If you look broadly at the processof design for digital fabrication. Price Quotes generation Metadata / Payment materials Workﬂow Product Format Story conversion Co-design Format File delivery validation User Design Publish Sell Make Product CAD Search / software Production Listings Display QA Preview generation Delivery Assembly
Each step is a business of its own. User Design Publish Sell Make Product
We have to understand whether we’re vertically integrated,or targeting speciﬁc parts of the process. User Design Publish Sell Make Product
If we’re vertically integrated, we havesome serious competition.
If we’re targeting a speciﬁc part of the process, then whatproblem are we solving better than anyone else?
Our originalconcept was for:“a social platformfor designers toshare and build oneach othersdesigns”“an open, p2p,collaborativeecosystem”
Trouble is, “facilitatingcollaboration” is along way fromthe revenue stream.
We’ve discussed a“shop” option asbeing the fastestroute to revenue. collate library of publish on a sign up CNC millers split payments WikiTable style WikiHouse style to produce, test and between us, products. gallery website deliver designer and miller
Alternatively, we could focus on developing the “marketplace”.
Either way, we want to create a scalable,disruptive business."Its all got to do with changing how the world works.The current system that we have of massmanufacture, its a hundred-year old systemand its time for change."Derek Elley Co-founder of Ponoko.
So how is that revolutionprogressing?The early adopters had tocreate their market andfocus on the areas wherethe technology was mostapplicable."When youre a pioneer, its likeclimbing Everest every day. I thinkthats the biggest barrier ... nothaving a model to follow."Derek Elley Co-founder ofPonoko.
As a result, they make necklaces and lampshades:“Most of the examples are very personal items that will truly bring much moreemotional value to everybody who likes to design."Fried Vancraen, CEO and founder Materialise vs
What if ...Instead of lampshades, youcould design buses, radiosand racing bikes?
They have also had to createproduction and deliveryinfrastructure.These are ﬁxed processes,with proprietary lock-in atthe points in the chain wherethey make their money.
What if ...Instead of being locked in,you could choose thecheapest, or the fastest, orthe most reliablemanufacturer?
Our original conceptof an “an open, p2p, Buyer Techniciancollaborativeecosystem”, is anatural alternative to Manufacturera centralised, hard-wired platform with Creative FabHubproprietary lock-in. Delivery Provider Engineer
However, theimplementationdoesn’t have to beabout workﬂow ﬁrst.It can be aboutloosely coupling theprocess integration,so users can choosewho they work withand whose servicesthey buy.
Digital fabrication is oriented around products but productsare always components of an ecosystem."There is no such thing as a toaster. People enrolin the toaster project."Harvey Molotch.
For digital fabrication to cross from hobbyist to essential businessfunction, there has to be a platform that allows complex products to becompiled from multiple components.
Compiling complex products from components isa key manufacturing function: the production line.
"To supply parts used in assembly, a later process goes to an earlier process towithdraw only the number of parts that are needed."Taiichi Ohno.
Each step in this process (when a later process “pullsvalue” from an earlier process) is an opportunity forloose coupling: for the request to be handled bycompeting providers. Creates Part Part Part Part PULL Part Part PULL Part Part Part Part PULL Assembly PULL Part Part (possibly buyer) Part PULL Part Part Part Part PULL Part Part PULL Part Part Part