Authors@Google: Chris Anderson

Uploaded by AtGoogleTalks on 16.11.2012


CHRIS DIBONA: Hi, everyone.
I'm Chris DiBona.
It's good to be here.
I'm here to introduce Chris Anderson to you and the
offices that have VC'd in.
Since we do have a number of offices VC in and because it's
the right thing to do, if you have any questions, we do have
a microphone set up in the middle of the room
here near the front.
So feel free to line up and ask questions.
Chris will talk about the
parameters of question answering.
It's very important that we get this right.
But I think he's pretty open to whatever
you want to do there.
We do have some books available at, what looks like,
a subsidized price over here.
And I think, Chris, you're going to do signings
afterwards, if you're up for that?
So his fingers have healed since his long book tour.
I don't really need to introduce Chris too much.
He worked at a couple of small magazines, "The Economist,"
"Wired," "Nature?"
CHRIS ANDERSON: "Nature [? of ?]
CHRIS DIBONA: "Nature [? of ?]
Science," those little things, and is now currently wanted
for supplying national security secrets in the form
of drones to the world.
Is that not true?
CHRIS ANDERSON: Not wanted yet.
CHRIS ANDERSON: Not wanted yet.
So that's good.
And maybe he'll talk about that in his talk that he's
about to present today about his new book, "Makers, The New
Industrial Revolution." So Chris?
CHRIS ANDERSON: Thank you, Chris.
This is my favorite place to speak.
This is the one group where I feel like I can just geek out.
And it'll be a good thing, rather than the usual dazed
looks I get on this stuff.
So what I'm going to be talking about today is, I
think, kind of a big deal.
This is basically the industrialization
of the Maker Movement.
But I feel that it's the third wave of the Digital
Revolution, PC, web, and then the real world.
Bringing the web to the real world seems like a pretty big
deal to me.
And what I'm going to do is walk you through the evolution
of what is both the Maker Movement and its ultimate
economic impact, what could be an Industrial Revolution, and
then give you an example of one bit of it in the form of
my incredibly geeky hobby turned company turned God
knows what in the forms of drones and
robotics and all that.
We're going to go from 3D printers to open supply chains
and all that.
But let me just start with one page of thesis.
And then this will be the last text you see.
Basically, this is simply it.
20 years of finding a new way to work together, of a new
innovation model.
Well, that's what the web really is, it's
an innovation model.
Yeah, it's technology.
Yeah, it's infrastructure.
But fundamentally, what it unlocked is a exciting way to
tap spare cycles, latent energies, talents that weren't
otherwise tapped in the existing innovation models and
change the world.
So we get it.
But that's on the world of screens and bits.
And we live in the world of atoms and real stuff.
And if we can just apply that innovation model to everything
else, just think what could happen.
We're starting to do that.
But before we do, I just wanted to--
I used the word Industrial Revolution on the
cover of the book.
And that's a big word.
Let's remember what Industrial Revolution is.
The first Industrial Revolution--

we'll have a little quiz here.
I'm going to give you three centuries.
And you can tell me when you think the Industrial
How many people think the Industrial Revolution happened
in the 1700's?
How many people thought it happened in the 1800's?
And how many people think it happened in the 1900's?
The answer is 1700's, 1776.
Same year as the American Revolution was the deployment
of the spinning jenny, which was basically a spinning wheel
with multiple wheels.
Now we'd had spinning wheels since fairytale times, castles
and princesses and all this kind of stuff.
But what a spinning jenny did is it used a foot treadmill
and then just spun multiple wheels at the same time and
amplified human power and basically continued the
movement of moving us from muscle power to machine power.
And that was first driven by feet, and then by water, and
then by steam, and ultimately created the factory.
And so this is what you imagined.
This is a mid-1800's factory, textile mill in England.
Now this did amazing things.
Not only did it turn us from beasts of burden to more using
our heads, but it also concentrated
us around the machines.
Now this is a good thing and a bad thing.
It's a good thing in that it created the city, it created
urbanism and everything we now celebrate with concentrated
It also vastly increased quality of life.
This is what happened to life expectancy as the factory was
created, as we moved to cities.
It doubled life expectancy.
Now we think of rural England as being pastoral and
wonderful and healthy and all this kind of stuff.
But in fact, they had no access to clean water, no
sanitation systems, the walls were damp, and no access to
good health care, et cetera.
What cities offered, despite the old dark, satanic mills
and all this kind of stuff, what they actually offered was
sewage systems, clean water supplies, health care,
education, all these kind of things.
And they very quickly doubled the life expectancy.
And this is what they did to the population.
That's what concentrating us around the tools of production
did to the population of England and then
the rest of the world.
Now that's all good.
What was bad--
or not bad, but one of the downsides of this is that,
basically, it focused production around the things
that made sense for factories, around massive
economies of scale.
So the things that got made were the things that were
Now that's great, if you want cheaper spoons.
But it really limits choice and variety.
And so we ended up with that sort of Marxian construct of
power going to those who control the means of
production and the man deciding what gets made.
You just couldn't beat those economies of scale.
Now that is, again, no bad thing.
It improved quality of life and gave access to
high-quality goods to everybody or to many people.
But we did destroy the cottage industry.
We did destroy craftsmanship, artisanal construction.
And ultimately we ended up, as that trend towards cheaper
labor continued, eliminating many manufacturing jobs
outside of Asia.
That was the first Industrial Revolution.
That took us from about 1776 to mid-20th century.
Then came, what we could call, the second Industrial
Revolution, which is the Digital Revolution.
Now I'm not showing the mainframe.
And I'm not even showing a personal computer.
Instead, I'm using a different construct here, which is
called publishing, if you will.
What I'm showing here is the first laser printer, the Apple
LaserWriter from 1985.
It came out one year after the Mac and cost about $2,500.
Now that created desktop publishing.
And today, we think nothing of desktop publishing.
But when that came out, these more mind blowing words,
desktop publishing.
Now publishing was a factory job.
To publish, you had to buy ink by the barrel, buy paper by
the railway car.
You needed to have a printing plant to publish.
And now you could do the same quality
production on your desktop.
That's good.
That's impressive.
Hundreds of years of professional skills and
publishing were turned into a bit of software
and a button press.
But you couldn't really be a publisher, because you
couldn't distribute.
You could make church newsletters and missing cat
posters, but you couldn't make millions and
get them out there.
And then, along came the web.
And "publish" turned into a button that you
click on the screen.
And every time you press the Publish button, whether it's
on your blog or whatever, you don't think about it, but
you've basically turned what used to be a industry run by
factories and professionals, and you've turned it into a
single click.
But that act of democratizing the tools of prototyping and
then the tools of distribution basically took the publishing
industry and opened it up to everybody.
And we know what happened.
That was the web and the long tail.
And it changed the world.
OK, but you take those two analogies
and now fast forward.
Rather than the laser printer, we have the 3D printer.
This is the new Replicator 2 from MakerBot.
And it does the same thing as a laser printer, which is to
say it takes bits on the screen and
turns them into atoms.
Now a 2D printer takes bits on the screen in turns them to
ink or toner or things like that.
A 3D printer takes images, polygons, designs on the
screen, and turns it into a physical object that's built
up in layers of plastic or other materials.
But once again, it takes all the
complexity out of the process.
You don't need to know anything
about plastic or machining.
You just press a button and, poof, out it comes.
OK, that's great for making one or
two or three of something.
It's great for prototyping.
They call rapid prototyping.
But that doesn't make you a manufacturer.
That doesn't make you a factory.
The next step is actually less understood, but probably more
exciting, and that is basically cloud manufacturing.
The world's supply chains are now impedance matched to the
Now what does that mean?
What I'm showing here is a picture of Alibaba, which is
one site among many which gives you
access to Chinese factories.
Over the past decade or a little less than a decade,
three things have happened.
And I'm using Chinese factories as one example,
though it extends beyond them.
Three things have happened to Chinese factories.
First of all, the web generation
has come into power.
They get it.

