. Attending that day from Moveable Feast were Soulnese, Louisiana Territory, Hiyaaa and Toasty Melts.

I was kind of bummed my foodie friend Carl wasn't with me, I actually feel a little guilty when I eat fun food without him. LOL. Buy my friend Gordon Garb showed up so we perused the trucks together.

The first thing I ate at Soulnese, a fusion of Asian and Soul food, was also my favorite thing I tried that day. The "Mac N Rolls" were macaroni and cheese spring rolls with a mildly spicy cheesy dipping sauce. They ROCKED! I will definitely have these again the next time I spot Soulnese parked on a street.

I also tried the Bread Pudding from the Cajun food truck The Louisiana Territory. It was good but not really my favorite kind of bread pudding because I like puddings made with a firm bread. If you like bread pudding made with a softer, fresher bread base you'll probably like theirs a lot.

I was disappointed because I'd meant to try their vegetarian "Bend Bowl" (made of beans & rice, garlic hummus, cheddar cheese, scallions, avocado, cilantro, fage yogurt, & Srirachi chili sauce) but I waited too long and they sold out before I made it back later that afternoon. Bummer. Next time.

The "Big Apple" on the left and "Irish Cheddar Bomb" on the right.

Gordon and I split a Toasty Melts "Big Apple" grilled cheese sandwich with Cabot cheese and organic apple butter. For an extra dollar we added on thin slices of fresh apple. Sadly, it wasn't as good as it should have been because there wasn't very much cheese and what was there hadn't been heated enough to melt completely so the cheese was scarce, semi dry and kind of glumpy.

I've had a Toasty Melts Fromage-A-Trois before that was well melted and gooey so I know their sandwiches can be very good. I think they were just so swamped that day they rushed when they should have taken an extra minute or two.

My friend Loretta tried the "Irish Cheddar Bomb" a grilled cheese filled with Dubliner Cheddar, Extra Sharp Cheddar, garlic mashed potaotes and chives. She said hers was good. You can tell in the picture her cheese was very melted.

Plus something else just didn't seem quite right with our Big Apple sandwich. It had a weird crunch to it. I suspect they used a Macintosh when Granny Smith or Fuji apple slices would have been better.

(Just kidding. The fresh apples were fine. That's my hubby. He works at Apple, you know, the place that makes Macs. LOL he was sitting on the curb so I lined up my sandwich in front of him, had him pose, then photoshopped his shirt a little lower to put him in the sandwich.)

I was too full to eat more so I took a photo of the plate Loretta got at Hiyaaa, a Vietnamese food truck. She was sampling several trucks and taking the leftovers home with her. On her Hiyaa plate was (I think) spicy pork, curry chicken over rice and a sandwich roll. She said it was all good.

Curious about TechShop? Want to join and begin not only dreaming but actually building your ideas to bring them to life? Just CLICK HERE to visit the http://techshop.ws website.

If you'd like to learn more about TechShop check out a past post I wrote about them earlier this year: TechShop San Jose: A DIY Workshop for Designers, Inventors and Dreamers.

Current locations include:
Menlo Park (CA), San Francisco (CA), San Jose (CA), and Raleigh (NC).

Future locations include:

Detroit, MI
Under Construction Fall 2011

Portland, OR
In Planning

Brooklyn, NY
In Planning

Los Angeles, CA

Disclosure: Hubby and I are investors and lifetime members of TechShop San Jose.

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