Junhwan Paul Kang | Beyond the personal creative To start up | 2015 New York Maker Faire
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Beyond the personal creative To start up | 2015 New York Maker Faire

Column | Beyond maker to Startup

Magazine | Monthly Robot | November issue, 2015

Writer: Junhwan Kang

Digest

Mr kang wrote this column to deliver how to change maker or reader’s mindset from enjoying  making prototype with technology to products to sell or to build a startup company. Through His experience and knowledge to attend world maker faire for 3 years. He made a small interview with French startup company,ObliLab  to make DIY Cardboard drum kit for educational purpose. and He introduced the the strategy of startup companies which have attended every year and every maker faire in the world.

He also introduced maker faire and picked up three keywords; Technology, Education and Experience out of reviewing of world maker faire. In fact, Most people imagined Maker Faire would be full of advanced technology. because Tech driven company, such as Boston Dynamics company is located in Boston near New York City.  However, Maker Faire is primarily designed to be forward-looking, showcasing makers who are exploring new forms and new technologies. But it’s not just for the novel in technical fields; Maker Faire features innovation and experimentation across the spectrum of science, engineering, art, performance and craft. Maker Faire is an all-ages gathering of tech enthusiasts, crafters, educators, tinkerers, hobbyists, engineers, science clubs, authors, artists, students, and commercial exhibitors.

In the final section, He mentioned about his major industry related 3d printing technology. 3D printing technology isn’t Technology to show and to make wow effect but settle into 3d printing industries very fast in the quantities of companies and the quality of products. In addition they have often use crowdfunding method in various aspect.

Translation in English

New york maker faire has been held 6times for this year.

With maker faire and maker week these two big events as the big center it got its a big scale since the 4th. Ever since then New york faire put ‘world’ on its name.

They made maker week as New york fashion week, it shows particular new york move that taking globally well known their own way. New york maker faire now is beyond the simple artists and engineers, or ordinary people ‘s creative activities , it leads to business start up.

 

The relationship with new york faire since 2013

From excitement to intensity

 

The relationship with maker faire started from the period of president Obama said establishing a joint public-private research institute called ‘NAMII’ where researching the new manufacturing methods by using 3D printing in Youngstown Ohio, in his new year’s speech “all the labors should learn 3D printing skill which has potential to bring a revolution in the manufacturing industry” there were a maker fever in the whole united states.

Probably 3D printing company where I am participating now, the relationship with open creators had already started at that time without my wills. I had a chance to participate in new york faire 2013 as a journalist, through this chance I was doing activities as a evangelist which were related to maker in Korean media and conference,

I realized the future value of 3D printing and built up a strong relationship with all the partners I had met in the process.

Two years passed, this year open creators participated in new york maker faire as a start up sponsor. Comparing to the past, this time as a participated team had a positive result of making a good relationship with all the startups from all over the world but on the other hand it was a good chance to see our true face that we thought it had its competitiveness. This year the period of world maker event overlapped with Korea’s thanksgiving holiday period 26,27 of September. So unfortunately many people who were supposed to visit could not make it. Again last year Korean big company with big scale sponsorship did not offer this year. More so there was a case that a group who making a program for visiting the faire had to go back right before the world maker faire starts. It was a quite messy atmosphere but we started to prepare intensively a week before the event starts. We reviewed overall, having an intense discussion of how to set the new releasing product’s special price and sales activities for the normal customers, and the partnership strategy for how to build networks with other startups from all over the world and United States with the similar interest.

Our intense worries showing that as years go by the atmosphere of maker faire has changed from ‘ create sprits and fun’ to ‘a fierce battle which drawing a successful business response’. Furthermore we found out that the one booth right next to our booth was a successful M3D printer develop company which had 340million dollars sponsored from 11855 sponsors 2014, and behind was ReDe Tec which brought a similar concept and samples as our company so we began to feel more nervous.

My third new york faire started with different feelings not as same as before.

 

Maker faire keywords

 

Maker faire is basically not a feast of high-tech. if you expect the contest with high-tech skills and products such as IT show CES in Las Vegas then you could probably go back with disappointments. For that reason it is required to have a new understanding of why maker and maker faire came out the world.

Even though you are a maker who have a desire to make a thing that not exist in the world but it does not mean that they always bring out their principles and skills to the world. You had rather can see more of people who utilize various skills, or previously devalued skills to bring out the experience and thing that people can have their hands on. You could see their intentions that taking this as a chance to appeal in the market and connect it to the business.

