Earlier this month, Krafty Kath and I took a quick trip to San Francisco to attend the Re:Make Conference and Festival put on by Brit & Co. Kathy has a great recap on her blog, which you should totes check out.
What I appreciate most about Re:Make is that it brings to attention the excitement and possibility of technology and making—not to an exclusive few—but to every Joe and Jane with big dreams.
While I live and work among tech giants like Amazon, Microsoft, and Boeing, I don’t always feel that I have access to the tools and skills required of lofty ambitions. Re:Make dispels such perceptions by illuminating the vast community of everyday makers, the tools they use, and the spaces where they work. It really comes down to the adage, “if there’s a will, there’s a way,” except now the “way” is a maker movement full of accessible technology, affordable tools, and a connected, global community.
Here are the two main themes I came away with from the day.
We are makers
During the opening keynote, Brit Morin, Founder and CEO of Brit & Co, shared her belief that anyone who is making, not just those who do it for a living, are “makers.” Most of us, 8 out of 10 to be precise, have regular, creative pursuits (source). While the reasons we make are vast, the benefit is simple: it makes us happy. Making is fulfilling, reduces stress and gives us confidence.
Still, a shocking, 77% of adults feel they’ve lost their creativity. How do we reconcile that? Nearly the same number of us who regularly make/DIY/craft also feel we aren’t creative. Brit Morin calls this a creative confidence crisis.
When we are young, we are free from insecurity, but as we become adults, that changes dramatically. We need to give ourselves permission to be creative and expressive and not held back by comparing ourselves to others or doubting our own abilities. Brit & Co, in a bid to reclaim our collective creativity, has started a new campaign, #iamcreative. As part of their effort, they put together this video that illustrates the creative gap.
We are community
We gather together to share ideas, knowledge, tools, encouragement and most importantly, experiences. Whether our community is our friends and family or fellow makers, we seek out ways to come together to give purpose to what we do. A perfect meringue pie doesn’t taste quite as good as when it’s shared with a friend and a new idea doesn’t feel as special without a fellow tinkerer to encourage you to keep pursuing it.
A place to make
Along with the maker movement has come a surge in maker spaces—collaborative spaces, both online and offline, that allow people to come together to share resources and knowledge. TechShop, is just one such place, and considers itself a playground for creativity. It offers members a place to learn and to make with many members becoming successful entrepreneurs.
Mark Hatch, CEO of TechShop, shared just a few business that got their start at TechShop from Etsy shops like Better off Wed that makes statement cake toppers to multi-million dollar companies like Square, the credit card processing service. Hatch thinks of businesses like these and so many others as radically changing the landscape of industry and commerce. The democratization of technology has made stories like these possible. It’s estimated this new industrial revolution will be 6 times more impactful than the Internet. The Internet! (Source)
A reason to gather
Sometimes we gather online, but we will always find ways to share, live experiences through dinners, parties, concerts, or classes. Julia Hartz, Co-Founder of Eventbrite, spoke of how Eventbrite has helped fuel our live experiences by bringing awareness and connections to people with shared interests. Hartz spoke to how, “live experiences feed the soul,” and how they, “make life long memories.” Similarly, Brady Forrest, Founder of Ignite and Vice President of Highway 1 spoke to how events are a “forcing function to learn how to do or make something.”
Here’s a quick roundup of some of the amazing products highlighted during the day’s proceedings.
Birdi: A smoke detector that also monitors the air quality of your home.
Dodocases: Handcrafted, personalized cases for your iPad tablet.
Drop: An iPad-connected kitchen scale and digital baking assistant
Embrace: An incubation blanket for regulating a newborn’s temperature, giving it a greater chance at survival.
Nomiku: A compact sous vide immersion circulator soon to be connected to an iPhone companion app called Tender.
Tomorrow I’ll be sharing more products and goods from the Re:Make Festival, where nearly a 100 makers and artisans came together to selling their goods.