San Mateo 2015 Maker Faire Interview

2015 marks the 10 year anniversary of the San Mateo Maker Faire! The growth and change seen in the past decade has been remarkable. This year, 1200 makers showcased their projects, inventions and creations from May 15 — 17. 50% of the makers returned from previous years. One of the most exciting things about Maker Faire is that people who used to be attendees a few years ago are now exhibitors: there are graphic designers who became hardware designers; companies like MakerBot that grew out of the makerspace and were sold; and companies like littleBits, which originated and debuted at Maker Faire New York, where they received feedback and signed investors.

Larger companies are getting more involved as well; this year, Intel, NASA, Google and HP’s Sprout were all exhibitors. While robots, drones and 3D printing are always popular categories, the area that’s seen the most growth has been wearable technology stated Maker Faire founder Dale Dougherty and Gregg Brockway, CEO of Maker Media.

One of the reasons Dale Dougherty believes Maker Faire is so popular is because it appeals to all generations: there’s something that interests everyone. It creates an energy other people can feel. This is what connects us; what inspires us.

“Makers are different types of people with enough in common to connect with one another.”

“You find your own motivation when DIYing and creating. It’s up to you to create and find like-minded invididuals,” said Dougherty. Maker Faire and Maker Magazine, both founded 11 years ago, only helps facilitate this process. Many use this as a means to connect with people. Makers need access to others: to work through issues, bounce ideas off of, talk about what they’re working on, and to test their projects with.

Parents want their children to know technology. Taking their kids to Maker Faires not only inspire them, it helps inspire them. They learn how to work with their hands, and similar to STEM programs, learn how to create and share their inventions.

In 2014, there were 131 Maker Faires around the world, 84 of which were in Northern America. Maker Faire is truly taking the world by storm. This year, there are over 200 Maker Faires planned across the world. Rome celebrates the third largest Maker Faire in the world each year. There is no word in Italian for maker, but they are adamant that this is who they are: their identity can be summed up in this five-letter, two-syllable word that resonates across the world, spanning countries and languages.

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