Writing for FastCoLabs, Natalia Rodriguez says the Atmel-powered Arduino is to Makers what Hobby Lobby is to arts and crafts – the primary supplier for the components and little hardware boards used for inventive DIYs.
Indeed, over the span of three months, 42 million visits to the official Arduino website originated from recurring users. According to Rodriguez, Arduino interpreted that figure as an opportunity to morph its site into the ultimate maker’s clubhouse, with Arduino.cc offering a full social experience, complete with tutorials in multiple languages.
“That was really important since the communications in Arduino are spread out across the globe,” creative director Giorgio Oliveiro told FastCoLabs. “When I was building my own project using the Arduino Yun, I learned a little Japanese and German in order to understand tutorials from two makers on the other side of the puddle.”
Meanwhile, Arduino co-founder Massimo Banzi told FastCoLabs that communities are the driver for contribution in the Maker community.
“What you find is that if you can create a community around an open source project then it becomes really alive because everyone starts to contribute. If you don’t have an ecosystem, the platform won’t be successful. If you start charging for everything, everything dies very quickly,” he explained.
“There are millions of sandwich places around the world, the recipe for sandwiches is open. Nobody can patent the recipe for a BLTs but yet there’s like a million restaurants doing BLTs. Everyday each one of them is adding a little source, each one is improving the recipe with technique, but effectively what goes inside the sandwich is out there and open and people still make money.”
As Bazni notes, the fact that knowledge on how to build something is out there doesn’t mean that it stops people from creating products.
“I think it enables people to share the efforts that are needed to get the certain type of product or project started. Each person adds what some people call the secret source,” the Arduino co-founder added.
“You can take open source knowledge and add your own secret source. Or you can sell it or sell services around that product. [Arduino] wants to create a platform that’s going to take this and multiply the efficiency, [while] multiplying the value that people get by being part of that community.”
The full text of “How Arduino Is Becoming The World’s Social Network For Hackers And Makers” can be read here on FastCoLabs.