The Zen of Making: 13 Rules for Creating an Open Source Community

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Oy. My local makerspace fails 4, 5, and 6, but especially fails 8 and 10… :neutral_face:


Oh shit, there’s rules? I guess that makes me an anarcho-maker - or maybe just undisciplined.


I would love to read more. So many questions: Why must open source hardware necessarily translate into a business model?


It doesn’t have to, but it does stand a better chance if it’s not dependent on the caprices of a deep-pocketed patron.

More to the point, a business model doesn’t necessarily mean “how do we profit from this.” The term can be applied to any process or product endeavour – substitute [insert goal here] for “making money.” Doctors Without Borders and your public library system and OpenBSD all have business models, even if they don’t use that specific phrase.


Well they boil down to “don’t be an asshole,” so…


…Pirate code.


(14.) Create a business based on the work of a student of yours, and minimize their contribution when recounting the history of your project:

(or is that covered by #12?)


That helps. Thank you.

I think you’re right that other organizations often have plans that can be generally analogized to the sort of plan a business prepares for lenders or investors.

I’m still unclear why hardware is different from software as to a business plan specifically. I can think of possible differences.

Generally though, both would seem to need — or not ---- a business plan in the broad sense of the term.


This similar Phillip Torrone article from 2011 concentrates on distinguishing the “beginner’s mind” in the context of making.

Some of the most talented and prolific people I know have dozens of interests and hobbies. When I ask them about this, the response is usually something like “I love to learn.”

I think the new discoveries and joys of learning are the crux of this beginner thing I’ve been thinking about. Sure, when you’ve mastered something it’s valuable, but then part of your journey is over — you’ve arrived, and the trick is to find something you’ll always have a sense of wonder about.

I think this is why scientists and artists, who are usually experts, love what they do: there is always something new ahead. It’s possible to be an expert but still retain the mind of a beginner. It’s hard, but the best experts can do it.

In making things, in art, in science, in engineering, you can always be a beginner about something you’re doing — the fields are too vast to know it all.


Actually they don’t, but it sounds kind of clever to say so.

Well I’m doing something right.

(I think I have the rest nailed)


Expecting resistance and conspiracy theories seems kind of asshole-ish. I’m not even sure what a conspiracy theory is in this context, and I don’t think I want to know. Then again, I only build projects, and only for myself.

Honestly, for the most part these seem kind of trivial and not particularly insightful (i.e., a whole lotta “well, yea!”), with one exception:

Make projects, not platforms.

That one seems somewhat insight – in other words, not something that would have occurred to me, but it makes sense when you ponder it. Often times a particular is more interesting than a generality.

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Interesting link. I’ve had some fun playing with the Arduino, but I didn’t know there was so much drama (lawsuits, etc.).

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