Maker culture and the new economy



As more people discover that making things is fun, especially making high-tech, complex, useful machines, the economy will shift from one based on scarcity to one based on technical creativity. The Portland area and Portland Tech Shop are poised to be part of this renaissance


This presentation will be a joint production of Denney Cole, owner of Portland Tech Shop ( ) and long time local high tech manager, and Webb Sprague, anthropologist and long time open source programmer.

We will discuss how changes in personal subjectivity and technology imply the demise of old economic models. In other words: today lots more people are experiencing making technology as fun rather than as something unpleasant they do for money, and this has implications for companies that rely on selling fun and buying labor. If everyone joyfully becomes an engineer/ maker, the supply of technological products will soar, the demand will remain constant, and the price, therefore, will fall and companies will have to find new niches to survive.

One new niche is being filled by Portland Tech Shop’s here in Beaverton, which provides a 22,000 square foot factory space for creative individuals. Denney will discuss the opportunities provided by Portland Tech Shop, the culture developing around it, and things being made there.

The presentation will alternate between wild social-theoretic speculation and down-to-earth descriptions of current equipment and projects happening at Portland Tech Shop.

Speaking experience