The Age of Makers

Age of MakersI have dug into the beginnings of Apple learning about Jobs and Wozniak and how they got their start.  It is great listening to both of them in interviews.  You get very different perspectives about the same events.  One very interesting point was Wozniak’s description of these homebrew computer clubs he used to attend.  If you go by the movie, it seemed like a stodgy place where people were not particularly receptive to new ideas.  However, if you listen to Steve Wozniak, this was not the case.  It was an extremely open place where inventors, programmers, and techies came together and helped each other with their projects.  This reminded me of my experience going to a local maker space.

Something that people may not be aware of is the creation of these little maker spaces throughout the U.S. and the world (here is a directory of maker spaces).  These are community-operated workspaces in which people with common interests in making products and tools come together to collaborate.  Usually the space has machinery like laser cutters, 3d printers, CNC machines, and other gadgets.  What made my experience amazing is how open everyone was with what they were working on and how much they wanted to help each other.  Everyone there was a problem solver and they were using these cutting edge tools as solutions.

It certainly makes me think about the parallels of what Steve described in his Computer Homebrew meetups and these makerspaces.  Maybe these places never went away, they just transformed.  Either way I think these places are on the ground floor of great innovations that will create change and maybe even a great company or two, like an Apple or a Microsoft.

I believe spaces like this will be a catalyst for change.  These groups are laying the groundwork for a new combination of technology that as it comes together will shape the creation of a whole new set of products which we have yet to even imagine.  The combination of rapid prototyping technology allowing us to shape matter and share physical objects as easily as we share and reproduce music is amazing.  Combine that with new open source software that can interact with the physical like Arduino and cheap out of the box computing power like raspberry pi and you have the framework for the creation of a whole new class of products produced by the geek that lives in your neighbor’s basement.

I cannot emphasize enough the potential that I believe is being unlocked here. The point is to prepare for change and look forward to opportunity.  As we know the world is changing faster and faster.  We have the movement of information now at a faster click than ever before, remember last time we increased the flow of information (the printing press), governments toppled.  We are just getting deeper into tapping the potential of this information age and now we are entering an era of amazing tools in the hands of everyday people.  Tools like nothing we have seen before.  It’s all very exciting.

Comments

  1. Hey! It’s great that you inverview real bricks and mortar businesses, instead of just morons selling their get rick quick eBooks. Do you only do lockal businesses on your podcast? I started a unique green business (the link is above) and eventually sold it to a customer who really liked the idea. If you’d like to talk to them, I can put you in touch. Thanks.
    Pete

    • Hi Pete. Thanks for the comment. We don’t just do local and would be happy to talk someone about you and your customer about Elf Boxes.

      Thanks,
      Ben

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