Archive for the ‘Maker Movement’ Category


A Glossary of Emerging Terms in the Collaborative Economy

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Photo :”Conversation” by Steve Bridger, used with Creative Commons license.
 

Buzzwords, buzzwords, buzzwords! Nothing is more fun than using buzzwords – except one thing: Reading all the buzzwords on a single page. Impress your colleagues at the co-working spot, your tatted Lyft drivers, and your hot Tinder dates with your immense knowledge on the latest hipster technology terms.

New terms and phrases emerge as new movements are born. The purpose of this post is to help clarify, from one single location, some of the jargon you may hear out in the industry. I plan to update it, along with your help, with submissions in the comments, to serve as a reference for our collective work.

At the bottom of this post, you can access links to existing glossaries that cover more well-known terms like Collaborative Economy, Sharing Economy, Maker Movement, crypto-currencies, P2P Lending, crowdfunding and more. The purpose of this post is to focus on emerging terms that are not so commonly known.

A Glossary of Emerging Terms of the Collaborative Economy:

  • Access over Ownership: A transaction style where individuals have access to goods, products and services via on-demand models instead of ownership. Common business models include rental, delivery, subscription, membership and others. I first learned of this from Lisa Gansky, author of the Mesh.
  • Air Squatters: A situation where Airbnb renters legally rent a location for over 30 days and are deemed official tenants –the host is unable to remove the “guests.” From multiple news sources, including NBC.
  • Charity Jacking: A copycat campaign where non-profits slightly alter a popular cause and make it their own in order to generate awareness and donations. Example: The Livestrong bracelets resulted in thousands of permutations for other similar non-profits. Causes are hijacking campaigns made popular by other causes. Watch as the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge morphs into a Jell-O Bucket or Mud Bucket challenge for some other worthy cause. Charity Jacking coined by Beth Kanter.
  • Fab Lab / Hacker Spaces / Maker Spaces: Physical locations where Makers design, create, prototype and develop new products and technologies in a collaborative setting. Notable examples include Noisebridge, NYC Resistor, A2 Mech Shop, Pumping Station: One, Artisan’s Asylum, and TechShop. Read more on Wikipedia.
  • Internet of Things / Internet of Everything / Mesh: Refers to the interconnection of uniquely identifiable, embedded, computing-like devices within the existing Internet infrastructure. Mining this results in individuals being able to use technology to find idle resources (cars, homes, services) in local areas and quickly accessing, on-demand. Source: Wikipedia. Also see Mesh, by Lisa Gansky.
  • On-Demand Economy: Championed by leading VC firm Sherpa Ventures, the On-Demand Economy (ODE) includes many business models that use technology to deliver goods, services, food, transportation and more to individuals, using mobile-based apps and the Internet of Things. Read the full investment thesis by Sherpa.
  • Scampaign: A scenario in which a crowd-sourced campaign results in the project founders taking the money, but never delivering the product or perks. A recent scampaign involved a founder spotted driving a Ferrari, after raising $1.5 million and walking away from the project. Alternatively defined as “A concerted effort to achieve a goal which relies upon deceit to be successful.”
  • Slogging / Share-Jacking: A scenario where sales teams from ride-sharing companies legally take paid rides from drivers – then proselytizes the drivers to join the other ride sharing company. Recently, an Uber playbook was published by The Verge, outlining the controversial and questionably ethical plans.
  • Share Washing: A campaign led by either a large organization or startup that claims to be sharing, but is not living according to the values expected by the movement. Critics cite that commonly used monikers of “Sharing is the renting” and “working without benefits” are examples of large companies hoisting the sharing banner while taking advantage of smaller players. Read: Share washing is the new Green washing.
  • Two-Sided Marketplace: A business model often powered by technology that enables providers and partakers to find goods, services and resources from each other. Early examples included Craigslist and eBay, but now these models have extended to Airbnb for home sharing, Lending Club for money sharing, and Sidecar for ride sharing.
  • Leave a comment! Can you suggest a new term? Do you want me to amend an existing term? I’m open to respectful feedback. Leave a comment. I’ll review, edit, add and credit you.

This post is not intended to debate the X economy vs. Y economy lexicon as, in the end, I believe it will just be called The Economy. See similar efforts: GitHub and CoinDesk have a Bitcoin glossary, a glossary of Maker Movement terms. Denise Cheng from MIT has also created a “related-to-sharing” glossary, and Rachel Botsman clarifies the many terms in this broader movement.

