As reported in the San Francisco Chronicle, this year's Bay Area Maker Faire could be the last. You can read the article here. Dale Dougherty is quoted in the article giving the cost of putting on the annual celebration of making & makers as the primary reason for considering ending the event that has been a major part of maker culture for over a decade. It is something of a rite of passage for many to attend and, sadly, one I have not yet experienced. Although I did try, unsuccessfully, to get a sponsor to send me and a group of students to the Bay Area a couple years ago.
What does this mean for the broader maker movement. Are we seeing splintering or a diminishing interest in making? That is not my experience. If anything, I am seeing a great surge in interest and participation. Albeit, I am in a nice little cocoon that is focused on makerspaces, making, and participation.
Could it be that corporations (who have been sponsors) saw the closing of Tech Shop as proof of the difficulty of turning a profit in the maker universe. I think we, as makers, have to admit that, so far, nobody has really figured out how to leverage the maker community into a profitable business model. Is this a good thing?
We are a notoriously independent and shaggy lot that doesn't fit any single demographic that can be easily marketed to. Making to me might not be making to you. Everyone has a different set of expectations, definitions, and ideas about what is and is not part of the maker movement. We've also had a pretty fierce anti-consumerist streak from the very beginning. How do you market that? Ha!
How about you? Have you attended the Bay Area Maker Faire? What was your experience? Do you know anything more about the potential end of the Faire? Do you have the answer? I don't. But, I would love to hear what you think.
Talk to you soon.