Great speech on life by a kid.
3D printing really took of in 2013. For me living in Sweden there has been lot of buzz surrounding a company called Arcam that sky-rocketed on the Nasdaq OMX (Stockholm Stock Exchange).
For the everyday Joe it might be hard to grasp what all the fuzz is all about. When I get asked about 3D printing I often chose to explain by the spare part problem solution. If a machine breaks down, using 3D print a spare part can be built that can be used until a real spare part get delivered. Since it will be a temporary part it can be created by a cheaper material and be used as a solution not to loose momentum by waiting for spare parts from the other side of the world.
The medical world has also discussed some way 3D printing can be used to make specific meds or individually fitted prostethic parts or even organs.
I found a short informative movie on 3D printing I thought I’d share to shed even some more light on the subject.
Amazon released this teaser yesterday on how they see logistics in a nearby future. I have to say that I really enjoy the concept. Can’t wait until it’s provided world-wide with an instant drop by airship!
Sometimes there is a rapid development in technology which opens up a gap between the consumer and the industry. The consumer wonders what the new technology has to offer and the industry see it as a quick way to generate an alternate income stream. In some cases the sad part is that the industry keep on beating on a dead horse even though the consumers have left it a long time ago. This is about 3d movies in cinemas and on your TV at home.
A few years ago a new technology hit the market called mini discs. It was a medium which could hold data as music or files and it’s storage capacity was large in relation to what was already in the market. Just about the same time it was released a better product was brought to the market, the writable CD. Since the industry had pushed money into the mini disc technology they went at it full monty and tried to get consumers to purchase mini disc players of different kinds in short time. Even though they knew there was a better alternative, consumers were thought to be easy to manipulate into buying an inferior technology.
The same scenario is playing once again. To watch a 3d movie today one have to use what can be the ugliest and most non-comfortable piece of technology we have created in a long time. I’m talking about 3d glasses.
3d glasses are still expensive to manufacture due to low demand so they can only come in two sizes. One for adults and one for children. This is true for the ones handed out in the cinemas as well as those delivered when one buy a new TV. If all human heads were the same size this would not be a problem but as we all know, that is not the fact. Most of the people watching these movies are doing so while wearing uncomfortable pieces of ugly plastics on their face which they could not chose in a size they wanted. It’s forced tech. In cinemas they even charge you extra to wear this plastic.
There is technology already present on how to provide the same effect but without the glasses but the question remain, is there enough consumers out there who actually want this technology or is it just the industry hunting for that new income stream since they dumped money into it? My guess is the latter.
I do not see the added value of 3d when going to the local cinema since it also means that I will be forced to pay about 20% extra on my ticket to get it. It’s just not worth it for me. I’m not sure I would get the value even if they could provide the effect without glasses. Not until the production companies have figured out how this tech should be used instead of just bouncing a ball against the camera lens now and then. A quick check with my closest friend give me a ratio of about one in ten who actually enjoy 3d movies. My guess this is the one tenth with a head of the correct size for the glasses.
Oh, and don’t get me started on the re-visits to old movies – now in 3d for a higher price then ever before!
Did I mention there is also a bouncing ball at this one place in the middle?
Information overload is happening all around us today. We get too many mails, read too many notifications from social networks and at the same time try to post as many updates as we can on what we are doing. All this at the same time as we should maintain good workers munching through tasks as the Cookie Monster eat cookies. But how to stay on top of this and maximizing productivity? Should we break down tasks into microscopic parts just so that we will be able to check some of them off before we leave the office and get home?
Productivity today is not as much as finishing of tasks as to manage context switches. Zero inbox might be a goal for some but if you walk home without any idea what you did since you arrived zero inbox is doing you no good.
First of all and most important – stop checking your mail. Most of us have been lured into the trap that if we constantly check our email and keep notifications in our phones as soon as a mail arrive we can be more productive and act faster. Most of us who actually tried this have found however that this not the truth. By being interrupted every time anything happen we end up doing nothing else then trying to stay on top of what is going on instead of acting.
If you were to cut down on you mail checking to three times a day you would still be on top of that inbox wouldn’t you? The longest a mail would remain untouched in you inbox would be a couple of hours, that’s a fact. But do you get mad if you need to wait two hour on a mail after sending you question? Would you really?
Productivity today is not about finish the most tasks, it’s to switch between them with minimum loss. And the most efficient task switch is not to switch at all and instead finish what you do before you go for something else.
Product development is often about fusing a great customer requirement with a technical solution from the architects and the team who are to make it an reality. Both sides must be taken into consideration or it will end up a product that look great but can’t be used or is great to use but do not fill a requirement.
I think really great products come from melding two points of view—the technology point of view and the customer point of view. You need both. You can’t just ask customers what they want and then try to give that to them. By the time you get it built, they’ll want something new. –Steve Jobs in Inc
This come from an interview with Steve Jobs in Inc back in 1989 but it is as current today as it was when it was published. Every customer who enters the stage at a product company have a goal in mind. Something they want to achieve. They have been working on their own, trying to jolt down the end goal in as many ways they could. In sketches, in specifications and sometimes even in prototypes. The challenge for the product company is not to create what they bring to the table, the challenge is to find all areas of that goal they have in mind but never wrote down on the specifications.
Back to square one, the customer can’t tell you what they want. They will however let you know when you have created what they did not want. Or when you created the bare minimum of what they expected to see. All in all, we end up in a situation where the customer is unhappy and might even feel fooled since they have something they did not want and the producer is not understanding why they wont get payed since they did their part as they saw it. Is there a way to handle a situation like this before we get to this point?
It all comes down to iterations. Whether it is called Agile Development, Scrum, Kanban or something created in-house it all comes down to short goals and verifications together with bold product management. If we allow ourselves to do some wrongs to make a right it is no longer as scary to show a prototype to a customer and get back that is was all wrong. With short iterations we can just scrap what we had, create a new take on the same problem and show it instead.
If we allow ourselves to do some wrongs the entire software product market would mature in a way it is today to proud to do. There is few customers who would accept this way of working in a bigger scale since they have most likely been burned by other software producers in the past.
Try it out, throw yourself in front of a customer; show and tell. Before you know it, perhaps you even get better at demoing your other products if it is something you do over and over again.