Update: The good folks at Listly have added these terms to their site.

 

The White House Embraces the Maker Movement

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Large companies seek signals from market leaders on future trends –so they can align their plans in the right direction. One clear signal that rings loud and clear is the United States White House’s commitment to innovation in the Maker Movement.

The Maker Movement, which we consider part of the larger Collaborative Economy, empowers people to build their own goods in their community and offering it to others in a global marketplace. They use simple wood working tools, create new types of food, or tap advanced technologies like 3D printing.

Crowd Companies was honored to host the White House on a members concall to learn about their vision and commitment towards the Maker Movement.

Now the Maker Movement is gaining significantly more traction as it has been embraced by the executive branch of the federal government with the announcement that the White House will host a Maker Faire later in 2014. This Faire is intended to highlight the role that Making can play in (1) inspiring more young people to excel in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education; and (2) fostering innovation and entrepreneurship in the manufacturing sector.

Tom Kalil, Deputy Director for Technology and Innovation at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy recently visited Crowd Companies Council to share the vision of the Maker Faire with our Council.  He has described the Maker Faire as an “all-hands-on-deck effort to provide even more students and entrepreneurs access to the tools, spaces, and mentors needed to Make. There are many ways in which, in addition to the contributions of thousands of individual Makers, companies, universities, mayors and communities, and foundations, and philanthropists can get involved. For example:

  • Companies could support Maker-spaces in schools and after-school programs, provide their employees with time off to serve as mentors, be “anchor tenants” for makerspaces like Ford’s partnership with TechShop, or, for multi-channel retailers, provide access to consumers for innovative Maker start-ups.
  • Universities could add a “Maker Portfolio” option as part of their admissions process, create more Maker spaces on campus for students and the community, and support research in advancing the development of better hardware and software tools at national, regional, and local levels, such as the equipment in MIT’s FabLabs.
  • Municipalities could pursue initiatives like design/ production districts that allow entrepreneurs to create more jobs or that expand access to Marker spaces, mentorship, and educational opportunities through their schools, libraries, museums and community organizations.
  • Foundations and philanthropists could provide matching grants to communities that are interested in embracing Making, in the spirit of Andrew Carnegie’s support for public libraries. In particular, the Administration has called for special efforts to ensure that girls and under-represented minorities are included in such STEM opportunities.”

We are proud to be a small part of the White House initiatives for stimulating startups in the sharing economy. Many of those initiatives, including Startup America, Educate to Innovate and Change the Equation deserve more attention and private sector support.

If you would like more information about the White House Maker Faire and learn how you can be a participant alongside companies like GE, Ford, Autodesk, GM, Nordstrom, Intel, Nokia, Home Depot, Lowe’s and Radio Shack, visit the Maker Faire blog post or request a Maker Faire Interest form.

 

Maker Movement and 3D Printing: Industry Stats

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A large crowd convenes at a Maker Faire for the full scale mouse trap.

This maker movement puts power in the hands of the people to fund, design, prototype, produce, manufacture, distribute, market and sell their own goods. This movement impacts global manufacturing as creation shifts geographically to local, philosophically to sustainability and legally to force the adaptation of new IP laws as people move from consuming to creating and sharing.

The following material features links, sources and dates, sorted in logical orders, to help you find key data that you’ll need to make informed decisions. Additionally, I’ll link to other listings and indexes that will provide further context. One of my goals is to serve as an industry curator to advance our collective knowledge, research, and in addition to own personal understanding. If this is truly a sharing economy, then we must be willing to share what we learn and know with others. If you would like to read an overview that includes three distinct business opportunities for corporations, read the full report on the Collaborative Economy Value Chain. Please leave comments with your input and URL. I’ll be happy to add and credit you.

Scope: The practice of individual people or non-traditional groups creating physical goods and products.


