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, written by Jeremy. Read the commentary.


My son, Keaton, is a maker.

He makes rockets and towers to launch them. He’s enormously busy and very proud of his work.

I’ve seen him stand toe-to-toe with sun-burnt farmers, at the foot of a massive 16-wheeled, 12 foot tall tractor and extoll the virtues of the perfectly constructed fuselage.

To him, the world was built for rockets. Everything is inextricably related to fuel, engines, and navigation systems.

Keaton is a maker.

Keaton is four.


Maker means creator or inventor. It’s replaced discoverer, trader, and even designer as the “I am” of choice. Craftsmanship and artistry are rising to pre-industrial levels. “Hand-crafted”, “tailored”, and “bespoke” are the marketer’s favourite descriptors.

Authors and investors are enthralled with the potential of “making”. As an idea, it’s shouldering out “innovation” (it’s more practical) and “productivity” (it’s more creative).

What does this change? What does it enable? What enables it?

Below is a brief list of people playing with these questions:

Makers: All Kinds of People Making Amazing Things In Garages, Basements, and Backyards.

Paul Graham: Taste for Makers & Maker’s Schedule, Manager’s Schedule

Umair Haque: Smart Growth Manifesto & How to Build (and Use) Thick Power.

Hugh McLeod: Questions with author of Free, Chris Anderson & The OverExtended Class.

Jason Fried at Big Omaha.

What does it mean when investors, authors, academics, artists and designers all talk of “making”. Is this a category push or a labeling push? Is this a new (albeit old) category of business? Or is it a rebrand?

We’ve seen this before – in the 30’s people ran for other options and again in the 90’s. The running isn’t odd – it’s the coming back the is striking.

Where did the “re-mix” and “mash-up” economy go? We once talked about customization and layering as new vehicles of value. Did the economic collapse convince us they were hollow?


What lies at the heart of “making”? Will it endure? Will it, like environmental stewardship, be forgotten when our markets make their next corner? Or, is it the practical evincing of stewardship?

Is “making” the necessary foundation for all our old, deeply meaningful words like husbandry, craftsmanship, master-builder, and sustainable?

We speak of “making”. Being maker changes what?


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