It is clear from the response to the "bit by the bug" blog that there are a lot of inspiring stories about how people became interested in technology.

Active members of the forum can all relate to many of the sentiments and motives expressed. We can all make a long list of reasons why people get involved and like maker/hobby electronics. But why are makers different from non-makers?

What is missing are big explanations about why more technical people don't get involved in maker/hobby electronics. Since they are not active on forums like this, their reasons are not published. I personally know many competent, hard working technicians, technologists and engineers, none of whom are active on element14 and very few are active technical hobbyists. If we want to know (and I do) why they are not interested enough to get involved, we need to ask them. I have done this, but the answers are not satisfactory. Usually the answer is along the lines of "I'm interested in doing personal projects, but I don't have time right now". Of course as life gets more complicated with age, there never will be time.

Here are some things I've noticed although there are many other possibilities:

  • non-makers always have other things they do with their spare time, but personal technical projects do not have enough priority to command any time
  • the lack of priority may sometimes be because hobby or maker projects do not have the same prestige as professional projects
  • projects don't just require time, they also require money and there are other things they would rather spend their money on
  • another sentiment seems to be work provides all the technical challenges they might need, spare time is needed to decompress rather than add more challenges
  • some people are perfectionists and if they don't have the best equipment, the prefect materials and the perfect design, they can't get started
  • there are always a long list of things to do with spare time and the guilt about not doing obligatory things prevents doing other things for fun
  • some people are too worried that their work will not be perceived as clever and high quality to want to publish it
  • some people do see forum activity as too competitive or judgmental and are demotivated by it

To some extent these types of issue affect all of us, but somehow makers find the motivation to persevere anyway.

If you have any insight into why some people are not interested in personal projects enough to be makers, feel free to let us know your theory or their answers.

The next question will be is there any way to alter priorities for such people?