Makers: The New Industrial Revolution

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Chris Anderson, former WIRED magazine editor, presented his new book Makers: The New Industrial Revolution at Google last month.

The book – currently rated #1 for E-Commerce on Amazon – is recommended by Seth Godin and Elon Musk.

Here are some notes I took during his hour-long presentation in Mountain View, Anderson delivered a compelling talk on consumerization from a technology standpoint. I’m always interested in retail, technology and entrepreneurship, and this talk happens to touch on those three topics quite nicely:

1) A change of Paradigm

Kickstarter flipped the manufacturing paradigm on its head. Previously, you needed capital and a factory before you started designing and finding customers.

Now you can raise money, gather feedback and start producing at the same time. Or, take pre-orders and deliver later: it’s basically moving money forward in time.
Seth Godin used the same approach for his last book, those that supported Seth’s project early on received the book first along with goodies.

2) We are all designers

Then, you don’t simply get customers, but a true community of backers. They care for your product, deliver feedback and act as advocates. Pebble watch creators took in the feedback as they went to improve their product.
In the 90s and 00s, Internet created new standards, we are all publishers through Blogs and Social Media. As an extension, technology now enables us all to become designers.
Anyone can walk into Techshops (growing quickly across America & Europe), where individuals of all skills and ages can use 3D Printers, take classes and use specialized tools.

3) 3D Printing is going to shake things

It’s widely accepted as normal to hit “print” on a computer and generate a printed A4-sheet. In 2012, you can get a 3D printer starting $375, think about all the implications. For education, Kids can manufacture toys they want and learn sciences through the making. For manufacturing, it’s quite obvious that spare parts could be printed and dispatched anywhere. Think hospitals generating bespoke prosthesis…

4) Next steps

People share information online, open source designs and DIY are now the norm. Consumerisation goes one step forward, let’s consider the Fashion space as an example:
Everyone can let consumers “Design online and get your creation delivered”. Shoes of Prey does is for women shoes, Blank Label does custom men shirts. How about 3D-printers get that much better and e-tailors take over the fashion world? Picture this: “Download our App, take 3D advanced measurements of yourself, pick a style, custom fabrics and, yes, we offer next day delivery!”

For Anderson, the new business model is the following: Sell products for more than they cost you. There will always be a tribe that will be interested in what you do, take orders BEFORE you start manufacturing: we are all designers.

Food for thought: How about 3D Printers getting that much better in the next 10-years that you can actually use them for Biology? Printing matrix of cells…

-Rodolphe (initially published on


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