In other words, Maker Faire offering the opportunities to people to have various experiences with skills and education. And in the start up case they can get the chance to see how to turn their ideas and prototype into the products and responses from the customers.

From this point of view, there were more kit type products for the group of visitors with the children than robot,3d printing, drones which are the results of new tech.

Honestly if you imagine future oriented city New York, Maker faire in there you might imagine Boston dynamic’s real robots like things going to be everywhere in the faire. But New York maker faire is focusing on family festival atmosphere based on skills of education, experimental keywords. Unlike this, if you go to the Tokyo festival where is close to Korea it is interesting to see that they are offering actual size of Gun Dam robot or actual moving battle robots and experiences for various robots and attraction.

 

Not 3D printer divided into 3D printer industry

 

2013 3D itself brought out many topics. Media made up a fantasy that 3D printer is going to change the world. But in the result of long printing time, limited material and lacking delicacy, people’s interests had cooled down rapidly and some even mocked at it. 2 years later now the expectation for practical use of 3Dprinter has increased.

Unlike past all the interests with devices as the center, this year they introduced device diversification and material types and practical use methods. Startups proving their learning effects, they were showing more sophisticated practical use in the process of commercializing. This situation shows that this is a process of finding an appropriate use. It deserves evaluation that our imaginary visions are coming to the real world.

 

Marker faire, startups, and crowd funding campaign

 

The view for maker faire from startups has changed realistically. And I realized that its goal is very detailed. An Australian company which had develop handy 3D scanner combining and functioning with a smartphone ‘Eora’ made a notice that they will put their products on the kick starter campaign and use the place as colleting communities for crowd funding and potential sponsors.  As a result, Eora 3D Scanner had met its goal in 3 hours after funding started.

At this moment, it might be interesting to see the view difference for crowd funding from startups in Korea, US and English speaking countries.

Korean startups basically consider crowd funding as a way of marketing instead of actual fund raising. But just from 2-3years ago for US company. They already do their media activities and local communities as marketing. They are actually looking for sales activities and investors through crowd funding.

The situation goes this way so you can even see the companies who take a long journey from prototype to commercializing with maker faire. One stroke my mind, Even though DI Wire Machine brought out prototype with a great design in maker faire 2013 but can they actually make it commercialized?

Finally I was really happy to see the products in the real market.

As a company on the same boat, when we heard they already sold one in Korea from Marco Engineering Director of Pen Sa. We were really happy to hear that.

The other welcome one was Circuit Scribe. They had succeed in crowd funding and raised 67milion dollars from 12000 sponsors in 2014, we could get to see them again this year. We met for the first time there was a start up called Obli Lab made us expect their potential 3years later. This company is a startup from French product designer Patrick with a full of music passion and Caroline French but in New York, they developed cardboard shape drum kit.

After maker faire finished we met in a café around west village in New York for listening ObliLab’s philosophy and direction. The most important question that we made for co founder Caroline was an attitude towards the practical use and technology’s optimal level. “ why many customers and companies focusing on high tech but you are insisting on free electricity cardboard kit?” she said “ why we dare use electricity if our drum is cheaper and making good sounds than normal drums on the market?”  it was an underlying question that if we need excessive electricity then they need other devices and electricity for playing drum in undeveloped countries and the wild in Africa?.

It might be the most precious time that makes me think again about skills after participating New York maker faire 3years.

 

Conclusion

 

Korea ‘s maker faire tends to make the skills special. And tends to define and block themselves in the special fences and label it as maker faire or maker community. And also they only exist in the place and limited in the activity. Probably if the situation allows that tendency and frame disappeared, what maker actually aiming for and movement and ultimate goal would fulfill

When movement lost its name, it achieves the truth.

I am finishing up my story with a more interesting figure of speech. I met one maker who was in a mermaid suit in maker faire. She looked so special in there. If I did not live in there I would use all the flowery words to express her brave performance and skill itself were not valuable. But this year June I met thousand of mermaids in mermaid parade in Corny Island when the summer started to begin. And those figures in gay parade in New York, Brookline Caribbean parade where alerting the end of summer. For them creating something is not participating in the faire. It was ordinary things which we can find everywhere in life.

Date

November 14, 2015

Category

Column