The second meeting of the Internet of Things Zurich meetup group was an enormous success! In the audience, we had an excellent mix of artists, programmers, Do-it-Yourself-ers, students and academics, people from businesses interested in learning about IoT.
Growth. To say that this group is large would be an exaggeration because Switzerland is a small country and we only began in earnest a few weeks ago. But by Swiss standards, this group of passionate people, the "makers" of the local IoT industry, is respectable (61 as of this morning). And there were over 50 people gathered in the ETHZ venue to learn from entrepreneurs.
Experience. Few have it and everyone wants it. The goal of this session was to hear from those with experience in the IoT about lessons learned to date.
We began with great content from Cuno Pfister, Oberon microsystems (slides), Thomas Amberg, Yaler.net (slides) and Simon Mayer, not technically an entrepreneur (he's a PhD candidate at the ETHZ Distributed Systems Group) but a real good guy who shared with us what's happening on the Web of Things side (slides).
During his introduction, Cuno framed the world (loosely speaking) as those who are "corporates" and have a set of characteristics that make them risk averse, although they have (or perhaps as a result of their) resources, and the "tinkerers" those he called "makers." Makers are characterized by:
- no legacy business models
- focus on personal growth
- generating new ideas
- cost-sensitive (low financial resources) and work on their projects in their spare time
- attracted to and frequently adopt open systems
After the talks, I took a poll of the people in the room to ascertain the composition of this community. Approximately 30% of us are already "makers" in some fashion. We didn't define this or require people to demonstrate that they have this status through an exam! Presumably even those who are already experimenting want to improve. Of the remainder, many–over half of the room–aspire to become "makers."
With this in mind, there's an excellent opportunity to organize more community meetings and to explore other programs that will permit people to get proficient with IoT tools quickly and with limited resources. I'll be talking to our local experts and more makers in coming weeks to see what we can do about fulfilling this desire and addressing the needs.