Tag Archives: Maker Economy

QSC – 8 Years old this month – PEI’s centre for Freelancers and Artisans

There are now nearly 800 commercial co-working facilities in the United States, up from a little more than 300 only two years ago, and about 40 in 2008, according to an annual survey by Deskmag, an online magazine that covers the co-working industry.

More than 110,000 people currently work in one of the nearly 2,500 coworking spaces available worldwide. Compared to last year, there are now 83% more coworking spaces that serve a total of 117% more members! Considering only workdays, we see 4.5 new coworking spaces have emerged daily for the past twelve months. During the same time, the number of coworking members increased by 245 people on average each work day. (Deskmag)

As a member of the QSC, you are also part of the Coworking Visa – you have the benefit of access to over 200 sites all over the world. Details here.  Visiting Toronto, London, Paris, Los Angeles? You have a space and a community waiting for you.

What is going on and how might this help you?

Working at an office can be too structured. Working  at home can be too lonely. You may not have a job anyway. If you are under 30, you probably don’t. Same if you are over 55. So you seek to make a living. Co Working gives you the network to help. It gives you the social space to thrive in. 

So are you a student with a summer clear ahead of you and want to get a feel for this kind of work and space? Maybe you have a project? Are you in your 40’s and 50’s and wonder how you will cope when you lose your job? have you retired but are going mad from boredom?

Try out the Commons. Here is the link to the main page. Here is the link to how to become a member

Here is what the global survey by Deskmag found:

The benefits of coworking continue to be realized: 71% of respondents said their creativity had increased since joining, and 62% said their standard of work had improved. Countering the common claim that coworking spaces can be distracting, 68% said they were able to focus better, as compared to 12% who said the opposite. 64% said they could better complete tasks on time. 

Who are the coworkers? 53% are freelancers, while the remainder are entrepreneurs, small company employees, big company employees, and 8% who describe themselves as none of the above (the proportion of “other” respondents has increased from 5% two years ago to 8%, while entrepreneuers has fallen from 18% to 14%). The proportion of female coworkers is growing, up from 32% in 2010 to 38% today. 

The average number of desks and members is growing. The maximum capacity of most spaces is now 41 people, and the average membership size is 44. Desk utilization is up, from 49% to 55%, meaning spaces are being used by their members more frequently.

The majority of coworkers are so content with their workspace that they don’t plan to leave. 62% said they have no plans to leave their locations, while less than 5% will stay just for one month, disproving the notion that coworking is for mobile workers only.

How “Less is More” will beat “Bigger is Better”

15 years ago if you had a band, to be recorded meant that you had to buy time at a million dollar studio. 10 Years ago if you wanted to make a feature film, you needed millions.

Today any band can do a good job with a mac and Garage Band and you can shoot and edit a feature film on $10,000 of kit.

This transformation will apply to all sectors of the economy – we will not need the Big Studio, Big Factory or large amounts of capital and so need huge sales.

Less is more will beat Bigger is Better. Here Richard Gayle offers more information in support.

Two years ago, Joss Whedon produced Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog for about $200,000 and made over twice that back. It could be more today.

And as shown in this example, it is a nice business model. And it is a business model totally disruptive to the sorts of business models used by Hollywood, whose bloated budgets support an ecosystem which permits them to use arcane accounting schemes resulting in movies that never make a ‘profit.’

The same technologies that can produce this disruptive system also happen to be pretty much the same ones that are also used by the ‘pirate’ they claim to hunt. It is very possible that the regulations they get in place to save their own business model will also be used to prevent market entry to the very same disruptors that threaten them.

A win-win for them and a huge loss for us. And for the creative talent that creates the material for the studios to begin with.

This is how money corrupts so much of our system.The only way to stop this is to make it a crime to do what Whedon and Burns are doing. And a first step along this path is to hamper the use of digital technologies and restrict the innovations they drive from bearing fruit.

Industrial Age approaches created business models that need billion dollar movies in order to sustain them. Or billion dollar drugs. Or 10 million albums sold. Or a million books sold.

