Zero to Maker: Is Making Nature or Nurture?


In a comment on one of David Lang’s Zero to Maker columns, reader Nathan Dunham wrote:

Really enjoying reading this series. I wonder: what do you think the differences are between the “buy a grill” and “weld a grill” people, in general? I guess more broadly I mean the difference between people who “get” making and those who don’t, regardless of their actual ability to make things.

Do you think the interest in making is just part of who you are, or do you think it’s something that can be encouraged?

I think it’s a great question and something that would be fun to discuss. How much of being a “maker” is a certain interest/aptitude that some people just have and others don’t; how much of making can be taught? Of course, on some level, everyone is a “maker,” but only a relatively small number of people are devoted to making/DIY as a sort of lifestyle choice. Is that just an issue of exposure to the “joy of making?” Once you DIY, you don’t care to buy?

Obviously, it’s not binary like this, but what do you all think? Is making bred in the bone? Discuss.

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Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. His free weekly-ish maker tips newsletter can be found at

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