Episode 7: Marketing the Maker Movement with Jim Newton of TechShop

Jim Newton is the Chairman and Founder of the TechShop Makerspace. Jim is a lifelong inventor, a quintessential DIY-person, and a serial entrepreneur. Jim holds various patents. He created the TechShop because he wanted a place to develop his own invention. Previous to founding TechShop, Jim was a BattleBots competitor as well as the former Science Advisor on the Discovery Channel show MythBusters. Jim still loves to spend time working on projects and helping members on-site at TechShop.

Questions for Jim Newton:

  1. What is the dream behind maker spaces and the maker movement?
    1. The real power is that everyone has ideas for things they want to make. The Makerspaces gives people the tools to equipment what it needs to do is  get people to be brave enough to make whatever it is they want to make
  2. Where does your passion for developing Makerspaces stem from?
    1. Jim provides a cool story about his father showing him the ropes.
  3. How did this story start for you? Sidestepping giving away the story, the below steps are an outline for Jim’s story
    1. A humble apology to his first boss.
    2. Getting paid helps.
    3. Having fun.
  4. How did your past lead you to becoming the Founder and Chairman of TechShop?
    1. Growth led the way. Listen around the 13:00 mark to hear how publicity and interest forced Jim to  do some soul searching to ultimately expand.
  5. What kind of leadership patterns are you seeing in the Makerspace community?
    1. The Makermovement Amplifies people’s current ability, passions and desires.
  6. Are you seeing any patterns for success?
    1. Marketing Leaders are growing from platforms like Kickstarter and Indiegogo that wouldn’t have otherwise stepped up (loosely translated.)
  7. Is the community in need of more leadership?
    1. 100’s of new leaders are stepping up all over the country.
  8. What are some of your favorite stories of Leaders emerging from TechShop?
    1. Square was created at the TechShop
    2. David Lang author of Zero to Maker and Inventor/Entrepreneur for Submersible Drone.
  9. How do you recommend someone without experience get started?
    1. Challenge yourself!
      1. Make just 1 Christmas present for a friend of family member.
    2. Go to a Makerspace, take a class, and hang out to see how you like the vibe.
  10. What software should someone try to learn if they have little / no experience?
    1. Sketchup3D
    2. Fusion 360
    3. Consider Autodesk
  1. How does marketing play out in the Maker scene?
    1. Have a cool project.
    2. Get buzz (“You’ve got to.”)
    3. Find a platform to point your efforts to drive buzz (like Indiegogo and Kickstarter.)
    4. Hire really good people.
  2. What is the biggest challenge that you see for the individual to overcome?
    1. Self-doubt
    2. Believe in your ideas
    3. Get the product design  / prototype made with the least amount of resources.
  3. Do you have a question or mantra that you like to ask yourself to stay inspired and keep growing?

    Did you do something important that mattered today?

  4. What is the most exciting changes that you’re following at the moment?
    1. Improvements in software are making it easier for people to build
      1. Autodesk has new capabilities
      2. 123D Design
      3. 3D Printers
      4. CNC Mills
      5. Stitched 3D Modeling
      6. Desktop Milling Machines that are subtractive manufacturing
      7. OtherMill
      8. OtherPlan Machining Software – Eagle Circuitboard Design
  5. What’s your vision for the future of TechShop community and the Maker Movement?
    1. Other than TechShops in every community across the globe with access to tools to make their ideas and improve their lives.
    2. Jim provides an analogy about how Desktop Publishing transformed to a norm around.
    3. Hopefully, the term “Maker” won’t be around in 20 years.
  6. Other insights –
    1. Open Innovation is a Corporate Movement embraced by smart companies like Ford.
  7. Where should people go to learn more and to reach you and TechShop?
    1. See if there is a TechShop location or another Makerspace near you to check out and take a demo.
    2. Techshop.com
    3. @TechShopJim

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