Makers now have access to an expanded range of retail platforms and services that enable them to market and sell their creations to larger audiences.

If a tree falls in the woods and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound? If a maker puts his masterpiece on a shelf where no one can see it, is he still maker? Philosophers have argued that it is only in perception — the knowing by others — that a thing exists, and some say that the maker movement is the same.

“I don’t agree with the concept that the maker movement is something new,” Eric Wilheim, founder of Instructables, said recently. “It’s actually quite old. What’s different is that suddenly, all of us are able to take pictures of the cool things we’ve made, and we’re able to find people who like those cool things, and that inspires us to do more.”

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