Is it the end of an era or the start to new beginnings? Financial troubles have forced Maker Media to halt operations after 15 years of launching the maker movement. This unfortunate situation has brought sadness to many of the makers from around the globe. Maker Faire has been an inspiration hub with over 200 events in 40+ countries. Everyone will be in limbo waiting to hear the outcome and if the company can restructure and continue their mission.
Maker Faire has been a very pivotal part of my job for the past 3+ years. When I started my position, I was asked if I would like to go to Maker Faire and represent Digi-Key – by the way, it is in two weeks. I felt like a kid in a candy store! Maker Faire was an event I wanted to attend since I first heard about it.
That first event (Maker Faire Bay Area 2016) was way more than I could have ever anticipated. Everyone there was so engaging and ready to tell us their story about how Digi-Key saved their project or how much they were happy to meet someone from our company. We were always coined as this amazing company from a small town in northern Minnesota that nobody has ever heard of. This event opened my eyes to the culture and importance of makers across the globe. The anticipation and excitement for the show just grew from there. We went bigger and better at every show since that hot day in May of 2016.
This event helped us showcase some of our non-traditional suppliers. Just to name a few: Adafruit, Sparkfun, Pimoroni, Kitronik, Raspberry Pi, Arduino, and so many more. We would put together creative ideas such as the 4 ft diameter Circuit playground, Custom Move: Mini and MeArm Robots, Sparkfun Roshamglo, and on and on….. These suppliers are pivotal in our growth to the maker movement and will continue to be a part of this space for a very long time.
Maker Faire was more than just a show for Digi-Key to be involved in. It became a stepping stone to interact with our current, future, and legacy customers. I have built friendships with customers, other companies, and even competitors that will last through my career. We’re all friend here and have the same agenda – to Make! Even though it looks like the future of Maker Media is up in question, the open sourced community of making isn’t going anywhere. There will always be this large group of us that can’t help but get our hands on new technology and try to figure out how it works and what we can use it for beyond what the manufacture says.
I wish the best of luck to Dale Dougherty and the Maker Media team on their challenges moving forwards. The team at Maker Media is such a great group of people who care about what we are all doing at these events. Katie, Mike, Mara, Caleb, and the entire team have been nothing but supportive of our crazy ideas and last-minute requests. I would like to publicly thank them for all they have done for myself and our team. So…. THANK YOU to Make Media as well as all of the makers/hobbiest/engineers out there that have made this program what it has been up to this point.
I don’t think it is the end. It is just the start to new and better things. I will see you all real soon but for now, here are some pictures of my experiences at Maker Faires from around the world.