User Generated Everything


Jeffe Bezos rightly points out :

Before long, “user-generated content” won’t refer only to media, but to just about anything: user-generated jeans, user-generated sports cars, user-generated breakfast meals. This is because setting up a company that designs, makes and globally sells physical products could become almost as easy as starting a blog – and the repercussions would be earthshaking.

– in conversation with Kevin Maney USA today

This is already happening. Genometri is working on some of the technologies that will take this much further. The prosumer economy is taking shape as the result of convergence of 3 major phenomena.

1. Online Content Creation

2. Mass Customization

3. Social Networking

This is bound to change the nature of products. How they are conceived, created and consumed. This is already happening.

Cuusoo Design based in Japan is one of the first companies to crowd source designs and tie up with manufacturers to make consumer created products. Ponoko is another excellent example of a new network of designers, fabricators and consumers opening up very interesting possibilities. Philips recently Launched Shapeways aiming to crowd source product possibilities to be fabricated using rapid prototyping technologies.

There are other well known companies that are based on 2d Printing technologies Zazzle, CafePress, Threadless and SpreadShirt and a lot more are in the making.These companies are the beneficiaries of Direct Digital Printing (DDP) – which now account for over hundred products. Etsy is an excellent example of the rapid growth in user created (handcrafted) products – fueled by the growing disinterest in mass manufactured commodities at the tail end of the industrial revolution.

A more interesting phenomenon is Open Sourced Products. OpenMoko is an excellent example of this. Open sourcing products – is inevitable as consumers become the primary contributors in the creation of the product.

Prof.Von Hippel from the Sloan School MIT had identified long time ago the source of many true innovations – the users. So users have been shaping products from the very beginning. The web brings in a new new dynamic to this, empowering users to directly shape what they want.

So far, we have seen user generated digital content in the form of blogs, videos and artwork. Quite a few companies that built successful businesses by printing such content onto real world products. We are now beginning to see more complex user generated 3D products being made possible by 3D printing technology.


Fabidoo – launched July 2007


JuJups – launched Dec 2007


shapeways – launched Aug 2008

So then, ” user generated everything ” seem to have got started.


6 Responses to “User Generated Everything”

  1. 1 Jochem

    Curious how Shapeways works?

  2. We launched 2 months ago and now have over 800 crowd sourced sneaker designs.

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