We Are What We Make

“With industrialisation, mass production and outsourcing ‘making’ was taken from us. But now it will spread a 1000 times faster, because we have all the social tools to enable this process,” Nora Abousteit stated at NEXT Berlin 2012.

And she is a driving force of this development herself: she started the sewing community BurdaStyle.com, which now has more than 750,000 members. Recently, she ‘made’ her own business and founded Kollabora.com. The platform serves as an marketplace for supplies, ‘do it yourself’ instructions, inspiration and support.

Her talk at NEXT Berlin 2012 is truly motivating to start making something by hand. Abousteit gives a vivid speech on how regrettable it is to have lost the ability to do things ourselves. Due to the industrial revolution we stopped making and “passed on to an age of consumption”, as she puts it. For a long time, we have been depending on other people to produce things for us.

But now, the renaissance of making dawns. “It is a by-product of the social web,” she states. The Internet and especially social services like instructables.com and kollabora.com empower us to regain the ability to make. “Finally, consumers are ready to become makers again. This development will radically change the way we consume or unconsume,” she adds.

In her opinion, learning how to make things should become as important as learning how to read. This would result in positive effects not only for individuals but also the Western economy at large. “We will regain skills. And technology brings some of the efficiency gains of the china economy to the ordinary household. We will become more innovative and get our factories back – basically one kitchen table at a time,” Abousteit describes her vision of the future.