Wednesday, November 23, 2011

It's a Great Time to Be an Entrepreneur!

This week's blog is by Scott Harmon, Z Corporation's VP of Business Development.

I was invited to give a talk at Northeastern University’s Global Entrepreneurship Week. I have to say, it’s a great time to be an entrepreneur.

Most of you are familiar by now with the basic idea that 3D printing is a great way to lower the cost and time required to bring a product to market. Entrepreneurs feel the pressure to bring their products to market faster and at lower cost even more acutely than engineers and designers at other kinds of firms. That is after all the key mandate of the entrepreneur – do it faster, and do it for less. When you are pre-revenue, you have no choice.

Of course, many entrepreneurs do not come from the ranks of engineers and designers. Generally they are unaware of the power of the prototype. They frequently make the mistake of starting with a short run of production parts from a low cost manufacturing environment. Big mistake.

What I found fascinating was the enormous array of tools beyond 3D printers that have evolved to make the lives of entrepreneurs easier. All of them focused on lowering the cost and time required to being a product to market. Professor Tucker Marion from Northeastern University presented an enormous array of tools that are cost effective and incredibly useful to start ups. Everything from low cost project management and collaboration, to sites like Elance and Guru that help you find talent in specific niches, to sourcing vendors catering specifically to the needs of start-ups. An entire economy is growing up to aid those trying to bring new products to market.

One thing I know very specifically: regardless of what government does or doesn’t do, the fastest way to grow ourselves out of the current recession is to unleash the creativity of our people. All these tools, 3D printers included, contribute to the efforts of creative people who are trying to bring new and innovative products to market. It’s a great time to be an entrepreneur.

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