Follow Slashdot blog updates by subscribing to our blog RSS feed

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Businesses Build

New MakerBot CEO Explains Layoffs and the Company's New Vision 59

merbs sends an update on MakerBot, one of the most well known names in the 3D-printing industry. After its acquisition by Stratasys in 2013, defective parts plagued the company's printers in 2014. MakerBot co-founder and CEO Bre Pettis stepped down, and the company laid off 20% of its employees. The new CEO, Jonathan Jaglom, is now talking about how they're rebuilding MakerBot, and where we can expect it to go in the future. "The 39-year-old, Swiss-born Jaglom says that his priorities since taking over have been to dedicate more attention to customer support, to address the remaining fallout from the extruder problem, and to reorient the company to target its Replicators to the professional and educational markets."

Jaglom also envisions a sort of "iTunes for 3D printing," where people can easily buy designs online and print them out at home. He says, "I'll be sitting at home. Maybe something broke; maybe my glasses. Maybe I want to reprint it and I'll go to Oakley, Ray Ban, whatever, Philippe Starck in this case, download the file, pay $3.49 for it, and print it at home. And then you will have to go to your Kinko's or your Fab Labs, your local 3D printing, if you want it in metal or plastics you can't have at home."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

New MakerBot CEO Explains Layoffs and the Company's New Vision

Comments Filter:
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Philippe Starck
    $3.49

    Probably not.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      The problem with cloning brands with 3D printers is that eventually cloning name brands will piss off the Powers that Be enough to start doing something about it. It could be an ACTA-like treaty, or stitched into the TPP treaty that regulates (or outright bans) 3D printers [1]. With the fact that there are trade embargos with not enforcing treaties, they tend to have more weight than laws, or even constitutions. WIPO and the DMCA come to mind here, as even the most reluctant governments now respect copyr

      • Filament is just ordinary plastics, you are sugesting that plastic will become a controlled substance?. Even if it did, making your own filament from recycled plastic is relativly easy, the equiptment to do it costs less than $200. Which will allow you to cutup and convert food packaging, bottles etc and produce filament.

        And dont start down the drm route, a 3d printer is a relativly simple device. There are litteraly 1000's of open source designs, 100's of electronics designs for controlling it and 10's of

      • by gl4ss ( 559668 )

        talking about cloning 3d printers... ..if you want a decent "makerbot"(a replicator 1/2 like bot running mightyboard+open source firmware) you need to buy a clone of the last gen makerbots(wanhao, flashforge are common brands). (due to the 5th gen "extruder problem", shitty electronics and so forth - you don't want a 5th gen. the clones are better!).

        basically the management for last year sold shit and they knew they were selling shit, they just didn't care, their merger bonuses depended on last year. oh and

  • $3.49? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Frederic54 ( 3788 ) on Tuesday May 12, 2015 @02:25PM (#49676137) Journal
    From Oakley, Ray Ban or Philippe Starck? Sure you mean $349.
    • Considering those aforementioned products have a very high markup being that they're as much fashion as functionality. But lets assume $175. How much of that goes into R&D and factory tooling / production?

      • by cdrudge ( 68377 )

        How much of that goes into R&D and factory tooling / production?

        I would imagine a very very small percent of it. It's similar to other high end brand names where you are paying for a name and marketing, not actually physically superior products.

        Oakley, Monster cable, Bose...you're paying for a name, it's perceived status, and all the marketing that got them to that perception, not a better product.

  • breakerbot (Score:5, Interesting)

    by schlachter ( 862210 ) on Tuesday May 12, 2015 @02:25PM (#49676153)

    we started calling our $3,000 Makerbot the Breakerbot, after it stopped working a few months after purchasing it and Makerbot support failed to return our calls or emails...for the support plan we paid for.

    to their credit, and much to our surprise, they finally responded to our requests about 6 months later and promptly fixed it. maybe it was the new CEO.

    their thingiverse.com site is pretty cool. and their software is mostly stable/usable.

  • download the file, pay $3.49 for it, and print it at home

    Umm, no, nice try - I don't pay the original manufacturer to fix their own defective merchandise for them. I would expect them to host files like that entirely for free, the same way PC hardware makers currently let you download drivers.