Opening a web interface is the right way to work.
Number two, their own manufacturing systems are
increasingly robotic and automated, which means they
are very flexible.
They can make small batches.
And they can change the design very quickly.
And number three, they realized that serving small
batches, serving a niche interest actually is a higher
margin business.
That's the way they get out of the commodity trap is by
offering small batch, custom bespoke services.
Now I know this because about five years ago I was messing
around my kids, and we came up with this really cool robot
blimp using Arduino and some LEGO parts.
And really, blimps are lovely.
If you have kids, blimps are just the best
thing to have around.
They're like fish.
And they sleep on the ceiling.
It's great.
And we posted the designs online.
And people were like, that's cool.
I just don't think I want to go to DigiKey and get these
parts and solder them together myself.
Could you please make a kit?
And we're like, OK.
And then we learned something about kit making.
When you're buying the components to a kit, don't buy
them retail, because then the kit gets really expensive.
So I had to buy them wholesale.
And there were motors, two motors in particular.
And so it's like I want out to Alibaba to find motors that I
could buy wholesale.
And it turns out that, although they would sell me
motors wholesale, they actually said, you know, it's
just as easy for us to custom make them for you.
What specs would you like?
Shaft length?
And I was like, I don't really know.
But they walked me through it with a form I could fill out.
And then we did it.
And then I gave them my credit card number.
And 10 days later, I got a box of 1,000 motors with that
little greasy sheen, because they'd just come out of the
factory and this foam layer between them
with all these little--
it was all perfectly made in a layer of plastic.
And I was like, oh my god!
I just got a factory in China--
I got robots in China to work for me.
And I didn't need anything more than a credit card.
Now this may not seem like a big deal to you.
But I used to live in China, and I can tell you it didn't
used to be like that.
If you wanted a factory in China to work for you, you had
to fly to Hong Kong.
You had to use a facilitator or a finder to make an
introduction to a factory.
Much trust or lack thereof went on there.
You then went across the border.
You got that introduction.
You had a very awkward meeting.
This involved then going to dinner together.
You had eat fish eyeballs, kind of a hazing ritual thing.
And then more drinking, karaoke.
And this went on.
And then you had to get a letter of credit.
And then a bank transfer.
And then like six months later, after much negotiation,
you might get your samples.
And you had to be a company, by the way.
And I had just done it in 20 minutes with a credit card.
And I'm just a guy.
And at that moment, I realized that the world's supply chains
had opened up to the individual.
And it's only gotten better since then.
So now we have this way.
What the Maker Movement represents, what this part of
the Maker Movement represents is the web generation getting
to physical stuff.
And what that means is the designs start on-screen.
They start with a digital design, a CAD file, typically.
And it could be electronics.
It could be physical.
And you can print locally on your 3D printer or laser
cutter or CNC.
Or you can print globally by just uploading to
one of these services.
And the machines speak the same language.
In the desktop publishing era, it was PostScript.
So the machine on your desktop spoke the same language as the
biggest printers in the world.
And now it's things like [? Chico ?]
[? with their STLs. ?]
It's the same language, scale agnostic.
So we now have a scale-free manufacturing system.
And that is the enabling technology of the
long tail of stuff.
OK, this is what I suddenly realized when that
first box showed up.
I was like, oh my god!
I was meant to do this.
This is my grandfather.
His name is Fred Hauser.
I hadn't forgot about my grandfather, but I'd forgotten
about this element of him until this happened.
Fred Hauser was a Swiss engineer who immigrated to Los
Angeles in the late 1920s and worked in Hollywood.
Hollywood was a very mechanical
business in those days.
The film transport, lots of gears.
The audio was lots of gears and pulleys
and things like that.
And so it was a place for a Swiss engineer good at gears.
But at night he was an inventor.
And this is what he invented, the
automatic sprinkler system.
So if you have an automatic sprinkler system, you have my
grandfather to thank.
By the way, this is exactly what a Swiss engineer would
invent if you put him in LA.
So LA is greening the deserts with a sprinkler system.
And then the problem is but you had to
turn them on and off.
And a Swiss engineer would just put a watch on top of a
sprinkler systems.
And you know those dials with the little pins
that you put in?
That's what he invented.
So cool.
That was great.
This was not so great.
This is what you had to do to get into market.
You had a patent it.
And he hated patenting.
It was expensive.
He hated working with lawyers.
It took forever.
But after you patented it, you could license it to a
And this is what was made, the Moody Rain Master, which
allowed you to hang out at the beach while your garden
watered itself.
And this is a huge success, right?
This is a great victory of 20th century invention.
His invention actually made it to market.
He made some money.
This is good.
Almost nobody got this far.
But it's also a little tragic in that he was an inventor,
but he wasn't an entrepreneur.
He never left his workshop.
He lost control of his invention.
And it got made by this company.
And they changed it.
And they kind of forgot about him.
And I remember in the late 1970s, when I'd go visit him,
we went to see the factory.
He was proud that his product was being made.
And it was clear they couldn't quite remember who he was and
why he was there.
And somebody finally reminded them that this was Mr. Hauser
who had invented the sprinkler system.
And they were all very polite.
But it was clear they didn't need him, they didn't want him
there, and that, once his invention was done, that they
would take it from there.
Those who owned the factories, those who owned the means of
production still controlled the product.
I spent my summers with him.
And he taught me how to do mechanical drawing, which I've
entirely forgotten at this point.
And then he taught me-- this was kind of magical--
how to use a metal lathe in a machine tool shop.
One summer--
I think I was 12 this summer--
he said, this summer we're going to make an engine, an
internal combustion engine.
And I was like, cool!
And he says, I've ordered a kit.
So I show up and there's a box there, sure enough.
And I knew what kits were.
I'd built model airplanes.
There were lots of plastic parts and numbers and
instructions et cetera.
And we opened the box.
And there's these four blocks of metal and a blueprint.
And I'm like, grandpa, where's the engine?
And he's like, it's in there, and we have to get it out.
And we did.
We did.
What a skilled machinist can do is take blocks of metal and
put them on metal lathes.
And curly-cues build up around your feet, just like a
sculptor cutting away the bit of marble
that isn't the figure.
It's absolutely spectacular and magical.
And you can see that you could make anything, if you have
those skills.
My grandfather was not just an inventor, he was a machinist.
And you need to be a machinist to take your
idea and make it real.
And so I realized at that point, as I was looking at
this box full of motors that showed up from China, and like
I made that.
Oh my god.
I can't believe I can do that.
Why had I forgotten that I'd spent my summers with grandpa
making stuff?
And I realized it's because I'm not a machinist.
I didn't have those skills.
And I had no way to get my ideas real, until now.
So when you get a 3D printer--
and my homework assignment for any of you who have children,
but maybe even those that don't, is get one--
it's mind blowing.
But when you get a 3D printer or a CNC machine or a laser
cutter or just want to use these services, all those
skills that you used to need to have go away.
They're abstracted.
The software handles that.
And that barrier to entry of making things real has
disappeared in the same way that that Publish button on
Blogger et cetera took away that barrier of entry of
having to own a printing plant and understand
the publishing industry.
That is the magical thing here is that, suddenly, there's
nothing standing between ideas and practice.
And that step, right now, is optional.
There's a movie that came out a few years ago called, "A
Flash of Genius," that was kind of a warning to those who
would pursue invention in the 20th century.
This is about the invention of the intermittent windshield
wiper, which is basically the windshield wipers that pause
when it's not raining very hard.
It's just a little timer circuit.
And there's a picture from the movie.
This is a guy, same deal, just like my
grandfather, in his basement.
Comes up with the invention.
He too patents it.
But rather than license it, he decides that he wants to be an
He decides he wants to make it too.
He wants to control his invention, understandably.
Unfortunately, it was really hard in those
days to make factories.
So he mortgages his house.
And he starts building a factory.
He rents some space.
Assembly lines come in, forklifts.
1961, '62, '63, he's still not finished.
And in the movie, they portray the scene where he's at 1964.
He's leaving his still unfinished factory.
It's raining.
He's a little dejected.
He turns the corner.
And the new 1965 Mustangs are turning the corner to be
unveiled for the first time.
And their windshield wipers are pausing.
And he realizes that his idea has been stolen.
And he's ruined.
And his descent into madness then fuels
the rest of the film.
And it's all very entertaining.
But the message was, don't dare do that.
Don't be an entrepreneur in the physical space.
It's too hard.
You need a factory.
And factories are not for you.
So that's the way it used to be.
And this is the way it is now.
Many of you may recognize this.
This is TechShop, just down the road.
This is the new factory.
What you have here is basically the gym.
In the same way that a gym is a place where, for a monthly
subscription fee, you get access to machinery you
couldn't afford or wouldn't want in your house, training,
other people who are doing the same thing as an inspiration,
this is that for manufacturing.
You have access to 3D printers, CNCs, laser cutters,
software tools, traditional machining tools, all
this kind of stuff.
They have trainers.
They have classes.
They have other people doing inspiring things.
The guy here on the front is--
I don't know whether my laser pointer here works--
the guy here in the front here is doing the wireless control
module for the smart grid.
The guy right there is doing a vapor deposition chamber for
synthetic diamonds.
In the back, they're building a lunar lander
because, why not?
And what's great is, because they start on screen as
digital files, they then do some prototypes here.
And then they upload them to the cloud, more or less.
And they can be manufactured at any scale.
This guy, interestingly, his wireless control modules, when
he's done with them, they say ABB, which is a big Swedish
engineering firm, on them.
You probably think they're made in a big Swedish
engineering factory, but they're not.
They're made in small batches by this guy and his team and
simply distributed by ABB.
But that's the power of this model.
Because these designs start digital, and because the tools
necessary to make them real are so easy and accessible,
that you get this kind of long tail effect.
You get this explosion of entrepreneurship and
innovation happening in using the web model.
This is a map of the current spread of maker spaces or
hacker spaces.
A TechShop is a kind of commercial chain.
Actually, interestingly, the guy who runs TechShop used to
run Kinko's.
And if you think of it, Kinko's was the publishing
industry turned into a
regionally distributed service.
And TechShop is the manufacturing industry turned
into a regionally distributed service.
And these maker spaces are the same sort of thing.
They're places where you can go, if you don't want to own
your own 3D printer, laser cutter, you can just have
access to one in a shared environment.
So these are spreading everywhere.
And this is very exciting that it's not all clustered in the
United States.
It can really happen anywhere.
And things like the Fab Labs that came out of MIT are a
good example of this as well.

The funding model, of course, is Kickstarter.
I don't really need to tell you more about Kickstarter and
Pebble being one of the most successful projects.
But basically, it does three magical things.
The first magical thing Kickstarter does is it moves
money forward in time.
When you think about it, the traditional method of
manufacturing has got that whole monetary flow all wrong,
which is, basically, you pay a lot of money up front to do
your R&D and your prototyping and your tooling.
And then you have to assemble your components and inventory
your components.
Then you have to build the devices.
Then you have to warehouse them.
Then you have to put them into the distribution channel.
Then they sell.
Then they go through this.
Then the money comes in.
Most of it gets taken away by third-parties.
And then you get paid.
So you have to spend all your money at the
front end of the process.
And you get some of it at the back end of the process.
And by simply taking pre-orders, they move the
money forward in time to when you need it.
So that's great.
That's one thing.
Number two is market research.
As you know, you have to pass your goal to get approved.
Now, in this case, the goal was 100,000.
The kind of blew through that one.
But if they hadn't, that would have been a gift.
If you don't hit your goal, that tells you the product
probably would not have sold.
And you just saved yourself a ton of time
and money right there.
So free market research is golden.
And number three--
and this is the most important thing, I think--
is that it builds a community.
And this is a community of customers,
but not just customers.
They're also co-participants in the
product development itself.
So if that was you that followed the Pebble watch--
how many here backed the Pebble watch?
OK, a few of you.
I'm really looking forward to this one.
Trust me, it'll come, sooner or later.
To starter projects, they're notoriously late.
That's part of the fun is just listening to the explanations
of why things have been delayed.
Very educational into the learning process of
So as those of you who backed will remember, the community,
after they backed this product, started making
We'd like it to be more waterproof.
The four guys in Palo Alto said, OK, we can do that.
They said, well, we'd like it to be Bluetooth 4, not
Bluetooth 3.
Got you.
We'd like a new color.
And what that means is that now these customers have a
little bit of themselves in the product.
They're not just buyers, they're backers.
They are participants.
They are co-creators of something that's not just a
watch, it's a movement.
It's something they believe in.
And they become evangelists and then marketers.
It's not just the moment of backing, when you Tweet that I
just backed whatsoever on Kickstarter, but also, because
they not only have bought into this and made a bet on
something before it exists, but also contributed, many of
them, to its essence, they really want this to succeed.
And they will promote it in a way that no
regular customer would.
So it's a simple thing, Kickstarter, pre-orders,
threshold, comments.
And what is created is a crowd funding model that is
perfectly suited for the industrialization
of the Maker Movement.
What these tools mean, so in the same way that that first
desktop publishing software and that first printer meant
that you were a publisher, but you have to get good at it,
and we made these horrible messes of font, dog's
breakfast of fonts, and we knew nothing about letting and
kerning and flow and wrap-around, but we got
better, we learned, and ultimately, we got pretty good
at it, we're right there with CAD and manufacturing and
everything else.
It's like we're, small d, designers.
Just like we became, small p, publishers the moment we hit
that Publish button, we're now, small d, designers.
And hundreds of years of industrial skills and
education are now turned into software apps.
I mentioned that my grandfather invented the
automatic sprinkler system.
As kind of a thought experiment I said, well, what
would grandpa do today?
How would he invent the automatic
sprinkler system today?
And so this really was a thought, I can remember,
because I don't even have a garden.

So I just said, what would an open
sprinkler look like today?
And I worked with a couple of guys online.
And this is what we came up with.
It is an Arduino-based internet of things sprinkler.
And we started to ask questions like, well, again,
how would you improve sprinklers?
And well, obviously, sprinklers should be connected
to the web, so if it's going to rain tomorrow, it doesn't
water today.
Obviously, you should be able to turn it off with your phone
or any other device.
Obviously, you should be able to plug in
any sensor you want.
Obviously, it should talk to other devices in your house.
Obviously, it should be open, so anybody can build a
community around it or find new applications.
By the way, it turned out that we then made it and sold it.
It turns out the number one customer for this is
hydroponic pot growers.
CHRIS ANDERSON: Who turn out to have very demanding
sprinkler needs.
CHRIS ANDERSON: I had no idea.
But so this just an example of what a guy who knows nothing
about sprinklers and a couple of other people on the web who
had never met can do.
And I'm not saying this is the best sprinkler.
It's certainly not the only web-connected
sprinkler out there.
But the point is that we did this in a couple of weekends.
And it's actually better than a lot of the stuff you can buy
And it costs like $70 And there's no service fee for
access to the weather reports, because it's the web.
So that was my introduction into this whole thing.
And I was realizing, I really have no business doing this.
And yet, here I am doing it.
I didn't have any business ordering motors from China,
and there I was.
I didn't have any business doing a sprinkler system, and
there it was.
And it's so easy.
And this made me realize that, if I could do it, anybody can.

These are the tools that we used.
CAD used to be super hard.
It's still not super easy, but it's getting easier.
And they're free.
Autodesk 123D is one free example.
And the reason I'm showing you this is that there's something
that, again, is kind of mind blowing, if
you think about it.
So in your word processor menu, in Word or whatever, you
go to the File menu, and there's an
item that says, Print.
And when you press Print, paper
comes out of this machine.
And we think nothing of it, right?
It's a printer.
That's what they do.
Well, it is kind of magical, the whole PostScript and atoms
into bits, sorry, bits into atoms, and all
that kind of stuff.
But nevertheless, we're used to it.
Well, of these CAD software programs now have a menu item
that says, Make.
By the way, this was the enclosure for
the sprinkler system.
This was my first CAD project.
It turned out my walls were too thin.

But once I did it-- and this took me like 20 minutes-- then
you go to the Make.
And then there's this software wizard that walks you through
these choices.
Do you want to output it locally on your own machine?
Or do you want to upload it to a service in the cloud that
will do it for you in high
resolution with better materials?
Do you want to do it in 2D on a laser cutter?
Or do you want to do it in 3D on a 3D printer?
How much you want to pay?
What kind of material properties do you want?
What are the volume considerations?
How big do you want to be?
There's some cost aspects to that.
And so, basically, this kind of stuff that used to be and
still is professional engineers, entire industries
focused on walking you through, they're focused on
doing this, of turning an idea into a product, is now a
software wizard that's just built into the program.
This is kind of, again, amazing.
This stuff used to be really hard.
And now it just walks you through it.
And you put in your credit card.
It's like Picasa.
Do you want to print your photo
locally on your own printer?
Or do you want to upload it to a service to be
turned into a book?
It's your choice, print one, print 100.
One's free, the other has a credit card.
But it's really just a matter of click here or click there.
And now we're doing the same thing for manufacturing.
My daughters are one of the big users of
all this in our household.
They're really into The Sims, which is a
really cool video game.
It's basically a dollhouse.
You build a house.
You populate it with figures and furniture.
And you design something that's just right.
A lot of fun.
But we're kind of fascist when it comes to video game time.
And they get two hours per weekend day.
And when the two hours are up, it's like, screen off.
You've got to go play in the real world.
By the way, you have a real dollhouse, so why don't you
play with that?
And they're like, yeah.
So it's not as cool.
We've been designing this mad man
theme in our Sims dollhouse.
And our dollhouse furniture is all wrong.
Dad, will you buy me some new dollhouse furniture?
So I've heard that before.
And I'm usually pretty good.
No, but I wanted to do a little research.
So I go on Amazon.
And it turns out the dollhouse furniture is A, super
expensive, B, very little choice, you can never get the
right style, and C, it's always the wrong size.
It turns out there's no standard size
in dollhouse furniture.
And you can't even tell whether it's the right size.
And it turns out the houses and the figures are not
actually scaled exactly the same.
And very complicated.
And lots of disappointment lies ahead.
However, we have a Maker box.
We have a 3D printer.
So we go to Thingiverse.
And this is the coolest thing.
This New York set designer, a theatrical set designer, goes
by the name of PrettySmallThings, has
uploaded the most beautiful dollhouse furniture designs
for free on Thingiverse.
And we found a chair that was just right.
And then we printed it out.
And then the four-year-old painted it.
And they love their dollhouse furniture now.
So if you're a toy company, this should
fill you with terror.
We basically did this for free.
The kids were super engaged.
They got exactly what they wanted and, by the way, at
exactly the right size.
There's little sliders, so you scale so it's
just the right size.
Then they made it their own with the painting.
And they love this stuff.
They treasure it.
They actually take the doll's furniture out of the dollhouse
and they put it on their window sill, because they're
so proud of their dollhouse furniture.
They don't feel that way about stuff they buy at Walmart.
So is it better than the stuff they buy in the Walmart?
But it's righter for my kids.
And there's something of them in it.
In the same way that buying something from Kickstarter,
there's a little something of you in it.
You care more about it than you did from something you
bought in a store.
It's something that you 3D printed and then maybe painted
or customized.
There's a connection you have there.
You value this more than something that's
We've seen this before in music, right?
The best music is the stuff that
everybody else isn't into.
That's the story of the long tail is that appealing to your
individual needs, appealing to what defines you as a person
makes you value things more.
Artisanal food, we get it.
We're past one-size-fits-all.
And this is very much a one-size-fits-one approach to
dollhouse furniture.
My boys, needless to say, are into Warhammer 40K mechs.
Same deal, download the design, print it out, paint
it, customize it.

