Corporatizing the Maker “Movement”

The New York Times has a story on-line about TechShop, a company looking to build, some might say capitalize, on the maker movement. Another way to look at it is that a private company is willing to do what communities used to do for themselves, but forgot: provide a communal space that anyone can use. Once upon a time, almost every town had a community kitchen, where anyone with a big cooking job, typically canning fruits and vegetables, could go. Or many people could go and socialize while working. When I lived in Bloomington, there was a community wood shop where for a few dollars, you could use a decent collection of decent tools.

TechShop aims to replicate that experience, but using a membership model, where individuals pay a monthly fee in order to have access to what appears to be a nice collection of machinery. Who knows, if this catches on we might see communities once again creating this infrastructure as a way to accommodate those who can’t afford memberships in the private sector. Anything that makes making itself more accessible, more palatable, more approachable, and especially more doable is just fine by me.