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Welcome To The Maker-Industrial Revolution


Welcome To The Maker Industrial Revolution Popular Science

Source: http://www.popsci.com/welcome-industrial...

That focus on openness has been good for the maker community. “FirstBuild has been a great resource for us,” says Cprek, whThat focus on openness has been good for the maker community. “FirstBuild has been a great resource for us,” says Cprek, who spends about an afternoon a week physically working on his barcode-scanning oven. “They have all these people around who have formal training, like former GE engineers or GE proper. They know the ins and outs of manufacturing and they’re great folks to bounce stuff off of.”

But that spirit of openness raises some questions, too. If FirstBuild is an incubator for potentially important innovations, doesn’t such transparency tip off the competition? “That’s something the company has to wrestle with,” Nolan says. “But really, what’s the future of intellectual property? The IP [intellectual property] system was built to spur innovation, but there’s an argument now that the opposite is happening—that it’s stopping people from innovating [because of bureaucracy and excessive litigation]. The whole maker movement is looking that in the face. And we can’t sit in a closet and ignore what’s happening. We think the new IP is speed. People who can move fast are going to win.”

To reward contributors (whose ideas are the very engine FirstBuild depends on for that speed), the outfit has adopted the Local Motors payment method. Contributors receive one percent of the sales proceeds from their work for three years, and they get to keep the IP; if Samsung wants to buy their ideas the day after they give them to FirstBuild, nobody’s stopping them from cashing in. To manage this system, FirstBuild tracks those contributions that become part of a final product and values them separately. Since most contributors will design product modifications rather than entirely new products, they will be paid one percent of the value of that particular modification, not of the whole thing.

It’s unlikely anybody is going to get rich on that system—other than, perhaps, GE. But it’s also unlikely an individual maker would have access to trained designers and engineers and a GE Appliances production line. “Look, every inventor has a dream that their idea is going to be big,” Nolan says, “but trying to do that on your own, it’s very hard to scale. That’s what we know how to do. Literally five miles from FirstBuild we have six million square feet of factories.”o spends about an afternoon a week physically working on his barcode-scanning oven. “They have all these people around who have formal training, like former GE engineers or GE proper. They know the ins and outs of manufacturing and they’re great folks to bounce stuff off of.”

But that spirit of openness raises some questions, too. If FirstBuild is an incubator for potentially important innovations, doesn’t such transparency tip off the competition? “That’s something the company has to wrestle with,” Nolan says. “But really, what’s the future of intellectual property? The IP [intellectual property] system was built to spur innovation, but there’s an argument now that the opposite is happening—that it’s stopping people from innovating [because of bureaucracy and excessive litigation]. The whole maker movement is looking that in the face. And we can’t sit in a closet and ignore what’s happening. We think the new IP is speed. People who can move fast are going to win.”

To reward contributors (whose ideas are the very engine FirstBuild depends on for that speed), the outfit has adopted the Local Motors payment method. Contributors receive one percent of the sales proceeds from their work for three years, and they get to keep the IP; if Samsung wants to buy their ideas the day after they give them to FirstBuild, nobody’s stopping them from cashing in. To manage this system, FirstBuild tracks those contributions that become part of a final product and values them separately. Since most contributors will design product modifications rather than entirely new products, they will be paid one percent of the value of that particular modification, not of the whole thing.

It’s unlikely anybody is going to get rich on that system—other than, perhaps, GE. But it’s also unlikely an individual maker would have access to trained designers and engineers and a GE Appliances production line. “Look, every inventor has a dream that their idea is going to be big,” Nolan says, “but trying to do that on your own, it’s very hard to scale. That’s what we know how to do. Literally five miles from FirstBuild we have six million square feet of factories.”

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