How many exhibitors of 3D printing showed up at a big trade fair? 300.

That’s the number showing up at the Euromold trade fair in Frankfurt, from a report from The Economist, The shape of things to come. From the article:

It was here that 300 or so exhibitors working in three-dimensional printing (or “additive manufacturing” as they prefer to call it) were gathered.

The range of items that can be printed today include shoes and dresses, which is very nice.  Even better are the exhaust manifolds and artificial legs.  Cool!

Consider an artificial hip.  Continue reading “How many exhibitors of 3D printing showed up at a big trade fair? 300.”

What does radical change in technology and mass media mean to those of us who are undiscovered, unpublished, or small fry wanting to follow our own path?

Previous post discussed the huge impact from having zero cost to produce and distribute one more item.

On a long-term basis, what does this do?  I think several entire industries of delivering mass content are in serious trouble.  If those industries don’t figure out a new business model, the overwhelming change that is taking place will sink them.

Think about this:

Continue reading “What does radical change in technology and mass media mean to those of us who are undiscovered, unpublished, or small fry wanting to follow our own path?”

Q: What happens when the marginal cost of producing and delivering one more item is zero?

A:  The world changes.

Zero marginal cost changes the economics of many things.  Radically.

I’ve commented previously on the issue of zero marginal cost – Reflections on the zero cost and inconsequential time to deliver a 2500 page book.

If you want to get your arms around the radical change that is in progress at this moment, you really should be reading Seth Godin’s blog and books.

I have published three books in hard copy.  I plan to write several more books and will go with electronic format in the future.  May do a few print-on-demand copies but won’t have a big inventory like I did for my first three books.

It will take as much time, energy, and cost to get an e-book ready to go as a hard copy book.  What will change is the hard costs for production.  There was a lot of cost for the hard copies but there will be nothing for e-books.   Since I will be distributing through Amazon and the other online stores, there will be distribution costs but there are costs to do fulfillment myself.  Will have to see if the costs are the same.  For a big outfit who could bring the web sales in-house or who wants to distribute resources for free, the costs would be even lower.

Overall?  Cost will drop radically.  I looked at the hard costs for my three books.  Physical production was about 70% of my total hard costs.

Anyone can take the path I did.  Anyone.

Continue reading “Q: What happens when the marginal cost of producing and delivering one more item is zero?”

Insight to the publishing world from the author’s perspective

Bruce Schneier is writing a new book, Liars and Outliers.  He has been posting updates all year on the project.  First comment on his blog was in February.

He’s had several updates since then.  All of them provide a view of the publishing world from the author’s perspective.  His update this week, Status Report: Liars and Outliers, summarizes where he’s been and what the next few months will hold.

For me, as a microscopic part of the publishing world, it’s been fun to watch the progress.  Here is a recap: Continue reading “Insight to the publishing world from the author’s perspective”

Radical change on the near horizon for education

The rapid change affecting other areas of the economy is hitting primary and secondary education.

The Wall Street Journal had a long article recently: My Teacher Is an App

Nationwide, an estimated 250,000 students are enrolled in full-time virtual schools, up 40% in the last three years, according to Evergreen Education Group, a consulting firm that works with online schools. More than two million pupils take at least one class online, according to the International Association for K-12 Online Learning, a trade group.

Continue reading “Radical change on the near horizon for education”

Continue to pay attention to China

Not than anyone reading my blogs could do anything to influence what happens in China. However, we should pay attention because what happens there will affect all of us elsewhere.

Walter Russell Mead, at Via Meadia, is watching China, so it would be good to look at his blog, including a recent post, IMF: China Isn’t Ten Feet Tall.

The rapid growth of the Chinese economy, reported to be running at 9% for many years combined with the massive migration of people from farms to cities is astounding.  If, or rather when, that massive growth slows the adjustments will be painful. Continue reading “Continue to pay attention to China”

Q: Why does it feel like the economy hasn’t recovered, yet the stats say it has?

(cross-posted from my other blog, Nonprofit Update.)

