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Makers: The New Industrial Revolution Hardcover – October 2, 2012
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"A thrilling manifesto, a call to arms to quit your day job, pick up your tools, and change the future of manufacturing and business forever.” –BoingBoing
"Chris Anderson has been called many things: a visionary, a pioneer of the Internet economy, a proselytizer of DIY 2.0. But it's probably more apt to think of him as a weather vane: He might not control the winds of change, but he's often the first to see which way they're blowing." -Foreign Policy
"Chris understands that the owners of the means of production get to decide what is produced. And now you're the owner. This book will change your life, whether you read it or not, so I suggest you get in early." –Seth Godin, bestselling author of Tribes and Purple Cow
“A visionary preview of the next technological revolution. If you want to know where the future is headed, start here.” –Tom Rath, author of StrengthsFinder 2.0
“Makers is must read for understanding the transformative changes that are shaping, and will shape, the future of inventing.” –Dan Ariely, author of Predictably Irrational and The Upside of Irrationality
"Inspiring and engaging. Anderson delivers a compelling blueprint of a future where America can lead in making things again." –Elon Musk, co-fouder of Tesla Motors and CEO of SpaceX
“In Makers, Chris Anderson gives us a fascinating glimpse of a hands-on future, a future where ‘if you can imagine it, you can build it.’” –Dan Heath, co-author of Switch and Made to Stick
“For those who have marveled at the way software has helped disrupt industry after industry - buckle up, that wave is coming soon to an industry near you. Chris Anderson has written a compelling and important book about how technology is about to completely shake up how America makes things. Required reading for entrepreneurs, policy makers, and leaders who want to survive and thrive in this brave new world.” –Eric Ries, author of The Lean Startup
"The Maker movement powered by desktop manufacturing will revolutionize the global economy. Chris Anderson once again reinvents the future in "Makers": a big vision driven by down-to-earth and practical ideas. A must read for anyone who wants to see the leading edge of change." –Peter Schwartz, Co-founder of Global Business Network and author of The Art of the Long View
About the Author
CHRIS ANDERSON is the CEO and co-founder of 3D Robotics, a fast-growing manufacturer of aerial robots, and DIY Drones. He was the editor in chief of Wired until 2012, during which, he led the magazine to multiple National Magazine Award nominations, as well as winning the prestigious top prize for General Excellence in 2005, 2007, and 2009. In 2009, the magazine was named Magazine of the Decade by the editors of AdWeek. Anderson is the author of the New York Times bestseller The Long Tail and Free: The Future of a Radical Price. He lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.
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The author then goes on to discuss the business model that can best be used, in his opinion, to bring to market an idea that requires manufacturing and/ electronic components and know-how. That model is the “open source” model. The author describes the many benefits of this model. This includes (not all inclusively) free labor and ideas provided by potential or actual users, the creation of “word of mouth” marketing, testing the size of the market to see if it is large enough to justify entry, etc. All of this is interesting. However, there are problems with that the open source model has that the author leaves unsaid. I do not know if this is willful or whether he just believes that some of these potential problems are not at all significant. A major one is that the use of volunteers, as opposed to employees, insures that people are supplying the needed know how throughout the entire product development and manufacturing phase. After all, employees need to work to be paid. Volunteers, on the other hand, can just leave or stop in an instant. In many cases without a seconds notice. Anyone who has worked in volunteer organizations knows this. In the author’s model this is even more of a problem as the volunteers are linked via the internet and do not even know each other. This puts a significant dent on projects that have development phases that are more than very short periods of time. A big problem, even if the author does not mention it.
The author also discusses financing. He again emphasizes internet based “open source” as opposed to more traditional “angel” investors (whose use would imply capital dilution) or bank financing that would require capital being tied up as collateral and interest payments. However, the author does not point out how difficult it is to use Kickstarter and similar internet sources to raise capital. They are not the panacea he makes them out to be.
The author then provides 3 case studies that show how effectively the open source manufacturing and financing model can be used to help start up entrepreneurs. All show how successful the model has been. Unfortunately no statistics are provided regarding the percentage of entrepreneurs for which this road has been successful (as opposed to failing them or the use of more traditional methods such as partnering with large companies or “angel” investors).
In short, the book has plenty of weaknesses. However, it also has plenty of strengths, especially in regard to small entrepreneurs interested in bringing their idea to market. For this reason alone it is worth reading by such people or even by those with just a passing curiosity.
From the book:
"Automation is here to stay-it's the only way that large-scale manufacturing can work in rich countries. But what can change is the role of smaller companies. Just as start-ups are the driver of innovation in the technology world and the underground is the driver of ne culture, so, too, can the energy and creativity of entrepreneurs and individual innovators reinvent manufacturing and create jobs along the way...The great opportunity in the new Maker Movement is the ability to be both local and global. Both artisanal and innovative. Both high tech and low-cost. Starting small and growing big, and most of all creating the sort of products that the world wants bit doesn't know it yet, because those products don't fit neatly into the mass economics of the old model.
Anderson spends a lot of time talking about how new products are being developed and how they are being built using everything from now affordable 3D printers to using companies that can built the new products for the innovators including helping them with engineering, design, fabrication and assembly of the new products all in the small quantities required for product development and leading to mass production when the product takes off.
By using companies who are offering integrated solution all an innovator needs is an idea, a credit card and a computer and he can see his product go from concept to reality in just a matter of days. It is not overly dramatic to say that a person can invent something on Monday and have Fed-Ex deliver the prototype to his front door on Friday! If that isn't a miracle of our times, I'm not sure what is.
From the book:
"The use of common design file standards that allow anyone, if they desire to send their designs to commercial manufacturing services to be produced in any number, just as easily as they can fabricate them on their desktop. This radically foreshortens the path from idea to entrepreneurship as the Web did in software, information and content."
And there is optimism with Anderson talking about how "Real countries build things" and how that is want is really the backbone of our American culture.
But we have to be ready for the changes that are occurring. That now and in the future we are going to see many many more companies building specialty products that are capable of changing the world.
"The days of companies with names like "General Electric" and "General Mills" and "General Motors" are over. The money on the table is like Krill: a billion little entrepreneurial opportunities that can be exploited by smart, creative people."
I have to admit that I have read this book twice already, and I think it's because I like the message so much. I love the optimism, the idea that creative people can get their ideas to market as quickly and cheaply as possible with a few barriers as possible.
There is no more dealing with rigid gate keepers putting up barriers to keep people out. In publishing for example the days of the arrogant editor with his pile of manuscripts from anxious would be authors over. Now it's "The hell with that editor, I'll publish it myself!" the proof of that being that there are now a number of bestsellers that originated through electronic self-publishing. I love that idea.
And now in terms of new product develop and in terms of people with great ideas being able to get those ideas to market as quickly and simply as possible, there has never been a better time.
From the book:
"On the product-development side, the Maker Movement tilts the balance toward cultures with the best innovation model, not the cheapest labor. Societies that have embraced "co-creation," or community-based development, win. They are unbeatable for finding and harnessing the best talent and more motivated people in any domain. Look for those countries where the most vibrant Web communities flourish and the most innovative Web companies grow. Those are the values the predict success in any twenty first century market."
If you are feeling bad about where we are today and want to feel better, then read this book, if you are worried about the election and where this country is going read this book. And finally if you want to learn more about how you can go about getting your ideas developed and to market read this book because the author even provides a step of directions on how to develop your 21st Century Workshop.
Like I said this is the most important book you will read this year and from the buzz that it is creating I believe it will become one of the cornerstone books of our generation