The MakerBot team emailed us and their new CEO Jonathan Jaglom is hitting the road this summer to meet customers, partners and more (we no longer sell MakerBot but did awhile back) – and specially, he’s going to meet with Adafruit.
…Jonathan ought to meet you and/or and the team at Adafruit, so that he understands firsthand your experience with MakerBot and Thingiverse, what’s gone well and what could go better. This would also be an opportunity for you to learn more about our priorities, and about Jonathan’s view of our shared world.
No topics are off the table; your unvarnished account, along with what he hears from you and a handful of other customers, will inform decisions about the development of the MakerBot 3D Ecosystem and the Thingiverse community.
No topics are off the table; unvarnished account, OK! We requested a video interview like we usually do for ASK AN ENGINEER (last week we had the CEOs of OtherMachine and Particle) but MakerBot wanted to keep it a “introduction and listening meeting”. After corresponding with the Thingiverse Community and Audience Development Manager, MakerBot Executive Assistant, MakerBot Public Relations Manager at MakerBot and MakerBot’s Chief Marketing Officer we agreed to do a post here before the meeting and a follow up one after our meeting.
So! Here is your chance Adafruit community (and beyond!)! Post up in the comments of what is important to you, we’ll make sure they’re listening. We’ll even help get this started. We’re looking for constructive actionable requests and comments, be excellent.
MakerBot and Open-Source
There’s an opportunity to patch things up with the Open-source community, is MakerBot interested?
MakerBot and Material lock-in
Should people be able to use material in printers that they own? There is a concern that MakerBot is planning DRM and material lock-in. Does the new CEO think that people should be able to use material in printers that they own? We understand the benefits to users in knowing where their materials come from and that they are all going to perform as expected, however, what about the people out there like our customers who understand the tradeoffs using 3rd party filament? In a recent Copyright Office hearing MakerBot was mentioned, a lot. A majority of our customers and community believe they have the choice to use their printer as they see fit. Regardless, we’re concerned that using copyright as the legal mechanism to force material lock-in is a bad-scene for the 3D printing ecosystem. Stratasys owns MakerBot and currently chips materials.
MakerBot Replicator 5th gen
The MakerBot replicator 5th Gen units had some challenges and mixed reviews at launch, we know you’ve been working to fix the issues such as the Smart Extruders, we decided not to stock them at this time. What’s being worked on now to address the previous issues, what type of testing and assurances will the customers and community have that if they trust MakerBot again that they will not be let down? For resellers, would we be able to throughly test units before launch as part of a private beta program for example?
Analytics on Thingivese
We’d like granular analytics on our designs.
Spam becoming an issue on Thingivese
Thingiverse has some spam issues… maybe a report spam button is necessary.
Promotion and celebration of designs on Thingiverse
Specific ways to get featured placement.
Reselling MakerBot products
Generally speaking, dealing with the MakerBot & distributor(s) was not as easy or as profitable at times. For Adafruit we need better margins if we’re going to resell 3D printers. The return policies were not reseller friendly. Over the years the price of MakerBots seems to have gone up, while the price of other 3D printers of good quality went down, this made it a challenge to stock. For the Digitizer, MakerBot was selling them below the cost we purchased them, that was really rough on us.
General questions and comments
Are there areas you feel you can make the most improvements in user experience and printer output? Do you see any major technological changes in the near future or small incremental changes? What Stratasys technologies do you see making it into the MakerBot lineup of products? We’d like to see more MakerBot blog posts, people from the company making and sharing things, MakerBot has a long history of not only making 3D printers, but content themselves – we’d like to see that again.
And lastly, we would like to test out a Z18 🙂
Update: Hackaday has posted up and there are lots of comments, questions and more there too.