Two days of New York, two days of Awesome. Here’s a quick recap:
We arrived at their Dumbo based Headquarters thoroughly sweaty (89° F + humidity) and thoroughly late, but were immediately relieved of our bad conscience by the exceptionally friendly and enthusiastic Morgan Evans. She gave us an extensive tour of the HQ and the labs – decorated in the most elaborate and individual style we’ve ever seen in an office space. Crocheted air duct warmers, wall-sized artwork, a DIY photo automat, screen and letter printing facilities – and in between a team of more than a hundred smiling, concentrated, inspired and inspiring people. You could virtually feel the Etsy spirit and the focus on building a real community of makers and crafters! We talked to a few of the team members, including Matt, whom we hope to meet again in Berlin soon. And in case you didn’t notice: We enjoyed every single minute there.
Next up: Shapeways.
Located in midtown Manhattan, Shapeways resides in an unassuming office space from where they are building a maker community around sophisticated 3D printing services. And if we say sophisticated, we mean SOPHISTICTATED! The models they have on display were absolutely awesome: Highly detailed, with intricate structures and a wide variety of materials – rigid, flexible, rough, smooth, rubbery, whatever you imagine. We had a great chat with Mary and Natalia about bringing together different aspects of and takes on creativity, and we will stay in contact to develop further ideas about knowledge sharing for makers and connecting different communities.
Last stop on Monday: NYEBN Startup roundtable
Taking place in a severely overcooled room at NYU’s Stern School of Business, we had the chance to listen and talk to fast talking, witty and inspiring serial entrepreneur and NY “super angel” David S. Rose. For those who know him from his famous TED talk: He can explain his ideas in even less time, he is even funnier when telling his own story, and yes, he can talk even faster. But what we found most impressing was his open and down-to-earth attitude – when you talk to him, you know you’ll get honest and constructive feedback. Heavily recommended, should you get the chance!
First stop non Tuesday: Makerbot Industries
Although operating in a similar area as Shapeways, Makerbot takes a very different apporach to 3D printing: Own a printer, understand how it works, pimp it and print stuff at home. They’re located in Brooklyn, producing printers, designs and in a way the future of production in a few places scattered around 3rd Ave and Dean St. Being there is a bit like being in maker heaven: We never saw so many makerbots in one place, and watching them printing simultaneously and illuminated is like watching a machine ballet. Simply AWESOME. Equally awesome was talking to Sasha and Andrew, their Social Media and Blog guys – we could feel the passion for what they are doing, and we could hardly stop ourselves from keeping them from their work because talking to them was so much fun. We’ll definitely stay in touch! (And we hope @philipsteffan, our Berlin friend from the ODC with makerbot #23, will one day find his way to the mothership, too.)
In the outskirts of Brooklyn: 3rd Ward
Surrounded by eroded industrial buildings, signposts of early gentrification and its typical mixture of neighbourhood natives and hipsters, 3rd Ward is situated between Williamsburg and Bushwick – and it’s one of the most amazing places we’ve ever seen IN ANY CONTEXT: photo studios, large and extremely well equipped workshops for wood, metal, jewelry and textile work, combined with a coworking space (complete with an armada of ready-to-work-with iMacs) and class rooms, weaved together in a general architectural awesomeness. Always wanted to build your own cardboard furniture or surf board, learn to repair your bike or upholster a sofa, sew, saw or just hang out with extremely creative people? Take a visit and you’ll be hooked. Thanks to Will for showing us around – we’ll be back! (And in the meantime, miss Brooklyn even more.)
Last stop in New York: NYC Resistor
Before heading for the bus to Boston (another story altogether), we went back to Boerum Hill, picked up our stuff at Makerbot and paid short visit to hardcore makers at the NYC Resistor, New York’s first hackerspace, where Catarina gave us quick tour. In between saved robots (who have been retrained to stab, mix drinks and do other important tasks), machines that look like particle accelerators and pieces of high voltage artwork, we met a few really dedicated hackers, working on stuff equally sophisticated and nerdy. And we discovered a laser cutted room decoration thingy that uses the same bending technique as the book cover we saw (and photographed) in Berlin’s Open Design City – knowledge sharing FTW!
Now we’re exhausted but content. Good bye New York, hello Boston!