Monday, January 25, 2010

The Future of Manufacturing

"The ability to make stuff has been leached out of our society," he says. "It's sad. No, it's worse than sad -- it's almost a criminal act. Because when you think about what has happened -- the rendering down of a population to be consumers -- what you're really doing is rendering people unable to think critically." He decided his next company would address this deficit: It would make it easier to make stuff.

The Future of Manufacturing, from Inc.com

A good lesson for entrepreneurs:
He saw one problem: Ponoko was not focused on profitability. "A lot of people come to Silicon Valley and they get confused about who they're selling to," says Durham, who invested about $50,000 in the company and now sits on the board. "Is it the press, the VCs, or the customers? And for Ponoko, the customer was third on the list." Durham told ten Have to cut costs and focus on making existing customers happy.

This is much like the waterfall method of software development versus the Agile method - the waterfall method is to create a big plan, then break it up into small manageable steps, and implement the little steps, perform testing, and ship the final product. The Agile method focuses on rapid iteration of code, never getting very far away from code that will actually run and perform some sort of function - no matter how small.

I see the "position the company towards VCs" as equivalent to the waterfall method - you start with your "requirements" based on market research, create a big "design" (business plan), and then try to get VCs to give you the resources you need to implement your plan. Durham's suggestion is to do more of an Agile approach - start trying to make money immediately by satisfying customers. Build up from there - organically growing your business.

1 comment:

Olga said...

Thanks for mentioning us!

And for sharing with the world what's going to be the next revolution:)

Btw, you can follow us here:

Big Blog - www.blog.ponoko.com

Little Blog - www.twitter.com/ponoko


Looking forward to reading your next installment :)

Thanks again,

Olga