Just came back from the energizing brainstorming session around creating a Maker/Hacker space in Savannah. Another great event organized by Jake and his team of the Creative Coast. Thanks.
The energy in the room was high and the wish list got longer and longer.
The audience was diverse from teenagers to retirees with sparkle in their eyes eager to tinker and try out new things.
The 30K question is, will there be enough people that understand the benefit and shell out the monthly fee to make if thrive and be self-funding?
I am convinced it will be, if we ensure the following:
- Let’s create a strong community around it. I suggest we have a public facing integrated coffee shop to hang out and have the chance encounters and deeper conversations about ideas and their implementation. The coffee shop could also showcases/sells the products of the space.
- A downtown location is important, so people as well as SCAD students don’t have to go out of their way to participate and it would also enable the casual walk ins of interested parties.
- Diverse set of tools that offer not only metal and wood work, but also sewing machines and a kitchen to tinker with food.
A couple of trends will ensure the success of this space in the long run:
- The growing tinkerer/maker movement greatly supported by Make Magazine and the amazing Maker Fairs that are springing up in many cities. We should have a Mini Maker Fair in Savannah too.
- Miniaturization of the equipment needed to create almost everything. With that making them affordable.
- Jobs. The time for corporations to built large factories to employ thousands of people are over at least in the US. See today’s NYT post: How America lost the iJobs. You have to find and create your own niche. A maker space will enable you to do that fast prototyping to find it.
- With Kickstarter we have now a platform that enables you to get funding to pay for mass production and kick start your sale which further lowers the barrier for entry.
One group that could greatly benefit from such a space are high school kids. They will learn so much about how to get from an idea to a finished prototype that they may not even need to go to college. After tinkering for a couple of years in a Maker Space they would be prime candidates for Peter Thiel’s 100K fund that payes high school kids to develop their ideas instead of going to college.
Membership in a Maker space would be high on my christmas present list if I were a teenager and smart parents will line up to give them that opportunity as it is the key for future prosperity.