3-D Printer Pioneer MakerBot Acquired for $403 Million

MAKERBOT, DEVELOPER OF A POPULAR 3-D PRINTER, today announced that it is merging with Stratasys in a deal worth $403 million. The Brooklyn-born and -based MakerBot recently moved into a 50,000 square foot space in Sunset Park. Not bad for a four-year-old startup.

Bre Pettis, CEO of Makerbot, at last summer's Maker Faire in Queens.

Bre Pettis, CEO of MakerBot, at last summer’s Maker Faire in Queens.

Notes to Self (With a Nod to Bill Jones)

One might quibble about how "objective" the pep-talk is, but the Bill Jones motivational posters have clear messages.

One might quibble about how “objective” the pep talk is, but the Bill Jones motivational posters have clear messages.

 OFF MY MIND AND ONTO MY DESKTOP: One can relish the relief of listing tasks to be done tomorrow in order to  stop worrying about them tonight. Whether it’s on a piece of paper, in a file on the computer, or on a whiteboard in the corner, it’s good to leave the list at work when the day’s over. If it’s in an app on a mobile, best not to check it until tomorrow.

Off my desk and onto yours: Delegating has at least two forms. One is giving away the task and putting it completely out of mind, knowing the results will be apparent without further effort on your part. The other is assigning the task and expecting to follow up to be sure it gets done, to praise or nudge or redirect. In the second case, the task hasn’t really been given away, it’s just been transformed from one kind of task to another.

Off my list and out of my mind: It’s worth remembering that one form of prioritizing is not letting a task get onto one’s personal to-do list in the first place. If the list has gotten too long anyway, then decide which things not to do. Let go of them, at least for now. That keeps the list from being overwhelming.

‘Bill Jones’ Rules for White House, State, IRS (Wall Street, We Wish!) and Your Business Too

Bill Jones Higher Post, Broader ViewREMOVE THE DOUBT — THAT’S ANOTHER WAY OF SAYING HEADS MUST ROLL when certain types of screw-ups occur. So after the IRS’s targeting of  Tea Party groups to search out 501 (c) 4 violations made such big news, the acting head of the agency had his “resignation asked for and accepted.” Could he have survived in the job if he’d broken the findings  to the President himself simultaneously with firing the hands-on people involved? Maybe.

And maybe even if he couldn’t get out in front of the news, but had acted quickly to remove those most responsible. That’s what Hillary Clinton and her management cadre at the State Department did after the tragic news from Benghazi broke; when she “accepted responsibility” for inadequate security at the Benghazi post, it was clear she was speaking in code — it happened in her agency and she was handling it: The faulty decision-makers were already on the way out the door .

We’re still waiting to see what the fallout will be after what looks like excessive phone monitoring of the AP in an effort to find the recent big leaker.

Even more, we’re still waiting for Wall Street and banking to “accept responsibility” and clean up after the financial crisis, the “liar’s loan” mortgage mess and the wrongly foreclosed housing.

In a small-business context, when a client’s order has been screwed up, it’s up to you to ‘fess up, clean up, sometimes even pay up, and show what action you’re taking to be sure it never happens again. A change of employees, a new procedure, or taking over that dawn delivery route yourself — whatever will “remove the doubt.” That’s a business fundamental.

Brooklyn Aerodrome: Taking to the Skies of North Brooklyn

Forget Area 51, this is North Brooklyn's mystery aircraft, built from Kit 145.

Forget Area 51, this is North Brooklyn’s mystery aircraft, built from Brooklyn Aerodrome’s Kit 145 ($250.).

BROOKLYN HARDLY SEEMS THE PLACE TO TAKE FLYING LESSONS, given the utter and complete dearth of airports in the borough. But that hasn’t stopped computer scientist Breck Baldwin and schoolteacher Andrew Woodbridge from starting the Brooklyn Aerodrome Flight School. It offers training, clocks hours of flight time and then issues pilot licenses – to middle-schoolers.

The program began in 2010 with 15 students. Most of the curriculum is online, and the textbook can be bought online for $30. In complete and utter contrast with No Child Left Behind, the law of the land in which students study for nothing but the exam, the new Brooklyn Aerodrome Flight School actually teaches real-world applications for science and technology in a context that interests these students: making and flying planes. Brooklyn Aerodrome showed at last fall’s World Maker Faire in Queens and got a lot of attention, including from Wired Magazine. But a failed Kickstarter campaign in the first quarter of this year was a setback. Despite that they’re still up and running; for more info go to brooklynaerodrome.com.

Okay, there’s no functional Brooklyn airport, which goes to say no full-size airplanes either. So the kids go to the other most logical site, Brooklyn’s own McCarren Park in Williamsburg, and fly their own easy-to-build model called Flack, for Flying Hack. “It’s an electric-powered remote-control airplane built out of recycled trash,” Baldwin says. “Kids can build one in three to four hours.”

“It’s about aeronautics, that’s the core of it,” says Baldwin. “But the whole thing is trying to get kids to think about math, science and engineering  and make it fun and play—not sit in a room and be lectured, but to go outside and do it.” In other words it’s not rote book learning, but real-world, hands-on knowledge and experience.

“Solving workbook math problems is not how the world works, but students might have to do a lot of math to get something to work,” Baldwin adds, the “something” being their airplanes.  The program is not ignoring the liberal arts either: the students write reports, too, technical ones, not a “My Favorite Superhero Is…” essay.

And what do the kids get out of it? Not only math and science (and lots of fun), but they learn how general aviation really works, along with its rules and regulations. That last part may not be glamorous but it is essential, Baldwin says: “It makes it more real, adds depth to it, but it also provides structure. You have to have permission to enter the ‘runway,’ then you have to get permission to take off, and then the next plane goes.

“There’s a lot of necessary structure to flying,” Baldwin says, before he pauses and adds, “Imagine 30 kids with powered airplanes.”

Executive Editor Phil Scott has clocked some air time himself, not only in airplanes but also a replica of a Wright Brothers glider at Kitty Hawk, N.C.,.

Bill Jones to Jeffrey Krusinki: What were you thinking (with)?

Bill Jones Life Too Short Groping

As has widely been reported, less than two weeks ago Lt. Col. Jeffrey Krusinski, head of the Air Force’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Response program, was arrested and charged for allegedly sexually assaulting a woman in a suburban parking lot in Virginia.

The fictional Bill Jones was the voice of career advice in the 1920s and 30s posters put out by a British printing company. Though the advice here was meant in another context, it’s not hard to imagine what Bill Jones would have thought about sexual assault or harassment, or derailing one’s career in this way.

Rhetorical Rhinos and Flights of Inspiration

A GREAT GRAPHIC, BUT A DOUBTFUL METAPHOR. Unlike the rhetorical rhinoceros in the closet. this rhino in the bush probably isn’t going to be just stared down successfully. Arming yourself with appropriate resources seems like a much better idea. “Facing troubles” is Step One; “turning worry into effective action” would be Step Two. And thanks to Bill Jones, here  — still in “Out of Africa” mode — is inspiration for making the effort. Bill Jones It Can't Be Done Means

Getting Your Message Across?

sayitwithsnapIT’S A 140 CHARACTER WORLD NOW, and what used to be called a magazine article is now “long-form journalism.” But this Mather poster advocates not only brevity but “snap.” Brooklyn Artisan long ago offered thoughts on quotability, but here snap means directness, too.

Some examples of this are in the Brooklyn Artisan photo pool. A favorite:ChalkWoodlandURhungry

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