A Pottery Post-Mortem

PotteryPrint didn’t end up happening. We stalled out at the 50% mark. That’s OK though. We got to test an edge concept and had fun doing it. That’s what labors of love are for.

First, a heartfelt thanks to each and every person that donated or helped get the word out. Second, thanks to Brian and Cameron. It was a really fun ride. And third, thanks to my new friends at Ponoko. They get it and have an amazing company.

Some of the feedback we got:

The 3d printing world. “Wow. How can we help?” By and large, this group was enthusiastic. That is, the hardware developers, platform providers, and integrators loved it. As they blow out the market, they’re finding that the software side is just too complex for your average consumer to make with.

Here’s a somewhat terrible infographic to illustrate (early adopter to mainstream curve):

There’s a few startups working to make CAD simple, but I think they’re solving the wrong problem. The goal isn’t a new Photoshop (still too complex for most). It is, and I shudder to say this, Zynga for makers. Single-purpose gesture-driven apps.

Consumers.  “I can do pottery, I want to create something I can’t myself.” We got this a couple times. And fair enough. But we had to start somewhere. We thought the metaphor was intuitive enough that a child would get the making process, rather than focus on the end result. Maybe we were wrong.

Press. “Printing is too expensive.” Simply, this is true. But that’s the nature of an early adopter app. Per the not-great infographic above, hardware is ahead of software. Costs are plummeting.

Anyway, I don’t really think it was really an execution problem, just an idea too early for its time. That said, there are some things I would do differently:

  • Do more to soften the ground before launch.
  • Have the developer as part of the process instead of in the background.

I want to keep hammering away at the 3d design software nut. But first, a breather, a book launch, and another cool project in a totally different space.

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