October 12th, 2012
07:00 AM ET

My Question: What Do You Want To Make?

Editor's Note: Jim Newton’s full 30-minute profile airs on CNN’s “The Next List” this Sunday at 2 P.M. ET. He is the founder and chairman of TechShop, a membership-based workshop for do-it-yourselfers that provides access to tools, equipment and instruction.

By Jim Newton, Special to CNN

When I started TechShop in 2006, there were about 200 projects I wanted to make. I needed a maker space like TechShop so I could get access to the tools and the space to create. I already had the ideas. I also knew a lot of people who would jump at the chance to be part of a place like that.

As TechShop has grown, now with six locations and about 4,000 members, I've been astounded by the ideas that members walk in with. We've seen ideas for electric cars, a needle-free diabetes meter, a baby warmer that could save 100,000 infants' lives and even a diamond-making machine. Literally, everything from jewelry to jet packs have been created at TechShop. Most members have an idea of something they want to make, and come to us and join our community to build it.

When I meet people who are not yet members of TechShop, I like to ask a simple question: "What do you want to make?" The typical response is "Oh, nothing. I wouldn't know where to start," or "I'm not handy ... I don't know which end of a hammer to hold."

Then I'll press further. "Isn't there something that you've wanted to make that doesn't exist? For your house or car, a gift for someone, or to improve your life or someone else's?"

That's when an interesting thing happens. They light up and say something like, "Well, there is this one idea I have." They will describe the idea in great detail right down to color, variations, and the brand name they have given it.

I find that most people are very passionate about something specific they want to make, but they don't know how to do it. Some of these ideas are small and personal, and others are world-altering ideas.

TechShop's mission is to coax people to think about their ideas and help them bring those ideas to fruition.

I believe that unlocking these ideas is how we can help change a person, or help change the world. So my question to you, right now is: What do YOU want to make?" As you go about the rest of your day, take a look around and ask yourself:  If you had the resources and ability to make something, what you would do?

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Filed under: Science • Tech • The Next List • Video
soundoff (9 Responses)
  1. Fabian

    Please give adress of location in ny.nj.

    November 18, 2012 at 4:02 pm | Reply
  2. Fabian

    Is there a location in or the ny. nj. detro eara?

    November 18, 2012 at 3:55 pm | Reply
  3. Michael Brenner

    Where are the current 6 locations. Los Angeles one of them?

    November 11, 2012 at 2:39 pm | Reply
  4. Chip

    This show never aired in California due to breaking news of the mall shooting in Milwaukee. Will it be shown at another time? Can I watch it online?

    November 4, 2012 at 1:47 pm | Reply
  5. Tim

    Great story, Jim. Taking ideas through solid strategy to execution is a chalenge facing many of us. I'm glad I came across your post. Along the same lines, I just read Sean Covey's 4 Disciplines of Execution and found it to be incredibly enlightening. If you haven't read it use this coupon code and get 45% off before Friday:4DXOct19 (http://bit.ly/covey4dx). Hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

    October 17, 2012 at 9:32 am | Reply
  6. good earning

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    October 17, 2012 at 9:32 am | Reply
  7. r365

    Is there a new time for the TechShop show since it did not air today due to news events?

    October 14, 2012 at 3:17 pm | Reply
  8. gaetano marano

    well, I want to start a new.space company http://www.kapipal.com/gotomars

    October 14, 2012 at 12:51 pm | Reply

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