An Inventor: *3Doodler Exclusive*

I wanted an exclusive *Spotlight* with Daniel who just happens to be the co-founder of 3Doodler. The 3Doodler team aspired to design a 3D printing device that could be used within minutes, without needing any technical knowledge, software or computers. They also wanted it to be affordable as well as fun, so that anyone can 3Doodle! I was intrigued, inspired and compelled to find out more about the man and to experiment with his crazy cool invention!

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Daniel, nice to meet you, can please describe yourself in 5 words?

Traveller, Foodie, Driven, Secretly-Creative

I considers “that’s only 4 words really” – but he seems pretty enigmatic, so onto next question, why does social media and word of mouth marketing matter to you?

Word of mouth remains the most effective means for a product or brand to spread. People trust the comments of friends and other people they know more than they trust ads (particularly ads which they didn’t want to see in the first place). That’s why social media is so effective; it becomes the place where people chat, share what they like and discuss new ideas. The success of 3Doodler lies very much in this arena and in the sense of community we are creating – from launching on a crowd funding platform through to our lack of focus on traditional advertising and more focus on creativity and sharing.

Social media is crucial for us to build and engage with a community, we are able to create content and share examples of how this product can best be used in diverse industries from the arts to education… We are intentionally using each channel in a different way to play to the strengths of each audience.

In your opinion, which brands are currently leading the way with creativity, innovation and a killer social media strategy? Why?

My personal favourite is Sharpie. You don’t buy a marker pen when you buy a Sharpie, you buy a Sharpie. The brand has transcended the less exciting nature of the product and much of the success in this lies in the creativity they spur and the amazing creations on their site and social media. It’s truly awesome.

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In your opinion, what is the most innovative product to have hit the mainstream market in the last year?

Other than the 3Doodler… I am a big fan of the Buccaneer 3D printer which launched on Kick-starter too. They are taking more of a closed box approach to 3D printing, making the experience as seamless as possible, affordable and focussing heavily on streamlining the software and sharing of files in a way which saves users from having to know how to manipulate 3D files. A user can simply pick the item they want and print at home. That’s the future of 3D printing and the Buccaneer is the closest manifestation of this yet.

What change will a 3D pen create within the design industry?

We say this a lot in our marketing materials, and we mean it, the 3Doodler literally puts the power of 3D creation into your hands. There’s no need for software or sophisticated (or expensive) hardware. The appeal of the 3D pen spans creative segments from crafters and hobbyists through to designers, educators, special needs, architects, engineers, and anyone just wanting to have fun and create. The main change is the fact that ideas which can only be explained in 3D can be created in minutes (or even seconds), allowing us to all communicate our ideas and imaginations that much more effectively. And it’s not about staring it screens and shifting pixels, it’s about that tactile creative experience that many of us haven’t had for a while.

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And if you do not mind me asking, what was your last social media update?

Our last update was a fantastic photo of six people using the very first production runs models of the 3Doodler. We ran a small group session in Hong Kong and the response was amazing. After two hours we ended the session, at which point the resounding comment was "2 hours are up, already!?" The group was varied and included a jewellery designer, two graphic designers, an engineer and a banker!

Which marketing buzzword drives you insane?

It’s not so much the words – moreover the people who claim to be experts. With social media everything changes so rapidly – that honestly, no-one can truly claim to be an expert. We are all learning all of the time.

Who would be your dream collaboration?

Leonardo Da Vinci - of course– When we were designing the box for the pen – we were quite influenced by the look and feel of some of his blue prints.

What is the next industry event that you and your 3Doodler shall be attending?

We will be at the 3D Print Show in London in November, as well as an event with WIRED in London in October… It is targeted at students who are passionate about innovation. 

What is the best piece of ‘constructive criticism’ you have received in your career thus far?

[With a big grin] Errrr… So I used to be a corporate lawyer. In that role, you are always harassed about attention to detail. In the legal world it is about punctuation and grammar. Even though it's a totally different business, and a far more creative one, we definitely apply that same attention to detail to our marketing of 3Doodler. We aim to make the best impression possible… A great example of this was our own research into the comparisons between two popular types of plastic, ABS and PLA – we conducted our own research to be able to de-mystify the choice for consumers. Attention to detail at every step of marketing and branding allows you to present in the best way possible through every channel.

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Interesting background – Makes me curious to know what blogs you follow to keep your finger on the pulse?

A rich mixture actually, I follow DesignCo, SpringWise, Tech Crunch, HackThings and the Financial Times.

Nice, so can you describe your perfect day?

At the moment every day is very stimulating and exciting. When you achieve something that has been on a to-do list for a while – and look back occasionally to see what you have achieved – You can’t help but smile – that said – a little more sleep would make life that bit more perfect!

Why does creativity and craft matter to you?

The core theme behind this product is doing, it’s creative. It allows people to experiment with a technology whilst re-visiting model making, crafts and even illustration. Creativity is innately human and craft is a way to express this quality. Of course it matters.

And how did you and your co-founders decide to launch the product?

We picked the timing well, focusing on when the perfect moment would be to soft launch with the on-line and blogging community for us to stand out in a responsive community. We allowed time for journalists and artists to really engage with the product as opposed to the cold ‘press-release’ approach. We wanted our word of mouth marketing to be generated in an authentic and organic fashion to intrigue the wider public. Our skeleton team had a lot of experience and so we kept an open mind to change and managed the transition from kick- starter to real life strategically.

And I’m left thinking, ‘the best is yet to come.’ I take my name in neon-pink 3D type back to my desk and day dream a little bit about a potential stop-motion collaboration with a typography artist or even a ‘make the most plastic-fantastic bikini’ competition. Actually on second thoughts, the way I would actually use this pen in my own creative work would be to decorate some vintage greeting cards with neon-electric rainbows and birds… But alas, I do not get to keep it. At least I can look forward to playing all over again in October at the Wired gig!