Maker’s Corner — Penny for Your Thoughts

One of the reasons this is the coolest team I could ever hope to work with is that we all get to wear different hats. But it’s no secret around the MAKE office that my favorite hat of all is general manager of the Maker Shed store. What’s not to like? I get to exchange ideas with everyone about new kit ideas, tools, toys, microcontrollers, books, games, and yes, projects that we think ought to be kits but aren’t yet.

Over the past two years, our store has grown considerably in terms of the number of people we reach, number and variety of products we carry, number of indie makers supplying products, and even the size and spectacle of our physical pop-up stores at Maker Faire (about 10,000 square feet and growing). Maker Shed is the fastest-growing piece of our business right now. In fact, during two of the gloomiest months for retail in the past 40 years, Maker Shed 2008 holiday sales were up 79% over prior-year holiday sales.

We’re apparently doing something right here. But we can’t take all the credit. Our formula is pretty simple, really. We have a team of smart people who take the time to visit schools, clubs, and community events; ask a lot of questions; and listen to what you have to say.

However, we’re not resting on our laurels. I want to hear from even more of you. On your terms. We’re putting up a simple survey at I invite you to take it and share your thoughts. However, if you’d prefer to simply jot down your thoughts in an email, I’d be delighted to read it. I’m Want to see more products of a particular type? More science projects? A certain kind of tool? Kits for a certain age group or maybe classrooms? Maybe you’d like to see our store arranged differently, or perhaps get club or group discounts. Whatever comes to mind, I’d love to hear about it.

Most importantly, if there’s one project kit you’ve always thought would be cool, or a maker toy you remember from years ago but haven’t been able to find, drop me a line. Maybe we can find it or we know of a maker supplier who’d be interested in making it for us.

If you’ve shopped at the Maker Shed, thank you. If you haven’t, I invite you to peruse the store at and then take our survey or send me an email and tell me: What can we do to make the place even more interesting or useful for you?

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Dan Woods

Dan is CEO of TechShop, Inc. Before joining the team, he spent nine years at O'Reilly Media and was the co-founder of Make: Magazine, which focuses on how-to projects for makers. In this role, Dan oversaw marketing, media relations, circulation development, community outreach, and sales for the magazine. He helped establish Make: as the premier media group and voice of the DIY market. He also conceived and launched the Maker Shed store, growing it to one of Make:'s most important assets. Dan has a BS in Aeronautics from San Jose State University and studied business administration at Santa Clara University's Graduate School of Business.

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