Market Capitalization and Value

  • Economic boost: “Makers pump some $29 billion into the economy each year.” USA Today, Oct 2013
  • 3D printing value: “The overall market for 3-D printing products and services hit $2.2 billion in 2012, a compounded annual growth rate of almost 29 percent compared to the $1.7 billion the industry recorded in 2011.” Wired, May 2013
  • Revenue of 3D printing: “North America & Asia-Pacific accounted for more than 68.0% of the 3D Printing Materials Revenue in 2012.” MarketsandMarkets, Nov 2013
  • Surge in sales: “MakerBot [a 3D printer manufacturer] had sold approximately 7,500 machines from 2009 to 2012, generating an estimated $10 million to $15 million in revenue.” Wired, Apr 2012
  • Breadth of the movement: Approximately 135 million U.S. adults are makers: “People who employ their creative skills in craft activities, such as making clothing, jewelry, baked goods or works of craft or art. That’s 57% of the American population age 18 and up.” USA Today, Oct 2013

Market Projections

  • 3D printing projected growth: “3D printing market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 23% from 2013 to 2020 and reach $8.41B in 2020.” MarketsandMarkets, Nov 2013
  • 3D printing  projected growth: “3D Printing Industry to Grow to $4B in 2025″ IDTechEx, March 2014
  • 3D printing growth projections: “World demand for 3D printing is projected to rise more than 20 percent per year to $5 billion in 2017.”   Reports and Reports, Dec 2013
  • 3D printing historic growth: “There was a 35,000% increase in 3D printers sold from 2007 to 2011, with 66 3D printers sold in 2007 and 23,265 sold in 2011.” Yahoo Finance, Nov 2013
  • Increased material demand: “The market for 3D printing plastic materials in terms of revenue was worth $70.5 million in 2012 and is expected to reach $209.6 million by 2018.” Ciol Bureau, Dec 2013
  • Europe growth: “Europe is expected to be the second-fastest growing market, with a CAGR of 15.7% from 2013 to 2018, owing to rising consumption in this region, where end-user markets of 3D printing materials are growing steadily, especially in manufacturing industrial and consumer products. The ROW market is expected to grow the least, compared to other regions in terms of revenue.” MarketsandMarkets, Nov 2013
  • European position: “Europe is poised to pass the Americas, in terms of revenue in 3D printing, by 2020.” MarketsandMarkets, Nov 2013
  • Global demand for 3D printing: “World demand for 3D printing is projected to rise more than 20 percent per year to $5 billion in 2017.” RnR Market Research, Feb 2014
  • Global demand for 3D printing supplies: “Global 3D Printing Materials Market to Reach $408.5 Million by 2018” MarketsandMarkets, Nov 2013
  • Aerospace growth projections: “Much of the growth in 3D printing from 2014 to 2020 will come from the healthcare and aerospace industries.” MarketsandMarkets, Nov 2013
  • North American and Asia Growth: “North America & Asia-Pacific Accounted for more than 68.0% of the 3D Printing Materials Revenue in 2012.” MarketsandMarkets, Nov 2013
  • Regional growth: “The North American region dominated the 3D Printing Materials Market revenues in 2012. Asia-Pacific is expected to grow at a high CAGR from 2013 to 2018, followed by the North American region.” MarketsandMarkets, Nov 2013

Venture Capital Investing

  • Andreessen Horowitz invested $30M in Shapeways, putting its confidence into the 3D printing industry. Wired, Apr 2013. Previously, Shapeways raised $5m to spin out of Philips. Shapeways Blog, Sep 2010
  • MakerBot raised $10M in Venture Round funding. TechCrunch, Aug 2011
  • Shapeways raised $48.5M. CrunchBase data from 2014
  • CustomMade raised $25.25M. CrunchBase data from 2014
  • Etsy raised $60M. CrunchBase data from 2014
  • Maker’s Row raised $1M in seed funding. CrunchBase data from 2014

Startup Valuation and Growth

  • “CustomMade grew from 350 makers in 2009 to more than 12,000 makers at the end of 2013 with $25.7M in venture capital funding.” Sacramento Bee, Dec 2013
  • “TechShop, a maker co-working space, has experienced 798% revenue growth in the last 3 years.” The Verge, Sep 2013
  • “Etsy is valued at $600M and has 263 employees. $2.28M per employee. Etsy increased sales by 71% in one year: 2010 – $307M to 2011 – $525M.” BitRebels, Jun 2012
  • “Etsy has 875,000 shops; 13,000,000 items; 2,900,000 items sold per month.” BitRebels, Jun 2012
  • “There are 15 million Etsy DIYers in over 150 countries with 690,000 new members joining every month.” BitRebels, Jun 2012
  • Etsy sellers don’t identify as hobbyists. 74% consider their Etsy shops as businesses. 91% aspire to grow their sales in the future. Etsy sellers are 88% women, 97% run their businesses from home, and they’re geographically dispersed around the US. Income earned on Etsy makes a real difference in people’s lives. It is used for household expenses, discretionary spending, savings and investment. Etsy sellers are characteristic of a larger shift to flexible work. 18% sell goods full-time. Only 26% have other full-time traditional jobs. Etsy shops are a new kind of “start-up” that aren’t run by stereotypical Silicon Valley entrepreneurs who want to grow as big as possible as quickly as possible. Etsy sellers are independent, self-sufficient and they want to stay that way. Survey of 5,500 Etsy sellers, Etsy, Nov 2010.

