Comedy of values

One of the questions I keep asking about 3d printing, many people ask as well, is how do you make money.

Sell 3d printers is usually the answer. BAH dum bum. Tsh. These are the jokes, right?

A more important question starting out is whether or not what you are printing has any value.

Here’s the comedy.

I went to lunch with a group of 5 people one afternoon.  All visual effects artists, which means they can very often have trouble deciding WHEN let alone WHERE they ALL want to go to lunch.

They’ll debate the expense, the distance, the service,  at least once I have endured an argument over decor.  But once agreed, the group set off, conversations brewed and orders were made after seating.

When you want to observe people’s values in an instant, watch them react to their food as it’s brought to them and compare it to their mood when the bill comes.

Jason, sitting next to me recoiled with a visible and audible lurch when he realized how much he’d just spent on lunch. Jason is an odd duck. Like many artists, he was desperately impractical in some ways.

I noticed that he was wearing Prada sunglasses and complaining about the cost of his lunch. Something about value lessons really grabs you in a moment like that. Sunglasses are usefull all year round but a market priced ahi tuna burger can just bowl you over.

At the time, I though it was funny someone who likely paid a few hundred dollars for sunglasses wouldn’t be so upset by a pricey hamburger. But our domains of value often have little crossover or relevance and making assumptions because of perceived similarities is, well, unfounded.

One of my favorite metrics of value is so simple it bears repeating – if you want to make something, tell ten people. If they tell 10 more, you have something of value. If they don’t,  you either told the wrong people or you didn’t make good enough stuff.

That’s paraphrased from Seth Godin whom I mention a lot, and still writes one of the two blogs which I consider to have real value.

By Seth’s and even my own metric, the pencase has had a slow start. But I am not concerned about momentum yet. The people who tested the pencase have all cooperated with the guidelines I set and the questions I asked. Few products are bought so many strings attached. That level of participation impressed me.

At least half shared something on various social media channels – you remember what I said about the 10 telling 10 more? Well, the math got weird, but I was satisfied that there was enough emperical value to keep going even BEFORE the internet got involved.
I still have yet to make a sale, but I’ve got some people talking. That’s worth something.