Makers, The New Industrial Revolution, by Chris Anderson is a genuinely fun, enjoyable read and a must for any marketer, entrepreneur or product developer.  Chris Anderson is a former editor of Wired and the author of The Long Tail: Why The Future is Selling Less of More (another very enjoyable read) and Free: The Future of a Radical Price.  Anderson is one of my favorite authors (behind Malcolm Gladwell, Michael Lewis and Ben Mezrich), and Makers is his best book to date.

Makers discusses 3-D printers, the rise of open hardware and the do-it-yourself maker movement.  For the last 100 plus years, marketer’s goals were to sell enormous amounts of mass produced items in order to gain economies of scale (Henry Ford:  You can get any color you want as long as it’s black).  Since small production runs were not very efficient, and small product changes could require significant upfront capital expenditures, creativity was naturally hindered.  With the continued improvement of digital development tools, 3-D printers, and desktop production, it is becoming easier, and much more affordable to create new prototypes, or even produce short production runs.  The potential creativity that could be unleashed by Maker movement is exciting.  Add in crowdsource funding, as well as, cloud factories, and the arena for creating new products has never been more promising.  We are all trying to make the next big thing, and fortunately, more and more tools are being developed that can help us get there.

The following are a few quotes from Makers, The New Industrial Revolution:

  • The beauty of the Web is that it democratized the tools of both invention and of production.
  • Computers amplify human potential:  they not only give people the power to create but can also spread their ideas quickly, creating communities, markets, even movements.
  • The idea of a “factory is, in a word, changing.  Just as the Web democratized bits, a new class of “rapid prototyping” technologies, from 3-D printers to laser cutters, is democratizing innovation in atoms.  You think the last two decades were amazing?  Just wait.
  • The great opportunity in the new Maker Movement is the ability to be both small and global.  Both artisanal and innovative.  Both high-tech and low-cost.  Starting small but getting big.  And, most of all, creating the sort of products that the world wants but doesn’t know it yet, because those products don’t fit neatly into the mass economics of the old model.


When you finish Makers, pick up Fabricated, The New World of 3D Printing, by Hod Lipson and Melba Kurman.  It was only released a few days ago.  It is not as quick of a read as Makers, but it is well written and has more meat.