Not as good as an official Warhammer 40K mech, but
exactly what they want.
Now that's just in our house.
I don't know what the killer app for 3D printers is.
But I do know that, when you give a kid a 3D printer and
they have access to Thingiverse and easy tools to
customize, that the imagination runs riot.
And what these kids know is that anything they could
imagine they can make real.
Right now, they can make it real in plastic in one color.
Soon it'll be plastic and multicolors.
Soon it will be much higher resolution.
Soon it'll be multi-material.
Then they'll be able to integrate the
electronics into it.
They'll be able to print in metal.
We can see the way this is going.
It's not going to take 20 years to get professional
quality manufacturing on your desktop.
We've been in the dot matrix period.
We're now in the inject period.
We're going to get better, faster, because it's built on
the same technologies as traditional printing.
You know how Apple's slogan, when it released
the iPod, was "Rip.
Burn." And that changed the music industry.
The idea that you could take music, professional music, and
you could rip it, bring it into your computer.
Then you could change it, mix it.
Then you could produce it.
Then you could make your own CDs and distribute
them and burn them.
That idea, that sense of control, that sense that the
tools of production now were within your reach, that was
incredibly powerful.
And it was scary for the music industry.
But it also unleashed this explosion of creativity and
changed the music industry, I think, for the better.
Adobe's slogan is "Rip.
Make." And what does that mean?
How do you rip physical stuff?
And the answer is called reality capture.
Right now, what you're seeing right there is an app which is
free on iPhone or IOS, iPhone and iPad,
which uses the camera.
You just take pictures.
You move around an object and go click, click,
click, click, click.
It sends the pictures up into the cloud.
It stitches them together.
And then it generates a polygon mesh.
It's scans reality.
We can now capture reality, at relatively low resolution, but
they get better.
So 3D scanning, which used to be really hard, is now a free
app in your phone.
And what you do with it is you then output the mesh.
You then clean the mesh up.
And then you, of course, print your head as a Pez dispenser,
as one does.
Make," right?
OK, it's a trivial example, but think how
powerful that is.
We don't have to learn CAD tools, we can just capture
reality and fix it, make it our own, adapt it, and then
print it in whatever material we want.
We saw what it did to the music industry.
Just imagine what this might do to everything else.

Let's pull back.
What does this mean for the world?
Was does this mean for industry?
What does this mean for the economy?
I started by saying that the real revolution of the web was
the innovation model, the fact that we were able to bring
everybody in and get them to work together.
And we now have an opportunity do this with physical goods.
I think what this creates is a different kind of company.
The guy on the left here is Ronald Coase.
He was the University of Chicago economist who came up
with the, so-called, Theory of the Firm.
In the 1930s, he was puzzling over the question, why do
companies exist.
Why do we go to work under one roof and for one company and
with one job description and with an aligned mission?
Why do we do that?
Why have we created the corporation?
And he came up with the theory of transaction costs.
We work for a company.
You guys sit here and work for Google, because it's the
fastest way to get things done.
Transaction costs are the costs of communicating with
each other.
And because each of you has a role and responsibility, you
know who does what.
So Accounts Receivable is here and Accounts Payable is there.
And you know how to find the person to get stuff done.
That's great.
20th century thanks you for that.
And it worked fine.
However, the guy on the right, Bill Joy, one of the
co-founders of Sun Microsystems, accepted that.
And he worked for a company.
But he did reflect on one of the truisms, which is, he
said, "Whoever you are, the smartest people in the world
don't work for you." This is probably the one place in the
world where that's not true.
CHRIS ANDERSON: But it was generally a truism, which is
to say, statistically speaking, for any given job,
the smartest person in the world is not the person who
has that defined role and responsibility and is in the
cubicle next to you.
They're probably out there somewhere.
They're probably in China or India or whatever, but how are
you going to find them?
The transaction costs of finding the statistically
smartest person in the world for that job are too high, so
you settle for the one you're with.
By the way, if you think about it, this is probably true for
your spouse as well.
And we just--
don't go there.
You go absolutely crazy.
CHRIS ANDERSON: You know, the odds of the perfect person for
you happened to grow up in your town, so we love the one
we're with.
However, that's sub-optimal.
It's like what we do with things like what school did
you go to, what grades did you get, let me see your CV, your
track record, let's get the references, are you available,
do you speak the right language, do you have the
right visa, those are not talent-optimizing.
They are basically access-optimizing.
What we do is we're settling for the safest
person in the world.
We know this person can do the job.
And the 20th century talent filters were largely oriented
around minimizing the difficulty in finding someone
who could do the job.
But we didn't end up with the right person.
We didn't end up with the best person for the job.
So I wanted to end with a story about my own little
adventure in this and how we may have solved Joy's paradox.
This is the cover of "Make Magazine," which is the Bible
of the movement, the Maker Movement.
And my little adventure with my children, starting with
blimps, went down the rabbit hole.
I'll show you in a few minutes.
But I ended up getting into drums.
And I built a community.
And I met that guy there, Jordi Munoz.
And I just want to tell a little story about Jordi And
then we'll end.
And we'll take questions.
So my own adventure with this started with trying to get my
kids interested in science and technology.
I started a site called GeekDad, which is now run by
other people.
But this is my eternal and eternally unsuccessful quest,
to get my kids more geeky.
I've got five kids.
And every weekend I'd try to find science and technology
projects that were fun for them and fun for me.
So one Friday at the office at "Wired," we got in a LEGO
Mindstorms kit.
And this was right before they came out.
So we got one of the first ones.
And we got a radio controlled airplane.
I thought, best weekend ever, right?
So on Saturday, we're going to make a robot out of LEGO.
And on Sunday, we're going to fly a plane in the park.
How could this go wrong?
This is Erin.
She was nine.
She's building the first project of the LEGO
It's a tripod.
It's a three-wheeled robot.
And what you do is you put together the robot.
And then you use this visual programming language built on
[? LabVIEW ?]
to program it.
And there's Daniel, 11.
And he's getting ready to push the button and see
whether it will work.
So what it does is it goes forward until it sees a wall.
And then it backs up.
And my kids are like, you've got to be kidding.
We've seen "Transformers." We know what robots
are supposed to do.
Where are the lasers?
CHRIS ANDERSON: This is not a death-dealing, three-story
killing machine.
Hollywood has ruined robotics for children.
You cannot compete with CG.
So they were really disappointed and
lost interest entirely.
And so I was a little upset about that.
So I said OK--
that was Saturday-- on Sunday, we're going to fly a plane.
This is the plane we got.
And so we went to the park.
And we'd seen YouTube videos.
And it looked awfully cool.
And this is what happened.
CHRIS ANDERSON: So I flew it into a tree.
And if that weren't humiliating enough, it was dad
climbing into the tree to get it back, which is completely
I had to bribe them with ice cream.
And it was a bad scene.
And once again, they were reminded that any time Dad
wants to do science and technology projects, it ends
up as a disaster.
So I was kind of annoyed about the whole thing.
And went for a run to clear my head.
And I was out there thinking.
I was like, phew, that sucked.
A, the robots weren't very fun.
They just ran into a wall.
And B, I can't fly.
I thought, god, I'll bet the LEGO could have flown that
plane better than me.
And then I thought about the sensors that came in the kit.
And it came with a gyro sensor and accelerometer, it's called
tilt sensor, and a magnetometer, which is called
a compass sensor, and a Bluetooth connection.
And I was like, oh my god, you could almost build an
auto-pilot out of this.
So I came back.
And I said, OK, kids, one last thing.
We're going to build an auto-pilot.
And this is what we came up with.
And this is a LEGO auto-pilot.
It's got gyros, accelerometers, magnetometers,
a RC interface.
It actually runs a common filter.
I actually had to Google common filter.
That was actually harder than I expected to implement.
I knew nothing about this, but it kind of almost worked.
We put it in a plane.
It actually kind of flew on its own.
This we had posted on Slashdot this is, I think, technically,
the world's first LEGO unmanned aerial vehicle, UAV.
It's now in the LEGO museum in Billund, which
we're very proud of.
The kids and I got to go to LEGO, to Billund for that.
And we learned a lot about this.
We learned A, that this stuff is not that hard, B, that
what's going on with the smartphone revolution, what's
going on in your pocket that the revolution in MEM sensors
and ARM processors and GPS and wireless and cameras and
memory and integration, all this kind of stuff, this
driving a technological wave that we've only seen the
beginnings of.
I just realized, thanks to Mindstorms, that you can fly a
747 with this.
With the right app and the right cable, you've got a--
not terribly well, I wouldn't recommend it--
but you've got all it takes.
And that just as Jobs and Wozniak realized that
original, what was it, an 8088 processor, et cetera, was
available, and relatively cheap and easy to use.
And then you could, maybe, build a computer out of it.
And that ended up with the Apple II
and changed the world.
We're right there with the guts of a
smartphone right now.
It has extraordinary applications outside.
And being able to fly a plane is just one of them.
Now, in the course of doing this, we learned a lot.
We learned that auto-pilots are considered cruise missile
controllers by the State Department's International
Trade in Arms Regulations, ITAR.
And that's by my nine-year-old developing an auto-pilot and
putting it online that we, technically, weaponized LEGO.
CHRIS ANDERSON: So it was quite a learning process.
So what I did is I decided to just learn in public.
So I started a community called DIY Drones and just
basically shared my ignorance.
I knew nothing.
And I just kept asking dumb questions like, what's a
common filter?
And digital electronics, and analog electronics, and
aerodynamics, and dynamic systems, and control theory,
and I knew nothing about this.
Everything I found, I shared.
And people kept answering my questions.
And today, we're one of the biggest robotics communities
in the world.

