Silicon Valley, meet your very own IMDb–LinkedIn hybrid: Makerbase—“a database of digital projects … and the makers who create them.” The newly launched website allows users to look up makers, edit who worked on what projects and with whom, and form new connections for new projects. The site was created by tech entrepreneurs Gina Trapani and Anil Dash, who previously worked together to found ThinkUp.
The user-curated directory has been deemed “liner notes” for all things Internet. The site is, as Gizmodo put it, “a way to track and even become fans of web designers, engineers, and developers who create amazing things on and the Internet.” Just as movie fans can spend hours researching their favorite films, tech admirers now have a similar outlet to chart all of those involved in their favorite Web projects.
The impetus comes from, as Trapani tweeted, wanting to give “credit and attribution, esp. where it’s overdue. Apps aren’t just made by founders and coders.” They want to recognize all the different and important roles that people play supporting new endeavors.
But, beyond the meticulously curated profiles of makers and projects, Makerbase also holds potential for making new and lasting connections. In an industry rife with diversity issues, the database might offer an in for outsiders. As the Verge reports, the site might well become a “powerful networking tool,” especially “since there’s no hierarchy or status structure underpinning the site, there are no boundaries keeping people from reaching out to one another. That means those that traditionally have difficulty breaking into the tech industry will finally have access to a hopefully more inclusive online community.” It also helps that the site is completely free to use (although it requires a Twitter account), and that it’s completely open to users to update and edit information.
Tuesday’s launch coincides with the first White House Demo Day—a new program put together by the Obama administration to encourage innovation. While echoing the best parts of private-sector “Demo Days,” the event is meant to make accessible an often-exclusive industry. And Anil Dash, for one, is hopeful about Makerbase’s role in that mission: