Bay Area Maker Faire ’16 and Why Making Is So Darn Important

Content Warning: This post contains a lot of gushing about how much I love Maker Faire.

The Bay Area Maker Faire has got to be the coolest Maker Faire in the continental United States. This past weekend in San Mateo revealed an incredible turnout of makers from every possible corner of the maker-verse. Now that I’ve had the opportunity to attend Maker Faires in both New York City and the San Francisco Bay, I’m convinced I need to return to the Bay Area at some point. While Maker culture exists everywhere, living in the Bay Area is like dipping yourself in a vat of creativity and imagination.

 

There were multiple showstoppers at Maker Faire but the live transformers were probably my favorite.

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My hat goes off to the Maker Faire organization for creating what I think is the most spectacular grassroots celebration of American innovation in existence. In a technology culture which is aggressively focused on the “Sell, Sell, Sell” it’s really refreshing to have an organization completely dedicated to showing off what everyday people have built. IMHO, human imagination is at the heart of maker culture.

As kids, we learn by working with our hands. Arts, crafts, legos, coloring, and more serve as creative platforms for personal expression. However as we age, the market economy requires that we gain other types of skills to make ourselves attractive for jobs. Sometimes these skills nourish our creativity and understanding of the world. Other times they don’t. The innate need to make something physical might best be exemplified in the growing craze for adult coloring books that’s overtaken the US.  Many people gain a sense of fulfillment and ownership from the process of creating, even if it’s the simple, yet therapeutic process of adding color in between lines.

To be human is to build. Whether that means building new products, processes, relationships, and organizations, it’s written in our DNA to create something beyond ourselves. To use both mind and hand to develop something interesting. We always hear the overused terms “innovator” and “industry disruptor” in the news but I think this labeling system is unnecessarily superficial. The point is not to be an innovator or disruptor or whatever else– the point is to be a builder and the rest will naturally follow.

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