I am a self-pronounced technology nerd – and until recently, it didn’t strike me that I’m not at all alone in my obsession. In fact, my nerdisms could be blamed on my generation.
I recently attended Barkley’s Share.Like.Buy Conference in Kansas City and was intrigued to discover that Millennials are 2.5 times more likely to adopt new technology. It’s significant to emphasize that this love, desire, and obsession for everything tech isn’t tied to a life stage, either – this is an attribute of an entire generation. We all, truly, could be big 3D products of our technological world.
At the conference, Matt Britton, the CEO of MRY, stressed that among all the new technological advances, (like wearable technology that I discussed in my last post, “How Google Glass Will Change the Future”) the future is all about rapid prototyping or 3D printing.
The industry leader in 3D printing is a company called MakerBot, who made desktop 3D printing affordable for everyday consumers.
What is 3D printing, you ask? It’s as simple as it sounds, however the process is quite complex. First, you start by downloading a 3D file (see MakerBot’s consumer generated website, Thingiverse, which is dedicated to ready-to-make-products).
In as little as 30 minutes (or up to several hours for larger projects), you can create 3D objects from spools of acrylonitrile butadiene styrene plastic (aka, the material used to make Legos.) These plastic fibers print in an additive process, by creating layer after layer of different shapes slowly to building the foundation of the item.
While the printers have a price tag of $1,400-2,800, their ability to make virtually anything is absolutely astonishing.
And by anything… I really mean you can make nearly anything with 3D printing.
If you’re scientist, 3D printers can create a bionic human ear, skin, jawbone replacements, mini human organs made for testing drugs or even human stem cells.
If you’re a hobbyist, you can make your own working gun, an acoustic guitar, your own PEZ dispenser or even a vinyl record.
If you’re a fashionista, you can make your own high heels, bikinis, bracelets, eyewear, dresses or shirts.
The ability to manufacture your own customized products shifts the sales paradigm from passive consumers to active creators. The possibilities of 3D printing are only limited by your imagination and creativity… a selling point to Millennials who have a strong innate sense for entrepreneurialism and a price conscious sentiment. In fact, a recent study by Rasmussen College and Entrepreneur said 71 percent of Millennials currently in the work force are pining away to quit and work for themselves.
Pinterest will lend you to the fact that Millennials inherently and undeniably share a passion for DIY. According to Barkley, 1 in 3 Milennials take the do-it yourself route to beauty care, are more likely to eat at home and nearly 40 percent prefer self-treating before seeing a doctor.
We want to do more for ourselves, by ourselves, all while not straining our wallets… which is why 3D printing couldn’t be more trendy, kitschy or perfect for the YAYA market.
We, like 3D printing, are the future, too.
(See this post natively on MOJO Ad’s blog here.)