I'm your Community Manager and this means that it is my job to make Shapeways easier and more compelling for you while at the same time increasing the size of the Shapeways Community. Since I work for you, I'm going to ask for you to evaluate me. I am also going to ask for you to determine what the waking hours of the next three months of my life will be like and where we should be headed. I am asking you to co-create my job & output as a Community Manager for the next three months.
What will my priorities be?
What will I work on?
What will I try to accomplish?
What elements of Shapeways need to improve?
I'm asking you right now to take this survey in order to tell me now.
How it will work:
The survey is based upon all the comments, answers, ideas, feedback, conversations and emails I've received from our community over the past months. I could not include everything but instead included the ideas, projects and suggestions that were mentioned the most often. In some cases regular feedback was not included because it is already being handled by another project or person. In some cases the feedback and ideas came from a relatively small group of people or even an individual. In these cases however these people's considerable efforts for the Shapeways Community and/or their unique expertise in a relevant area warranted their inclusion.
The free form responses or feedback you will write in addition to the survey will be tabulated, mind mapped and will be added to the goals and projects I will undertake. If significant clustering does occur between free form responses I will add these to my list of projects, priorities or goals.
I will divide up my time according to the priorities that come out of the survey. I will try to accomplish the goals set in the survey. A high score on the survey is no guarantee that something will happen, just that I will try my hardest to make it happen. There is also a personal 360 feedback element in the survey and I will try to either improve or stay the course with any and all information that emerges from that.
I want you to see me as your employee and I would like to be evaluated critically and fairly.
At the end of the time period I will do an evaluation to determine how successful I was in meeting your goals and if we should repeat this. I'm not sure yet how and if we can make those results public but will try to do so.
The survey will require that you fill in the email address you use with your Shapeways account in order to verify that you are a Shapeways Community Member. I will not see these email addresses. This survey will take you approximately 6 minutes. It would mean a lot to me if you took the time right now to take the survey here.
Photographs by Dano and mbiddulph under a Creative Commons Attribution license.
Joris -- At the risk of making public that which should be private, I'm going to err on the side that views your role as intrinsically public. I think you're doing a great job. You come across as straightforward and genuinely concerned with doing the right thing, in private communications as well as in public. I'd like to see more of you on the Forums, modulo the risks in being seen as trying to guide, rather than assist, the community. Please do give us the results of the poll; I'd be interested in your thoughts about letting today's community dictate your priorities, given that one of those priorities must be (whether we demand it or not) growing that community.
Your commitment to evaluate your own performance feels right, and I believe you'll follow through. Thanks for helping to make Shapeways a positive, constructive place to create. We will challenge you, I'm sure. It's a true pleasure to have a mature, intelligent, forward-thinking person on the other end of the line. Cheers!
Absolutely echo Lewis' comment: I have a background in engineering and CAD/CAM - in fact worked on with the very first stereolithography processes in the early 90s - it's amazing to see what ShapeWays can now deliver and I'd love to be able to design my own pieces: what tools do you recommend that are easily affordable for doing so?
There are a lot of tools out there. On the free/cheap side: Blender is a powerful free and open source animation and modeling tool. The UI is difficult but the community is unsurpassed. The great thing about Blender is that if you do master it you can use it to 3D print and also to make renderings or go into animation. Bonzai is also a good tool. viaCAD is inexpensive and works well with Shapeways. You could also use Google Sketchup which is easy to learn and free but more limited than the other tools.
If you're a student there are cheap versions of Solidworks & Rhino. There are many alternatives, Meshmixer for example allows you to play with objects but is not a modeling tool as the others are: http://www.shapeways.com/blog/archives/341-Easy-object-composition-with-Meshmixer.html
There really isn't one tool for everyone. It depends on what you want & what things you'd like to do with the tool.
The first time I was confronted with shapeways I was amazed what was possible to print and I started to browse the gallery. After some time I thought of searching something special, someting that interested me, but I could not find a thing, because the categories feature is so underdeveloped.
You have more than 700 pages of models, which makes more than 7000 individual models and 4 categories. So if I don't accidentaly find the right one I have to look through about 1750 models in my category. Not very pleasing. In addition most of the models are in more than one category. I don't expect you to have a category feature like Amazon or eBay, but if you wan't to be a real shop for people who are interested in buying creative products you have to do someting about this. If you just wan't to be a place for people who want to print their own models its fine how it is now.
I think this issue is especially important because you want to "make Shapeways easier and more compelling for [us] while at the same time increasing the size of the Shapeways Community."
Finally I want to thank you to offer this great service to such a great amount of people.
"I could not find a thing," is indeed a big issue. So the question to you guys would be: what is important? Is it important to create a mechanism that would make it easier for people to discover things? Or is it important to let them find exactly what they are looking for? Would a 100 different categories even help?
One of the things that came to my mind would be something powered by seadragon.com technology, such as the following link.
I remember when I first saw PhotoSynth. and how pictures re-arrange themselves by proximity. This proximity can be tags. Like the tag cloud, where the objects are weighted by popularity, theme, category, material. whichever images match more of these categories would be closer to the 'central/current' image.
I didn't remember to write this in my survey, but can you make it so we don't have to pay ourselves when we order from our own shops? i don't like to have to change the markup, order, and put the markup back on.
Thank you for answering #3. I agree with 1 and 2 as well.
I'm a lurker who happily won't be lurking much longer! I've just downloaded Blender. Thank you. And will be learning it and designing the box for my invention. No, your artists have inspired me. I will be attempting to create a piece of artwork to contain my invention.
Question, your list of usable programs says AutoCad 2010. My ID hubby's company uses AC 2007 and we own AC 2003. These won't work? Really?!? So, I'm going to learn Blender.
Also, can you create a cost estimater? Or answer this with the AC or Blender way to calculate the volume of my 3d drawing? I need to make a vented box that is about 8x5x2" of "Strong and Rigid = will survive the cub scout meeting/object investigations at my house".
I love the terminology of your materials!! But can I accidently step on "strong and flexible" and will it survive? How rigid is it? Will it sag? I know.... it depends, but a few video failure tests would answer a lot of questions for many of us. e.g. I'd love to get some of the artwork, but it would need to survive the cub scout group of 8 nine-year old inquizitive boys, but not necessarily being stepped on. (If you need some tester videos, I volunteer our group to provide them!! I'll have them arrange experiments and make the videos in such a way that they will earn several scientific exploration activities towards their badges! I work with a group of future engineers!!)
Do the artists set their own prices? Some of them are very reasonable and I will buy them as gifts, but one I want to build (requires assembly) a pencil holder basket as teacher gifts is outrageous!! I'm a teacher. I'd like to get 40 of them!! It can't be any bigger than the others but it costs almost $70 each. On a teacher's salary? No way. It is to the point that I'll have to draw my own (with improvements, of course) in order to afford the gifts.
Thanks a million for providing a user friendly way to prototype our objects that doesn't cost $3000 that an unfriendly company quoted me.
What will you advise me to do when I say that my 3rd order is 1000 pieces (mailed in bulk).