    Of course, I don't actually expect them to do so; but that matters not at all, since countless other sources will.
    • by gl4ss ( 559668 )

      "I don't pay the original manufacturer to fix their own defective merchandise for them."

      ok, don't buy a makerbot then.

      the extruder debacle was them selling you a defective extruder in the 5th gen and then asking 170$ for replacement, that might work for another kilo or two of printing, or maybe 10 if you're lucky(a kilo of plastic for it is like twenty bucks, so swapping the extruders that keep breaking up/jamming ends up being really, really expensive, all because their smart extruder(tm)(c) is a bad desig

  • $3.49 (Score:4, Insightful)

    by BradleyUffner ( 103496 ) on Tuesday May 12, 2015 @02:27PM (#49676173) Homepage

    "I'll go to Oakley, Ray Ban, whatever, Philippe Starck in this case, download the file, pay $3.49 for it"

    If you think you will get anything from a popular name brand for $3.49 you are out of your mind. 99% of the cost of these brands is for the name its self; the materials cost practically nothing.

  • But will they keep (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Quok ( 168201 ) on Tuesday May 12, 2015 @02:28PM (#49676181)

    stealing ideas from the community and patenting them? IMO that's more damaging than their crappy extruder and other quality problems, and is something they need to publicly address.

  • by TWX ( 665546 ) on Tuesday May 12, 2015 @02:40PM (#49676281)
    Can't they just use an existing Makerbot to make a new Makerbot?
  • by swell ( 195815 ) <jabberwock&poetic,com> on Tuesday May 12, 2015 @02:43PM (#49676311)

    "... defective parts plagued the company's printers in 2014."

    When I was a motorcycle enthusiast I marveled at the enthusiastic reviews of the new models. Amazing new technology, better materials, better handling and safety, etc. But amongst all the praise for the new model, there was usually a comment like "They finally fixed the xyz problem that plagued last year's model." Various design, material and safety problems sometimes went years without any warning to buyers although the reviewers knew about them.

    Never believe advertising or reviews that are paid for by advertisers. Don't put too much faith in Consumer Reports or Amazon reviews either. Join the maker community for somewhat honest advice in that area.

    • Re:consumer alert (Score:4, Informative)

      by gl4ss ( 559668 ) on Wednesday May 13, 2015 @01:56AM (#49679417) Homepage Journal

      thanks to the internet though.. you can go online and look.

      which is why Makerbot shut down their google groups support community group. this group provided people with answers for the previous (open source) models on how to make the machines work reliably and be top performing sub 8k$ home printers(extrusion problems plagued rep1&rep2 before community made printable fixes - fixes makerbot later adopted into their design and "fix pack" they would send to users).

      with the 5th gen printers though, if you tried to mess with the smart extruder, that would void the warranty(supposedly) and users were stuck for weeks waiting for replacements and sometimes answers from their premium paid support mind you(you paid extra, like applecare, but got shitcare instead. in fact, it would be easy to argue that those paying extra in many cases did not get even the legally required warranty support(!)).

      as a result they couldn't keep deleting posts just forever without starting to nuke so much stuff that people were starting to make threads to ask why are they deleting threads.. so one day they just froze it with the excuse that they preferred support to go just between makerbot and the user(they did not improve the user support at all though).

      theres alternative communities now of course since, at places where they can't delete posts like they could in their own.

      it's quite easy to spot a makerbot review where the reviewer never started the friggin bot even. a bunch of reviews done based on pictures. the 5th gen has a webcam, sure, yeah, that's a plus, but the firmware handling even that sucks big time AND it's equivalent to a camera . the 5th gen is also noisier and has worse output quality than replicator 2's(they went from replicator 2 to "replicator 5th" gen in one jump. for marketing reasons, to emphasize that it's a mature product. at the same time they changed the gantry -to a h-bot and not a corexy like any sane engineer would have done - , they changed the control board, they switched to their homebrew stepper controllers that suck big time, they completely redesigned the extruder and seemingly never tested it for more than an hour)...

  • by Mr D from 63 ( 3395377 ) on Tuesday May 12, 2015 @02:45PM (#49676321)

    Jaglom also envisions a sort of "iTunes for 3D printing," where people can easily buy designs online and print them out at home. He says, "I'll be sitting at home. Maybe something broke; maybe my glasses. Maybe I want to reprint it and I'll go to Oakley, Ray Ban, whatever, Philippe Starck in this case, download the file, pay $3.49 for it, and print it at home. And then you will have to go to your Kinko's or your Fab Labs, your local 3D printing, if you want it in metal or plastics you can't have at home."

    This vision is already being implemented by some on-line 3D printing services, and they've already thought further ahead and included DELIVERY!

