It's a great point. Most people these days are indeed just consumers. In line with this phenomenon, though, Matt identified a new group of consumers he calls the "builder-consumer" You see them around you. Builder-consumers are those folks who buy parts or mainstream products, then hack them to do what they really want to do. Look at the multitude of home-grown projects, ranging from “modding” your car to display engine stats as you drive, to writing software that’s leaner, more user-friendly and functional for running your iPod than the hulking straitjacket that Apple likes to call “iTunes”.
So why are builder-consumers/DIY making a comeback?
- Sometimes it’s just cheaper: In an economic slump, it can be cheaper to do things yourself than to go with a pre-packaged solution
- Customization: In many cases, there’s no product to do exactly what you want to do- DIY enables full customization, meeting the so-called “long-tail” of consumer demand
- Being handy with stuff: Back in the day, people used to know how to fix things, make tweaks, figure things out, MacGuyver-style
The kicker: Now these folks can find each other- and solutions to their questions- in online communities.