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Carl Bass and IDEAS

May 28, 2011

Filed under: 3D printing,additive manufacturing,CAD/CAM/CAE,event,future — Terry Wohlers @ 14:20

I was presented with the opportunity to spend some one-on-one time with Carl Bass, CEO of Autodesk. I had never met him, so I jumped at the chance. I found that he is not the typical chief executive of a $2 billion company. He was down to earth, very focused on our conversation, and did not seem rushed, even though an event with special international guests was about to begin.

Unlike most executives, Carl gets his hands dirty, literally. He likes to create and build stuff, such as baseball bats for a Little League team that he has coached. He also uses design software and produces parts with 3D printing. His company owns and operates several 3D printers and he and his employees are excited about how the technology could develop in the future.

I was very lucky to receive an invitation to attend a special Carl Bass event this week at the beautiful Autodesk Gallery facility in downtown San Francisco. Initially, I had mixed feelings about it, only because it partially conflicted with the successful RAPID 2011 Conference & Exposition held in Minneapolis, Minnesota. It turned out that I made the right decision to accept the invitation. Before going to Autodesk, I attended the Maker Faire in San Mateo, along with about 95,000 others. This, in itself, was an intriguing and worthwhile experience. I also caught an interesting presentation by Carl Bass at the Maker Faire.

The Autodesk program was a part of its relatively new IDEAS: The Innovation + Design Series—a “think tank” format made up of hand-picked individuals from around the world. The event was titled Reimaging Manufacturing: The Technologies Driving the New Industrial Revolution. It focused largely on the making of objects and products with 3D printing and how this technology might change the face of manufacturing in the future. Among the relatively small group in attendance were Chris Anderson of Wired magazine, Neil Gershenfield of MIT, Mitch Free of, and Ping Fu of Geomagic.

The discussions were stimulating and the thinking associated with 3D printing and additive manufacturing was much more advanced than I had anticipated. Many of these people are not “contaminated” by the additive manufacturing problems and limitations of the past. Those in attendance, including several Autodesk executives and Carl Bass himself, have strong and interesting views of where these tools might go in the future and how they could shape entirely new markets, opportunities, and business models. I felt very lucky to have been a part of it, but sincerely wish I could have stayed for the entire event.

1 Comment

  1. Congratulations for being at an event which is marking the beginnings of another big turn in our modern history.

    Comment by bstott — May 30, 2011 @ 20:35