The one-sentence summary

The internet is transforming the way we manufacture – we can all be makers now.


· Over the past ten years the internet has revolutionised the way we sell. Now it is transforming the way we manufacture.

· Astonishing developments in technology, such as 3D printing and open hardware, are combining with a new frame of mind to generate a vibrant new maker economy.

· This could all lead to a third industrial revolution, in which a series of cottage industries begin to replace conventional large-scale manufacture.

· Mass production works for the masses, but what works for you as an individual?

· Being able to do something on a desktop changes everything.

· In this respect, we are all designers now, so we might as well get good at it.

· Four machines in particular are tools of transformation:

  1. 3-D printers: can make physical objects with resin or plastic. This is ‘additive’ technology, building something up layer by layer
  2. CNC machines: (Computer Numerical Control) take a software and uses ‘subtractive’ technology, cutting away a block until the design is ready
  3. Laser cutters: use a CAD programme to produce 2-D sheets that lock together to form an object
  4. 3-D scanners: instead of drawing an object from scratch, you can scan something similar and then modify it to make refinements, or a new design


· Suddenly the old rules of production aren’t true:

  1. Variety is free: it costs no more to make every product different than to make them all the same
  2. Complexity is free: minutely detailed products with fiddly components are fine because computers don’t care how many calculations they have to do
  3. Flexibility is free: changing a product after starting production is simply a case of changing the instruction code – the machines stay the same

· Open organisations benefit most by having open supply chains and being free with ideas – often non-employees willingly fix and improve products.

· Making and selling often end up being the same thing in the maker movement – many products are pre-funded by people who already pledge to buy before the product is made.


· The book is a logical extension of his previous theories in The Long Tail and Free, but the overall point could probably have been made in an article or blog rather than a whole book.