Mergers and Acquisitions: 

  • Stratasys acquired MakerBot for $403M, TechCrunch, Jun 2013
  • Materialise acquired 3D prototyping firm e-Prototypy, TechCrunch, Feb 2014
  • 3D Systems acquired Xerox’s Solid Ink Engineering & Development Teams, WSJ, Jan 2014

Events: 

  • Maker Faire has had over 50 events globally, with flagship events across key cities. Wikipedia, 2014
  • Google and MAKE Magazine held the Second Annual Maker Camp, with over 1 million kids participating in the online camp teaching teens to build, hack and explore.” TechCrunch, Jul 2013
  • “With its two flagship fairs in San Francisco and New York and 86 worldwide mini-fairs, Maker Faire had 280,000 attendees in 2013.”

Photo used within Creative Commons Licence, by OnInnovation.  Please leave a comment and URL with your stats, and I’ll quote and credit you. I’ll be updating this on a regular basis during 2014.

3D-Printing Clunky, But Shows World-Changing Promise

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I wanted to know how 3D printers will impact corporations, so I took a class.

I find value in hands-on field research
In the aim for further understanding the impact of the empowered customers to corporations, I took a class on 3D printing at my local Techshop, where regular folks can learn cutting edge skills. Previously. this spring, I visited Maker Faire where thousands of people who want to make their own products (rather than buy them from corporations) assemble to share, hone, and show off their skills.  The big winner was the large pavilion of 3D printers, which I shared my findings.   I’m also living the collaborative economy movement, I’ve reduced buying physical goods, and prefer to rent or get on-demand, and even allowed a stranger drive off in my family car.  In all these examples, I’m trying to live and experience to understand, rather than just be a casual observer.

I see three movements: social business > collaborative economy > makers movement
I’ve found that there are three major movements in our direct view, some more obvious than others.  The first is the social media movement. where the sharing of ideas and media have democratized information, spreading power to the crowd, to date most companies have joined in from marketing and customer care departments, but struggle to go further.  The second movement is the collaborative economy, where people can share goods and services directly with each other –rather than buy them from corporations. The third movement, approaching quickly on the horizon, is the maker movement, where people can make their own goods and products, rather than buy at all.   If you look carefully, the disruption increases in each movement, with some folks building their own cars.


What I learned:  These early days show great future
To couch my experience, I only took the 101 class, and I have much more to learn, but here’s my early experience. I attended this class with Vivian Wang, Kenny Lauer, and Korman R.

  • 3D printers show great promise.  These technologies have the ability to enable production and manufacturing anywhere, radically changing business logistics, power, and empowering those who use them.   Some of the materials we saw printed were plastics, and biodegradable corn-based materials.  There was even water-soluable materials that could be used as ‘filler’ to hold the model up while it was being printed.  At a recent meeting of the minds at Stanford, we explored how these 3D printers could emerge at UPS locations, retail outlets, Kinko’s and then eventually move into garages, homes, and kitchens.
  • My limited experience concluded a clunky experience.  Maybe I’m just new to it, not techny enough, or didn’t have enough experience, but I found the overall setup of the 3D printing complicated and klunky.  There were 12 pages of instructions we went through, including learning to use the unforgiving software, finding files online to use, configuring the printer, heating the plate, affixing the spool, using an SD card, and managing a build time that could be over an hour.   I’m no luddite, but at the same time, I don’t want to over-hype this technology, it requires some learning, skill, craft as a proper hobbyist should.  Visions of playing with dot matrix computers in elementary school came flooding back.
  • They are on path to advance to advance to become consumer-ready.   To go mainstream, this needs to move out of the hobbyist or prosumer hands and get into homes, this will require easy plug-and-play setup, access to files, ability to quickly manipulate and rapidly produce in a safe way.  While Staples already sells an entry level 3D printer called “The Cube” it’s not clear how successful it is, with a single review (and Amazon only has 5 reviews).  I imagine future versions are cloud based, with a thin client on a laptop, and a large easy to access marketplace of designs and a service marketplace of people who can help you customize for a fee.

