So last year I got here and I was getting ready to get on another giant animal to ride over to the stage and Sherry [Huss, the creator of Maker Faire] said, "You know, everyone is eager to hear your Sunday sermon." I said, "Sunday sermon? What's that?" She said, "That's what we call your Sunday talk."
No one had told me so I decided this year to write something more akin to a sermon, a secular one to be sure, but oh, my brothers and sisters, sisters and brothers, welcome to Maker Faire. It is lovely to see your shining and beautiful faces, to see the inspiration that is here.
Where are we, and where are we going? Where we are is amazing. Driverless cars might mean the end of a million vehicle-related deaths per year. With technology and science we have improved the overall health and wellness of humans to the point that it is better now than it has ever been in history. We can produce calories cheaper than imaginable 50 years ago, and luxuries like washing machines, cars, and televisions are part of nearly every single household. Where the internet makes so much connectivity possible that the Barbie-collecting banker in Japan can become best friends with the larping poet in Spokane.
Things are pretty cool.
Seeing what other mad geniuses, makers, tinkerers, modders, plodders, planners, organizers, teachers, parents, and inventors are doing invests our work with more purpose.
This is also a terrible time. Where our open internet is under threat. Where automation will eliminate millions of jobs in the next decade. Where the disparity between the richest and the poorest of us increases every single day. Where the color of one's skin can radically alter the outcome of trivial interactions. Things as simple and quotidian as driving down the street or flying in an airplane are fraught with uncertainty at best and lethal danger at worst. Where interconnectivity still yields cliques and exclusive groups leading teens on social media to feel more alone and more marginalized. Where science, the crucible of human progress, has become attached to partisan politics, the engine of exclusion and marginalization. Where our planet is being irrevocably changed for the worse by our bad habits. As William Gibson famously said, "The future is already here. It's just not very evenly distributed." Both of these things are true.
At the same exact time, things are as they have always been. They are both great and terrible. But where are we now? Now temporally we are at the Maker Faire Mothership in San Mateo, where we are celebrating the fact that it has never been a better time to be a maker. What unbelievable tools we have at our disposal. We have 3D printers, vinyl cutters, scanners, laser engravers and every hand tool imaginable, and we are here because you mad scientists, makers, tinkerers, modders, plodders, planners, organizing teachers, parents, and inventors find that being around each other is inspiring. And seeing what other mad geniuses, makers, tinkerers, modders, plodders, planners, organizers, teachers, parents, and inventors are doing invests our work with more purpose and gives us ideas to go back home. It's invigorating and it's heart warming.