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Makers: The New Industrial Revolution
 
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Makers: The New Industrial Revolution [Kindle Edition]

Chris Anderson
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Produktbeschreibungen

Pressestimmen

"Anderson is a sort of capitalist revolutionary, and Makers is the industrial chapter in a larger manifesto for the democratizing force of the internet." (Seven, Sunday Telegraphy)

"A fascinating and important book" (PQ Magazine)

"a contribution to be welcomed ... Anderson's enthusiasm for the topic - and skill in telling the human stories behind this - is appealing." (Financial Times)

"Anyone who has ever dreamed of starting their own business, making their fortune by utilizing the internet or inventing some fantastic new world-changing product would be the ideal audience for this particular book. It can jumpstart you into thinking of ways to allow technology to transform your life and the products that surround us" (DeskDemon/PA Book Review)

"particularly canny ... snappily melds its cyberutopian vision" (New Statesman)

Pressestimmen

Praise for The Long Tail
"[The Long Tail] is a fascinating meditation on the phenomenon and exploration of options for those who want to find their niche." -- Globe and Mail

Werbetext

How the internet is transforming industry and national economies

Kurzbeschreibung

If a country wants to remain economically vibrant, it needs to manufacture things. In recent years, however, many nations have become obsessed with making money out of selling services, leaving the real business of manufacturing to others.



Makers is about how all that is being reversed. Over the past ten years, the internet has democratised publishing, broadcasting and communications, leading to a massive increase in the range of participation in everything digital - the world of bits. Now the same is happening to manufacturing - the world of things.



Chris Anderson, bestselling author of The Long Tail, explains how this is happening: how such technologies as 3D printing and electronics assembly are becoming available to everybody, and how people are building successful businesses as a result. Whereas once every aspiring entrepreneur needed the support of a major manufacturer, now anybody with a smart idea and a little expertise can make their ideas a reality. Just as Google, Facebook and others have created highly successful companies in the virtual world, so these new inventors and manufacturers are assuming positions of ever greater importance in the real world.



The next industrial revolution is on its way.

Klappentext

If a country wants to remain economically vibrant, it needs to manufacture things. In recent years, however, many nations have become obsessed with making money out of selling services, leaving the real business of manufacturing to others.

Makers is about how all that is being reversed. Over the past ten years, the internet has democratised publishing, broadcasting and communications, leading to a massive increase in the range of participation in everything digital - the world of bits. Now the same is happening to manufacturing - the world of things.

Chris Anderson, bestselling author of The Long Tail, explains how this is happening: how such technologies as 3D printing and electronics assembly are becoming available to everybody, and how people are building successful businesses as a result. Whereas once every aspiring entrepreneur needed the support of a major manufacturer, now anybody with a smart idea and a little expertise can make their ideas a reality. Just as Google, Facebook and others have created highly successful companies in the virtual world, so these new inventors and manufacturers are assuming positions of ever greater importance in the real world.

The next industrial revolution is on its way.

Über den Autor und weitere Mitwirkende

CHRIS ANDERSON is editor-in-chief of Wired magazine and is the author of the internationally acclaimed The Long Tail, which was shortlisted for the Financial Times and Goldman Sachs Business Book of the Year award in 2006 and won the Loeb Award for the best business book in 2007. His next book, Free, was a New York Times bestseller. He lives in Northern California with his wife and five children.

Leseprobe. Abdruck erfolgt mit freundlicher Genehmigung der Rechteinhaber. Alle Rechte vorbehalten.

Chapter 1



The Invention Revolution

Fred Hauser, my maternal grandfather, emigrated to Los Angeles from Bern, Switzerland, in 1926. He was trained as a machinist, and perhaps inevitably for Swiss mechanical types, there was a bit of the watchmaker in him, too. Fortunately, at that time the young Hollywood was something of a clockwork industry, too, with its mechanical cameras, projection systems, and the new technology of magnetic audio strips. Hauser got a job at MGM Studios working on recording technology, got married, had a daughter (my mom), and settled in a Mediterranean bungalow on a side street in Westwood where every house had a lush front lawn and a garage in the back.

But Hauser was more than a company engineer. By night, he was also an inventor. He dreamed of machines, drew sketches and then mechanical drawings of them, and built prototypes. He converted his garage to a workshop, and gradually equipped it with the tools of creation: a drill press, a band saw, a jig saw, grinders, and, most important, a full-size metal lathe, which is a miraculous device that can, in the hands of an expert operator, turn blocks of steel or aluminum into precision-machined mechanical sculpture ranging from camshafts to valves.

Initially his inventions were inspired by his day job, and involved various kinds of tape-transport mechanisms. But over time his attention shifted to the front lawn. The hot California sun and the local mania for perfect green-grass plots had led to a booming industry in sprinkler systems, and as the region grew prosperous, gardens were torn up to lay irrigation systems. Proud homeowners came home from work, turned on the valves, and admired the water-powered wizardry of pop‑up rotors, variable-stream nozzles, and impact sprinkler heads spreading water beautifully around their plots. Impressive, aside from the fact that they all required manual intervention, if nothing more than just to turn on the valves in the first place. What if they could be driven by some kind of clockwork, too?

