OK, it may be a bit early to call it a bandwagon, but Intel and Asus are dipping their toe in the social production public swimming pool with the launch of WePC.com. Much like the Mazda3 facebook social production experiment, the WePC effort is all text based. I’m still waiting for someone (anyone) to do something with the crowd that gives them some 3D tools. Even 2D sketching would be a step up. There’s only so much you can communicate about your idea in 250 words of text.
When are really usable, easily distributable tools going to be available for the masses to truly start designing, rather than just talking about their design? I know we do some things that are approaching this, and there are some other efforts from our competitors, but none of them seem to quite hit the nail on the head. What’s seems strange to me is that the production side is getting closer to support the crowd that the design part, what with 3D printers as cheap as laser printers when they first came out. This seems backwards to me since the social production model that will work will be based on manufacturers working with the crowd to pick the best design or design elements, not 1,000′s of individuals pumping out products on their desktop and flooding the market with choices that ultimately will make the buyers less satisfied.