There seems to be a bit of confusion lately about the Maker Movement. As with reporting on any popular phenomena (like pop stars or smart phones), once there’s been coverage of the next big thing, the media inevitably moves on to covering how the next big thing is already doomed to die. And even while our own Maker Faire Bay Area recently enjoyed yet another blockbuster year, and crowdfunded endeavors by aspiring innovators continue to break records, we start to see headlines like this:
To be fair, the piece doesn’t make any predictions of doom-and-gloom. Rather, it contrasts the perceived popularity of the Maker Movement right now with the fact that one company, Sparkfun, which makes and sells breakout boards and electronic kits, saw only 9% growth last year after previous years of significant double-digit growth. I’d suggest that it’s unreasonable to try to find a trend in one data point from one still robustly-healthy company (let’s not fall into the trap of assuming anomalous short-term growth is realistically sustainable – I’m looking at you, Apple stock speculators) in one still wide-open and still-growing product category (1 million Raspberry Pis sold, Arduino kits showing up in Radio Shack stores around the country, and other companies in the space – like Adafruit Industries – tripling year-over-year).
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