Adam Savage’s One Day Builds

By admin
Since his time at

Mythbusters
PERSON

,

Adam Savage
PERSON

has been running Tested, a maker

YouTube
ORG

channel that deals with all forms of nerdery.

One
CARDINAL

recurring segment of Tested is

Adam Savage
PERSON

’s series of “

One Day Builds
WORK_OF_ART

”.

Savage
PERSON

is the embodiment of the maker persona, so it’s no wonder such a prolific builder would make a series like that.

I also can’t help but see how the concept of

one day
DATE

builds have almost infinite practical advantages for someone like him (and someone like me?). Based on the dozens of one day builds I’ve watched, they seem to offer the following benefits:

An interesting mix of projects. From movie prop replicas, to model builds, to lego builds, to organizing his shop; there’s a diversity of projects to keep his active brain interested. And it keeps me interested too. At a basic level I love how organizing your workplace, a little mise en place, is a one day build project unto itself.

From movie prop replicas, to model builds, to lego builds, to organizing his shop; there’s a diversity of projects to keep his active brain interested. And it keeps me interested too. At a basic level I love how organizing your workplace, a little mise en place, is a one day build project unto itself. Fits his maker persona and skill base. You get the sense from

Mythbusters
PERSON

that

Adam Savage
PERSON

is a person who doesn’t sit still.

One day
DATE

builds allow for rapid iteration and rapid problem solving, which I think is in

Savage
ORG

’s wheelhouse. It fits his unique brand of hyperactive and excited energy applied towards tinkering and fabricating ideas.

You get the sense from

Mythbusters
PERSON

that

Adam Savage
PERSON

is a person who doesn’t sit still.

One day
DATE

builds allow for rapid iteration and rapid problem solving, which I think is in

Savage
ORG

’s wheelhouse. It fits his unique brand of hyperactive and excited energy applied towards tinkering and fabricating ideas. A time box for scoping projects. With

one day
DATE

builds, you’re not doing

a week
DATE

that turns into

two weeks
DATE

that turns into

a month
DATE

. You’re not doing an hour project that turns into

a day
DATE

. You’re doing a day project that may spill over to

the next day
DATE

. A perfect scope that’s great for content generation.

With

one day
DATE

builds, you’re not doing

a week
DATE

that turns into

two weeks
DATE

that turns into

a month
DATE

. You’re not doing an hour project that turns into

a day
DATE

. You’re doing a day project that may spill over to

the next day
DATE

. A perfect scope that’s great for content generation. Bite-sized content for

YouTube
ORG

.

One day
DATE

builds gives you a steady stream of bite-sized content which is faster to capture, edit, and release. A

one day
DATE

build boils down perfectly into the

10-minute
TIME


YouTube
ORG

video format. Selfishly, I strategize that you could batch record

a couple weeks
DATE

worth of content then take

a few months
DATE

off. You’re never chasing your own tail drumming up content.


One day
DATE

builds gives you a steady stream of bite-sized content which is faster to capture, edit, and release. A

one day
DATE

build boils down perfectly into the

10-minute
TIME


YouTube
ORG

video format. Selfishly, I strategize that you could batch record

a couple weeks
DATE

worth of content then take

a few months
DATE

off. You’re never chasing your own tail drumming up content. Bonus livestream content for

Patreon
ORG

. Supporters get a behind-the-scenes livestream of the one day build with a sense of satisfaction seeing a project completed over a single stream

rather than months
DATE

. As far as completing dopamine satisfaction cycles goes, this is high-value.

Supporters get a behind-the-scenes livestream of the one day build with a sense of satisfaction seeing a project completed over a single stream

rather than months
DATE

. As far as completing dopamine satisfaction cycles goes, this is high-value. It’s the opposite of a highly produced

Mythbusters
PERSON

episode.

Savage
PERSON

said at

one
CARDINAL

point Mythbusters cost around ~$10,000/minute to record. Camera crews, safety experts, explosives, and crane rentals add up. With

one day
DATE

builds, there’s no driving out to the desert to blow cement trucks up, no putting cameras on a car and launching them off a cliff. A

one day
DATE

build is

Adam
PERSON

, an

iPhone
ORG

, and some

GoPros
ORG

setup for timelapse footage around the shop; a massive simplification in production.


Savage
PERSON

said at

one
CARDINAL

point Mythbusters cost around ~$10,000/minute to record. Camera crews, safety experts, explosives, and crane rentals add up. With

one day
DATE

builds, there’s no driving out to the desert to blow cement trucks up, no putting cameras on a car and launching them off a cliff. A

one day
DATE

build is

Adam
PERSON

, an

iPhone
ORG

, and some

GoPros
ORG

setup for timelapse footage around the shop; a massive simplification in production. Quantity Guaranteed. I imagine

Savage
PERSON

has infinite project ideas rattling around in his head. Making space for satisfying

one day
DATE

builds seems like a good way to ensure you actualize a certain quantity of projects in your lifetime.

Alls to say, I think this format suits

Adam Savage
PERSON

and I see mostly advantages with the approach. The biggest tradeoff is probably project depth, but depth can be a trap where

weeks
DATE

or

months
DATE

of toil gets swept into the garbage can. It’s not all loss, lessons where learned, but at a greater expense.


Last month
DATE

I had the opportunity to do a proper one day build at work. We needed an internal tool to shape some demo data for screencasts and screenshots. Rather than hacking the database directly, I built a little

UI
ORG

tool to enable this niche request.

Only one
CARDINAL

person will ever use it, but it worked great and gave me a sense of satisfaction that emotionally carried me for

a few weeks
DATE

.

There’s a great temptation to try and structure my work life into a regular series of

one day
DATE

builds. I wonder if this would work across a team for consistent delivery and/or content generation. Is it possible to scale this style of working…

Tempting as that may be, it’s worth noting that

Savage
ORG

says he doesn’t jump into

one day
DATE

builds. There’s a lot of pre-thinking and material acquisition that goes on beforehand. He won’t start a project until the mental dots align. Building a cadence on that foundation might be difficult. Perhaps that’s what project management needs though, a little less cadence and little more forethought.

Lastly, a quote from

one
CARDINAL

of

Adam Savage
PERSON

’s

one day
DATE

builds that I love: