The Faustian Bargain of the Maker

The end of Make: Magazine and the rise and fall of a community?

Alasdair Allan
7 min readJun 8, 2019
A towering balloon ‘Makey’ robot at Maker Faire New York 2016. (📷: Alasdair Allan)

The news today that Maker Media, the company behind both Maker Faire and Make: Magazine, has closed its doors for the last and final time is going to come as a shock to a lot of people. Because while there have always been makers, what we think of today as the maker movement began in the early naughties, and a big part of that movement was built around both Maker Faire and Make: Magazine. I know. I was there.

The early Maker Faires were a special place, and while perhaps they weren’t the cause of the growing maker movement they gave it a home. I wasn’t the only person I know to have found my people amongst the makers of the faire. However this year’s Bay Area faire, held only a couple of weeks ago, may well now turn out to have have been the last of the big Maker Faires.

“Maker Faire wants you!” from Maker Faire UK 2015. (📷: Alasdair Allan)

I first worked a faire back in 2011 as part of the Maker Media editorial team. The Maker Faire crew was a tight knit bunch, we thought of ourselves as the carnies of the next industrial revolution. A renaissance in manufacturing was coming, and we were at the heart of it.