WATCH: Adam Savage and Kevin Kelly talk about starter tools everyone should have


Watched this when it was posted up on youtube and I recommend it. It’s a long video but it’s entertaining and informative. I added in my wishlist the cool tools book that is mentioned (: hope top buy it sometime in the future.

All of the videos from Still Untitled : The Adam Savage Project as well as the whole Tested channel on YouTube are highly entertaining and well worth watching.

The first part is chatting about Kevin Kelly’s C.V., and specifically about how he made the book. If you want to skip that, start at ~12:50.



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Hey Kevin Kelly, if the freelancers you found on elance did good work for you, reward them by hiring them again for your next project and paying them more than you did for the “Cool Tools” book (rather than just hiring whatever random freelancers put in the lowest quote). Otherwise, you’re contributing to the race-to-the-bottom that sites like that encourage. The 15 cents an image you mention would require the freelancer to pump out a stripped photo every 60 seconds for them to make California’s minimum wage (a rate which, I suppose, is possible depending upon the quality/nature of the source photos, but who could do that for very long?). Also, that doesn’t consider their time for the bidding process, communication with the client, file management and transfer, invoicing, etc, all of which can take longer than the actual work.

(Full disclosure: Many of my acquaintances are out-of-work former editors, proofreaders, photo editors, designers, illustrators, etc, who can’t make a living on the sweatshop pay they earn from sites like elance, despite having worked in publishing for decades).


It’s possible to automate the process of removing the background for said items. And cleaning those up presumably wouldn’t take long either. It’s not like every image is handcrafted artisanally.

and most of the images look like crap in this book. I regret buying 2 copies as gifts.

You’re ignoring the greater point: In the past, being a freelancer meant if you did a good job, the client hired you again. As your client’s business grew, they could afford to pay you more, and because of the mutually beneficial relationship, was willing to do so. Loyalty developed with creative collaboration. Sites like elance promote an attitude that the lowest quote wins most jobs, creating a race-to-the-bottom, where you have the choice of crap pay or no pay. I’ve seen person after person (usually the employees with the most experience, because their salary was the highest) get laid off their production job, and having to enter a freelance market in which it’s impossible for them to earn a living wage.

This isn’t about whether it’s possible to process 60 images in an hour (and even if you can, minimum wage is crap pay). He hired his whole production team this way, not just the folks who stripped out backgrounds from product photos.

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