We sit at the centre of a supercollider – social, cultural and technical changes in the way things are made. The orthodox of getting something made on the other side of the world is changing. Looping back around to the way things used to be made – by ourselves. A manner focused on relevance, “customer of one”.
What if the carbon component of a product/transportation were transparent, priced into the product? How do you design a factory with all we know today?
Keep the point of instantiation as close to point of consumption as possible. Instead of putting factory in China, smear it across the surface of the Earth. A distributed manufacturing system.
Built the Ponoko platform made up of
- a catalogue of digital product designs
- catalogue of materials
- digital fabrication hardware (eg 3d printing but other tools too)
This last part is the hard part. Etsy was and remains dominant in this space…
At core, system is a file checking mechanism. Designed a design language – design checking in order to allow credit card charging. Have relationships with eg electronics components producers so people can develop very complex products.
Achievements: Have moved amateurs to professionals – people using this to run their own business. Tapped into inter-generational shift and cultural shift around the maker movement.
Diagram showing level of need of something crossed with degree of effort to create it – intersection is point of relevance.
Use the network to give you reach. Move fast, iterate, eschew IP protection. Quotes someone saying “If I were to apply for a patent, by the time I got it I’d be onto my 10th product.”
Future of products – that people can build their physical environment in same way as digital environment.