Makers are a truly wonderful group of people. Their infectious enthusiasm is just so engaging, and when they get together they amplify all that good stuff. We have had lots of contacts with fellow travellers in this space. So it was also in Barcelona last weekend, where we took 3 Upstarter sessions as one of our pilots to the Fab City Festival.
Two days of makers, suppliers (Ultra-Lab, Roland, Epilog), demonstrators (La Pallaise), citizens, organisations (RSA, Ouishare, Nesta) and the Mayor! All hosted by FabLab Barcelona a massive team of volunteers and Tomas Diez. Thats a whole lot of potential in a big sprawling Disseny Hub.
We were in such great company, with Barcelona’s web of maker spaces. Its so well developed here and connects so many players. Fab10 is the annual meeting of the global Fab Lab community, all boosted by Labs from across the world and the pioneers on the brink of setting up new labs for new audiences or in new countries.
Upstarter shared 3 bilingual sessions with the Festival, and brought some really interesting startups and pre-startups together, exploring starting up, audiences and storytelling (specifically for maker startups). A tv based meditation service, a social network for ill teenagers, wireless monitoring packages for small farms, wind powered pixel displays, new personal information devices, a unique calender for startups amongst many others looked at early kinds of users, stories about visions, micro elevator pitches, dreams and plans.
Monday’s Symposium brought some wonderful speakers (nicely sometimes just via audio), including Jeremy Rifkin setting a great context for makers right now, William McDonough, Massimo Banzi from the wonderful Arduino, some from Fosters making on the moon, Nike’s Better World work Colourdry & Flyknit, Motorola’s Project Ara/Google and the unnecessarily nervous and amazing (for no reason, he was great) Bert Crenca from AS220 in Providence, Rhode Island.
Most telling was Bruce Sterling’s gentle tap on the collective shoulders, informing us that behind the scenes our streets and being commoditised, and how we need to be a whole lot more alert to what is going to be “an epic struggle in 3 years…” As he says “when the maker scene collides with reality…” as it gets bigger, and gets more funding power, especially given the closing down of the maker space in Izolyatsia. Food for thought for us, and we are so encouraged by the response. This is what it looks like when Upstarter works.