Co-Founder and CTO, Ica & Kostika
I was born in paradise and I was raised by Gods. This lasted during the first 10 years then the lights went out. I’m talking about the country of Albania and my family, friends and everyone involved in the formation of my personality. I was born into a fruitful land where everything was once organic, life was a beautiful dream, and love, it was just abundant. It helped form a concrete core that would later withstand, a revolution, a Great Depression, a civil war-like situation and lots of crime and violence. No matter what happened, I always made time for art. Despite the shortage of paper, writing and coloring tools, or any artistic infrastructure, I drew on the ground with a stick, I sculpted out of the asphalt dripping on the sides of old brick buildings, created toys, insects and figurines out of electrical cables and studied the smallest details I could see on all live plants and animals I got my hands on. My family and I arrived in America in April of 1998, due to my mom winning the green card lottery. It was here when art flourished again for me. While in high school, my best friend got me my first mural. Later on I attended college and earned a Masters in Architecture. Then eager to work on cooler projects, I ended up 3D modeling the hottest 3D printed high heel, ‘Biomimicry Shoe’, in collaboration with Marieka Ratsma. This made me internet famous, opened many doors and I eventually found myself in New York City, living the life of a rockstar, which only lasted about eight months. Lets not forget Shapeways, today’s largest global 3D Printing service provider, and second home for me to experiment, collaborate and grow. Eventually my wife found me on LinkedIn to collaborate on her shoe designs. We ended up falling in love and here we are today, making the craziest, most futuristic shoes on the planet.
When we look at one’s career progression today, it goes something like this. Find passion, master the skills needed to pursuit passion, learn through trial and error, perfect one’s skills, become aware of big ideas, proliferate ideas through leadership and make a global impact. In simpler words, do what you love and outsource what you don’t. This approach has led humanity towards ever evolving progress, prosperity and technological marvels. However, it still leaves humanity with winners and losers and we finally have the right tools to improve our story. Instead of doing what we love and outsourcing what we do not, we automate the undesirable. This approach leads us to the tipping point, the transition from type zero to type one civilization (see Kardashev scale), we are moving from human doing to human being. I will tell you a story, enriched with animated visuals from my experience in leading a half a million dollar private footwear and apparel company towards automation, by simplifying the product creation process into clean steps, rewritten as algorithms to be fed to machine learning mechanisms on phase one. Next, the machines will breed between digitally human created 3d CAD models, similar to how nature breeds us and everything alive. Finally, bring in artificial intelligence to bridge the gap between creator and benefactor (client) allowing everyone involved to seamlessly influence the product throughout its entire life-cycle.