Patent number 2311108 for “Sequential Operation of Service Valves,” filed in 1943, was Hauser’s answer. The patent was for an automatic sprinkler system, which was basically an electric clock that turned water valves on and off. The clever part, which you can still find echoes of today in lamp timers and thermostats, is the method of programming: the “clock” face is perforated with rings of holes along the rim at each five-minute mark. A pin placed in any hole triggers an electrical actuator called a solenoid, which toggles a water valve on or off to control that part of the sprinkler system. Each ring represented a different branch of the irrigation network. Together they could manage an entire yard—front, back, patio, and driveway areas.

Once he had constructed the prototype and tested it in his own garden, Hauser filed his patent. With the patent application pending, he sought to bring it to market. And there was where the limits of the twentieth-century industrial model were revealed.

It used to be hard to change the world with an idea alone. You can invent a better mousetrap, but if you can’t make it in the millions, the world won’t beat a path to your door. As Marx observed, power belongs to those who control the means of production. My grandfather could invent the automatic sprinkler system in his workshop, but he couldn’t build a factory there. To get to market, he had to interest a manufacturer in licensing his invention. And that is not only hard, but requires the inventor to lose control of his or her invention. The owners of the means of production get to decide what is produced.

In the end, my grandfather got lucky—to a point. Southern California was the center of the new home irrigation industry, and after much pitching, a company called Moody agreed to license his automatic sprinkler system. In 1950 it reached the market as the Moody Rainmaster, with a promise to liberate homeowners so they could go to the beach for the weekend while their gardens watered themselves. It sold well, and was followed by increasingly sophisticated designs, for which my grandfather was paid royalties until the last of his automatic sprinkler patents expired in the 1970s.

This was a one-in-a-thousand success story; most inventors toil in their workshops and never get to market. But despite at least twenty-six other patents on other devices, he never had another commercial hit. By the time he died in 1988, I estimate he had earned only a few hundred thousand dollars in total royalties. I remember visiting the company that later bought Moody, Hydro-Rain, with him as a child in the 1970s to see his final sprinkler system model being made. They called him “Mr. Hauser” and were respectful, but it was apparent they didn’t know why he was there. Once they had licensed the patents, they then engineered their own sprinkler systems, designed to be manufacturable, economical, and attractive to the buyer’s eye. They bore no more resemblance to his prototypes than his prototypes did to his earliest tabletop sketches.

This was as it must be; Hydro-Rain was a company making many tens of thousands of units of a product in a competitive market driven by price and marketing. Hauser, on the other hand, was a little old Swiss immigrant with an expiring invention claim who worked out of a converted garage. He didn’t belong at the factory, and they didn’t need him. I remember that some hippies in a Volkswagen yelled at him for driving too slowly on the highway back from the factory. I was twelve and mortified. If my grandfather was a hero of twentieth-century capitalism, it certainly didn’t look that way. He just seemed like a tinkerer, lost in the real world.

Yet Hauser’s story is no tragedy; indeed, it was a rare success story from that era. My grandfather was, as best I can remember (or was able to detect; he fit the caricature of a Swiss engineer, more comfortable with a drafting pencil than with conversation), happy, and he lived luxuriously by his standards. I suspect he was compensated relatively fairly for his patent, even if my stepgrandmother (my grandmother died early) complained about the royalty rates and his lack of aggression in negotiating them. He was by any measure an accomplished inventor. But after his death, as I went through his scores of patent filings, including a clock timer for a stove and a Dictaphone-like recording machine, I couldn’t help but observe that of his many ideas, only the sprinklers actually made it to market at all.

Why? Because he was an inventor, not an entrepreneur. And in that distinction lies the core of this book.

It used to be hard to be an entrepreneur. The great inventor/businessmen of the First Industrial Revolution, such as James Watt and Matthew Boulton of steam-engine fame, were not just smart but privileged. Most were either born into the ruling class or lucky enough to be apprenticed to one of the elite. For most of history since then, entrepreneurship has meant either setting up a corner grocery shop or some other sort of modest local business or, more rarely, a total pie-in-the-sky crapshoot around an idea that is more likely to bring ruination than riches.

Today we are spoiled by the easy pickings of the Web. Any kid with an idea and a laptop can create the seeds of a world-changing company—just look at Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook or any one of thousands of other Web startups hoping to follow his path. Sure, they may fail, but the cost is measured in overdue credit-card payments, not lifelong disgrace and a pauper’s prison.

The beauty of the Web is that it democratized the tools both of invention and of production. Anyone with an idea for a service can turn it into a product with...
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