Information Age approaches create business models needing 1000-fold lower revenues to sustain them. Instead of fighting this disruption, a healthy system would be working with them, co-pting their disruption to further their own business lives.

Not likely to happen as we watch Kodak – who collaborating with Apple sold one of the first personal digital cameras – file for bankruptcy, completely missing the digital revolution it was actually first poised to take advantage of.

Now the studios stand at the same spot Kodak did 15 years ago. WIll they make the same mistake?

But as with all disruptive technologies, the studios can just not see how making a movie for $100,000 and getting back say $300,000 is sustainable. I expect there are huge numbers of creative talent who would disagree.

If you think SOPA was a Big Deal – Wait Until 3D Printing gets going

The old model was to make things scarce – the new will make them abundant – what side do you want to bet on? More here:

A recent blog post on The Pirate Bay predicts that the next form of piracy will be piracy via 3D printer. They predict piracy will move from tangible to digital, as it is now, to digital to tangible. The blog post says that in the modern world in which we live, data begins digitally, but relents that humans also require tangible objects as well — something anyone with a bookshelf full of alphabetized books or drawer full of neatly organized video games would agree with. Making a bold prediction, The Pirate Bay predicts that within twenty years, humans will be downloading sneakers or spare car parts and manifesting them in physical form with the help of the 3D printer. They even coined a term for this kind of object, the “Physible.”


The Pirate Bay cites Physibles as providing “huge” benefits to society: No more shipping huge amounts of products, no more having to shipping broken products back, no more child labor (somewhat amusingly listed after the shipping benefits), and being able to print food for hungry people.

Though their theory may seem a little, hopeful, we’ll say, they do have a point. 3D printers have been on the rise, and just about every piece of science fiction these days includes a makerbot in one form or another. That isn’t to say that science fiction predicts the future, but it is to say that the objects and themes in science fiction are indeed in the forefront of society’s mind. Granted, having makerbots that can make food and download sneakers within the next twenty years doesn’t seem likely, but at some point down the road of human existence, makerbots certainly seem like the tech we’ll aspire to create, whether or not pirating sneakers and food is something society is likely to do with them.

Where your job went and why it is not coming back

This is a picture of the big trends in employment.  Not pretty. Now ask will there be more or less jobs in Finance in the next 20 years? How about Government?

So where is the opportunity?

It is in the areas that have been hardest hit.

What is the fasted growing sector in food? It is in local food and famers markets. What sector do we worry about the most? Food – many are now seeing that factory food is at the heart of the health epidemic. More and more families are looking for safer and more nutritious food. This can only come from small operations.

10 years ago you needed a million dollars to have a full on recording or film editing studio. Now you can get the same power for free.

Today 3d Printing is where PC’s were 20 years ago. About $2,000 will get you a neat toy. But in 10 years $2,000 will get you what Toyota use for prototyping. You will be able to make almost anything.

When I say almost anything – they are working on food and even body parts right now.

Only a game changer will help us – Become a Maker

Why you will likely not get a job – why you have to become a “maker”

This appeared today in the NYT – Average is not Good Enough – Tom Friedman offers the context for why you or your kids will not be able to get a well paying middle class job.

In the past, workers with average skills, doing an average job, could earn an average lifestyle. But, today, average is officially over. Being average just won’t earn you what it used to. It can’t when so many more employers have so much more access to so much more above average cheap foreign labor, cheap robotics, cheap software, cheap automation and cheap genius. Therefore, everyone needs to find their extra — their unique value contribution that makes them stand out in whatever is their field of employment. Average is over.

Yes, new technology has been eating jobs forever, and always will. As they say, if horses could have voted, there never would have been cars. But there’s been an acceleration. As Davidson notes, “In the 10 years ending in 2009, [U.S.] factories shed workers so fast that they erased almost all the gains of the previous 70 years; roughly one out of every three manufacturing jobs — about 6 million in total — disappeared.”

