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Video transcript
Zach: My name is Zach Kaplan. I'm the CEO of Inventables, the online hardware store for designers. I love building things. Originally we had a business, servicing R and D and design people at big companies. Companies like Black and Decker and Nike. Then, a couple years ago, the cost of making stuff, the cost of machinery, all started dropping. Then websites came out like Etsy and Kickstarter. We launched this hardware store, to make that research that we were doing for big companies, available to everyone. The world started paying attention in a big way, to digital manufacturing and desktop fabrication. Because the cost of entry, just like what happened with desktop publishing in the 80's, all of a sudden dropped down to a couple hundred bucks to play. It's really exciting. Now, anyone can be a manufacturer. These low-cost digital machines, you plug them into your computer with a USB, and now you don't need a Fortune 500 company to make products. You just need some ideas and some time and a couple hundred bucks. You now have a manufacturing facility on your desktop. We're seeing successful businesses start up and grow from nothing, with digital manufacturing as their engine. For example, one of our customers makes furniture. One of our customers makes wedding cake toppers. One of our customers makes jewelry. They have a machine, they order the supplies, they make a small batch of products, and then they sell them either on their website or Etsy. Or at the local retailer, like a small business retailer. Right now, there's about 18,000 products that you can order on the site. The engine of that is these digital manufacturing machines. The concept of a market is very abstract. What does that even mean? It's something that I've learned over time through experience. When you start it, it's very delicate and fragile. As you build it, it gets a little stronger, and it gets a little more solidified. If you're interested in taking it from something, that's maybe more of a hobby or an interest or a research project, into something where people are going to buy it from you, then a whole different set of constraints and considerations come into play. You start to understand, okay so what about this technology is interesting to people, or will help people in the extent to which you can find one, or then ten, or a hundred people who see why this is great. Gives you a chance to change it or challenge it or iterate it, from something that's more science or technology into a product. A lot of things don't get past that first person, or tenth customer or a hundredth customer, because people just aren't able to coalesce it, or condense it down into something that's compelling enough. Go try it. Test it. If it works, keep going. If it doesn't work fix it and try something new. We're in the early innings. Obviously manufacturing has been around for hundreds of years. Digital manufacturing is definitely in the early stages. Most designers still are just kind of figuring out, "Okay so what are these tools?" The tools are improving. I think this is what it felt like, in the very beginning of the Industrial Revolution. I think this is that next revolution. The digital manufacturing revolution. I'm just totally obsessed with what's going on. I think that it really has the potential, to change the way our economy works. My goal is to build a large business and fundamentally change the world. Change the way people approach science and technology, and change the world people approach product development. I hope that when we look back, we'll see that Inventables helped ignite, the digital fabrication revolution. I believe that that will build a new generation of entrepreneurs, who can be their own boss and get to love making stuff every day.