Over the first few years of their existence, Makerbot leveraged their community and the bourgeoning open source hardware movement to make their name synonymous with desktop 3D printing. What Kleenex is to facial tissue or Scotch is to cellophane tape, Makerbot has come to be for 3D printing. But then came a shift, patents began to be filed, open source went closed, and their once passionate community felt betrayed and began to speak out. By the time the sale of Makerbot to Stratasys was complete, one could barely see any of the original Makerbot left.
Now after a failing product, troubles with customer support, and multiple changes in leadership, Jonathan Jaglom, the new CEO of Makerbot, is hoping to bring back some of what made them great. Jaglom sat down with Ladyada from Adafruit for a candid question and answer to begin connecting with the community.
Ok folks! Ladyada and Adafruit sat down with Jonathan Jaglom the new CEO of MakerBot and asked some tough questions and made some specific suggestions.
Do we think MakerBot can turn it around? Maybe! It’s really up to the new CEO and his team to communicate clearly, publicly, and re-build trust.
The most important thing for us was to hear was Jonathan does not view patents as the way to “win” and he did not see the value in DRM’ing filament for MakerBot. Ladyada also suggested open sourcing specific parts of MakerBot which would be a small confidence-building step towards getting back to its open-source heritage.
While Jaglom did not agree to a full unedited video interview, Ladyada didn’t pull many punches and the synopsis answers some pretty great questions. Jaglom’s plan is to continue reaching out to other members of the community and strategic partners to continue finding ways that Makerbot can improve. Hopefully we will see more Q&A articles from other perspectives and maybe even see Makerbot return to a company that many of us hoped they would be.