Written October 27, 2014
First, we begin with an epic Rant
We human beings are quite awesome and special. For a world that has existed for over 10B years, we have been on it for a blip of that time, but come a far way since then. First we somehow found life in a universe seemingly undesigned for life. From pretty much inconsequential beginnings, where we existed as humans without any language, we have now advanced to Facebook poke and send funny emojis in a blink of an eye. Yay to that. But there have been few events that have changed the course of our entire understanding of this world. From the discovery of Newton’s laws of gravity, Einstein’s relativity to the Industrial revolution, these events have changed the world.
Second, we have the 3 Revolutions
- The industrial revolution set into motion the growth of the middle class in the West, set population soaring and almost made it feel like the world was very uneventful till then.
- Then came the internet which has changed the world forever. Replacing traditional publishing to blogs to changing how we consume music, travel, watch TV and entertain ourselves forever.
- But now comes the third revolution. One that you should have heard of by now if you are especially in the retail business. The Makers revolution.
Makers Revolution. What the hell is that?
Well, in simple terms, it means anyone with a decent computer, some money to buy a 3D printer and not to mention some design skills can start creating actual real life products that can be sold. You know that print button on your computer (Apple-P or Ctrl-P?), imagine something like Apple-M or Ctrl-M and out comes a real 3D design of something you just designed, something as small as a robot for your 3 year old or something as complex as a gun.
The Era of Creators is here
Remember the time when the print industry went ballistic about bloggers? How could bloggers replace journalists? How can citizens be a voice for the world events? It is the job of the media. Well, as we know, while bloggers didn’t fully replace journalists, no one can operate in this world without involving the citizen journalists, as experienced first hand in the Arab Spring or as recent in the Hong Kong demonstration.
It is something similar with the Makers revolution. Now, making products is not limited to someone with experienced supply chain or troves of cash to set up a corner shop. It is as easy as taking your design skills, making your prototypes, selling it online with a service like tictail or Shopify and seeing how the market responds.
Opposite of globalisation
If this pans out as projected, this could potentially give rise to an interesting phenomenon. The opposite of globalisation. As Chris Anderson calls it, it would be the start of a new trend called “locovore” where closer is faster, since the costs have now come down drastically. Designers can literally sit next to robots, make changes in real-time and get large batch orders shipped in no time (delivered by drones?). This changes everything as you can tell. For starters, large entrenched retail businesses need to change rapidly. Having both flexibility and scale is challenging and thats the dilemma they would face.
Minecraft becomes the starting point for kids
Interestingly, more and more kids are starting to play Minecraft and familiarising themselves with polygons and shapes, training their brains to adapt to the new design reality of creating and customising products one wants to create.
Makers today = Personal computer 1970’s
While its still early days, probably compared to how PC’s were in the early 70’s and 80’s, the trend is going to hit us faster than the PC trend, as demonstrated in the mobile revolution.
Personal commerce becomes de-facto.
Join us to make the future at SIME (R)etail summit
Needless to say, commerce then becomes personal, designed, delivered and worked with on an individual level. With such interesting times, where is your commerce business on this value chain? Are you ready to look into this future with us? Join us to make this future at the SIME (r)etail summit.
You can apply for an invite here. It is going to be inspiring, guaranteed!