And you ain’t seen nothin’ yet. Last April, Annie Lowrey of Slate wrote about a start-up called “E la Carte” that is out to shrink the need for waiters and waitresses: The company “has produced a kind of souped-up iPad that lets you order and pay right at your table. The brainchild of a bunch of M.I.T. engineers, the nifty invention, known as the Presto, might be found at a restaurant near you soon. … You select what you want to eat and add items to a cart. Depending on the restaurant’s preferences, the console could show you nutritional information, ingredients lists and photographs. You can make special requests, like ‘dressing on the side’ or ‘quintuple bacon.’ When you’re done, the order zings over to the kitchen, and the Presto tells you how long it will take for your items to come out. … Bored with your companions? Play games on the machine. When you’re through with your meal, you pay on the console, splitting the bill item by item if you wish and paying however you want. And you can have your receipt e-mailed to you. … Each console goes for $100 per month. If a restaurant serves meals eight hours a day, seven days a week, it works out to 42 cents per hour per table — making the Presto cheaper than even the very cheapest waiter.”

What the iPad won’t do in an above average way a Chinese worker will. Consider this paragraph from Sunday’s terrific article in The Times by Charles Duhigg and Keith Bradsher about why Apple does so much of its manufacturing in China: “Apple had redesigned the iPhone’s screen at the last minute, forcing an assembly-line overhaul. New screens began arriving at the [Chinese] plant near midnight. A foreman immediately roused 8,000 workers inside the company’s dormitories, according to the executive. Each employee was given a biscuit and a cup of tea, guided to a workstation and within half an hour started a 12-hour shift fitting glass screens into beveled frames. Within 96 hours, the plant was producing over 10,000 iPhones a day. ‘The speed and flexibility is breathtaking,’ the executive said. ‘There’s no American plant that can match that.’ ”

And automation is not just coming to manufacturing, explains Curtis Carlson, the chief executive of SRI International, a Silicon Valley idea lab that invented the Apple iPhone program known as Siri, the digital personal assistant. “Siri is the beginning of a huge transformation in how we interact with banks, insurance companies, retail stores, health care providers, information retrieval services and product services.”

So what to do? Tom F thinks we all need more education. I think we need to change the game. Start making things ourselves locally – food and all we need. Thy technology is here to help us.

Thousands of us connected in a network making in small batches what we all need. The New Maker Economy.

3D printers will soon be able to make anything

Urban farms will be able to grow 40% of our food

Connect all of this into a network and we have a new economy. This way we harness all the new for us and not for THEM

Should I get an education or a degree? From John Robb

John Robb is one of the best thinkers on Resiliency – his blog on resiliency is here.

Here is a post today that sums up the preparation for the world that is emerging – the world of where you make your living yourself in a network – “The Maker Economy”

Should I get an education or a degree?

I’m often asked by young people either on the cusp or already in college:  should I get a degree?   What’s the resilient choice?

That’s a tough question.

In 2008 some economists demonstrated that a college degree was typically worth $300,000 over a lifetime of work.

Unfortunately, 2008 was a lifetime ago.  The big bureaucratic conveyor belt of industrial education that led to a lifetime of white collar employment is done.  Put a fork in it.

From now on, the majority of us will need to manufacture our own work.  Either by starting our own local businesses or showing sooo much excellence in an area of interest online, that other people can’t wait to work with us.

This gets us back to the original question:  should I get a degree?

My answer is that you should be asking yourself:  to really do what I am passionate about, should I get an education or a degree?

  • For the few that want (or can, given the competition for the few slots available) to serve in a bureaucratic capacity at some global company or institution, the answer is still a degree.
  • For those of us that want to start our own business, the answer often is:  I need an education.
  • For those of us that already have a degree, but want to move forward in a new direction:  I need an education.

If education is your answer, your future is looking bright.  Resilient Education is already here and it is getting better, broader, and richer fast.  Best of all, it’s inexpensive (and in most cases, free).

Where can I find it?  There are lots of efforts underway, but the best is Khan Academy.  Take a look at the course catalog.   It’s rich.  Amazing.  Many of the people I know are already using Khan Academy for all of their continuing education.

Thing is, if life without the protection of a degree sounds scary, then you aren’t resilient.