The Maketory Manifesto: Why we exist
Imagine a direct-to-consumer production facility where innovators micro-manufacture their own products and members are able to access affordable, custom fabrication equipment - while working to make their lives more meaningful and the world a better place as they disrupt entire industries. Well - you don’t have to imagine. They’re already here, and they’re already doing it.
Welcome to the Maker Revolution.
The purpose of The Maketory Manifesto is to describe to you, in passionate detail, why we are here. Right now, at this very moment, we are at the forefront of the largest explosion of creativity and innovation the world has ever seen - the Maker Movement. This Movement allows easier access to knowledge, capital, and markets than the world has ever known. With the loss of shop class and vocational education in schools and a renewed focus on how to make quality innovations with our own hands, community and local resources across the country are coming together in spaces like The Maketory to contribute to this powerful movement.
We have seen a number of technologies come out of makerspaces that have already changed the world. These innovations were created cheaply, quickly, and easily by small teams and in most instances by people from outside the domain they were disrupting. Square disrupted an entire banking industry by inventing a credit card reading device. The world’s fastest electric motorcycle and OpenROV, the open source robotic submersible, were both designed and built at a makerspace. The Embrace Warmer was invented to incubate premature babies in developing countries, saving hundreds of thousands of babies in over 10 countries - also hatched, developed, and launched from a makerspace. Solutions to developing country challenges are also being launched from makerspaces - Sole Power’s insole doubles as a mobile renewable power source which aims to alleviate energy poverty in nations with limited access to power.
These inventions were powered and produced by a few simple things - a few classes, a community of other makers, a space where ordinarily unavailable tools are available, and the passion of the Maker - in a space just like ours.
That is why we are here. To create. To innovate. To disrupt.
Traditionally, the cost of failure and experimentation in developing new products limited innovation. But thanks to spaces like The Maketory, failure has now fallen to the discretionary income level, making failure essentially free. The choice between innovating or not because of the expense is no longer an innovation barrier. For just a few hundred dollars, you can get yourself a cheap education and create a production prototype that, with a little finishing work, is sales-ready. Do that a dozen times and you will likely move out of education mode and to that of owning a company.
Ten years ago it would've cost tens of thousands of dollars and six months to get to the same place. And you still wouldn't have packaging (which by the way you can also make at The Maketory).
The Problem - and more importantly, the Solution
Right now, our country is experiencing a skills gap crisis. Experts and industry leaders estimate that approximately 8.5 million skilled and experienced workers are needed in our nation alone. Carpenters, machinists, electricians, masons, plumbers,and other tradesmen and women are needed to meet this challenge. As our country's skilled trade gap continues to grow, public education is struggling to keep up with this demand.
We are here to meet this need. At The Maketory, students will enjoy an apprentice-style education, while employing collaboration and entrepreneurship skills to help solve this trade skill crisis from our corner of the globe.
In Industry today, in both large and small companies, most of the creative individuals don't get to be the creatives. Most of our highly trained engineering talent in the United States is not allowed to use that talent to innovate. And even if their companies give them 10% or 20% free time for creation and innovation, they often don't have access to the labs needed to produce genuine innovation and are often squirreled away on production or other activities. Many of these creatives also end up in HR, finance, marketing, and sales, with the company’s lab and research facilities closed off to those creatives who could be inventing the next Big Thing. Because of these constraints and lack of access, most of the greatest innovations have yet to be developed. That’s where The Maketory comes in. We provide those innovators the time, space, and support they need to develop the next Big Thing - and to launch their startup company from the ground up.
According to a Coffman study, all of the new jobs in the US economy were produced by startup companies in the last few decades. They call them gazelles -- very fast start ups which grow quickly. We support the creative individual with tools, classes, and a community of makers - and their subsequent startups’ ability to create and innovate in a space with 24 hour access - no boundaries.
In the past, moving from concept to prototype was the underfunded valley of death. Prototypes could cost hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars to create. The molds alone, if done on the cheap, cost $15,000. Just scheduling a few focus groups took months of work and $20,000 to $50,000 - and that was if you were only going to conduct a couple of local, cheap events. And national sampling could cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.