And people here at Google who are probably members, and
Apple, and Microsoft, and IBM, et cetera.
And by day, they do awesome work here.
And by night, they do awesome work in auto-pilots and
drones, et cetera, because they're really into it.
And we ended up, by accident, competing with
the aerospace industry.
This is what we do.
We make these auto-pilots right now.
We work with ETH in Zurich.
The Swiss, by the way, turned out-- thank you, grandpa--
turned out to be the leaders in robotics, because all those
watch makers had extraordinary mechanical skills.
And robots used to be mechanical.
And now ETH and EPFL, which are the two leading
universities-- it's like the MIT and Stanford--
when I asked them to make that connection, they say, well no,
the most important thing is one is German-speaking and one
is French-speaking, so you can't really make the MIT,
Stanford connection.
But anyway, they're really good.
CHRIS ANDERSON: And so anyway, we work with them.
And this is the stuff we make now.
This is like military grade auto-pilots which are built on
smartphone chips and sell for $140.
The Parrott AR.Drone, which some of you may have and is a
lovely piece of gear, it's a quadricopter that you can
control with an iPhone or an Android.
It's not really a drone, I hate to tell you.
Drones are autonomous, fully autonomous, automatic takeoff,
landing, missions, GPS coordinates, et cetera.
Our drone is teleoperated.
It's remote control.
Unless you rip out the guts and put in our stuff, and then
it's a real drone.
So that's where we're going on this.
Just a little segue into why this is happening now.
It turns out that these multi-copters, these
quadricopters, are basically solid state devices.
But they don't have any moving parts, except for the motors
But they were not possible until about a decade ago,
because they're essentially unstable.
You can't fly them manually.
You need a basic computer on board to spin the props to go
clockwise, to go counter-clockwise, and just
getting the math right.
It needs to happen at 400 times a second, 400 Hertz.
But once you get it right, you can do all sorts of amazing
It's just math, right?
It's just these look-up tables that can control any shape,
and how big a camera you want to lift, whether you want to
have an open field of view for a camera, whether you want
redundancy of motors, et cetera.
This is just math.
And it's really kind of exciting that you can now come
up with these extraordinary and before impossible
configurations of aircraft and fly them with an auto-pilot
that costs just over $100.
So we ended up with this.
We started with the Arduino platform.
And actually, I have one of the auto-pilots here.
Here, I'll just grab it here.

This is an auto-pilot right here.
It's just a little box.
And you put this little box in any vehicle.
And it suddenly becomes a fully autonomous drone, and
including a car.
Not quite as good as your autonomous car, but this one's
a lot cheaper.
CHRIS ANDERSON: You know, you could put it in anything.
I don't have a boat up there, but you can
do boats, et cetera.
But this is kind of magical.
This is basically a triple-core, Arduino board,
GPS, lots of sensors, et cetera.
You just stick this in any vehicle, and suddenly it's
like a military grade UAV, minus the weapons, of course.
And then you've got these ground stations.
And you just point and click waypoints.
And you give mission commands.
And it's scriptable.
And you can script it in Python or just
manually like this.
And automatic takeoff, and landing, and loiter, and
camera control.
And we have this cool Follow-me function where you
have it in a box that looks a little like this.
And let's say you're windsurfing out there on the
bay and you're really doing well.
And this is the GoPro era, right?
You totally need this on YouTube.
So what you just do is you just push the
button in the box.
And your quadricopter with the GoPro takes off from the
beach, comes out to you, positions itself 30 feet
behind and 30 feet above you, and then just follows you
around as you do your thing with the camera focused on you
the whole time.
And when the battery gets low, it flies
itself back to the beach.
That's the Follow-me function.
That's like the droids, you know the personal droids in
Star Wars, right?
This is now possible.
There are people doing it right now.
And this didn't come to you from Boeing or
from Lockheed Martin.
It came to you from a community of amateurs--
we all have day jobs but, by this, we're amateurs--
working together using the web's innovation model and
open platforms like Arduino.
So what we ended up doing was being--
and we ended up part of the Open Hardware Movement.
So MakerBot's open hardware.
And there's a number of others.
But we realized that, by accident, we'd figured out a
way, along with many others, to
industrialize the Maker Movement.
We give away the bits in the community.
That software is all open.
And then we sell the atoms in the form of hardware with a
robotic company.
We don't have the best technology in the world, but
we have the cheapest technology in the world.
And we have the best innovation
model, which is open.
And the ability to apply the web's innovation model to
physical goods is the real tool here, just in the same
way the technologists created TCP/IP and HTML, et cetera.
But we, the regular people, filled it with our ideas.
And that's right where we are with hardware.
The technology is there and easy and in place.
And now we can just fill it with our ideas.
And the nice thing about hardware is that there's no
crazy debate over the business model.
The business model is you sell products for
more than they cost.
That's it.
Business schools professors keep saying, explain your
business model.
It's like, we sell products for more than they cost.
CHRIS ANDERSON: We made money on Day 1.
We actually sell it at 2.6 times the actual cost.
2.6, that cost is the Bill of Materials plus labor.
And 2.6 is like this magic number.
It's basically two 40% margins, one for us, and one
for our distribution partners, a wholesale and a retail
margin, if you will, 2.6.
2.6 times the Bill of Materials is like an order of
magnitude cheaper than closed-source, sometimes two
orders of magnitude cheaper.
It's not rocket science.
We learned it from other people in the
Open Hardware Movement.
But it works great.
And the customers do the product development for us.
They design the products for us.
They then give it to us.
We then sell it back to them.
If it's not right, they fix it for us.
If it needs customer support, they do the
customer support for us.
They write the documentation.

