Last weekend was one of the most memorable ones for me in recent times. I was visiting my in-laws, a once in two months ritual that my wife and I do. To the uninitiated, it may be a curious question how is a visit by a middle aged married man to one’s in-laws a memorable experience :). Well for this, one has to know who this middle aged man is and who the in-laws are? For starters, my father in law is one of the most incredible cooks that I have met and the middle aged man in question (yours truly) is a quintessential MAKER. Ashok Uncle made an incredible set of pakodas that did not have the usual potato, onion, cheese or spinach as the ingredient. They (pakodas) tasted delicious and a quirk that he has, he asked me to guess what’s inside. It turned out the pakoras had left over rice of last meal as filling and boy! was it not delicious. This experience, of eating the food that he makes and decoding it while savouring it, is one of my most pleasurable indulgences. This process (of appreciating the product from a maker’s point of view) is completely transferable for me. Whether I am trying to buy a study table, riding a bicycle, driving a car, watching a movie, visiting an art gallery, consuming an advertisement or anything under the sun – it’s almost natural for me to get into the maker’s shoes. I call people like myself MakerConsumers and here I would like to make a case that the Makers have more fulfilling experiences of life than mere consumers even when it comes to consuming – and below you can find the whys.
Maker-Maker transactions are more meaningful
There’s nothing inherently wrong in being a mere consumer. You cannot be a maker of everything – division of labor matters. However, the case I am trying to make is that a MakerConsumer will derive more value out of the consuming experience than a passive consumer for the same amount of money spent. Think of all the consumption experiences of your life which one was the most memorable – I can bet that it had to do with something where you and maker shared a common skill or knowledge. Your knowledge of making turned the transaction into a trade amongst fellow makers than a mere expert and a consumer.
Only consuming results in creative void
Since the industrial revolution, the ability of corporations to create, more led to an imbalance in the supply and demand equation. Therefore, new functions like Marketing and Advertising had to be created to convince customers to buy more. The method employed was to instil a void of incompleteness in the consumer. Remember the Complete Man advertisement from Raymonds? The issue with this process is that this cycle of consuming and not feeling content is never ending. There’s something new to buy on the block every time so this void can never be filled at least via the consumption side of the equation. May be we should look at the other side of the equation i.e. can producing or making fill the void? Well it seems to be intuitive – the more time we spend making, the less time we spend consuming and thereby moving the needle to contentment.
You have to DIE to get to Heaven
Since the last argument has a potential to turn myself into a preacher. Let me lighten this up with this saying “Everyone wants to go to heaven, but, no one is ready to die for it”. In other words, in order to get anything out of any experience, you have to really get deep inside it. The best example of this is personified when you listen to any song or poetry. For you to have a very fulfilling experience, you should be able to understand the lyrics or the meaning of poetry to experience it completely and not just hum with the rhythm. In other words, immersing oneself 100% into the experience results in appreciating the experience. The Maker Consumers know this all too well – as thoughtful making employs all your senses and it becomes your second nature. I have come to believe very strongly that the times that we are living in, the best gift that we can give to our next generation is this opportunity to be Makers and not mere consumers. Not only will they create a future more exciting for all of us, but also they will be happier and more content. Also – don’t forget if you want to savour pakodas at 40, following this path is a must.
Tarun Bhalla, Founder & CEO, Avishkaar (The Author is a Maker since the age of ten. He founded Avishkaar that believes in creating an encouraging environment for the Makers).