What it means to Corporations:  Even more opportunities and disruptions ahead
I’m meeting with some of the experts at Autodesk soon, who’ll show me some of the advanced setups, but in my limited experience, I think there’s still a ways to go for this new technology set.

  • 3D printings on horizon, but not dominating… yet. While maker movements have been around since people were in our earliers villages (with surnames like “Smith, Potter, Tanner”) these early skills gave way to mechanization of the industrial revolution.   Now, with communities like Etsy, Quirky, and Shapeways who provide 3D printed items, there’s an opportunity to grow new businesses of highly personalized, on-demand products.
  • Those who use these tools will have more power than others. Just as we saw corporations adopt the internet to regain communication power, and then adopt social media to regain reputation control, corporations will also need to integrate these on-demand production machines at work, at partner locations like retailers, and at homes.   Brand that move in now can establish an ecosystem to ensure their designs are properly used, perhaps with license fees,  a community and marketplace of designers who build together, and those that provide higher quality materials.
  • Physical good companies that don’t get involved risk disruption.  These machines often have 3D scanners that can scan any item, then replicate it with the printer, just like a facsimile machine did with paper.   In the hands of massive production, these copied designs can quickly be shared online in new napster-like networks, enabling the crowd to build on top of them, improve them –without the corporation involved.   Companies that make simple physical goods must learn how to enable this technology before it gets ahead of them.

Select photos from the class:


TechShop
Above: First things first, getting to know the 12 page instruction sheet, I took copious notes to learn the new terms, phrases, file types, software applications, and printer units.TechShop
Above: My view, in class. Each student had an IBM laptop, and in the center was a Makerbot Replicator 2

TechShop
Above: Behold the beautiful Makerbot Replicator 2, the center build plate is heated, and colors of printer indicate status, heat, and more.

TechShop
Above: ReplicatorG software with a pre-loaded STL file (mine was a cookie cutter, in the shape of a christmas tree)

TechShop
Above: Each time the printer is turned on, and ideally before each item is used, you should adjust the build plate to ensure it’s level with 3-4 small knobs

TechShop
Above: The Replicator G software had many configuration fields for printing type, time, speed, quality, support and more. For a novice user, a class, and lots of experimentation is required for each print.

TechShop
Above: A spool of 3D printing filament, this one, I believe is PLA, which is biodegradable as it’s corn-based, pricing ranges in $30 price area. The plastic material is ABS, which can be more durable but less flexible. Each material prints with different attributes: from density, shrinkage, heat resistance, and stability. They come in thousands of colors, including glow-in-the-dark.

TechShop
Above: A small jar in the clever shape of the TechShop logo was on display in the front lobby

TechShop
Above: A 3-D printed whistle (with a floating pea inside that was inserted mid-print). Below the whistle is ‘support’ which can be used to print complex structure and then is removed post-print with a knife, and a ‘raft’ which stabilizes advanced prints.

TechShop
Above: On display, an advanced model of a small intricate artifact was featured in the front of the shop.

TechShop
Above: Look closely the cross-hatch ‘Infill’ determines the quantity of the interior material used in this batwing, this one was set at 30%, I believe. These took about 18 minutes to print, but the expert instructor had it optimized, some builds could take hours.

 

Closing Thoughts: Much more to learn in this nascent field
I hope you enjoyed learning about my experience as much as I enjoyed sharing it. It’s safe to say, I’m no expert, but will continue this journey of knowledge and wanted to share with you my early findings in my continued field research as the crowd continues to become more empowered.  Love to hear your questions, thoughts, and comments below.  I look forward to returning to TechShop to continue to learning and experiencing more.

 

In the Collaborative Economy, the Crowd has Built a Car

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Above Image: The orange Wikispeed SGT01 Roadster: crowd-funded, crowd-designed, crowd-produced, hitting the streets in small batches now for $25k, oh, and it gets 100 miles per gallon.

What if I told you the next affordable, long range, fuel efficient vehicle might be assembled in your garage or built by your neighbors?  That’s what I was surprised to hear, when I learned about the Wikispeed auto project.

