CM 012: Thiel Fellow Madison Maxey on Making and Design

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Blog Post - Madison MaxeyAt 16, Madison Maxey was the youngest to intern at Tommy Hilfiger. Shortly after that, she founded her company, The Crated, a product innovation studio focused on second-generation wearable technology. Then, she went to college, like she was supposed to do.

But for Maddy, there was a disconnect between the feelings that she received from her work and sitting in college classes.So after one semester of college, she dropped out to accept a Thiel Fellowship. Since then her work has been featured in Wired, Fast Company, and New York Magazine, and she has provided wearable tech insights to the likes of the White House and Google. She has been named a founder to watch by Women 2.0 and is an Entrepreneur in Residence at General Assembly and an Artist in Residence at Autodesk.

This week, in a special edition of Curious Minds, I share interviews with four young people, ages 18-22, each of whom decided either to drop out or never attend college, in order to pursue work that mattered to them. Each is either a current or past recipient of a Thiel Fellowship, a program founded in 2011 by Peter Thiel to encourage young people to sidestep college and a traditional life path, in order to chart their own course as entrepreneurs.

In this episode you will hear Madison talk about:

  • innovations in wearable technology
  • what motivated her to learn programming
  • why she dropped out of college after one semester
  • her eagerness to be a Thiel Fellow
  • her passion for costume design and design optimization
  • what her parents thought about her decision to drop out of college
  • her policy of You Do You
  • the importance of finding your tribe
  • how communication skills inform her work
  • her work in relation to the Maker Movement
  • how uncertainty is a natural part of innovation
  • why young people should be working on projects right now
  • how she had to learn the skills of time management
  • her curiosity about teamwork, collaboration, and community in relation to a goal

Links to Topics Mentioned in this Podcast


Digital Fabrication

Textile Circuits

General Assembly


Computational Design

3D CNC Machine



Enabling Technologies

Nathan Wolfe TEDTalk

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Thank you to Emmy-award-winning Creative Director Vanida Vae for creating the Curious Minds logo!



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