Innovator Spotlight

This week we’re getting to know one of the builders in the Bricleir network. You’ll find him working away at Innovation Park in South Bend.

Evan Claudeanos (Founder at Amaforge)

What was the item or activity you couldn’t live without growing up?

I want to say something particularly exciting here, but if I am being honest, it was probably reading science-fiction books. At some point I became pretty obsessed with computer games, but before that, I spent most evenings in my room pretending to do homework while I read. I have always considered myself a “night person”, and that probably has a lot to do with my habit (starting when I was 10 or 11) of staying up past midnight most nights trying to finish homework that I had put off because I had been reading some sci-fi novel.

What is your favorite word or quote?

I am a stubborn optimist, particularly in relation to human progress, so this quotation from a recent read has resonated with me: “There can be no question of which was the greatest era for culture; the answer has to be today, until it is superseded by tomorrow.” – Steven Pinker

If you could have one talent you don’t already possess what would it be?

That would have to be a visual art form—probably sculpting. I am a musician but lack any talent in the visual arts, which is something I regret. When visiting museums, I am drawn more than anything to classically styled bronze and marble sculptures. I always promise myself that I will someday learn to work with those materials, but I have never taken any steps in that direction.

What inspires your innovative side and motivates you to pursue the path you chose?

The current state of technology is astonishingly exciting. Most modern tech could have ended up a cluster of closely-guarded secrets within various commercial and government entities. Sure, some of it is that way, but we also have this beautiful, rich landscape of opensource code and easily-accessible computing resources that allow virtually anyone with an interest to be a contributing part of some major, impactful modern advancement. While my company is young, and we haven’t yet contributed any of our tech to the opensource landscape, it’s an inspiring time to be working in the tech industry.

What was one of the first lessons you learned in business?

Be more open… Many of us start off with a preoccupation about our business idea—that it’s some top secret, never-before-thought-of, exceedingly precious idea that one should guard with one’s life. That preoccupation leads a lot of great ideas into stagnation. Great ideas require a lot of great people to move them forward, and bringing great people together requires openness.

Knowing what you know now, what would you tell your 19-year-old self?

At 19, I struggled to choose a path because I thought that my choice would be permanent—I thought that if I studies a particular thing in college, I would be stuck in a particular career forever. To a young adult, that’s one of the scariest thoughts in the world. I know now that my worry was unfounded, so I would tell my 19-year-old self to quit worrying, work hard in an area that interests him now, and stay excited and optimistic about what the future holds.