They catch our bugs.
They do our regression testing.
It's just wonderful.
CHRIS ANDERSON: Now, it's also an incredible obligation and
Every morning, I wake up to lots of customers
with lots of demands.
But the point is is that the web's innovation model works
in the real world.
And we've seen what it does in electronics, but just imagine
what it can do in everything else.
So I just wanted to end with that story.
Jordi, I told you about Jordi.
I showed you a picture of Jordi Munoz.
And I just wanted to tell you what happened.
So when we started DIY Drones, it became clear that we needed
to make a company.
We put the files out there, and we said, here.
Here's the PCB file.
Just have it batched.
And then order the components from DigiKey
and then solder it.
Come on.
And people were like, could you do that for us, because
that's actually kind of hard.
And we said, OK.
And so we started on the kitchen table hand soldering.
And that was no fun.
And then we sent it to China and realized that, when you
have to get economies of scale, you have to order
1,000, which means that, if it's wrong, you just have
1,000 dead boards.
And also, if you order 1,000 boards or 10,000 boards, you
actually have to sell them before you change the design,
or else all your money is sunk in dead boards.
And so we then brought it back.
And we said, well, we'll do our own manufacturing.
We'll start a factory.
And so we started it in a garage, as one does.
There's Jordi on the right.
Oh, by the way, Jordi was the guy who just was doing the
cool stuff in the forum.
He was flying a helicopter with a Wii controller.
And he posted YouTube videos.
And he showed he could do it.
And so I'm like, that guy is awesome.
He knows all the cool stuff.
He turned me on to Arduino.
And I said, Jordi, do you want to start a company together?
And he said, sure.
I said, tell me a little something about yourself.
And he turned out to be a 19-year-old from Tijuana.
He just graduated from high school.
And today, he's the CEO of 3D Robotics.
This is like a tiny corner of one of our two factories.
We have one in San Diego and one in Tijuana.
We've got something like 24,000 square foot of
[? pick-and-place ?]
lines and CNC machines and 50 workers
right now and engineers.
And we put twice as many drones in the
air as the US military.
Our drones cost $600 and are made out of plastic.
And theirs cost $6 million and are not made out of plastic.
CHRIS ANDERSON: But still, we've got
15,000 of them out there.
And the military has 7,000.
And Jordi has built this by basically buying--
the first [? pick-and-place ?] we got on eBay.
And he looked up the manual on Google.
And today, we're going for ISO 9000 compliance.
And that was three years.
So that's the answer to Joy's paradox.
10 years ago, when the editor of "Wired" was going to start
a drone company, what are the odds that he would end up with
a Mexican teenager from Tijuana?
And yet, that was the best person in the world for this
job, that he was the smartest person in the world.
He failed all the 20th century tests of talent acquisition.
He did not speak the right language, come from the right
country, have the right degree or any degree, have any
professional experience.
He would have failed.
He would not have worked.
Maybe your admission standards have changed at Google, but by
and large, I suspect he would have failed your tests.
And yet, he passed the test of the web's talent discovery
model, which is that he could do it.
And he showed what he could do.

Actually, I asked him questions like, tell me a
little something about yourself.
But it didn't matter any more.
He'd already proven his ability to do it.
And today, it turns out it's the best in the world.
I thought I was picking him because he knew a lot about
technology, and he was really innovative, and he turned me
on to Arduino.
But in fact, his real asset was that he
turned me on to Mexico.
We have a second plant in Tijuana.
You may think of Tijuana as being cheap tequila and drug
cartels, but it's the Shenzhen of North America.
Every screen here was assembled in Tijuana.
The Samsungs and the Sonys have massive plants there in
the special economic zone.
Mexico graduates more engineers than the United
States, 55,000 a year.
We are outside of the export control zone in Tijuana.
We have access to ISO 6000, 9000, engineers and operations
managers who we could never find or afford in San Diego.

Now I'm a maquiladora.
I'm a Mexican, high-tech entrepreneur.
How did this happen?
But the answer is Jordi.
He taught me everything about the stuff that really
mattered, which was how do you bring manufacturing back to
North America.
How do you do high-tech, but built on the
web's innovation model?
How do you compete with the aerospace industry with a
bottoms-up, home brew computing club model?
It turns out he knew that.
I didn't know I needed to know that.
But he just knew that.
And because he'd proven himself in the community, he
was the right person to do it with.
So there's the answer to Joy's paradox.
You don't find people, the right people, on the web.
They find you.
You put your idea out there.
You start something.
You share your ideas.
And the smartest people in the world will find
you for their reasons.
And ultimately, they turn out to be the secret to this new
industrial model.
So with that, this is all described and much more with
many other examples in the book that came out last week.
But thank you, very much.
I'll take your questions.
MALE SPEAKER: So two questions, if I could.
The first is, when do you see more advanced materials and
potentially even molecular synthesis being a feature of
3D printers?
The second is I, a little under a year ago, saw this
coming too and bought some stocks.
I bought 3D Systems at a pretty reasonable [? P. ?]
CHRIS ANDERSON: Good choice.
MALE SPEAKER: But I think, if there's other recommendations
that you have in terms of companies that are going to be
paying off because of the trend, actually, just the
prototype, and getting more and more, not only for
individual makers, but also probably replacing the lower
segments of production manufacturing
as a whole as well.
OK, the second question first, in terms of the other
companies that are leading this.
Autodesk is doing tremendously well.
They're really pivoting towards and recognizing that
design is now a democratized skill.
So it's going to end up in curriculums and making it free
on Android and DEWA.
Actually, they're on IOS at the moment.
But anyway, Autodesk is a good choice.
3D Systems is doing good work.
MakerBot is not public.
You can't invest in it at the moment.
But they're obviously doing good work as well.

We also used Cellworks and a couple of others.
But I would say buying Autodesk is not a bad way to
expose yourself to this.
Your second question about the materials, so right now, you
can upload your stuff to services like
Shapeways or Ponoko.
You don't need to own a printer yourself.
And they can print in a range of materials, glasses, metals.
They can do titanium, gold plated, et cetera.
On your desktop, I think the next-- so right now, we're in
the one-color ABS plastic and PLA, which is a
starch-based material.
You can now buy, pretty easily, two colors, which you
can mix on layers, but not intertwined.
Soon we'll be able to mix three colors simultaneously.
So then you could put images and shapes and texture or
color onto the objects.
So now you can simulate what you can do with a combination
of injection molding and stenciling.
Other materials are coming in.
Right now, the first thing is to bring hard and soft
materials into the same mix.
The next thing is to bring some of these simple
electronic layers.
And I say electronic, I really mean electrical layers, so
wires, pretty in a layer of wires.
It's going to be a little harder to do multi-layers of
Like semiconductors, I think, would be very, very hard.
But you can start to see that printed circuit boards are
going to be something that you can actually print as well.

Then you go on.
Like there, you can start bringing metals, et cetera.
Obviously, you're dealing with thermal properties and
cooling, et cetera, so it's non-trivial.
But the laws of physics don't stand in your way.
Then you project way out.
And you start looking at things like biology.
So right now, we can already print with stem cells and
create things that are biologically active.
You can print a kidney, but not a working kidney, because
the vascular system's not in there.
But you can kind of see where this is going.
Maybe you're just printing the matrix on
which the cells exist.
And then you infuse them with live stem cells.
Anyway, I don't want to get too crazy and scary there.
MALE SPEAKER: What's the horizon, though, for the more
advanced materials?
CHRIS ANDERSON: I would say that we're looking--
I would look at full color 3D printing within five years on
the desktop and multi-material, including
electrical circuitry, within seven to eight.
MALE SPEAKER: Thank you.
MALE SPEAKER: What's the status of getting mechanical
stuff made up out of interchangeable parts?
It seems overly custom.
I'd like to make a design and then send it out and
have it made up.
Just how that happened, the same way, circuits are
happening now.
CHRIS ANDERSON: So I didn't quite understand.
You said this was getting mechanical parts?
Can I do mechanical CAD and just have it sent
out and have it made?
And it's all known stuff and it just works and
it's already solved.
Yeah, you can.
So right now, you can take your CAD file and upload it to
Shapeways and being made in any material you want.
If you'd rather have it machined, rather than 3D
printed, there's other companies like, which
will basically do CNC'ing for you.
Typically, you can have a single file, which has all the
moving parts printed at the same time, manufactured at the
same time, but those things tend to be a little clunky.
So gears might want to be made out of one substance and then
[? clothes ?] might want to be made out of another.
But like a service bureau that makes the whole
thing for me, say.
CHRIS ANDERSON: Give me an example of how complex the
product is.
CHRIS ANDERSON: OK, that's really complex.
Just skip the radio.
Just the car part, motors and gears and wheels and chassis.
CHRIS ANDERSON: Even that is relatively--
you can go to Thingiverse right now and download all the
body parts of an RC car.
So they already have that right now.
But you have to then buy a bag which has the motor and the
radio parts.
So what you're describing, any one of those things right
there is basically about as complex as you can get.
You have lots of materials, some of them are machined,
some of them are printed, some of them are
injection molded, et cetera.

