Take advantage of our Early Bird ticket sales for Gulf Coast MakerCon, and get admission for the full weekend at half the rate of a one day pass, paid the day of, at the gate! Early Bird tickets will be on sale now through Feb. 28th.
Learning is for Everyone (LI4E.org) hosted the area’s first ever Tampa Bay Mini Maker Faire in 2012. In 2013, our event nearly doubled in size, drawing more than 500 attendees. For 2014, LI4E is dialing up our annual DIY Celebration of the Inventive Spirit with a two day Gulf Coast MakerCon, at the Florida Fairgrounds Special Events Center April 5& 6, 2014.
With an emphasis on technical, creative and professional workshops and sessions covering everything from patent development and the inventive process, to 3D printing, programming, mechanical and electrical design, green tech and open source technologies, Gulf Coast MakerCon will provide added value for adult attendees, with a special Young Makers section for kids and families, as well. There will be a wide variety of creative nd interactive vendors, exhibitors, and entertainment that includes everything from robotics and metalsmithing, to recycled instruments, ham radio, RC modeling, automotive tech, gaming, inventions, innovations, future tech and much more.
So save the date and look for more details soon!
The Tampa Bay Business Journal ran a piece earlier this month titled, “Tampa tech industry is healthy, but local inventors are needed.” Clearly TBBJ hasn’t been to one of our Maker Fairs, but more to the heart of the matter, TBBJ says what’s missing is funding – “Industry observers say lack of local funding has cost the Bay area promising startups such as TourWrist, a Tampa company that moved its headquarters to San Francisco to be closer to potential investors.”
We’d suggest local entrepreneurial and community support is also critical. Having a community that supports small scale innovation and invention is vital to nurturing that innovation and invention and keeping it here. And invention does thrive here in Tampa Bay!
Over the last couple of years, we’ve highlighted dozens of Tampa Bay area inventors, from Snapit Screw to Gabotronics, and FRETS1 Satellite, In10did and Mentagy at our Fairs, to website profiles of inventors like young Hunter Morera and his Select-a-Wrench, John Doyle and his Doctor Door Stop,University of South Florida associate professor Daniel Yeh’s Gates’ funded water purification device, and others.
More recently, South Tampa inventor Jeff Bonnell has been in the news with his Splashtablet Case – a unique suction-mount, waterproof case the iPad , and Palm Harbor inventor, Tanya Lewis, who signed with Master Broker Jack Di Salvo (of Oxyclean fame), and was also lauded as Mom Inventor of the Year , an honor that included two airings on QVC for her Green Glider reusable mop pad.
Inventors are alive and well in Tampa Bay, and our community is growing and getting stronger all the time. Here at Gulf Coast Makers, we celebrate makers big and small, young and older and will keep celebrating them, and working for the types of spaces and places where we can all invent and create together.
If you have an invention, an entreprenuerial experience, idea or best practice to share, or just want to talk shop, contact us . We welcome guest bloggers and maker news from all over the Gulf Coast.
Our calendar is starting to fill up with some great local events. Here’s just a few:
- August 3, Dunedin: Suncoast Skirmishers: Games of August V. 8 AM to 5:30 PM at St. Catherine’s Church 502 Druid Hill Road, Temple Terrace, Fl. 33617. Games include Historical, Fantasy and Science Fiction miniatures, Pathfinder RPG and Board Games. 2 Sessions include 8:30 to 12:30 and 1:30 to 5:30.
- Sept. 28 – Tampa: BarCamp Tampa Bay
- Oct. 5 – Orlando Mini Maker Faire!
Visit the calendar page for links for more details on each.
Do you have activities, classes or events you’d like to let people know about? Tell us about it in our online calendar submission form, and we’ll get your program on the calendar!
Our move towards becoming an independent DIY festival and community network has triggered some interesting discussions among friends and associates. Some have expressed concern about the ability to build and support our growing maker community without the name brand behind it. Others have applauded our DIY initiative.
An interesting piece ran in Big Think today about the perceived value of “brands.”
“How important is brand name recognition?” columnist Jack Myers asks. ” It’s extremely important to establish a link, a connection through whatever process, through social media, through marketing, through in store presence, but in the long term I think it’s more important what’s on the inside than what’s on the outside of a product.”
He goes on to suggest that for those growing up with the internet “a person’s color, a person’s gender, a person’s beliefs, religious beliefs for example, are far less important than their beliefs as human beings, their attitudes toward human equality, their attitudes towards diversity, their attitudes toward giving back to the world, to their schools, to each other. So the branding, the external packaging is far less important to them than what is inside, whether that’s another human being or a package of cereal …”
Or, we’ll add, ” an event. “
Because when you get right down to it, the picture above from the Tampa Bay Mini Maker Faire could have been taken anywhere – a science festival, a family fun day, an engineering expo. Sometimes brand is important – especially if you’re trying to sell something tangible like magazines or products. If you’re a maker, creator, entrepreneur you want your brand to pop, to stand out, to be sought after – but even then, at the heart of your brand is – heart – what you put into it to make it special, why you believe it’s unique or useful or necessary.
And if what you’re selling – giving away, in this case – is an idea - and that idea is about a collaborative community that supports DIY self-reliance and self-sufficiency, about empowering people to develop the knowledge and skills they want and need to make whatever it is they want to make, to be creative and successful self-starters, then brand is irrelevant. It’s the idea that’s valuable, and being free of the limitations of a brand allows the full expression of that idea.
Free of a brand, we can talk about all kinds of magazines and products, honestly assess things on their own merits, and freely celebrate in the truest DIY spirit of independent, self-reliant, unfettered creativity and fun!
Gulf Coast Makers is provided to offer a broader creative community to Gulf Coast area entrepreneurial and creative DIYers interested in getting back to the grassroots nature of the maker movement, free of brand limitations and requirements. This website and associated social media is hosted by the nonprofit organization, Learning is for Everyone (LI4E.org), which organized the area’s first Mini Maker Faire, two years in a row, and is also the hosting organization for TEDxYouth@TampaBay, and Robocon, and provides community based STEM education programs in Hillsborough and Pinellas counties.
LI4E is also working on the development of public community makerspaces through our LI4E Makerspace Project, in collaboration with area libraries and others. We regularly host “pop-up” makerspace projects like Red Bull Creation and the Deconstruction, where our collaborative teaming with The Urban Conga earned us the top award. Due to restrictive licensing requirements, LI4E opted to support self-organized maker events starting in 2013 and will use this website and our other social media to support all kinds of creative opportunities, events and ideas, from all individuals, groups, clubs, organizations, makerspaces, hackerspaces, and all manner of creative communities.
In 2014, we’ll be holding the 1st annual Gulf Coast Makers Festival to celebrate our shared DIY Creative Spirit with fun and flair!
We hope you’ll use and enjoy this website and associated social media to share your news, builds, start ups and everything and anything related to DIY innovation and inventiveness throughout the Gulf Coast area!
Collaboration is always invited and everyone is welcome!