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DIY - Hope or Threat?



February 12, 2010 – Comments (4)

I thought this was interesting, from Wired: In the Next Industrial Revolution, Atoms Are the New Bits, by Chris Anderson.

I started hearing rumbles about a resurgence of do-it-yourself (DIY) at some point in 2009 and to my way of thinking, it represented flickers of hope after all this economic malaise we've been going through. It struck me as hopeful in a variety of ways. For example, the idea that people will start using their creativity to make new things, instead of that long drive to somehow get a slice of some kind of bubble. And of course, it is nice to think of new and interesting industries, inventions, tools, etc. springing up out of the ashes of those that haven't been doing such a bang-up job or have become obsolete as time marches on (and it is always marching on, of course, even when some companies/industries don't quite realize it for far too long).

Of course, also interesting is that the cover for this issue of Wired brought up the idea that investors and even workers won't necessarily be needed for this new breed of innovators and entrepreneurs in this vision of a DIY industrial revolution. I think that's a little much though. 

I tend to believe this trend, if it continues, represents more hope than threat. And of course it's good for investors to keep abreast of anything that could be disruptive to existing industries. 

Another fact that kind of knocked me out me out in here... I remember when I first heard of a 3-D printer, I thought that was pretty amazing. The article said that now, there are sub-$1,000 3-D printers (which of course, fits into his theory here, since then such tools become much more accessible to many more people). 

Of course, I know a lot of people are known to rebut or criticize Chris Anderson; the Long Tail theory had a lot of critics. But regardless, he does come up with some interesting food for thought, I think. (I'm currently reading his new-ish book, Free.) 

4 Comments – Post Your Own

#1) On February 12, 2010 at 8:47 PM, angusthermopylae (38.50) wrote:

Interesting things whose existence I didn't know about until this year:

--DIY nuclear reactors groups

--DIY genetic engineering network

--DIY 3-D printers

--DIY embedded computer systems

--DIY security systems

--DIY robotic weapons

Try googling for any of these, and you'll get tons of hits on each.

Some of thse might sound scary or irresponsible, but I think they are the basement projects that could either produce or commoditize ideas that really could change the world.

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#2) On February 12, 2010 at 9:24 PM, TMFLomax (89.43) wrote:


WOW! Interesting! Yeah I've got to say, DIY nuclear reactors groups and DIY genetic engineering networks both make me feel a wee bit uncomfortable... ;) But that is really fascinating!  And yeah, I'm sure such groups could definitely come up with some amazing ideas. (And sometimes hobbyists are more passionate than supposed experts... Isn't it astronomy that works that way, if I'm not mistaken...)

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#3) On February 13, 2010 at 2:29 PM, rofgile (99.39) wrote:

DIY genetic engineering is really taking off!  Look at the BioBricks folks, amazing!

Also, the DIY printing is taking off like crazy - MakerBot is amazing!  I'm trying to get into DIY printing, myself.  I like the idea that I can run my own manufacturing business in my garage.


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#4) On February 15, 2010 at 2:53 PM, TMFLomax (89.43) wrote:


So funny, I read your comment earlier, and then ran across this article on Do-It-Yourself Genetic Engineering just on a random news search. What a cool article in a lot of ways, including the can-do attitude in DIY, since the article centers on students from a community college who were duking it out with everybody else. (Of course, I have to say, genetic engineering traditionally frightens me, I tend to be frightened of the "bio-error" aspect that is mentioned in this article, but I have to say, some of the things that they mentioned as possibilities in here WERE really interesting and exciting!)

How cool you're trying to get into this yourself! Very exciting!!

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