Prediction: Profit From The Maker Wave

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Prediction: The maker wave can generate real revenues

Status: Not Happening

“Very quietly, Make magazine is helping replace the science fair with the Maker Fair. It’s a celebration of hackers, tinkerers, and do-it-yourselfers. Individuals and companies like Google and GE show off inventions from androids to medical monitors to hacked Guitar Hero instruments that can play real music.

Similar maker fairs are popping up elsewhere” (p 139).

Even with the construction bubble long deflated, the maker wave can generate real revenues. One company, Inventables, in Chicago, sells supplies and materials to artists, inventors, and tinkerers. Home Depot and Best Buy are well positioned to become not only suppliers but also facilitators for makers. They can use their retail footprint to offer classes for hobbyists and connect makers with a manufacturing start-up engine. Some of those inventions can eventually be sold in their stores. Brands like Craftsman and Stanley can build child-safe tools designed for kindergarten builders. This field can eventually create even more opportunities for teachers, property owners, and insurers.

Econovation, 2011, p139

What Happened

While there has been progress, as you can see in the links below, maker-ism will not be a “movement” for a number of reasons:

  1. The digital distractions of The Matrix are far too powerful. Most will not have the need or willpower to break free.
  2. Reality is, we don’t need many people to make (or do) things. Most will not be makers, even though tech will allow them to be. The creations of a handful of smart people can scale planet-wide. The rest of us don’t have to worry our pretty little heads about it. Without need there’s no extrinsic incentive, so making things will retain its hobby status.
  3. Companies have been consolidating. With fewer competitors, the impulse to innovate is weakened. And there are lower hanging fruit than harnessing the dispersed masses of creators.
  4. Culturally, we’ve been brainwashed to believe that those who do things with their hands are less than those with clean office jobs. So everyone pursues white collar work that ends up making them miserable.

Some progress:

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Provocative predictions & prescriptions on where innovation, economics & culture will take us. Fearless. Funny.