This week I went to a biz dev & 3D printing panel at the AppNexus office in NYC to learn more about a topic that is increasing in popularity, and will no doubt have a big impact on the future of technology. I recently started working at Huge, a digital marketing agency, where I was first introduced to this futuristic and exciting phenomenon. I went to their event for Robotics Week and noticed that they had a 3D printer, right there! I then proceeded to wait 30 minutes for the machine to print a bracelet out for me (*image below). But why is this such a big deal, and how will it affect the way we work and live?
(Photo: 3D-Printed bracelet)
The Business Development Director at AppNexus, Eric Batscha moderated the panel of three, and these are some of the discussion highlights:
EB: How do you keep up with the complicated and ever-expanding world of 3D printing?
- Kegan Fisher, Founder of Sols, is continuously reading and keeping up with trends in order to stay current in the industry.
- Nancy Liang, Founder of Mixee Labs, asks herself what do people want to buy that is customized? What are people interested in building?
- Charlie Maddock, Dir. of Business Development at Shapeways, looks at the top 5 companies that are rapidly changing in the industry each morning, and analyzes trends based on their actions.
EB: How are partnerships formed between the 3D printing companies and clients?
- KF: There is a product manufacturing focus when looking for partners.
- CM: If a company is passionate about using the technology for a specific purpose, rather than appearing to be progressive for the sake of the company image, then that is a promising partnership. You must ask yourself how and why are companies interested in 3D printing in the first place?
EB: How are metrics defined when it comes to 3D printing?
- Sales, sales sales. If people are buying the product, the metrics will look good.
(Photo Right to Left: Eric Batscha,Charlie Maddock, Nancy Liang, and Kegan Fisher)
- KS: The main philosophy is that people don’t like or want change. There starts to be a balance of figuring out goals, thinking of how to expand the company, all the while maintaining current partnerships and keeping customers happy. Kegan noted that people love to work with 3D printing, which is what makes it great and easy to promote. She even mentioned Huge as the example that popped up when thinking of companies which already jumped on the 3D bandwagon.
- KS: Fedex and UPS will not be relevant in the far future due to the capabilities of 3D printing manufacturing.
- NL: Ironically, this local manufacturing will bring us back full circle; decades ago people had local manufacturing, which then turned into mass production factories. Now, 3D printing will cater to local markets and completely alter the production modes once again.
- CM: Who loves 3D printing? Model trains, avatars, jewelry, home decor, and Jay Leno (duh). Jay Leno has a Makerbot which allows him to print car parts for his older vehicles, that are no longer available anywhere else in the world. Now that’s pretty amazing stuff if you weren’t convinced up until now.