Earlier this week, Maker Media announced it was suspending operations, and let go of all its employees. For the full announcement, see the TechCrunch article here.
In the 3 days since Josh Constine posted his article on TechCrunch, social media has been exploding with well wishes and happy #MakerFaire memories from Makers around the world. MATRIX Labs (@MATRIX_creator) has even launched a GoFundMe campaign to try and bolster the Make: brand.
So, where does this leave the maker movement? Make: was (and may still be, if they can get back on a sound financial footing) one of the great centralizers of the Maker movement. They pushed for Maker education, and brought the idea of do-it-together to the forefront. Without that force, can we continue calling ourselves a movement?
Personally, and probably unsurprisingly, I think so. Making is an idea whose time has come; the desire to learn new things, shape the world with your own ideas and your own hands, and to revel in the joy of creating. And, speaking for the festival producers here in Dayton, that joy is something we want to spread.
I liken Make:’s troubles to early aviation (because, you know, Dayton). The fledgling field of aviation kept moving forward after Wilbur Wright died in 1912, because aviation was an important, world-changing idea. So too, the Maker Movement will not fail just because one of the leading voices of that movement has left us.
While Make: brought a bright spotlight to the Maker Movement, it did not create it. This movement even has roots all the way back to the Barn Gang here in Dayton. Makers, inventors, artists and creators of all types find encouragement and inspiration by gathering together, and that will not change. Sharing our ideas, our passion projects and our love of making with each other and the greater community is important, and potentially as world-changing as aviation ever was.
So, for now, the community as a whole, and I personally will mourn Make: and Maker Media. But we won’t stop creating and sharing, because that was the point; we can carry the movement forward by doing-it-together.
In that spirit, Make It Dayton will still be hosting a 1-day celebration of making in the Miami Valley, called the Make It Dayton Festival this October. For more details, visit http://www.makeitdayton.org/make-it-dayton-festival/