2017 3D-Printed Habitat Challenge [Source: NASA HQ PHOTO ]
I have worked in a marketing capacity across many industries throughout my career, from financial services, women’s apparel and consumer electronics to navigation data, a range of software products and 3D printing.
Although each of these industries offered me something unique at an appropriate point in my career, I did not remain in any of these industries for more than a few years and found it easy to move on to new industries, with the exception of one — 3D printing. There’s just something about 3D printing that keeps me coming back for more.
I attempted to leave the 3D printing industry twice. The first time, I lasted 9 months outside 3D printing before returning and later, I only made it 4 months in another industry before my separation anxiety from 3D printing took hold.
Here are the 3 things I like most about the 3D printing industry:
I used to laugh with a former Z Corporation marketing colleague of mine who, like me, did not have a technical background and was a former cheerleader, that 3D printing had turned me into somewhat of a geek.
Just look at what people are doing with 3D printing, from saving and improving lives with 3D printed organs, prosthetics and 3D printed homes for the homeless, to creating products that could not be manufactured in any other way, to replacing tools in space. The technology and its use are constantly innovating and evolving. Just when you think we’ve seen it all, a new use for 3D printing arises. We have only just begun to scratch the surface of its capabilities. I can’t wait to see what’s next.
Something new to learn every day
Multiple times a day in fact, in a way that I have not experienced in other industries.
Coming to 3D printing from a non-technical academic background, I have been exposed to many technical concepts and facts from customers I interviewed for case studies, engineering colleagues and others. If you had asked me a few years ago what “isotropic and “anisotropic” meant, I would have looked at you with a blank stare. Now, I rattle off the difference between these terms for trade show booth attendees as if I have an engineering degree. I recently learned why certain materials are not feasible for use in 3D printing…and the list is endless. If I knew many years ago what I know now, I would have likely chosen engineering as my field of study and career.
Friendships and support
Unlike any other industry in which I have worked, the 3D printing industry feels like a second family.
People tend to be casual and have a great sense of humor, regardless of where they work in the ecosystem, their level in the organization, function or their prior academic achievements. Despite the fact that we are currently dispersed throughout the industry, often at competitive companies, former Z Corporation colleagues remain close friends and can be seen at trade shows hugging each other and laughing until tears pour from our eyes. When people both in 3D printing and outside 3D printing need assistance, there are always people in the industry who step up to help, from using their skills and technology for disaster relief to recommending one another for new job opportunities. I have been on the giving and receiving end of this support.
I recently welcomed a young marketer into the 3D printing industry and conveyed to her all it has to offer. Several weeks later, she told me she has been overwhelmed by how welcoming and genuinely nice everyone is. She said she is learning so many concepts and terms every day, her head is spinning, in a good way. Sound familiar?
I am delighted to see the next generation of 3D printing community members experience what I have experienced for over 10 years. I look forward to spending the next 10 in the industry I adore.