The Difference Between MIT and ITP: Les Savy Fav vs Boston

mit itp The Difference Between MIT and ITP: Les Savy Fav vs Boston


This is a guest post from Tarikh Korula, founder of Uncommon Projects, and originally appeared at his blog, unprojects.

I’m often asked what the difference is between NYU’s ITP and MIT’s Media Lab. Sometimes from prospective students, but mostly from high-powered executives or important writers who have heard of the program or The Show. I had one friend once who left Media Lab disappointed, so I’m super-qualified to speak about it.

MIT kids are smart. Really smart. They probably have been studying violin since they were, like, two. Then they wrote software algorithms when they were 10 to approximate a symphony that could play along with them in real time while they played Bach concertos. If these kids were a rock band, they’d be Emerson, Lake and Palmer with a laser show and a 360 major label deal.

ITP kids are… resourceful. We didn’t invent hacking or email or lasers and shit. We invented QTVRPCompGurlArduino and Foursquare. Instead of beautiful John Meada visualizations, we’ve got a lot of wooden tiles that move in concert to show you a picture of yourself and we think that’s art. It’s not really, but we never studied art so we don’t really know any better. If we were a rock band, we’d be the Ramones with their shitty recording contract and Laurie Anderson playing midi controlled tambourine.

And that’s the difference between Media Lab and ITP. I created this Google spreadsheet MIT:MSG :: ITP:CBGB for further study.

les savy fav The Difference Between MIT and ITP: Les Savy Fav vs Boston

I hope this helps clear things up and finally puts the question “What’s the difference between ITP and Media Lab?” to rest.


  1. Anonymous says:

    hm hmmmm almost but not quite…

  2. Josh Knowles says:

    ITP is all about breaking things and then making cooler things with the resulting fragments. And hot glue.

  3. Gary Sharma says:

    You nailed it 

  4. eric socolofsky says:

    i think media labbers are generally more willing to show off their gear, tho.

  5. Anonymous says:

    hysterical! yet true..

    1. Michael Colombo says:

      Yes! To get more of an idea of projects and culture at ITP in a compact vid, check this site out…

  6. Amik Ahmad says:

    I’m excited to sell stuffs to the Googlz.

  7. Trevor Owens says:

    This post couldn’t have missed the point more. The real difference between ITP and MIT is the girl to guy ratio :-), specifically 85% male at MIT Media Lab and 45% male at ITP.