Yesterday, I spent the day at the Maker Faire, for the third year. Unlike any other year, the crowds were overflowing suggesting this movement was growing faster than the cottage industry before. What’s the Maker Movement? As if ...
Yesterday, I spent the day at the Maker Faire, for the third year. Unlike any other year, the crowds were overflowing suggesting this movement was growing faster than the cottage industry before. What’s the Maker Movement? As if social or the collaborative economy weren’t disruptive enough, it’s yet (another) disruption to brands:
[The maker movement empowers people to build their own products--rather than buying from brands]
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, yet I attend these events on weekend to stay on top of trends, and we’ve a staff of 21 full time employees at Altimeter who’s full time job is to track business disruptions enabled by technology.
We see technology accelerating faster than ever before. For example, social media transferred communication power, the collaborative economy means customers buy once, then trade many times among each other, and now the maker movement means they need very few brands as they can create products on their own.
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.
This movement is acceelearting.
Technology Call Out: 3D Printer Market AcceleratingWhile 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 key contact Vivian Wang shared with me that the number of materials that can be printed are above the 90 range.
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.
There were entire playsets printed 3D printers, furniture, stainless steel jewelry, and we saw Autodesk (an enabling brand) being a key sponsor.
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
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,