In this series of profiles, we'll be putting the spotlight on some of the wonderful speakers who will be featured at The Social Shake-Up this June.
Mark Hatch is widely acknowledged to be one of the founders of the Maker Movement, which you can think of as "tech meets do-it-yourself." As CEO and co-founder of TechShop, he oversaw a 20-fold growth in revenue in five years, as well as multiple new locations opening across the US. He has been recognized by San Francisco Business Times as one of the Bay Area's Most Admired CEOs and by Popular Mechanics as one of 25 movers and makers who are reinventing the American Dream.
We're looking forward to your keynote at The Social Shake-Up this June, Mark. As one of the founders of the Maker Movement, to what do you attribute the rising interest in inventing, designing, and tinkering, especially in an age when many Americans can have basically whatever we want delivered to us in two days or less?
What we have delivered to us often lacks, quality, distinction, story, purpose, meaning, or connection. Whereas buying something from a maker can have all of those qualities. We are learning that just because it is cheap and easy doesn't mean it is good and useful. Further, through design tools and easy access to manufacturing tools, we are seeing a reduction in the price gap between standard and custom. And the intrinsic value of something you make yourself or are involved in making at a minimum doubles the value of that thing. We are actually going back to our roots. Making things is fundamental to what it means to be human.
In your experience, what are the primary motivators for TechShop members? Are they in it for fun, or to sell/exchange goods with others, bypassing traditional retail altogether?
Our members fall into a number of categories. We describe it as HEATS, Hobbyists, Entrepreneurs, Artists, Tinkerers and Students. Fun, commerce, art, self expression are all drivers for memberships. People also operate in different categories at different times. So they may be an artist one day and making something as part of hobby the next.
3D printers are really expensive right now, but as with everything in technology, it might not be too many years before people can afford to have printers at home, like computers. How will this change TechShop's mission/game plan?
There will always be expensive, large, high quality tools that people need access to. The 3D printer is creating more new uses than it is replacing old technology. Desktop printing should have destroyed the printing business... the internet should have destroyed the printing business, iPads should have destroyed the printing business... yet as I sit in this hotel room I have three magazines, a newspaper, and two books all within arm's reach. The 3D printer is a useful tool, just as CNC machines are useful, and laser cutters, and water jets. 3D printing a granite countertop is a lot harder than just cutting it out of a slab.
Finally, can you give us some highlights of what you'll be discussing during your keynote?
I'm planing to rock the audience with information about a revolution that is just getting started, highlight amazing innovations that have come out of it, and discuss how disruptive it is becoming to companies, communities and society. A true social shake-up.
Our thanks to Mark for taking the time to answer these questions. Don't miss out on seeing him and a host of other experts from leading brands, up close and personal, this June - register for The Social Shake-Up today.