The author in front of one of the locations of the MakerBot store — which all closed. Photo via Isaac Anderson.
Once upon a time, MakerBot Industries was the darling of the Brooklyn start-up world. I’d know, because I worked there.
The company this week announced its productions are being outsourced to China, so it’s come a long way from a hackerspace in Boerum Hill. But let’s start at the beginning: MakerBot was the brainchild of a few 3D printing enthusiasts and unabashed nerds who wanted to contribute to an open-source hardware community founded by an eccentric British professor enamored with the prospect of self-replicating machines. It turned out a lot of folks wanted to get their hands on a thing that made things, and it also turned out that the community that made the original MakerBot possible greatly facilitated MakerBot’s rapid expansion, offering useful feedback and oftentimes original design work that was ultimately integrated into the company’s core product.
For a while, MakerBot was equally generous in giving back to this community. They embraced the spirit of openness and freely shared their ongoing improvements to the public. Demand skyrocketed for a product that was improving in real time, so it made sense to double down on Brooklyn, and MakerBot built a full-blown factory for its products in Sunset Park. It was whimsical! The impossible was possible! In the early days, nearly everyone built printers as a rite of passage. They learned the machines inside and out and became ideal candidates for promotion through the ranks to engineering, repair, customer support, and sales roles. In an emphatically post-industrial city in an outsourced 21st-century world, MakerBot fearlessly bucked the trend by building physical things locally, hiring from within, and committing to the mantra that sharing was caring. It was hard not to like them; their fan base ranged from the obvious, like geeks to geeks who like open-source stuff, to hipster geeks, to, uh, local artists previously involved in Occupy Wall Street? Whatever it was they were doing, it was working. Neither MakerBot nor their affable CEO could do any wrong… until they did.
Everyone thinks riding the start-up wave is the ticket to noble success, a mix of idealistic principles and the cutting edge profitability of the new economy. But sometimes that wave crashes, and this is one of those stories. (more…)
Because you know what needs more attention in our daily lives? Our phones. Image via Flickr user Chrisphoto
Summer is upon us, so we all have to get prepared for being outside for long periods of time. Rooftop parties, urban exploration, whatever you have on your agenda this summer, you need to get equipped. For the next couple of months you will need to have your phone fully charged to take on any kind of obstacle or situation you may find yourself in this summer. We’re confident you have app that points you free condoms; and we are sure you have a backup plan when you don’t want to feel old by staying in and watching PBS instead.of going out and being cool. But it’s not enough. Thankfully for you, we have eight free apps to download right now to help you survive Brooklyn this summer. (more…)
Suck it Silicon Valley! (The place, not the TV show) Brooklyn has the highest percentage of tech start ups with female heads in the country. According to a recent analysis done by Crunchbase, the national average for start up tech companies with at least one female founder is 15%, Brooklyn on it’s own is thirteen points higher at 28%. (more…)
Finally, have good times like this on your schedule and not the bar’s schedule
Happy hour, we all love happy hour because it means cheap booze. And what is life without cheap booze? Honestly a horrible nightmare that shouldn’t even be contemplated, so we’ll just stop doing that. Sometimes though, you have the kind of schedule that keeps you away from bars around those magic three or four hours where the prices are shaved the booze flows extra fast. A bunch of enterprising young people have heard your cries though and have made a new app, Happy, that gets you an hour of happy hour-priced drinks when it’s convenient for you. Either that’s the best part, or the fact that it’s free is the best part, we’re not sure. (more…)
That guy on the end must be from Brooklyn, not expecting WiFi or anything special. (via imgur)
Today, Governor Cuomo introduced Phase II of his world yogurt domination scheme Transit Wireless Wifi plan, a seven-part process to equip all 277 underground subway stations with WiFi by 2017.
Starting today and through November, 40 more stations will be wired for subway WiFi service. 11 of these stations are in Manhattan (including 42 Street Bryant Park, 34 Street Herald Square and Grand Central 42 Street) and 29 will be in Queens (including Jackson Heights/Roosevelt Avenue Station, Jamaica Center Station and Court Square Station). (more…)
Got a lot of work to do; gonna need some more Mountain Meow Code Red.
If we know anything about the future, it’s that it will be inherited by those who know how to code, and that people will forever love looking at cats on a computer. You get to combine the two next week at a free coding workshop at NYU: the Kitten Coding Club on July 15 will be an introductory coding class, and it’s all based around the theme of cats.
The cats “are adorable and already an intrinsic part of the internet,” founder Ieva Urbaite tells us. “They set the tone for our fun, accessible, and supportive group. Every project will involve lots of adorable cat pictures while teaching solid coding skills.” No experience necessary; just bring a laptop, and at least a functional tolerance for cats. (more…)
Will you end up like this guy? (SPOILER ALERT: No)
The stock market: America’s ever-expanding and completely infallible engine of wealth. You might think that it’s exclusively the province of rich guys in suits, but like art, that’s apparently not the case. A new app, Acorns, is offering to round up every debit card purchase you make to the nearest dollar and invest this “change” in the stock market. Our strategy is saving all of our change and spending it on the year’s Glug harvest, but hey, if you want to get poor another way, have at it! (more…)
Guaranteed to work better than just shouting “Jesus Herman Christ look at the size of that pothole!” via Flickr user Tom Chance
Introverts are very in right now, for whatever reason. We get it, reporters of America, you listened to “Ask” a few too many times and decided to do some pitches based around it as a joke. But, here we are, lionizing the complete inability to enjoy human contact, so we may as well ride it out. So for introverts, and for people who like making snap judgements without thinking of things, the city has a present for you: a new 311 app, for both Android and iPhone spacephones, that allows you to report things to 311 without ever talking to another human being. (more…)
Maybe one reason why people don’t get out there and register to vote (hey here’s some reasons why you should) is that registering to vote just seems so old-fashioned. “Keep your pencils and crap away from me, grandpa,” Milennials are all out there saying, “I just wanna stay home and Snapchat nude pics with Google Glass. YOLO.” Now those lousy kids have one less excuse to not register, because New York City will let you register to vote on your spacephone, with its new app, NYC Votes. (more…)
Hey…uh…you’ve got a uh…eh, nevermind. via Flickr user horizontal.integration
What are things you don’t want to come across in your apartment? Mold, yes. Bedbugs, certainly. Most of all though, people don’t want to see roaches. For whatever reason, we’re most grossed out by these six-legged insects (that hiss sometimes). No one currently does exact counts on roach infestations by neighborhoods, but some independent programmers who don’t mind thinking about roaches all day have at least put a map together for you that will let you know how gross the neighborhood you’re about to live in is. (more…)