Video Of The Week

#VC & Technology#Web/Tech

Comments (Archived):

  1. takingpitches

    Given last Saturday’s post, it’s great that the Maker movement seems front of mind for you.Another cool implication for NYC:It will be so full-circle for the urban landscape in NYC if we go back to a day when older industrial buildings are actually being used for industry and not just for conversion into residential lofts for lawyers and bankers to live in!

    1. fredwilson

      i agree

  2. William Mougayar

    Short and sweet video.┬áIs this a first of its kind “factory”?

    1. fredwilson

      not sure

      1. Keith Smith

        Fred and William, To your questions about this being the first factory of its kind, we have been building a “Factory of the Future” at Federated Precision that bridges the gap between modern, Advanced Manufacturing and the quickly developing Additive Manufacturing Techniques (3D Printing) using medical and aerospace grade metals and super alloys. We believe this is truly the beginning of the 3rd Industrial Revolution and as Shapeways is to the Maker/ Consumer market, FP is to the OEM/ Designer/ Innovator market for globally distributed commercial products.Thanks for posting the video and raising awareness of the next real Renaissance in America. Our video tells the story much better than I do.

  3. Craig Nicholson

    Very cool. Makes me want to head to NYC to work. I spent 3 years inside of a General Motors plant… and for me manufacturing innovations are just as nice as software.

  4. Aviah Laor

    So instead of buying a gift in toys-r-us I just print something? or buy/download a design and print it? If it works, that’s a huge impact on markets, consumers, trade, everything. It’s eco friendly: less physical shipping, better environment. And off course, expect the usual copy right battles against a new copy machine.

    1. fredwilson

      yup. in chris anderson’s book makers…he tells the story of his kids 3D printing furniture for their doll house

      1. Carine Carmy

        To both of your points, the other great benefit of 3D printing is that you can get exactly what you want rather than have to settle for what you see on the shelf.There was an incredible story last winter of a father designing the toy his daughter imagined (in this case, a submarine in the shape of a duck):

  5. marcusellison

    Certainly, 3-d printing is entwined in our time. A single person can do what years ago required a huge organization. And similar to the 1st and 2nd industrial revolutions – unprecedented technological change will lead to economic growth at the same time traditional jobs are displaced. But I wonder – with the hyper focus on education tech – how much faster our modern economy will transition. In the next two years only small inroads will be made. But in the next 10 or 20 years? What will the 20th anniversary of codecademy look like? (assuming the founders are in it two create lasting value).It’s easy to forget that the manifestation of the corporation is only a recent phenomenon (within the last 70 years) – that for the vast majority of modern history we’ve operated personally.So are we looking at a future dominated by extremely small firms (1-100 individuals) and large corporations to glue these groups together? I think it comes down to how people would choose to live and work if technology could make it so. Personally, I like the idea of knowing everyone in my company and sometimes working in the mountains and sometimes by the sea, and sometimes in an office in Soho, nyc.

  6. Tom Labus

    LIC didn’t take off for fashion but this could be great for the city and the economy.

  7. LE

    There is always one caveat about getting in on the ground floor of something like this.The machines get cheaper, and if the idea is a good one and works, competitors come out of the woodwork and buy the cheaper machine and compete with you. (You have the arrows in your back from that).I bought pretty much the first linotronic imagesetter (laser typesetter which could be driven either by proprietary front end or a Mac 512k running Pagemaker 1.0) used in a service bureau setting in Philly in the 80’s. for what would be approx. $165,000 In today’s dollars, (according to… ) (There was no OPM involved, it was all my money on the line.)The price of the machines dropped quickly not to mention the fact that people became increasing comfortable with laser printed “camera ready” copy as well as inkjet. Competitors bought the less expensive equipment.The purchase worked out in the end (even though our largest account for the service decided to bring everything in house and use laser printers even at 300dpi) but if I had bought multiples of the same machine things wouldn’t have worked out as well.

    1. testtest

      upvoted.i don’t buy anything until i really really need it now.i was in the process of starting an offsite backup company for SMBs before the likes of dropbox. i bought a couple of servers and some large harddrives. in the end, they never got used. someone asked me to make a website for them — for cash — and so i did. i followed the price signal.i have the experience seared into me. convincing me to buy a “nice to have” is a tough proposition

    2. fredwilson

      shapeways main asset is not their manufacturing facilities. and they only print a percentage of objects themselves. they have a network of printing partners all around the world. their main asset is that they operate the world’s largest marketplace of 3D printable objects. check them out at

      1. LE

        “they have a network of printing partners all around the world”Not seeing that mentioned anywhere on the site, at least not in a quick check. If that is an asset (and I agree that it is because geography is key in the distribution and transportation of the products) it needs to be mentioned prominently. Where it can’t be missed. And to recruit other partners if that is an objective.”they operate the world’s largest marketplace of 3D printable objects”That appears in the “about us”. But it needs to also appear prominently, above the fold, on the home page.

