Moving To NYC

Case I wake up in the morning and it’s all gone
Best believe I’ma get it right back
Thats the hustler in me I know you like that

– Young Jeezy (Leave You Alone)

With 4th of July upon us, I felt it was time to be a little more public about my next moves. As many of you know, I’m in the process of moving to NYC to launch a new company. There is a deep love in my heart for Colorado, and Boulder in particular. In many ways, my closest friends and family have found it hard to believe that I’d leave a place that I love so dearly. At the end of the day there are 3 reasons that I’m going: 3D printing, a new startup opportunity, and family/friends.

For many years, I’ve had a fascination with the intersection of the physical and digital worlds. How do things we create digitally get manifested in the real world. Card Gnome was my first experiment. Over the last couple years, and more intensely over the last few months, 3D printing has become an obsession. NYC is the epicenter of this new technology. Not just for the US, but for the world. Makerbot, Shapeways and 3D Systems are 3 of the largest players in the space and all have headquarters in the NYC metro area. Stratasys, the other behemoth from Israel, recently acquired Makerbot to be it’s consumer brand and they aren’t moving from NYC. Makerbot and Shapeways even have their manufacturing facilities within the city limits. 3D printing changes the manufacturing cost calculus, allowing producers to optimize for geography rather than labor costs. What better location than metro NYC to show the world that labor cost optimization is dead.

About 1 month ago I was doing due diligence on a company that I was interested in and met Kegan Schouwenberg. She is an amazing entrepreneur and the former head of US operations for Shapeways, a true thought leader in 3D printing. She had this crazy idea that she could use 3D scanning and printing to create custom orthotics that aren’t just functionally better, but are better looking and easier to buy. She’s an industrial designer by trade and was looking for a business partner to handle distribution and business operations. I was really intrigued and after about a month of thought have decided to join full time as a founder and COO for the new business we’re calling Sols.

Lastly, my family and many of my friends still live in the tri-state area (Philly, NJ, NYC) and I’ve been neglecting those relationships for many years. I can’t remember a time when I was close enough to home for casual visits since I left for college and I’m looking forward to being closer. My heart is stil in the outdoors and NYC and its environs just cannot fulfill that need (although I’m still going to try). My hope is that in the future I’ll be able to move back to Colorado (or California) where I’ll have easier access to the backcountry adventures that I love.

At the end of the day, I’m not “leaving Colorado”, I’m just living in New York for a little bit. If you are around Boulder next week on the 11th I’ll be doing happy hour drinks at the West End Tavern starting at 4pm. Come say hi.

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Moving To NYC

Introducing Parts Press, Our Startup Weekend Winning Project

3D printing has the potential to revolutionize the way we make almost everything

-Barack Obama

Last weekend I participated in Startup Weekend, a business competition where you get 54hrs to create a business from nothing. Attendees pitch ideas on Friday night, the group votes on the 10 best ideas and then teams form around those selected ideas. The ideas cannot have been worked on previously. I pitched a half-baked idea I’ve been sitting on to help companies reduce their spare part inventory balances by manufacturing parts on-demand using 3D printers throughout the world.

An amazing team came together with all the right parts: a kickass developer, an innovative designer, 3 tech strong business developers and 1 mechanical engineer with experience using 3D printers. We spent the weekend learning about the market, validating our assumptions and building a minimum viable product. As we learned about the space and spoke with people in the industry, we shifted our business model and approach a couple times. We ended up coming up with what I, and the rest of the team, see as a truly revolutionary idea. It has gotten me super excited. Here’s the basic pitch.

One of the largest problems corporations face today are high balances of inventory. This inventory ties up cash, costs money to maintain and may one day become obsolete. Companies keep inventory because it’s currently cheaper to manufacturer products in bulk and then ship it from a central location when it’s needed. 3D printing technology is going to change that, making it cheaper and easier to manufacture products exactly where, and when, they are needed. 3D printers do not require significant labor, so manufacturing facilities closest to the customer in developed countries will be competitive with overseas factories. In some cases, this is already true for high-margin, low volume products such as medical devices and aerospace parts.

Parts Press is an API that integrates with existing ordering systems and allows companies to print parts on-demand instead of drawing product from inventory. The API will route the order to one of our 3rd party printing partners based on their price, capabilities and how close they are to the end customer. The printing partner will print, pack and ship the product on behalf of the company within a given timeframe. The potential of this technology to revolutionize the supply chain cannot be understated. Reducing inventory balances in-and-of itself will free up trillions of dollars of cash for active investment, reduce lead times for manufacturing, decrease shipping costs and eliminate the vast majority of material waste.

If you know of, or are, a 3D printing company or a manufacturer that currently keeps inventory of spare parts, we’d love to talk to you. Send an email to joel at partspress dot com.

Oh, and check out this video we recorded with Paul at 23rd Studios:

Introducing Parts Press, Our Startup Weekend Winning Project

5 Technologies Changing the World That My Parents Don’t Know About

I’ve spent the past week on a family vacation and have had a great time catching them up on technology news. For other people like them, here is a list of promising new technologies that are reshaping the world.

Personalized Medicine – Everyone responds differently to medical treatment, yet for hundreds of years our treatments have been uniform. Technical advancements in DNA sequencing, data analysis and stem cells are paving the way to treatments that are personalized. Not just giving someone a heart transplant, but regrowing a clone of their own heart. Not just finding a good medicine, but finding the exact dose, when it should be taken and what side effects to expect.

Drones (and robotics in general) – While we may associate these with the military, their applications in civilian life are a lot more interesting. Drones and robots will radically change how things are done. Transportation, package delivery, emergency response, law enforcement, infrastructure inspection and many other areas will see radical improvement. Check out this video of drones working together to throw a ball to get an idea of what is possible. Drones aren´t allowed in US airspace at the moment, but eventually that will change and the sky is the limit on what they´ll do.

Self-driving cars – Google and other car makers are working on technology that lets cars drive independently. This will save lives, save energy, eliminate parking concerns (the car can drop you off and go find a spot) and unlock additional productive time. Also, senseless drunk driving deaths will eventually be eliminated as human driven cars are replaced. Children being born today may never learn how to drive.

3D printing – This refers to the ability to make 3D objects by printing 1 layer of material at a time. Right now we can print different types of plastics and metals but the applications are mostly for hobbyists. As the machines get better, a major disruption in manufacturing will occur, especially for low volume products like replacement parts. Imagine being able to buy designs for products you want from the internet and being able to print them in your home or at a local 3D print shop.

Space travel & colonization – During the 15th century, advancements in ship technology enabled Europeans to explore further from their own shores, first around Africa to the Orient and then to the “New World”. They were motivated by their society´s demand for new resources and space. Today, we find ourselves in a very similar position. We´re running out of resources on this planet and technology is enabling us to explore further into space. Colonization and resource exploitation of the moon, Mars and asteroids isn´t a pipe dream, it´s a reality and big money from people like Elon Musk are betting that it´ll be realized sooner rather than later. Will people look back on these first space entrepreneurs as they do on Colombus and Cortes (minus the rape and pillaging, hopefully)?

5 Technologies Changing the World That My Parents Don’t Know About