Looking Back at the Launch of the Maker Movement: The First Maker Faire


Make recently had a great post about the first Maker Faire – featuring Ladyada’s assistant Phil Torrone 🙂 Check it out here.

Ten years ago this spring, on April 22 and 23, the staff of a scrappy new “technology on your time” magazine called Make: descended upon a very spacious and suddenly sparse-looking San Mateo fairgrounds. No one was actually sure how many people would attend, or how all this was going to go down on that slightly overcast weekend. But the crew was filled with nervous excitement over what was about to take happen. The gates opened on Saturday morning, attendees streamed in, and Maker Faire — and in many ways, the Maker Movement — was off to the races.

By the end of the weekend, the thoroughly inspired and spent organizers realized they were clearly onto something, something potentially big and significant. As founding Editor-in-Chief Mark Frauenfelder recalls: “None of us, the staff or the attendees, had any idea what to expect. The Faire turned out to be one of those things that was way better than any of us could have imagined. It was the Woodstock moment for our tribe, a lovefest and kickoff event for a new way of life for hundreds of thousands of us.”

Phillip Torrone, then the editor of this website, recalls his feelings over that surprising weekend: “I remember thinking we’d be lucky if two thousand people showed up. By 1PM there was about 10,000 people elbow-to-elbow, pouring into all corners of the fairgrounds. By the next day, it was 20,000 people, and I remember thinking: ‘OK, this is going to be a something big that’s not going to go away. We’re going to need a bigger boat, as they say.’ I lost my voice from talking so much.”

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