We haven't gotten to the replicator yet.
You can't just say "watch," and it will print it all out.
MALE SPEAKER: No, but basically, I'm
thinking just a factory.
And I send them the design.
And they build it.
And back it comes.
CHRIS ANDERSON: So that is actually something more like
Alibaba or
So take some mechanical device, a clock work.
That, you'd probably send it to and get a quote, or
send to and get a quote back.
And what you'd find is that it's actually probably being
made with a combination of manual and automated work--
largely CNC work, but they've abstracted so much of it and
built it on standard materials and you've uploaded your CAD
file so you have certainty that they're going to make
what you want--
that it might as well be automated.
And literally, two weeks, three weeks
later, you've got it.
Yes, sir?
MALE SPEAKER: You talked about, in the publishing
revolution, people figured out fonts and kerning
and all this stuff.
But I don't think end users figured that out.
It was just that the software got to that point.
MALE SPEAKER: And you alluded to that with the 3D--
MALE SPEAKER: Yeah, the 3D scanner thing and then some of
the software.
But I was wondering what's remaining for
it to really become--
where do you see that analogy playing out where we all have
good enough software that prints posters and prints
stuff for us, that we don't think about it.
CHRIS ANDERSON: That's a great question.
It's a really interesting information problem.
So right now, what it does is, right now, the wizards will
walk you through a relatively simple process, which is,
basically, do you want to output it on a 3D printer?
Or do you want to output it in 2D in layers?
So you start there.
Then they walk you through some material choices.
And this is based on both structural considerations and
cost considerations.
Does he want it to be wood, or cardboard, or plastic, or
metal, or glass, or whatever?
Then they walk you through some volume-- you can make the
model a little simpler, remove some internal surfaces and
reduce the cost and weight and things like that.
So that's kind of where they're at right now.
Now, when you go to high-end CAD, then the CAD program
itself is able to do things like complex fluid dynamics
and finite element analysis.
And they go through the physics of the materials
And they'll start to do things like, well,
this wall is too thick.
It doesn't need to be that thick.
And this wall is too thin.
Here's a flex point which needs to be bolstered.
You might want to pick a different material here, given
the strength considerations, weight
considerations, things like that.
That's high-end stuff.
But it's increasingly within a plug-in on some
of these free tools.
You can download CFD or finite element analysis tools.
And then you'd move to the next level, which is, let's
say you want to injection mold something.
So it's very easy to 3D print your part.
You've got your prototype.
Then take the inverse and CNC it.
Now you've got your mold.
OK, that's great, except for, actually flowing plastic into
a mold is not trivial.
It's easy to put it in.
But the problem is that plastic shrinks.
It basically goes into one place.
And you want the shrinkage to avoid distortion.
So guys who have been doing this forever know exactly how
to design a mold so the plastic flows perfectly and
then shrinks at an even rate and you get high yield.
Right now, that's basically--
smart people have been doing it forever.
But there's no reason why it can't be software.
And I'm sure, if you have enough money, there is
software out there that does it right now.
But there's still an element of craftsmanship that's in
MALE SPEAKER: Thank you.
I have a question as to how accessible you think this
revolution really is, when we're talking about people who
might not even have internet connections, who don't have
$1,000 or more to buy a MakerBot, and whether this
revolution may just exacerbate the effects
of the digital divide.
CHRIS ANDERSON: Well, it's certainly a lot more
accessible than it ever has been before.
So one of the things that Neil Gershenfeld at the MIT Media
Lab, or now, actually, the Center for Atoms and Bits, did
with his Fab Labs was specifically target Africa and
other places that didn't have access.
It's largely because these are people who really don't--
we have access to highly manufactured quality parts,
because we have Walmarts and all that.
They typically don't.
And so there's a notion of self-empowerment in that.
Obviously, you have problems like the technology is still
relatively expensive, you need electricity, internet
connection is good, et cetera.

I think, electricity is kind of a necessary element still.
But putting that aside, let's just start with
the barriers to entry.
The barrier to entry used to be you
needed machining skills.
You don't need that any more.
Then the barrier tended to be you need this machine.
And now you can either afford the machine, or you can have
access to it via a service.
Then the barrier to entry was CAD.
CAD was super hard.
Check out Tinkercad, which is a web-based CAD program.
It looks very toy-like and game-like on the surface.
But underneath, actually, it's run by a
former Google engineer.
CHRIS ANDERSON: Absolutely free.
That's the point.
It's the web.
I wrote a book on that as well.
CHRIS ANDERSON: But underneath, it's got a very
powerful engine, basically a polygon construction engine.

A lot of the arcane language of CAD is
abstracted away in that.
And then, finally, Minecraft.
You don't think of Minecraft as a CAD program, but it is.
And so I think the kids really grab--
kids really understand 3D spaces and polygons and
navigating these screen environments.
And if you can navigate Minecraft, you can basically
navigate a CAD environment.
And LEGO Digital Designer is a good example of that.
One of the nice things about LEGO is that is a smart
material in that the pieces know how they fit together.
You can't put them together wrong.
They snap into alignment.
And what LEGO Digital Designer is, is CAD for LEGO.
But it allows you to create relatively complex objects.
And kids are great at that.
So I think that a lot of the intellectual barriers to entry
are falling.
I mean, obviously, you still need a little money.
And you need electricity, et cetera.
But the point is you can take any computer lab today, add
two 3D printers, and now it's a design lab.
And we have computer labs.
And we have art classes.
And the two don't meet each other.
And yet, you put two to three 3D printers in the computer
lab, and now you've got that synthesis of the two.
And you're not just making a finger painting to bring home.
You're actually taking your ideas and making them real and
learning skills that are basically 21st century
So I think that that's the real exciting thing here is
that this is now, if it's easy enough for kids to use, it's
easy enough for everybody to use.
And fundamentally, growing up knowing that you can make your
ideas real is going to create the generation of innovators
that are going to drive the next Industrial Revolution.
Really quick follow-up question.
You alluded to your children earlier on.
What was actually their level of involvement?
I assume that they weren't the ones drawing CAD diagrams or
anything like that.
CHRIS ANDERSON: So it's a bit of a sore point.
Their level of involvement is always they're very happy to
try something once with me.
But if it's hard, they lose interest pretty quickly.
They love LEGO Digital Designer, because they just
want play on screens.
And it's one thing we'll let them do.
We won't let them play video games all the time.
They tend not to use CAD a lot.
Instead, what they do is they download files from
Thingiverse and then just modify them.
CHRIS ANDERSON: But given a choice between anything on a
screen and not on a screen, they'll do anything on a
screen if we'd let them.
So we call this educational.
And they'll do it.
MALE SPEAKER: Thanks a lot.
This was really, really informative.
A couple of points, I guess.
One was an open question, which is that, previously,
when you wanted to control dangerous objects or drones
and so on, you had export control norms and so on.
And now you're ending up in a world where you've got to
control sale of machines that could do anything from produce
really helpful houses to drones, which could be loaded
with explosives.
And there's a big risk to how do you moderate and control
this, at the same time, keep the open model?
So one is what's your thoughts on that?
CHRIS ANDERSON: So as you might imagine, I get this
question a lot.
MALE SPEAKER: Yeah, I'm sure.
CHRIS ANDERSON: Open sourcing drones, what
could possibly go wrong?
So the simple answer is that-- of course, this is true for
any technology.
You can misuse computers as well.
We feel that we have an obligation to do two things.
One is to promote best practice, to promote
responsible use.
For example, you're not allowed to fly drones in the
US National airspace for commercial purposes.
But you can fly it recreationally, as long as you
stay below 400 feet and within visual line of sight, so that
you can provide that [? sense ?] and be able to
stay out of the way of [? mandated ?] aviation.

We know our technology can fly beyond line of sight.
We know it can fly above 400 feet.
We are hard core about discouraging that.
Anybody posts a video doing that, we come down on them.
We just bang on all the time about safety and responsible
use and about the FAA guidelines.
So that's one thing.
The second thing is that we don't feel we're competent to
regulate or police this.
We think it's our obligation to inform the regulators and
law enforcement agencies about what's
possible and what's happening.
So what we do is we reach out to the agencies out there and
we invite them in.
We tell our community we invite them in.
I get a quarterly check up with the FBI.
We're like, hey, how's it going?
Everything's going fine.
And we say, if anybody starts talking about something
dangerous, we will ping our friends in the FBI ASAP.
If the FBI sees something that's dangerous, we will--
and we disclose this.
We actually don't have any information.
All we have is their email address.
But we will disclose the email address.
And I fly to Washington every now and then to tell everybody
what's possible, so that the people who we've entrusted to
protect us are informed about what's possible.
And we're really transparent about this with the community.
If somebody messes this up, if somebody does something
dangerous, this is going to be bad for everybody.
CHRIS ANDERSON: And we're just like, do it, do it in public.

