Why the Maker Movement Is Important to America’s Future

17 07 2014

I’m reblogging this Time article about the Maker Movement by Tim Bajarin. Most of the article is pretty boiler-plate stuff that were hear from supporters of the Maker Movement: it’s going to revitalise the economy, liberate the Little Guy, dethrone Big Business, and allow the US to compete with China. The really interesting part of the article is where Bajarin uses historical analogy to understand the current state of the Maker Movement. He writes:

One of the people who really understands the Maker Movement is Zach Kaplan, the CEO of Inventables, which is an online hardware store for designers in the Maker Movement. I think of his site as a kind of Amazon for Makers.

I met Kaplan at the recent TED conference in Vancouver, where he told me about the history of the Maker Movement and its culture… he likened the Maker Movement at the moment to where we were with the Apple II back in 1979. He said that in those days, the computer clubs and tech meetings fueled interest in tech and got thousands interested in software programming, semiconductor design and creating tech-related products. Of course, this begat the PC industry and the tech world we live in today.

Notice how Bajarin is using history to understand the current state of the Maker Movement and to predict its future.

TIME

I grew up in the age of Tinker Toys and Erector Sets. Both were meant to inspire me to be a maker instead of a consumer.

My first real tool was a wood-burning engraver that had such a short chord it was almost impossible to use. When I started using it, I burned myself more than once and nearly started a fire at the house. How in the world they sold this to kids in those days is now a mystery to me.

I was in Silicon Valley in the late 1970s, and I started to get more interested in the Homebrew Computer Club and similar user groups where people could get together and talk about tech-related interests. This was how I first got interested in computers.

Along the way, the idea of creating technology got sidelined as I instead started to write about it, chronicling its history. This led…

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