Maker Faire, a rare success in the publishing world, may be making it fun to make things—and part of that fun is seeing how other things are made.
Look how we've grown. Sherry Huss, co-founder of Maker Faire, at Autodesk’s Design Night.
Maker Media has been a surprise success in the world of publishing. It has united a diverse group of tinkerers, hobbyists, artists, inventors and others that now counts hundreds of thousands among its adherents. It has dotted the world with dozens of Faires that pull tens of thousands into beehives of activity that make ordinary trade shows look funereal in comparison. Its Make: magazine cruises along in the dire currents that have pulled most print magazines under.
Everybody is a maker, Huss says, including all those who create, rather than just consume. That includes grandmas making pies, musicians writing songs, kids making science fair projects—maybe even journalists writing posts for their blogs.
It’s a message that has been well-delivered and well-received. With it, Huss and Dale Dougherty (also at the event) seek not just to unite makers, but maybe even chide those of us who complacently drift into the role of a consumer—for example, those who eat at restaurants but don’t cook, those who watch football but never play and those who have watched a thousand YouTube videos and not uploaded a single one.
Maker Faire presentations are full of kids making all sorts of things. We saw plenty of giraffes, Arduinos, Legos and more. The cynical engineer may at first think their stuff offers little of value, that little of it would amount to anything. But to Huss and Dougherty, that may never have been the point.
“If you can’t open it, you can’t make it,” they are fond of saying.
Maybe now, the taking things apart, even breaking them open, just to see what’s inside and what makes them tick won’t be something that will get kids in trouble. Maybe it will be cool. Maybe more engineers will be born this way.