But not at The Maketory. Our space democratizes access to the tools of the next industrial revolution. Anyone from 8 to 80 can design and make. Disruptors, creatives, designers, builders, and makers can use our space to make initial products and even the first couple of production runs. Teams can prototype their products themselves and save 95% of their development costs, building an entire system for under $20,000. As a result, what used to cost $100,000 now costs $2,000, effectively reducing the cost of launching a product or company by an astounding 98%. What used to be impossible for most people to access is now possible - so they can produce their dream. The Maketory democratizes hardware innovation.
At The Maketory, members will be surrounded by others who also make, create, develop, and innovate - and so they are, at all times, just two degrees of freedom away from success. That means the member will know someone (first degree) who knows someone (second degree) who can help that member solve their current problem. Right now and right where they are - ready, willing, and able to guide our members’ hands.
The Maketory will also support innovative teachers and leaders in schools. As most manufacturing and high-tech companies will tell you, American institutions are failing to graduate enough engineers, scientists, and production workers to fill the jobs we have in America, forcing us to hire thousands of workers outside our borders to fill our country’s Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) jobs. Economically, this is insane. And although hands-on discovery is an important part of knowledge development and a key creator in sparking a desire to learn, research tells us our K-12 educational institutions tend to focus on the students who are heading to college - while they ignore the other 50% who aren't.
The Maketory will be a part of the solution by partnering with local schools and districts in supporting the art of hands-on learning to impart skills to students they can use the rest of their lives. As an example of the power of hands-on learning, one participant in a Making facility who had taken a "strength of materials" class stated, “You know, until you try to mill stainless steel, you really don't understand how hard it is.” Although he’d read and studied the material, this student had not yet experienced it viscerally. This is the power of The Maketory. You can get your hands on the stuff.
At The Maketory, learners of all ages are encouraged to make sense of their physical environment prior to learning formulas for the action they are observing. This is how scientific, technological, engineering, and math principles were figured out in the first place, through observation. Students observe an effect, then build a theory to fit the observation. Makes sense, doesn’t it?
The other aspect of our revolution is speed. Want to learn how to weld? You can go to trade school and apprentice for months to years or community college with a 13-week course. Or you can buy a welder, watch videos, fire up the equipment in your garage, and risk burning down your house. Or you can join The Maketory and for less than $100 learn basic welding skills in a couple of hours from an expert. At The Maketory, members can skip the lengthy process involved with trade schools, apprenticing, junior college, or getting a full four-year bachelor's degree to build the product they’ve been dreaming about. Anyone can take our classes to get exposure to hands-on learning right here, right now. By taking a few specific software classes, a couple of CNC classes, and one injection molding class - voila! Members can get started on their projects.
What else can be learned in a day? Basic woodworking, how to use a laser cutter or sewing machine, how to use a Waterjet (water cutter) to cut 4' x 8' sheets of steel, CAD/CAM basics, concepts of computer numerically controlled (CNC) machines, the basics of 3D printing or vinyl cutting, powder coating, sandblasting, basic carbon fiber, basic electronics, and more. Yes! It is possible for members to go through their own personal maker revolution in the next 12 weeks at the Maketory. Some will go through their own personal industrial revolution in as few as 90 days.
It is not unfair to call it a revolution.
The age of being a cog in a big machine and marching one's way to a defined benefit plan retirement is over. In its place is a global talent pool with access to the same tools, knowledge, and equipment as everyone else. The Maker Movement continues to grow in the United States and around the world and will not stop at the US borders. We were made to make.
Want to build the next jet pack? An Origami kayak? Your own personal Segway? A machine that can make diamonds? The world is your oyster. By joining our community, our members will be able to micro-manufacture, quickly prototype, manufacture, and make affordable low-entry custom products as they work for themselves, doing what they love. The best innovations are driven by an individual's or team's personal passion and interest; come and pursue yours.
The Maketory is open to the entire community: Independent Inventors, Entrepreneurs, Designers, Universities, other manufacturers, high schools, middle schools, elementary schools, parents, startups, and other small to medium-sized enterprises. This is one revolution that you will want to join. It doesn't just change you - it has the power to change those around you as well. The gale force winds of creative destruction are blowing! Join us today!
This Manifesto was adopted from “The Maker Manifesto,” with full permission of the author.
In his words: “That is the point of Making.”