        1. Brad Dickason

          Agreed, we need to have a great message on the homepage that is much more ‘shopper’ facing whereas our current experience is tailored more to ‘designers’ (who could then graduate into shop owners).

  8. RudyC

    I don’t comment too much any longer but I felt I would for this company. This is def. one of the forefront companies doing amazing things. I’m actually very excited for them and the no limit capabilities they have to work with.Having said that I feel that we as a society will destroy companies such as this of course with the help of the gov’t. While I see making tools so that I don’t have to drive to the hardware store or some other nuisance that doesn’t have to become a nuisance, some people will see violence.I read an article a while back about someone trying to ‘print’ a gun. This will evolve into other weapons all without permits leading to ‘terrorism’ leading to “you can’t have this, it’s unsafe for society” thoughts…F_king genius though…

    1. Dave W Baldwin

      Philosophy lives!

    2. fredwilson

      i am not that concerned about the government regulating 3D printing. maybe i should be.

      1. ShanaC

        they are going to have to. Instructions are starting to become available to 3d print working guns. You should need the same background checks to print a gun as to buy one.

    3. ShanaC

      welcome back rudy!

    4. Cam MacRae

      IIRC he printed the receiver which I believe is the part of the rifle that makes it a weapon by law (most states). The rest of the bits he bought online as they’re freely and cheaply available.Now if he’d managed to print ammunition…

  9. PJSweeney

    Fred – 3D printing is a utility. What will come is two more waves: 1) consultants who will help people figure out how to use 3D printing for their companies and 2) specific uses for 3D printing.3D printing is still climbing up the hype curve, but the person who figures out the 1st specific use (printing something like replaceable spikes for football cleats that can sit on the sidelines, or printing custom golf balls based on durometer and feel, or custom bracelets with your grandchildren’s faces) will have the biggest breakthrough that brings 3D printing to the mainstream. Prototyping and small batches won’t scrath the surface compared to a big hit. It is analogous to many other technologies – from RFID to eInk – the first turn-key solution to use the underlying utility will be the big winner we all hear about.

    1. sdefor01

      The ‘custom fit’ applications will be huge: Watch bands that perfectly fit, hard-hats and helmets that are dead-on to the shape of one’s noggin, an athletic cup that fits perfectly (perhaps bought at the airport after the TSA scans my junk). Truly ‘mass customization’ for physical human interfaces, as humans seem to be nearly infinitely variable.

    2. laurie kalmanson

      home 3d printing: toys for children …

      1. panterosa,


  10. testtest

    i want to believe the 3d printing story. it’s compelling. but i’ve seen the insiders of a public 3d printing company dump too many makes me ask, “what do they know that i don’t?”. and, since it’s their industry, i have to assume, a lot!

    1. $27180517

      yeah just seems like to many looming questions underlying the industry to be able to fully believe there’s enough catalysts going forward…I don’t see too many individuals running out for those personal 3D printers that keep getting released, but Shapeways is actually a great service that I use. The Sculptris program they promote for modelling is equally awesome.

      1. testtest

        the largest market segment is currently in rapid prototyping, for industry — car companies and the such.i’ve not had the need to look into the service oriented 3d printing, so don’t have a well formed opinion on the matter. but i can see why it would initially be more popular. it’s easier to sell a small ticket item than a bunch of equipment which requires a larger upfront investment (in money and time).

    2. fredwilson

      the printer business is hard. but other businesses in 3D printing are more interesting to me.

      1. testtest

        if you’re going to pick a business, why pick the hardest one. hard doesn’t equal profitable

    3. Duann Scott

      Insiders of a company making 3D Printers? There are key patents surrounding laser sintering set to expire in 2014.

  11. Dave Pinsen

    Very cool, sort of like Neal Stephenson’s Diamond Age.Where and how are the 3-D printers made? Can those 3-D printers in LIC print more 3-D printers (or, their components, perhaps)?

