The Maker Economy Won't Be As Massive As Expected

You often hear people say there’s going to be this massive maker economy in which everybody’s a designer.  That’s actually not going to happen. 

There’s quite a bit of a debate in the field about whether everybody really wants to become a designer.  On the one hand you can say this is a democratization of design tools.  This is absolutely true and that is a wonderful thing.  That means people who otherwise could not have had access to design software tools to make their design real, now are gaining access to these tools.  So on the one hand that is absolutely true and wonderful.

But on the other hand there’s a lot of people who simply, as much as they admire designers and are happy to purchase their beautiful, radical 3-D printing designs, do not want to become designers.  

You often hear people say there’s going to be this massive maker economy in which everybody’s a designer.  That’s actually not going to happen.  What is going to happen is that anyone who has the talent and the drive to become a designer has a lot more opportunities now then they used to.  So a parallel is writers.  In the old days if you wanted to be writer you had to get an article approved by a magazine, and that took a lot of doing.  You had to get an agent if you wanted to write a book.

What the Internet did is it basically gave everybody the tools to A, share their work and B, actually market it, and find readers.  Design is going to go the same way.  Ss long as you have the drive and people are willing to read your work you can be a writer.  You just need a blog and it costs a few dollars a month.  The same thing is going to happen with design tools and actually making parts, making jewelry, making beautiful objects.  The people who want to step up and actually embrace this level playing field will do so.  And that’s a wonderful thing. 

In Their Own Words is recorded in Big Think's studio.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

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