We as a community have a responsibility, if we see
something that we think is dangerous or irresponsible, to
tell people about it.
But we don't feel that we can be the ones who ultimately are
the police.
We're not going to restrict the technology we release.
We're just going to inform the responsible parties about
what's being released and about what's been done so that
they can do the job.
MALE SPEAKER: The other follow-up questions that are
related, but not connected, is that, as you think about spare
parts as the entire change that's going to happen over
the next 5, 10 or 15 years of how production and
mass-customization is going to happen, where do you see
people evolving in their skill sets?
Because I think, for people who grew up with CAD software,
or if they're engineers, it's easy.
But for the rest of them, they're away from that realm
of learning.
Well, I think, in the same way that you don't think that
you're publishing when you post to Facebook, I don't
think you're going to think you're doing CAD when you do
reality capture of some object and then make it cooler.
I think that, basically, the opportunity is to abstract the
complexity and the professional standards out of
this and just come up with a new design interface, a new
design language that allows people to
express themselves naturally.
MALE SPEAKER: And this is for everyone else here.
As Googlers, there is the Garage, which is our shared
working space, which also has access to a 3D printer.
Which I found out about today, morning.
Thank you.
MALE SPEAKER: Thank you for coming to speak.
You just talked about the Open Hardware Movement.
And you mentioned MakerBot a lot.
And I'm sure you're aware that they seem to have backpedalled
slightly on the Open Hardware Movement.
And also some concern over the language in Thingiverse's
agreements, to what you're giving to them when you upload
your models.
Is that paranoia on the community's part that
something's happening there?
Or is there something afoot?
And what does that mean for the future of the Open
Hardware Movement?
CHRIS ANDERSON: Great question.
Thank you, for raising that.
The answer is a little bit of both.
So just the facts, for those of you who aren't
familiar with this.
MakerBot is built on the RepRap platform, which is an
open-source hardware and software platform.
MakerBot was 100% open and, in this latest version, had the
Replicator 2.

Just to put the facts on the table, the biggest problem is
not that they've closed it.
The biggest problem is they didn't say what they were
doing on Day One.
And so there was some ambiguity.
And people suspected the worst.
What they are actually doing--
oh, and by the way, the Thingiverse thing was a
complete misunderstanding.
Those Terms of Service were in place for a year already.
And that was just paranoia.
But here's what's actually happening is that they've
looked at the product and they said, what about this is
usefully open, which is to say, we get open.
We understand that, if you give something back, you get
more in return and that you create a platform for which
innovation can happen.
But there's certain elements that are just not really
practical for people.
So for example, their enclosure, which is powder
coated steel, you need access to machinery that regular
people don't have to do that.
And they didn't feel that that was really adding a lot of
value was the enclosure.
Whereas, the circuit boards, the electronics
themselves, are open.
They're actually the same ones that were in the previous one.
Their software, their underlying slicing engine,
which does their Gcode, is open.
Their UI is not, on the grounds that they want to have
some protection.
But they felt that the underlying slicing engine was
the most useful one to release.
So the big problem was they didn't say that on Day One.
And so people freaked out.

So where they ended up is what we call a hybrid model, which
is you open what you think is most useful and really serves
the community best.
And you close just enough to give yourself a competitive
advantage, so that you can build a sustainable business.
And I think they got it right.
I'm not going to say they got it 100% right.
But I think that a hybrid model is probably the
right way to go.
So for example, on our drones, our hardware is 100% open.
We release the [INAUDIBLE] files.
Our software is 100% open, GPL'd.
When we had laser cut stuff, we released all those
as laser cut files.
We now have injection molded arms when the designs are in
And we actually release the dimensional drawings.
But we don't release the SolidWorks files, because
you'd need an injection molding machine and
SolidWorks, which costs $5,000, to use this.
And we didn't feel that that was adding a huge amount of
value, when we also are constantly
ripped off by the Chinese.
Our license allows you to use our stuff and
compete against us.
But it doesn't allow you to violate our trademark and not
adhere to the terms of the license.
So we're like, you know what, these injection molder arms
are just going to make it easier for the
cloners to rip us off.
And they're not adding a lot of value to the community.
So that's where we drew the line right there.
Now I'm sure there's someone out there who thinks we're
betraying the cause and we've violated the
ethic of open hardware.
But we feel that we made a reasonable decision to build a
sustainable business.
And the truth is, actually, nobody has complained.
Maybe they will now that I've mentioned it.
CHRIS ANDERSON: But so far, so good.
So I think that we're all kind of navigating--
so I talk to [? Bria ?]
from [? Maker ?]
a lot about it.
So we're all finding our way towards being mostly--
Raspberry Pi, for example, is not open hardware.
They're open software.
And I think we had a good post on Wired Design the other day
where a designer said, you've got to sell out a little to
sell a lot.
Now that's not exactly the way I would have phrased it.
But the point is is that we didn't join a priesthood here.
We believe in open source because it works.
We've done it.
We've got years of experience in this.
We do it because it's a practical way to build
innovation communities.
But we're not going to be doctrinaire about it.
We're going to get the balance right, so that we can serve
both our community and our customers and, to be frank,
our investors, because these are big
businesses now, at best.
And that involves being flexible and evolving the
model as you go.
MALE SPEAKER: All right.
Thank you.
MALE SPEAKER: There's been some rumblings about 3D
printing on a much larger scale, like people printing
the walls to houses.
MALE SPEAKER: What do you think is the timeline for that
becoming more mainstream.
And when can I print out an apartment?
CHRIS ANDERSON: Good question.
So that is already possible.
There's already some demos.
I'm using poured concrete and basically big heads.
Now there's one really interesting demo.
One of the problems with the house scale 3D printers which
pours it, you actually have to build a 3D printer as big as a
house, or slightly bigger, actually.
There's some really cool demos involving
stringing wires from trees.
You basically just need three points like a hammock, minus
one point, [LAUGHS]
I guess.
So you just string wires from trees,
cables of various sorts.
And then you just calibrate it.
And then you let the head move on these wires.
And they have a three dimensional axis.
And you've basically created an in situ, ad hoc, one off 3D
printer for houses.
Now this is definitely experimental lab stuff.
I wouldn't guarantee the resolution of a 3D printer
locked to a tree, which can slightly bend a little bit.
But you can kind of see where this is going.
And originally they were doing it as an experiment in
building, in making concrete shapes that would be too hard
to make through traditional casting or pouring techniques.
So this is kind of an art thing right now.
And don't forget, you also have to put in things like
rebar, et cetera.
So there is that.

I can't give you a timeline.
I've seen it work in Italy.
I don't know how commercial it is at the moment, but I think
we're talking a matter of single digit years.
Thank you.
So how do you think this revolution, the new Industrial
Revolution, applies to also to food products?
We have these open source communities that's creating
recipes all the time.
But every single person has to know how to cook and have the
utensils, right?
So you have the spices and all of the ingredients that make
food taste a certain way.
They can be printed as well, right?
MALE SPEAKER: So what do you think?
So that's the Star Trek replicator.
You know that tea, Earl Grey, hot, that Captain
Picard asked for.
Japan has all these machines where you can just decide the
flavors of stuff.
MALE SPEAKER: And it prints out your food.
CHRIS ANDERSON: Well, you know, we're already there in a
trivial sense.
The reason the first MakerBot was called a cupcake is that
it actually could print icing on a cupcake, because icing
tends to be like a fluid, that's going to be a viscous
fluid that actually works really well in
that particular extruder.
Or sort of.
Well, I actually never got it working.
But chocolate is a nightmare, by the way.
Oh, my god.
I had horrible experiences trying to temper chocolate, so
it would go through the 3D printer.
CHRIS ANDERSON: Anyway, so again, there's a trivial
answer to this, which is, if you've got something that
looks like a goo, any food that looks like goo, you can
put it in a 3D printer.
Do you want to eat that?
I'm not sure.
The more complicated question is, are you going to be able
to mix ingredients at the right temperature, in the
right consistency, at the right time, in a way that's
better than what you can do by hand?
And obviously, if you go into a cake factory--
if you go to a cake factory, it's really amazing.
They're a mass of CNC machines.
Basically, it's all automated.
Every cake could be decorated uniquely with a [INAUDIBLE]
robot arm.
It's a beautiful thing to watch.
I wouldn't call it a 3D printer, but it's a complete
robot cake factory.
And they do mix it.
But that's a custom factory with ingredients that are
really optimized for that role.
You can't do it on your desktop yet.
It's a good question.
What would be the first food that you would actually-- like
a microwave oven that, rather than putting the food the oven
and pressing the number, you put a plate in the oven and
press the number.
And the food is generated on it.
I don't know what that first food's going to be.
MALE SPEAKER: Say, for example, pastas.
You have all these sauces, different types of--
I was just thinking about things that are bulk already.
And you just mix different ingredients.
CHRIS ANDERSON: Does somebody in here know
anything about food?
CHRIS ANDERSON: Anyone want to hazard a guess on that?
FEMALE SPEAKER: Here at Google, we have our Google
[? supplies ?]
[? list. ?]
That's right.
You have a robotic food machine.
I wish I knew more about food.
My sense is that part of food preparation is the
pleasure in doing it.
And so having a robot do it is probably not so much fun.
But anyway, I wish I had a better answer for you.
Any other questions?
All right.
Thank you, very much.