Last week the White House hosted the first ever White House Maker Faire. Countless Kickstarter creators attended, including Lisa Q. Fetterman, creator of the Nomiku sous vide machine, who was kind enough to recap her afternoon with the president for us.
Ceremonious music played and the room got silent; President Obama was about to get on the podium to decree June 18th as the National Day of Making. “Wow, wow, wow, wow, wow, wow,” I said to myself, cupping my face in my hands. “I didn’t know I was sitting in front of the doge meme,” joked a fellow maker. I had to laugh! That comment was so indicative of the people in the room — we are all a little nerdy (okay, maybe more than a little), and I was totally out of my element but delighted like an internet Shiba Inu.
Imagine being amongst people whose open-source projects you admire. The White House Maker Faire was like opening up MAKE magazine and having the projects pop out. I salivated over the Pancakebot, gave a glorious connected-circuit fist bump to MaKey MaKey, and got super giddy when I saw the typically laid back OpenROV underwater explorers in their crisp suits. We shared a ribcage-crushing hug so tight that my heart felt a squeeze.
Besides being a dream come true for a maker and science fangirl, the White House Maker Faire validated and introduced a decades-old movement that is starting to dramatically shape the economy from the bottom up. When we first made a prototype of the Nomiku Sous Vide, it was exhilarating but lonely. It wasn’t until we stumbled across Mitch Altman, who was getting interviewed as a “maker” at a Lower East Side vegan restaurant, that we found an ally. Mitch gave us a key to his San Francisco makerspace, Noisebridge, and taught us how to solder in a Brooklyn basement.
On June 18th, President Obama invited us over to his house. If Mitch could inspire so many people and change so many lives, just imagine the revolution a “National Day of Making” could set off. We are living in one of most exciting and creative times in history. In his speech, President Obama explained that everyone is a maker: “It’s in our DNA."
I can’t wait to see what we make together.