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Producing, Making

Last Week, In China

Last week I was in Shenzhen, one of the few cities in China you need a Visa to enter. A city where an American tourist with only English under his belt needs to find a generous soul willing to type an address in Chinese into his phone to show the cab driver every time he needs a ride. I was in Shenzhen, alone — visiting factories, wearing a suit, representing a consumer electronics company I created eleven months ago.

Eleven months ago I thought CES was a cleaning product. 11 months ago I thought PCB was a chemical used by plumbers. Eleven months ago I thought “schematic entry” was a phrase uttered only by urologists. Eleven months ago I was a professional composer and sound designer. I was an artist. I knew the joys of making and I made a living making sound.

On the flight to Shenzhen I counted fifteen passengers watching the movie “Sex Tape,” starring Cameron Diaz and Jason Segal in my section. After landing, I saw streets littered with advertisements and western capitalism. I noticed every gas station, pharmacy, office building, and grocery store plastered with images of Transformers and Looney Tunes. Yes, Looney Tunes. For citizens of Shenzhen, making is not encouraged — producing is. Filled to the brim with factories, the city seems devoted to the act of producing. Producing another person’s makings. Visiting factory upon factory, I couldn’t help comparing every detail to its analog in my life in New York — a city very much devoted to the act of making.


In one of my first sound design courses at Carnegie Mellon University, my professor asked the class, “What is the difference between a designer and a craftsman?” He then explained, “A designer must be a craftsman in order to be a designer; a craftsman does not need to be a designer to be a craftsman.” I see the same application when it comes to business: a business owner must be first an employee in order to be an owner; an employee does not need to be an owner to be an employee.

In a similar vain, my experience as a composer and sound designer is what has allowed me to become a business owner and it is something that will never leave me as I journey further and further into this corporate world. In my eyes, one can’t be a business owner without being first an artist. Owning a business requires incredible amounts of creativity, improvisation, and passion. It requires knowing the joys of making, while mastering the art of production. With Hooke, I want to produce a product that makes making more readily available to the world. Because the opportunity to create should be everyone’s business.

From One Ear To Another,
Anthony Mattana
Hooke Founder

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