Maker Faire shuts down; robotics engineers everywhere weep
Image: Maker Media

Facing ongoing financial difficulties and a loss of corporate sponsorship, Maker Media, the longtime publisher of Make Magazine and organizer of Maker Faire, is collapsing.

The company, which held its most recent Maker Faire event last month, recently announced it would be closing most of its operations. It also laid off 22 employees.

This news marks a devastating loss for followers of Maker Media, a community of people who build things for themselves. Instead of depending on consumer retail goods for daily solutions, the publisher inspired users to share countless DIY alternatives.

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The former co-host of the “Mythbusters” television series and Maker Faire regular, Adam Savage, sent a tweet describing Maker Media’s demise as “a very sad day.”

Maker Media’s Influence

Maker Media has published articles on maker culture since 2005, launching its first Maker Faire one year later.

Moreover, Make Magazine covered all kinds of DIY technology, from tinkering with electronics and 3D printing to working with robotics. The publication provided readers with guides and insights on topics like coding for kids and methods for improving cosplay designs.

Meanwhile, since its debut in San Matero, California, Maker Faire has hosted DIY exhibitions in countries around the world. These events have encouraged designers to create innovative projects across multiple fields and inspired many would-be inventors.

Not Giving Up the Fight

Though things are looking especially bleak for Maker Media, the company’s CEO isn’t ready to give up. But it’s hard to ignore that these dire circumstances are worse than any the publisher has suffered in the past.

Earlier in 2019, Maker Media employees laid off seven employees. Back in 2016, the company let 17 go. Despite continuing layoffs, CEO Dale Dougherty refuses to see Maker Media go under completely.

In an interview with TechCrunch, Dougherty noted that the publishing business had been a struggle throughout its 15 years of operation. In particular, he acknowledged the difficulty of organizing events and maintaining sponsorship.

Despite these challenges, he is determined to keep the Make Magazine archives online. At the same time, Dougherty wants to find a way to keep Maker Faire alive in the future.

“I hope to be able to get control of the assets of the company and restart it,” Dougherty said. “We’re not necessarily going to do everything we did in the past, but I’m committed to keeping the print magazine going and the Maker Faire licensing program.”

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