    1. testtest

      from my understanding: not those ones. but plastic components, yes.there are some 3d printers which print electronic circuits. and others which print biological material. so possible, yep.

      1. jason wright

        “…and others which print biological material.”Is this how the human species will colonize the galaxy?

        1. testtest

          you never know. could be how we use clones to do terraforming. save space on the shuttle

          1. Dave W Baldwin

            Plot starts w/logical- machines with autonomous AI doing the work on other planet and use future variant of 3d print of biological to test ability to adapt. Need combo of printer/trained cell generation.

          2. testtest

            “future variant of 3d print of biological to test ability to adapt”and to seed the ecosystem with plants and animals. for example, need bees to pollinate crops

          3. Dave W Baldwin

            True, remember it would be a variant, for the landscape is different. Those variables form a plot that can go deep since you have mankind here (maybe a few outposts closer to Earth), the machine working the outposts (interplay of adherence to science/mission protocol and curiosity), the higher form biological being created…

          4. testtest

            “interplay of adherence to science/mission protocol and curiosity”compelling!humanity just can’t help itself

          5. Dave W Baldwin

            This type of plot might be useful exploring what we hold unique to ourselves matched with the independent machine and other life

          6. testtest

            yes. i think curiosity is one of those things

          7. ShanaC

            if it is your clone, isn’t it also a form of you?

          8. testtest

            we’re more than our dna. humans are time-binders (alfred korzybski):”The plants adapt to their environment through their awareness and control of energy. The animals adapt to their environment through their awareness and control of space. And we humans adapt to our environment through our awareness and control of time.” http://futurepositive.synea…our past, present, and future are meaningful.

    2. fredwilson

      not yet

    3. ShanaC

      I love that book

    4. William Wagner

      There are actually some components of the printers that are printed on the printers themselves. But they are more superficial, like the stand for the monitor and the mount for the powder hopper.Lots more parts *could* be made, but it’s cheaper to just use sheet metal or machined parts so they do that. Most of the actual printing components are complex laser parts and precision CNC equipment, that stuff is not really possible with additive manufacturing.

    5. Carl Rahn Griffith

      Once they can we are really getting into the universe as quantum information kind of deep stuff – loved this book, link below; a recent read and somehow correlates to this topic – all information is physical, being the premise of the book.Recommended reading (the book in link below, not my blog necessarily, lol):http://carl-rahn-griffith.t

  12. tylernol

    still toy/prototype stuff right now but the future potential is there, and the impact on manufacturing will be drastic as the quality and pricing go down.

  13. Abdallah Al-Hakim

    the video was nice and the link to the story about the scissors was pretty cool. It is always a high risk move to show off your newly made product infront of the media but it paid off!!

    1. Carine Carmy

      Thanks! We had tested one already, but I have to admit, we were holding our breath.

  14. ShanaC

    I find it so interesting that they want to bring manufacturing back to NYC. What’s old is new again!

    1. laurie kalmanson

      next: printing 3d bio things.

      1. ShanaC

        normally I would say very cool. In fact, I kind of want certain kinds of bio printing to become normal (particularly with nerves)But every time I think about it, I get grossed out. Same reason I never became a doctor

        1. laurie kalmanson

          makes sense. the possibilities are amazing: no donors, no rejection

  15. Ela Madej

    Looks great… Also, I did not know where to submit it so will paste it here–this video about education is great “STOP STEALING DREAMS: On the future of education & what we can do about it” >>

  16. Jonathan Trent

    3D printed scissors? Way cool!

  17. LE

    The short answer is that I put effort into marketing and sales, which wasn’t unusual since we had to put effort into selling anyway. Which may be an new concept to any startup that simply posts things on HN, reddit or wants a writeup in TC to achieve success. [1] Attached are just a few examples that I just scanned, there are many more.As I’ve mentioned before (re: adversity) while I wouldn’t call the loss of the big account (they were giving us over $100k of typesetting and printing in those days which was about 10% of our sales) a blessing or anything it certainly aided the motivation to not end up in the wrong place in the end. It helps the creativity process also when coming up with ideas (have discussed this before with respect to music groups once they achieve success).The marketing wasn’t world class or anything. But it was all executed in house at a very low cost. The key was just simple creativity executed cost effectively. Not stuff they teach you at Wharton either. You pick it up paying attention to what others do.[1] I was recently helping someone on HN. I was going to give them an idea I thought would work but then just decided to test it out myself by sending three emails (I would have suggested postal letters but wasn’t going to do that just to test a theory that I had) to companies that I thought were their target audience. I got back 1 reply from the three expressing interest in the idea just like that. The founders approach to date was simply to post on HN and say “hey guys what do you think” when to me the people who read HN didn’t appear to even be their market. One thing that appears to always be lacking fairly consistently from startups (at least before they can afford to hire) is traditional sales and marketing skills in the founders. In the old days, you wouldn’t get out of the gate w/o those skills.Edit: I sold this company in 1990. It is still operating today but of course the printing industry is not the best to be in now.

