Sunday, April 8 was the Shenzhen Mini Maker Faire, put on by Seeedstudio. There was a good group of projects, though the robots category dominated the list, with little, and not so little, mechanical things running around the floor and even flying through the air. There were about 40 booths of people showing off their projects or their products.
I was showing off my scoreboard, which had the blinking lights factor and the Arduino insides with lots of wires, so there was some interest. I was joined by Saidy, a woman who had recently graduated from university studying English and who worked as a technical document translator. She had volunteered to be my translator during the event, and quickly picked up the things I was saying in English to people and was translating all of it into Chinese when Chinese speakers came by, so pretty quickly I didn’t even need to talk to the Chinese people at all and we had everybody who stopped by covered.
Interest in my product was mixed. Some people didn’t get it or didn’t want to understand that it wasn’t just a clock. Apparently sports aren’t huge in China, and people see big bright full color LED displays all the time around here, so what I was doing wasn’t particularly special, and it was hard to explain all the ways you could use it and hack it. However, we performed a small experiment to see if the insides would attract the hacker community. Below is the photo of the insides of the prototype unit, with all its wirey goodness. Needless to say, this got people to stop.
I was at my booth pretty much the whole time, so I didn’t really walk around much and talk to people at the other booths and get lots of photos of the event. I did wander around a little, and met some very interesting people, and even did a couple interviews, but didn’t manage to get any photos.
There were a couple sessions happening on another level teaching people to solder, and there was a section of the show with a variety of books, but the majority of the action was in the exhibit hall, where people were presenting their projects. In the afternoon some people gave presentations on the stage next to the exhibit hall, given in mostly English with a translator repeating each sentence.
In all it was a good event, and I’m glad I participated. I didn’t really gain anything related to my business, but it was nice to see that the hacker/maker community is thriving in Shenzhen and that people around the world are doing similar things and have similar mentalities.