  • The "We're Solvent! Honest!" messaging is all about vitality, see! We're letting people know that "we're here and present," and in no way have we had had to get rid of most of our office space and work out of our cars. "We're alive," we're telling the world, and not having to sell our blood to pay our mortgages this month.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    MakerBot signed a deal with the devil by getting bought out by Stratasys. We loved the replicator at work so much we bought a Z18. Biggest piece of shit I've ever seen. The specialized filament spools were designed to lock people in to Makerbot consumables, but the designers couldn't even get that right and failed to take gravity into account, rendereding their feed mechanism unusable. The heated build chamber is only useful for ABS, but the damn thing only prints PLA. Also the machine is largely made

  • by monkeyxpress ( 4016725 ) on Tuesday May 12, 2015 @03:15PM (#49676545)

    Stratasys was a pre-existing player in commercial 3D printing who totally missed the consumer 3D printing bandwagon and then had to buy MakerBot to get into the market. Since that acquisition they appear to have totally fluffed it. That usually means it is run by MBAs.

    The logical conclusion is that they just need to wait for someone to start a MakerBot 2.0 and then they can acquire and destroy the future a second time. Maybe the MakerBot founder's non-competes are running out soon?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      "Since that acquisition they appear to have totally fluffed it. That usually means it is run by MBAs."

      Wrong. The CEO, until recently, was just a dude who was in the right place at the right time, ended up being the face of the company because he wasn't particularly skilled in software, engineering, or business, but was good at communicating with customers and media. Stratasys was very hands off until recently. The downfall of the company was already starting as they were being acquired (their 5th generation

  • by Greyfox ( 87712 ) on Tuesday May 12, 2015 @03:43PM (#49676763) Homepage Journal
    "As CEO, my vision is that the only way this company can work is if I'm grossly overcompensated while all the other employees learn to make due with less. I will run the company into the ground for the next two years and then leave, taking a 'severance bonus' of 2 years salary and stock options, all the while laying off employees with a promise not to contest their unemployment claims if they sign a waiver promising not to sue us." Is that about right?
    • I will run the company into the ground for the next two years and then leave, taking a 'severance bonus' of 2 years salary and stock options,

      Stock Options? What, is he expecting the next CEO to do better?

      • by Greyfox ( 87712 )
        I don't know man, I just know that was in the agreement with my last "Visionary CEO." He has all this shit and he gets 2 years worth of all of it for pretty much any reason he might go. It's easy enough to find the disclosure forms for a publicly traded company on finance.yahoo.com.
        • They cash in the options before it all tanks.

          Plus the options are generally issued at a discount or flat-out given.

          It's those little things that make it so profitable to be a dismal failure as a CEO.

  • Not surprised... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 12, 2015 @03:46PM (#49676787)

    After seeing the excellent Netflix documentary entitled Print the Legend, I can't say I'm surprised about the downfall of Makerbot. Bre is a major tool, he let his success get to his head in the worst way.

    Print The Legend
    http://www.netflix.com/WiMovie/80005444

  • We went from these being open source tools for 'makers' to little boxes that you put coins into and they spit out DRM'd content? It even sounds like they've given up on the consumer hardware and now just want to sell files. There's about a million other startups and existing companies that could do the same thing with no clear disadvantage now that they've said "Meh..." to the printing hardware.
    • They already took a piss 2 years ago when they went closed source. Now they want to take a big steamy dump with their iTune for 3D printing.

      The thingiverse repository as we know it may change completely.

      Their first and foremost goal seem to divorce completely from the knowledgeable maker community and attend to the ignorant mass consumer flock who dean't know better.

      The movie 'Print the legend' is really interesting to watch and Bre Petis really takes a hit from many comments. He's being called an a-hole

  • iTunes is a horrible, bug-ridden, overly complicated piece-of-shit that isn't allowed into our company. Are you sure you want to be comparing your product to iTunes...?
  • A certain 2 letter company that is known for 2d printers, has a 3d printer coming out that's gonna make almost every other 3d printer obsolete. They have a machine that prints strong parts fast with high resolution in color. And by fast, I mean faster than FDM.

    Oh and they also solved some of the big problems with sintering type 3d printing like LS sintering. They also removed some pretty big maintenance headaches and appear to have made a machine that doesn't require a trained professional to operate. it al

    • That new 3D printer from HP is indeed amazing, but with its size and price, it's clearly meant for businesses.

  • There already is an iTunes for 3D. It's called Shapeways.com
  • Every time I read a 3D printer article, it always sounds like a solution desperately seeking a problem. For only slightly more money than just buying the thing at the store, you can print a tacky looking knockoff at home out of inferior materials.
  • Patent stealing scum with bad hardware and abysmal support... i don't think makerbot will survive the next to years.

    And then all makerbot owners have those very expensive machines that constantly break and no spare parts available.

Unix: Some say the learning curve is steep, but you only have to climb it once. -- Karl Lehenbauer

Working...