At the beginning of every episode of Wealth, Power & Influence, Jason Stapleton’s voice lets us know we are living in the greatest time in human history. Sometimes it’s hard to think that when we look at the troubles that surround us, but it’s hard to argue that in some ways we are experiencing a renaissance in the way we do basically everything.
A few days ago a friend of mine approached me about getting a custom tool made for her business. I was excited because I’m always looking to step up to a challenge, so of course I said I’d need to think about the specifics and make something. I took the specs she gave me and what I understood of the purpose for it and started working in Fusion360. After about half an hour I had something resembling a design that could totally work for her, and as I sit here writing this the part I designed yesterday is being manufactured by my 3D printer. We went from discussing a thing to being able to have a first prototype of it so fast that even I am mind-blown by it. Before I go to bed tonight, I will have prototype number one in hand. A trip to Home Depot tomorrow to get some extras will determine how well it actually works.
No matter how many times I do this, it never gets old. I sit there with an idea in my head and then design the item, send it to my 3D printer and boom. I have the thing. It’s as close to the replicator in Star Trek as we’ll be for a long time and it still surprises me. As someone immersed in the maker world as well as the tech sector I see things that surprise me day after day, and it amazes me that after all I’ve seen things can still manage to surprise me at all. My 3D printer is a magical machine unpredictable to people 20 years ago, yet most makers have at least one of them in their shop or home.
In some ways that ability to rapidly produce products, prototypes, and other things has changed the face of product manufacturing forever, and while it may not ever completely level the playing field between major coroporations and the ”little guy,” it does reduce the friction in going from idea to product which is why, in at least this way, I have to agree with Jason: We do live in the greatest time in human history and it’s really hard to imagine (although I know they’re coming) ways in which it could get even better, and that’s a pretty good reason to keep our heads up and keep looking forward to what’s next.
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