A:  Doing more with less.  In other words, increased productivity.

On one hand, the unemployment rate continues very high, which means there are lots fewer people working.  On the other hand, GDP has just passed the peak from before the recession, which means the size or value of the economy has recovered.

Check out this picture – Continue reading “Q: Why does it feel like the economy hasn’t recovered, yet the stats say it has?”

Visual illustration of increased productivity of corn production in U.S.

Bushels of corn produced on 1 acre of land has increased from about 26 in 1939 to 165 in 2009.  Productivity has dropped in 2010.

A graph is better than the raw numbers.

Continue reading “Visual illustration of increased productivity of corn production in U.S.”

Are you future ready?

That is the opener of a superb post from Tom Hood, CEO of Maryland Association of CPAs.

By the way, his comments may be tailored to an audience of CPAs, but everything he says applies across the board to anyone in business, the nonprofit world, and even government.

If you want a curriculum of things to read and watch so you can get started on dealing with the radical change in the work world, check out his post Are you future ready? And other reflections & resources from the CCH User Conference

Continue reading “Are you future ready?”

Another view of the radical change that will hit us down the road

The radical rate of change around us is compounded by the power of artificial intelligence.  The Economist magazine had an article last week on point: Difference Engine: Luddite Legacy.

For a long time, like since the start of the industrial revolution, mechanical tools have displaced muscle power.  In recent decades and especially quite recently, we have seen lots of manufacturing move from higher-wage countries to lower-wage countries.

The disruption is spreading.  (Hey, that’s the point of this and many other blogs.)  The Economist article points towards the spread to knowledge workers. Continue reading “Another view of the radical change that will hit us down the road”

More oil drilled in North Dakota than California? Run that by me again.

Did you ever think you would see this headline?

N.Dakota Oil Continues Exponential Growth and is on Pace to Become the No. 2 Oil State in January.  That is a post from Mark Perry pointing out the dramatic growth in oil production from North Dakota sites.

Check out the graph to see the drastic expansion the last four years.  In about 2008 oil production hit an inflection point.  Here’s the basic shape of the graph:  horizontal before 2008 and on roughly a 45° angle after that.

Continue reading “More oil drilled in North Dakota than California? Run that by me again.”

The computing pendulum has swung back to dumb terminals and service bureaus – will it swing back?

Those of us who’ve used computers for a while remember when we did our work at ‘dumb terminals’, which did nothing other than connect us to the mainframe. Often work was submitted in batch to a service bureau which processed all the transactions at night so we could get updated reports in the morning.

The pendulum then swung to having all the software and data in the workstation at your desk.  That requires a far more powerful machine and eliminates reliance on the service bureau.  The mainframe was less important in the era of distributed computing.

My friend John Bredehoft has a thoughtful post on the swinging pendulum in computing, What if you don’t know that you’re living in the cloud?

Continue reading “The computing pendulum has swung back to dumb terminals and service bureaus – will it swing back?”

It is a blast being alive today, or isn’t technology cool?

I am chuckling and getting a kick out of being alive in 2011.

Just downloaded two books, one is 1,100 pages long and the other 1,400 pages.  I’m doing a technical review of a book and before lunch asked the editor for a copy of the prior year resource, which was in 2 volumes.  The editor spent a few seconds uploading files to yousendit.com and an automatic e-mail went out saying it was available.   After lunch Continue reading “It is a blast being alive today, or isn’t technology cool?”

Opportunities and challenges in China

Walter Russell Mead is travelling in China. As all travelers know, this produces lots of insight. I still cherish the learning time I experienced during a number of overseas field audits for a client. But I digress.

In Chasing China Up The Food Chain, Mr Mead says:

The other day I was looking for a pair of gym shorts in Guangzhou and stopped at a sporting goods store. I found some — with a label proudly advertising “Made in Thailand.”

I’ve long read that manufacturers looking for the lowest cost are now building in Vietnam and Cambodia. That is a very serious problem for China.

The solution? Continue reading “Opportunities and challenges in China”