Technical standards are the quiet rules that give shape and direction to civilization. Alongside private organizations and public institutions, standards bodies form a third and critical function in modern society. When they’re well designed, standards can become enabling technologies, like the Internet or shipping containers. Studying the past two centuries of standards-making helps make the process more approachable and useful. Standards Make the World is equal parts history lesson, personal narrative based on the case of the Bristlemouth connector standard, and guidebook for creating disruptive new standards.