Wikispeed is a business that crowd sourced designs, production, development, and has created a SAE registered, road legal approved car the Wikispeed SGT01 Car, now on sale in limited quantities. This case example is part of my ongoing coverage of the collaborative economy, on how the crowd becomes a company.

I had the opportunity to meet Joe Justice (pic) of Wikispeed at the Aspen Institute, a center dedicated to the advancement of thinking, our roundtable has been focused on how institutions must innovate in the rapidly changing environment. I’ve shared elements of the Collaborative Economy research, which has been one of the under current themes at the event.


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Above: Wikispeed cars boast modularity, where individual components are assembled by crowd and shipped to a buyer’s garage to assemble. A car can quickly become a truck, by removing and replacing body.

What’s Wikispeed, it’s a project that taps into the crowd to design, create, manufacture, produce, and bring to market products. Their most notable project is producing a 100 mpg vehicle made of modular, interchangeable parts. Some findings of note about the Wikispeed project:

  • Like Wikipedia, a global set of experts are People are participating, in various levels of commitment.
  • They competed in XPrize challenge, against Tesla, Tata, and others
  • They’ve crash tested front and side impact tests, and created a suite of impact test simulations to test rapidly.
  • Design was crowdsourced, using Dropbox and Google apps like Groups, Hangout, Talk, Cal, Drive, and more.
  • Specifications are modular allowing interchangeable and fast assembly
  • Production Methodology is “Extreme Manufacturing”, bringing a new iteration of product every week. Like the agile software method deployed by many tech companies, a similar mindset of rapid iteration rather than long term planning has emerged at WikiSpeed.
  • Assembly of vehicles can happen anywhere, including in Joe’s Garage in Seattle
  • Car Specs: 100MPG, maximum speed is 149 MPH.  For safety, they’ve built for NHTSA and IIHS specifications and await official rankings
  • Features:  Airconditioning, Radio (but no cup holder), using a Honda engine, but they’ve built the housing so other engines could be used, as a modular component.
  • The car body can be quickly interchanged with a pickup truck body, allowing instant versatility.
  • Multiple forms of currency are accepted, including crowd created Bitcoins

Corporations at Risk as Crowd Becomes Empowered
From my perspective, the disruptions are coming at an accelerated pace, sharing, markers movement, augmented reality are quickly emerging. Companies who don’t adopt the Collaborative Economy  are at risk to being disrupted as their own customers start to develop their own products, build new services.  A natural reaction of most corporations is to battle these trends with legal, policy, and competitive measures such as deploying fear uncertainty and doubt, or combative marketing and sales measures.

Corporations and Crowd Have Complementary Resources
As the crowd starts to become like a company, it offers risks and opportunities for all corporations, although I prefer to focus in on opportunities.  In a broad stroke, corporations lack flexibility, the ability to customize for individual needs, and struggle at constant innovation. In general terms, the crowd lacks a trusted brand, mass production, an army of customers, resources, and mass distribution.  Together, they can create a new resilient organization that negates these weaknesses and that taps best of corporations and the crowd.

Together, Startups and Corporations must adopt Collaborative Economy Value Chain
Companies who want to avoid disruption and benefit from opportunity must follow the Collaborative Economy Value Chain (read the full report), which taps into new models of Company-as-a Service on demand offerings, motivating a marketplace for resell of goods and services, and provide a platform to allow customers to augment and enhance every business function in your company.

This was initially posted on Huffington Post, I cross-posted here.

The Maker Movement Disrupts Brands, Provides Opportunities

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For my third year, I spent yesterday at the Maker Faire, in Silicon Valley.  Unlike any other year, the crowds were overflowing, suggesting this movement was growing faster than the cottage industry before.  To put this into context, the maker movement is yet (another) disruption to brands, here’s the lineage:

[Disruptions Summarized: 1) The Internet democratized knowledge, 2) Social Media empowered crowd, 3) Collaborative Economy endows crowd to buy once, share many, 4) the Maker Movement aims at buying from brands no more.

I must honestly confess, I struggle to keep abreast of all the new technologies, and I suspect corporations are experiencing the same.  It's my full time job, I attend these events on weekends, and we've a company dedicated to tracking and helping companies navigate, and I see the disruptions accelerating. Here's what the maker movement means to corporations and brands:

[The maker movement empowers people to build their own products, and share with each other --rather than buying from brands]

Those involved in the maker movement are creating their own goods and products, using recycled materials, or improving on existing products. Some are selling the goods to each other, some trade, and some simply just use for their own personal usage. They use technology, skill, community, and massive fairs to connect and grow. So what are the disruptions to corporations and brands by the maker movement?

Brands are disrupted by the Maker Movement.

  • Technology empowers the maker movement.  The movement is already connected on digital communication channels, see Make magazine, social networks and online marketplaces like Etsy that enable individual artisans to sell, trade, or buy unique goods.  Furthermore, the birth of 3D printing is spurring on a new class of goods created beyond jewelry and toys as furniture or home designs emerge
  • Several key industries are ripe for disruption.  Energy can be disrupted from biomass converter creates energy from leaves, walnut shells, from a variety of solar solutions. Also, consumer goods, industrial goods, toys, media, consumer electronics, can be impacted from 3D printers, a call out section directly below.  Additionally, even in dense living, food supply chain be impacted as home gardens and solutions become more available.
  • The maker movement is accelerating. Having attended a few of these events, I was surprised by the sheer volume of attendees yesterday. As technology becomes mainstay for future generations who are all connected and learning to use technology, our next generation will be more adapt at creating –rather than consuming. In many ways, this is just a swing back to the old village ecosystem where every family had a key skill: smith, baker, cook, and beyond, Yet now, we’re not bound by geographic limitations of knowledge, goods, or materials.
Technology Call Out: 3D Printer Market Accelerating
While there were many technologies feature, I wanted to focus on one area of heat, 3D printers. Previously, Altimeter saw the 3D printer market as fragmented, with the industry not cohesive. While the space is exploding, there are dozens if not hundreds of 3D printers on the market, and an entire expo hall dedicated to them, each with a variety of specs. We expect consolidation as the market matures. Some key findings yesterday:

  • Investor and my key contact Vivian Wang shared with me that over 90 types of materials can be 3D printed.
  • Beyond plastics, we witnessed items printed from concrete, salt, metals, and even wood. The wood was sawdust mixed with plastic to create fibers, which result in mostly sustainable product creation.
  • Digital designs and CAD files are being shared using online networks, with all the associated issues DRM comes with. Some artisans sell designs or create custom.
  • There were entire playsets printed 3D printers, furniture, stainless steel jewelry, and we saw Autodesk (an enabling brand) being a key sponsor.
  • 3D scanners can reverse engineer products and turn into CAD drawings. This means IP and copyright for company form function will be difficult to control and enforce.
  • There’s been a cambrian explosion of printers, there are many brands, makes, materials, and it’s not clear they’ve interop or there’s a market leader

 
 
Opportunities abound: Brands can leverage the movement.

  • Mindset change: become an enabler of this movement.  I spent time with RadioShack  (thanks Cosmin) at the show, who showed they were enabling this movement. They were providing free training for soldering education and hands on work, and also hosted a popup store selling components and controllers like Arduino.  In previous years, Google, Yahoo and other tech companies have sponsored booths to enable future creators and engineers.
  • Build a marketplace that builds new products around you.  While I’ll cover this more in depth on my upcoming report on the Collaborative Economy, brands can host a marketplace around them, enabling customers to buy and sell and make their future products on hosted communities.   See how Shapeways enables 3d printed jewelery artists to host, sell, and offer products –now, imagine a branded website from your company. 
  • Offer customized products directly to consumers.  Rather than become disrupted as consumers purchase 3D printers, instead provide or host them.  The future of Target, Walmart, Nordstrom, or Macy’s could be to host a showroom, then print out 3D products in near real time, or for immediate pickup.  Imagine retail stores shifting from show and sell to show and make.

On a related but broader context, Altimeter has found four major business themes from the disruption these movements are causing, read about the highlights here, and a formalized report comes soon. Below are some select 6 second vine videos and images which help to illustrate the experience


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Above: Combustion cars being converted to electric

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Above: Turn biomass (Leaves, wood, in this case, walnut shells) into electricity to power your home

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Above: Close up of the 3D printed wood

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Above: Intricate 3D printed plastics

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Above: Close up of the 3D printed wood

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Above: 3D printed stainless steel and bronze jewelry


Above Video: 3D printed Concrete, Salt, Composite and more


Above: Rather than buy toys, print them


Above: 3D Printed Wood.


Above: The massive 3D printer pavilion