Maker Pro Newsletter – 03/20/14

Maker Pro Newsletter – 03/20/14

A conference by and for makers.

From the editors of MAKE magazine, the Maker Pro Newsletter is about the impact of makers on business and technology. Our coverage includes hardware startups, new products, incubators, and innovators, along with technology and market trends.

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MakerCon is Coming


Maker Pro Alert!

MAKE is hosting its first MakerCon, May 13–14, the week of Maker Faire Bay Area, at the Oracle Conference Center in Redwood City, Calif.

What is MakerCon?

MakerCon is a conference by and for makers. MakerCon will provide valuable, practical insights into the impact of the maker movement on community, technology, and business.

We realized that the makers who co-create Maker Faire with us needed more time to interact with each other and share what they are learning and doing. For the last two years, we have produced the Hardware Innovation Workshop, looking at Maker Pros who are starting new businesses. Originally, we wanted to gain greater recognition and appreciation for hardware startups, and the businesses that we saw growing out of Maker Faire and the Maker community.


Dale Dougherty, CEO, Maker Media, Inc.

Today, there are a healthy number of hardware startups, combining physical and digital computing. There are new technologies that did not exist several years ago that provide all of us with new ways of making things. However, the impact of the maker movement is not just measured by new business and new technologies.

The maker movement is providing new insights into local and global manufacturing, design, workforce development, education and even creative culture. We are excited by the growth of makerspaces in communities, in a variety of settings from libraries and schools to city centers and in industry. National and local government leaders are trying to understand how to support the growth of the maker movement. Even large corporations are trying to figure out how the maker movement impacts their interactions with customers and the kinds of products they develop. David Lang has almost single-handedly started a conversation about “citizen explorers” as makers who are bringing the maker mindset to science.

There is so much going on. It no longer fits neatly under “hardware innovation.” It can no longer be called a workshop. So, this year, we are inviting you to join us in producing the first MakerCon. MakerCon is the “big tent” that can bring makers together to meet each other and learn from each other.

Also, in the past, we packed as much as we could into a short program. We realize that makers needed even more time to interact with each other. There will be openings in the program for “unconference” elements. And unlike traditional conferences where speakers give their talk and go home, our speakers are drawn from the maker community and they remain engaged throughout the conference in hallway and lunch-table conversations.

Our goal has always been to facilitate sharing among makers by making those connections easier.

So, please join us for the first national MakerCon during the week of Maker Faire.

— Dale Dougherty, CEO, Maker Media, Inc.

Conference and Workshop Overview

MakerCon will offer makers the opportunity for a deep dive into emerging trends and categories. Workshops will include: Making a Maker City, Digital Manufacturing, Design for Manufacturing, Citizen Exploration, Quantified Self, and Internet of Things.

Featured Speakers Include:

  • Massimo Banzi, co-founder, Arduino
  • Peter Hirshberg, CEO, The Re:imagine Group
  • Bunnie Huang, co-founder, Chumby
  • Kevin Kelly, founding executive editor, Wired; founder, Cool Tools
  • Eric Klein, partner, Lemnos Labs
  • David Lang, co-founder, OpenROV
  • Scott Miller, co-founder and CEO, Dragon Innovation
  • Alice Taylor, founder, MakieLab

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New Workshop: Making the Maker City

Access to tools improved for Maker Pros with the opening of new makerspaces, hackerspaces, TechShops, and fab labs (Gui Calvalcanti sorted out the names in MAKE). A series of  'Make a Makerspace' workshops, like the one at Maker Faire Bay Area, left, spread best practices to new and planned facilities.  Let's hope the abrupt flame-out of Brooklyn's Third Ward makerspace, amidst a flurry of mismanagement accusations, was also a learning opportunity.

MakerCon will also host a “How to Make a Makerspace” workshop, similar to this one at Maker Faire Bay Area.

We see making in more and more places: schools, libraries, makerspaces, museums. Which will emerge first? Second? Can their development be hastened? How do they relate to and affect one another?

Many have come to see these institutions-of-making as part of an ecosystem. We believe that with foresight of planning and active cultivation these players can together change the education, culture, creativity, and commerce of a city.

A new MakerCon workshop, “Making the Maker City,” will showcase examples of success and provide a roadmap to advance the agenda in your future Maker City.

Propose a Session

Data cruncher Rachel Kalmar.

Data cruncher Rachel Kalmar presents at Hardware Innovation
Workshop in 2013.

Make … a session at MakerCon.

Propose something that you think will be informative and relevant to MakerCon’s themes: internet of things, quantified self, tools of innovation, the business of making, citizen exploration, and building maker communities.

Proposals should be targeted to an audience that has general or advanced knowledge of the subject matter. For reference, look to the past presentations from Hardware Innovation Workshop.

Conference sessions will be held Tuesday, May 13 and Wednesday, May 14.

Call for proposals will close April 1. Presenters will be notified by April 15.

Pitch Your Prototype


The Innovation Showcase at the Hardware Innovation
Workshop Bay Area 2013.

MakerCon is looking for early stage products, projects, and ideas to feature in the Pitch Your Prototype competition.

Selected prototypes will be presented at the opening session of MakerCon and featured in the Innovation Showcase. Each winning entrant will have five minutes to present their idea and a prototype: a 2-minute pitch, then a 3-minute demonstration of the prototype.

Attendees at MakerCon will vote for the most interesting and innovative product idea, taking into consideration its application, and impact on community, technology and business.

The winner will receive a cash prize of $5,000, and a slot on the Innovation Stage to present the prototype to the Maker Faire audience the following weekend.

Submit a 5-minute video of your project HERE. Your entry must be an early stage new product idea that is not yet on the market and not currently posted on a crowdfunding site. Deadline is Friday, April 25 by 11:59pm PDT.

Sponsorship Opportunities


Bunnie Huang, co-founder of Chumby presents at the Hardware Innovation Workshop in 2012.

Connect your brand to the growing community of makers who are having an exciting and enduring impact on our world! We have created a number of sponsorship opportunities for companies, media organizations, public institutions, and trade associations.

MakerCon Mission and Agenda

  • Celebrate makers and making
  • Recognize innovation and ingenuity
  • Meet and mix with makers
  • Exchange views and visions
  • Explore the potential of tools & technology
  • Visualize the future (robots & drones!)
  • Delve into emerging market trends
  • Demo exciting new products

For more information, please contact Sponsorship at 707-602-5012

Get your MakerCon ticket Today! Special Limited Time Offer for Maker Pro Subscribers


Talking shop at the Hardware Innovation Workshop 2013.

If you attended any of the Hardware Innovation Workshops in the Bay Area or New York, and loved networking with your peers, hearing from successful startups, and access to expert advice from digital manufacturing to design and funding options, MakerCon is for you!

More speakers, more tracks, more sessions on emerging trends (like biohacking), and emerging products in categories like quantified self. (Click HERE to see partial list of speakers).

Plus the popular Innovation Showcase featuring pioneering and disruptive tech startups—including the Pitch Your Prototype finalists—returns as the Tuesday evening event.

Don’t miss it!

Maker Pros get your ticket today at a special 30% discount. Use coupon code MPRO. Hurry, offer expires April 1st (no joke ;-)

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DC Denison is the co-editor of The Maker Pro Newsletter, which covers the intersection of makers and business. That means hardware startups, new products, and market trends.

DC manages customer stories at Acquia, the digital experience company.

View more articles by DC Denison
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