The Adafruit blog has an interesting interview with the new owner of Techshop (aka Techshop 2.0), Dan Rasure. He, along with business partner Bill Lloyd, announced their acquisition of the about-to-go-bankrupt US Techshop locations last weekend, with plans to reopen as many locations as possible.
The piece goes into their ideas for necessary changes to the company, possible options for previous members with lifetime memberships, their background with Sunflower Wind, an interesting connection to CIA chief Mike Pompeo, and more. It’s a fun read.
What is your vision of the maker movement? What do you see the maker movement as it is now and what it could be?
So I see that TechShop served three very different but important segments. You had the hobbyists, the small business to corporate — and that’s obviously a very big differentiation between those or a big group, but similar characteristics — and then the education side, the STEM, the STEAM. And I believe that all of them have their place and they’re all extremely important. So I’m looking for ways within the shops to keep them together when need be, but also be able to give them their space.
One thing that I’ve talked to about members is that we absolutely love the STEM classes, but we also have to get our own work done, too. So looking for — you know, sometimes you just have to create a little bit of division in order to create a great environment for both parties.
Then on the entrepreneurship side, the small business, I believe that TechShop was a great place for companies to start. But there’s no reason for them to leave once they get a little bit bigger, because oftentimes they still don’t have the funds to buy the equipment that they have access to at TechShop. So it’s part of what I’ve already talked to about with Brooklyn, those other locations, is: Can we get more space available so those small businesses can continue to grow, continue to use the equipment within TechShop? And many times in order to support their production, it does require more machines. Where that comes back to the hobbyists is that the more machines that we can have, the more we can service the hobbyists and provide services that would otherwise not be available, like TechShop has for years that they’ve been in business already, but continuing to expand that. The other part is I believe that the more entrepreneurship and small business you have within the facilities, the more ideas get flowing, and kind of that flywheel effect.