MakerBot: Challenges in Building a New Industry

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Publication Date: January 01, 2013

Like Apple did, Makerbot Industries offered its first product in the form of a kit. Enthusiasts, who wanted to build their own 3D printer and enter the brave new world of personal manufacturing could create any object in their imagination-as long as it was no bigger than a coffee cup. The founders of Makerbot–Bre Pettis, Adam Mayer and Zach Smith–were each passionate to bring affordable 3D printing to the masses. Moreover, they would not betray their commitment to open technology and open innovation. Above all else, they wanted to make their 3D printers understandable to and modifiable by users. They did this by keeping every aspect of their 3D printers’ hardware and software open and adaptable. Through the creation of Thingaverse.com (a universe of things), an expanding army of Makerbot enthusiasts could upload, share and modify a growing array of 3D objects including toys, small inventions, medical devices and even architectural models. What advantages did Makerbot’s strategy of openness bestow? How was Makerbot positioned for future battles in the emerging personal manufacturing industry with Hewlett-Packard and others? Lastly, how did Makerbot turn a unique research endeavor into a powerful idea attracting venture funds from Jeff Bezos, The New York Times and venture capitalists?

Pages: 17

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MakerBot: Challenges in Building a New Industry

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