December 8, 2014

Gotham Tours: Makerbot

On October 29th, I got to be a part of our second Gotham Tour at MakerBot. We headed over to downtown Brooklyn where the MakerBot office was located. When we entered their office there was a gallery which included the first 3D printer designs and showcased some 3D prints that highlighted some of the many ways we can make use of a 3D printer. Two that stood out in my mind were the high heel shoe design and a frog dissection kit.

MakerBot Prototype 3D Printer

After walking through the gallery we entered their office space. Desks were filled with colorful toys and the sound of 3D printers was everywhere, -- it was like hearing a group of robots doing detailed work. Every desk was stocked with a MakerBot printer, and it seemed like they were all in use at the same time. We walked through the multiple departments -- the marketing team, the design studio, and the learning department, and they all had fantastic views of the city.

We were then led into the conference room where Matt Sung and Peter Ciccotto gave us a presentation of the different components of the company. Peter spoke to us about his role in user experience, making e-commerce easier, user research, design and prototyping. He indicated the importance of speaking to buyers in a language they understand, as there are ways to speak and inspire certain populations (such as schools).

He mentioned how at MakerBot “we try to be more emotional in how we speak about our devices” and how they consider “what’s the best way to convey this message” or ”what is the best way to tell the story”. Peter also mentions keeping track of buyers and taking into account what buyers are coming back for -- …”where there’s smoke, there’s fire” and that is the cue to get something started.

Peter explained to us that the replicator of the printer, which is an important part of the printer that serves as the heart, was not revealed in the website (or even given the option to buy and replace) until a week prior, but was a feature the printer has had for a year. He spoke about their process to make this information more visible to the user and gave some details as to the reasoning behind their website design for this functionality.

They then began to speak about the different factors that go into the presentation of a MakerBot store. They create 3D renders, plot out the color of the walls, typography, location of bathrooms and digital design in screens. It was interesting to hear all the dynamics that go into planning a store.

We asked questions about their professional journeys and how they started their careers. They spoke about the importance of summer jobs, internships and networking from their different perspectives. What struck me the most was the discussion on networking with your professors and getting them to remember you.

Peter stressed the importance in handing in your work on time since it shows that you are able to handle deadlines. You might be surprised to hear his story on how this (positively) affected his first job and the hiring recommendations he made. Note to self -- make sure to continue submitting everything in a timely manner!

It was an extraordinary experience as a student to get the chance to check out the MakerBot office. You can check out reviews of past Gotham Tours on our blog to see where else we have visited. We would love to hear from you to find out where you want to go for the spring semester -- let us know on our Facebook page or via Twitter!

Written By: Jazz Seijii Hernandez
Photography By: Jazz Seijii Hernandez

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