Cake
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    • You’ve always been very active in creative communities: from cofounding Worth1000 in 2002 to cofounding Aviary in 2007 to being director of products at Adobe to now being a part of the Shapeways team, what do you love most about working in this space?

    • Feeling like I'm contributing a small part to the massive amounts of productivity that flows through the platforms I help build. Aviary had more than 1% of the entire planet actively using their technology before Adobe acquired it. That blows my mind!

    • We enable businesses and people to 3d print anything, at scale. Plastics, industrial metals, precious metals... you name it. We do it all for them, acting as their 3d printing expert and backend fulfillment partner behind the scenes, so they don’t have to be. 

    • What are some of your favorite projects or ideas you’ve seen realized using the Shapeways platform to manufacture or design?

    • I've seen people use Shapeways to prototype a new mode of transportation - for confidentiality reasons, I can't talk about it too much except to say that it's a mode of transportation I have been waiting for since I was a child. One story I can share is while I was on a panel, I met Dr. Todd Goldstein. who was running 3D printing in Northwell Health hospital. He said “Oh,
      you’re from Shapeways! We use you guys all the time.” It turns out that they were printing parts for a special prosthetic limb that allows amputees to swim. Northwell Health actually had made this amazing documentary following the story of someone who received one of those 3d printed limbs and it had gone viral and brought a lot of awareness to 3d printing!

      And we never even knew! We are the backend, the silent partner, but just knowing we’re enabling that kind of life freedom for an amputee was amazing. I tell my colleagues that we have probably had thousands of these amazing silent stories flowing through Shapeways' assembly line. 

    • I think the biggest question we’ve always wrestled with is “how do we make everyone in the world aware of the power of 3D printing, and then get them to come to Shapeways to do it?” That's a doubly hard challenge to solve, so the next evolution of our product will involve bringing 3D printing capabilities out to the world instead. More news on that to come...

    • You’re also involved as an advisor to various companies like Anchor.fm, Viewbug, Visage and Onion.io, as well as being a past angel investor in other companies. What do you look for when you’re evaluating these opportunities? What attracts your attention with a new company?

    • While the idea is important, I tend to focus mostly on the people pitching them. I give a lot of weight to anyone that I know personally and have worked with. My basic secret sauce in making an investment decision is “would I hire this person to work with them?” And the way I hire people is usually asking myself “Will working with this person make me a better person?”

      Whenever I’ve primarily chased opportunities based primarily on how cool the ideas sounded, I’ve never seen the same success as when I’ve based my decision primarily on the person who’s founded the business. So I’ll stick with what works.

    • I’ve spent a lot of time with VR during my time at Adobe, and even in the gaming space a bit too, trying to understand if there are ways to use gaming for creativity. I think that there are tremendous opportunities, especially in the realm of teaching people. VR is still pretty
      niche, but over the next decade I believe it will be more on the forefront of the creative movement. Gallery space is so expensive, and VR experience can be even better and open up new creative avenues than exist today to artists. I actually personally am a collector of 3D
      holograms. I probably have one of the biggest private collections of them in the world. And my hope is that at some point, someone comes up with something that’s a true hologram that can capture depth and movement like those moving portraits in Harry Potter, that can sit on a wall and don’t require any special glasses or lighting to see them. 

    • I just love seeing makers fulfilled. Whenever I work on a project, no matter what it is, no matter how small, I get such an intense feeling of fulfillment when I’m done that can carry me for weeks. So knowing we’re providing that feeling for other creators - whether it's at Worth1000,
      Aviary, Adobe or Shapeways - is fulfilling for me. Enabling that passion, that’s my passion. 

    • I’m currently reading THE SHINING by Stephen King. I saw a trailer for Dr Sleep, the sequel to THE SHINING, and it brought back so much nostalgia I had to go reread it. So good!

    • For founders that are looking to build creative and collaborative platforms, services or companies, what are some words of wisdom you’d want to share?

    • Be super open. Share your idea with literally everyone, especially people in your target market. Get their feedback on whether it's a need-to-have, not a nice-to-have. Don’t keep your idea to yourself and hide behind NDAs. Secrecy at the ideation stage is almost always nonsense. Success is all about the execution.

    • hey Chris! I was so excited when Victoria told me you were one of the founders of Cake. I love the simplicity of the platform! Your company lunches at Smugmug were an inspiration for us to do the same at Aviary. Regards to Don!