Mar.29, 2012

Bilal Ghalib(right) and Alex Hornstein(left)

8. What do they think of 3D printer and your customized 3D products?

That varied widely from city to city. SF, Portland loved our products and were really excited about the technology. As we went north and to the east we found fewer and fewer people cared about the story of the products manufacturing and they were more interested in the function of the product. How does it integrate into their lives, what's the quality of the part and what does it look like. Finally as we pushed further and started selling more photobooth type products and saw that people were far more willing to pay for engagement, being a part of the creative process we switched to selling commemoration and services. Lastly we thought we could sell people completely on their own creativity and also showcase the simplicity afforded with these new manufacturing technologies, so we started giving workshops. Letting people design and print all in a 3 hour class no matter what technical level people were at. And those were our most profitable sales.

9. What do they think of two of you and your whole trip?

People thought that what we were doing was really exciting. Many people claimed that they wish they could come with us, and a few did! We really tried hard to get passengers in residence, a third person who could help fill out the team as we travelled!

10. What are the most popular products?

As a product the iPhone case sold the best. It wasn't a new product, but it contained an element of freshness by being printed that there was some demand. Other products that were more imaginative were a harder sell since we had to convince people of it's utility. In terms of what made us the most money... workshops! Sell people on their own creativity and they will pay. So engage them with workshops, or customizable 3D design web apps and you will have more engagement and thus - more sales!

11. Did you ever have more orders than your capacity? How did you handle them?

We printed on demand for the majority of our sales so we never had a any problem with push or pull manufacturing. We printed as the sale happened and the product went from a vocal order and was converted into product through our printers. Kind of incredible we can do that now!

12. What are the greatest gains from the trip?

If you ask me I will say the best thing I built this entire trip was my friendship with Alex. I love this man and would love to work with him on any project wherever in the world. Also, I learned to 3D model / print for this trip! It used to intimidate me, but now with so many easy tools like: 123D Catch, sculpt and other free tools by autodesk you can go without any design skills and start experimenting with creating!

13. What is the best experience you have had?

We gave a workshop to a bunch of first graders I asked who wanted to be an inventor when they grew up and 50 teeny little boys and girls all raised their hands my heart soared. Later they all wrote us a short letter thanking us for coming. I think I love teaching first grade!

14. Will you make the same trip again or you have any new plan for the future?

The same trip? No, that trip was perfect for the tools and environment at the time. It happened exactly when it needed to happen for both Alex and I and for the world. I will continue to investigate the tools and communities that empower more people to become makers and potentially entrepreneurs in my future projects. GEMSI.org for instance is in the same vein but looks at the communities which empower knowledge and in places other than Western Europe and America! The Pocket Factory ended, but as we wound up the trip we started getting phone calls from people telling us their hopes for a business they could start with a 3D printer and that's how we know we were successful. Torch passed, keep the light burning and let's build a brighter more custom world!
:D

Thanks Bilal.

 

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