  18. testtest

    ever listened/read/watched any jay abraham?seems like something you would have come across

  19. LE

    I had never even heard of him before your mention.I just looked at his site and here are my quick thoughts.First, I’m struck by the traditional techniques he uses to sell his “product”. I don’t see anything at all (if it’s there I’ve missed it so please point it out) showing what his real world experience is in offering this advice. (checked his linked in page, he’s been doing this since 1977, offering advice essentially.)Second, on his testimonial pages, he uses classic techniques to gain from the halo of known winners in order to gain by association to them.For example, he lists “jay’s client list” with a bunch of big corporation as if he was hired by the corporation when, most likely, he has sold seminar seats or books to people that have worked at those companies. (Not a bad technique but I realize it for what it is..)Note he says “partial list of companies that have profited”. Along these lines any company can say the same thing as long as they sell or even give for free something to someone who works at those companies. (Startups keep that in mind when you do your marketing..nothing wrong with doing that it’s smart.)Take a look at the “testimonials”. Look at the first listed one. A person, just like him, selling info/books/help as well. Same for several others. The only exception I see is from the former president of target and that dates back to 1982. The testimonials are very weak. If you are so valuable to all those corporations, doesn’t it seem a little strange that you haven’t been able to get at least a few testimonials from at least some people that even worked there?Lastly, check out this paragraph at the beginning of the page:read this section of the web site carefully. It contains the secret technique Ted Turner, Ross Perot, Carl Icahn, Howard Hughes, Bill Gates, Michael Dell, Steve Case and dozens of other famous entrepreneurs along with the leading Japanese use to reap fantastic oversized profits! What exactly is the point of using those names other than to create a halo and guide the reader into somehow, if they don’t read in detail, making an association between Abraham providing some benefit to those successful business people? He hasn’t. Are we to believe that he helped all those people in some way? I would label that misleading actually. Crosses the line.Now of course my initial take on this site was pretty immediate because it follows a known format that I have seen dating back to when I was a kid and used to open the direct mail at my fathers company and see pitches like this. Or ads in magazine that I would read while eating my lunch. But I didn’t want to go off half cocked w/o providing backup. I’m sure I could find other things on the site.That said, I haven’t read anything he has written and he could very well say things that are valuable and help people that he has collected over the years. But, in general, people who are able to provide super value to large corporations are not likely to be selling this way on the Internet (or by direct mail). It would ruin their professional image.Anyway that’s my take. I would be glad to hear anything I may have missed in my quick look and your thoughts.

  20. testtest

    he’s traditional direct marketing. made his money before the internet — and hasn’t kept up so well.he’s also a scammy info-marketer to boot. but he does have some awesome gems of knowledge, thoughi’ve read plenty of books by hucksters. would i recommend it? cautiously

  21. LE

    “you’re in Philly?”I was in Philly, I’m over the river now. We were, by the way, across from the legendary 3rd St. Jazz and Rock. I was able to see the guys drive up with their record collection to sell to the store. The owner sold out to his lawyer right when the CD came out in the 80’s. I saw the transition of that entire neighborhood from the early 70’s since my father has his business on 2nd street while I was growing up. When it was all factories and a few artists started to move in. They were the canaries in the coal mine.”which got you the bigger customers earlier”As is often the case with anything that is new and relatively unknown (like 3d printing) the bigger customers don’t exist at the start. People have established ways of doing things and using their own macintosh 512k and Pagemaker 1.0 was an early adopter thing. It would be years before the heavy hitters started using this to replace the existing system (coded phototypesetting which we also were doing). (Think of the PC business back in 1981 vs. 10 years later. Think of the internet in 1995 vs. 10 years later.).The thing was as someone who used the traditional system (to draw a box you had to use coordinates and the fonts were on plastic disks) it was immediately apparent the value of the graphical interface and the laser and what the demand would be. It was a no-brainer.