A review of Makers: The New Industrial Revolution, by Chris Anderson.
by Tom Igoe
Makers: The New Industrial Revolution
by Chris Anderson
Crown Business, 2012
This article is intriguing in that it highlights the impact of the digital world on creating new business opportunities. Admittedly, this does not immediately impact the business of most of the folks in our network, but one can envision that this phenomenon is only at the beginning stage of what could happen. For example, some of the classic barriers to market entry you have deployed to protect your profit flow could be threatened.
Anderson describes how inexpensive and increasingly sophisticated digital fabrication tools, a growing culture of do-it-yourself enthusiasts raised on the Internet, and the spread of open intellectual property practices are ushering in a new industrial revolution….NOTE: OUR NEXT CLASS ON DRIVING ORGANIC GROWTH THROUGH INNOVATION (a slight name change but the same course) IS BEING OFFERED MARCH 17 TO 20, 2013
…he argued that although the highly networked digital economy might appear to be dominated by a few large players, a wealth of opportunity exists for small players because such an economy does not require distribution scale to reach the ends of the demand curve. These opportunities are supporting the rise of the “maker” movement and changing the face of manufacturing…..
….What’s different about maker companies, says Anderson, is that they regard their customers as participants in the business. For instance, they publish the plans for their products online, because they know that eager customers will offer improvements. Some companies, such as 3D Robotics, reward or hire these customers for their contributions. Anderson’s description of how his company integrates customers’ work is one of the stronger chapters in the book, and a useful read for any executive who wants to make community more than a buzzword….
…The impact of these developments on manufacturing could be significant. Launching a successful manufacturing company no longer requires reaching a mass market, as long as you can reach the right customers, wherever they are. Crowdfunding, through presales on such sites as Kickstarter.com and Launcht.com, is making it possible for manufacturing startups to raise their initial capital without selling ownership stakes to venture capitalists. Online marketplaces—for example, Etsy.com and Fab.com—are giving unknown designers a greater ability to reach their target audiences, and supplier aggregators such as MFG.com and Alibaba.com make it possible for a garage shop to work with vendors around the world.