A message from the founder: I'm not sure when the labels "hobbyist" and "amateur" became associated with negative connotations. We celebrate some amateurs, those who strive for "Olympic Gold." For the rest of us, however, who passionately volunteer time and pursue interests without pay and recognition, there is a tendency to be looked down upon. Many people just don't understand such devotion, whether it be focused on a craft, a life goal, or a grand dream.
Of course we all know about the famous hobbyists Orville and Wilbur Wright. Their long-time, childhood fascination of flight drove their amateur pursuit well into their adult lives. But what about Charles Goodyear who reduced his family to poverty and was jailed for debt. He was derided as a mad-man in the 1800's. Yet his passion to solve rubber's fatal flaws led him to develop vulcanized rubber, which advanced industries and made possible new innovations.
In our era, we can thank Sally Fox for her years devoted to cultivating naturally colored cotton, resulting in a far more environmentally friendly product now used by leading clothing brands and garment manufacturers; and Patricia Billings, a sculptor, who after years of experimenting to improve sculpting materials, developed Geobond, a non-toxic, indestructible and fire-proof replacement for asbestos. These are just two examples of many "hobbyists and amateurs" who made a difference in our world.
Even our young with their amateur interests can lead to unimaginable goodness. Consider Rachel Zimmerman, who in the 1980's as a twelve-year old, developed software that translates Blissymbols into written language. Blissymbols enable non-speaking people, such as those with severe physical disabilities like cerebral palsy, to communicate. Rachel's interest turned into an invention that permits such users to more easily communicate, even via email.
So let's celebrate all the "hobbyists" and "amateurs." Your obsessive kind of world-changing devotions and beliefs can be the force that drives you to find breakthroughs, to make differences in others' lives, to "Enable the Extraordinary®".