I am a huge fan of Chris Anderson. Both “The long tail” and “Free” are great reads and truly thought-provoking. Both, but particularly “Free” is a book we use regularly with clients. The question asked in “Free” is “what happens if your service will become available for free (which it will)? Talk about throwing a fox into a chicken den.
A few weeks ago we used “Digital disruption” as a way to explain to a client the speed of innovation. We are now talking overnight, big bang disruption, by Coderdojo trained entrepreneurs using free tools, utilising global platforms, using shared IP, open source and community principles as a key features to compete with the big boys (and winning). In “digital disruptions” there are a few references to the “making community” and how that will be the next wave of disruptions. “Making” as the new black.
And presto, a few weeks later there is Chris Anderson with “Makers, the new industrial revolution”. Another cracking book about how the same principals that transformed the ICT world is going to transform the manufacturing world.
A book that should be read by any policymaker in the area of entrepreneurship, SME policy and economic development.
Digitised DIY, where the need for economy of scale no longer applies, bottom up, highly networked, open source, with access to all the production tools you need with a single click of a mouse. Where the long tail of things creates millions of opportunities for small local businesses. The one-size fits all approach of the large manufactures no longer need to apply. You can make small batches at competitive prices. Scale is no longer an issue.
Jump on the bandwagon
From an entrepreneurial perspective, the maker movement is where ICT was in 1985. You can already predict where this is going, apply the lessons and get on the bandwagon. But it also behests on the education system to jump on the same train and teach making. We need a 3D printer in every school.
Which brings us to printers. Remember the dot-matrix printer? That is where 3D printing is now. Now you have a small printer on your desk, printing HD colour pictures. That is where 3D printing is going. In materials, biology and DNA. For 99 Euro per printer.
Open source hardware, with no patent protection, shared by a community of passionate, people. For the large manufacturers, it is going to be very hard to beat that. Open source innovation is cheaper, faster, better researched and already has a head start in market research, marketing and support. With social capital and your ecosystem the new marketing tools. With word of mouth automatically build in. With a lot of emphasis on branding and trademarking.
Losing the talent war
And because it is driven by passion, it will attract the best talent from all over the world, working together. Try to beat that as a company. The long tail of talent and the need for a drastic relook on the way you organise your business. Which brings us to books such as “Loose” or “The connected company”.
No barriers to entry
So as a company, you are now loosing on economy of scale, IP, marketing, talent and passion. Maybe finance as the last barrier to entry? Alas, that is why they invented crowdfunding. Which even reinforces all the above. The market research, the selling, the word of mouth, the social media, the storytelling, the community, the speed to market, the channel, the distribution and the beginning of what Brian Solis calls the dynamic customer journey and constant feedback loop (from “What is the future of business” #WTF).
Chris Anderson has been spot on with his earlier books and I think he is spot on with “Makers”. From a policy perspective, from an educational perspective and from a personal perspective. This movement can transform economies, people and allow you to finally follow your passion.