Re: RPMI Symposium 2000

From: Marshall Burns (
Date: Tue Jul 22 1997 - 23:33:18 EEST

> RP&M symposium in early 2000. We have
> structured a program which addresses some
> major issues and opportunities in the future of
> access the web site at

    I didn't log answers in your survey, but I thought I would take the time to let you know that I think your program looks very interesting AND I foresee some marketing problems for you. Here's the thing: Your program addresses the major issues of advancing fabbers into the future: direct manufacturing applications, advanced materials, household use. Who are these issues important to? I would say they are important to three groups of people:
            -- CEOs and other senior executives of Fortune 1000 companies, who, if they don't pay attention to the future you are presenting will find their business squashed by it, just as horse-shoe manufacturers were squashed by the automobile.
            -- Professional people whose job it is to understand what is coming in the future and make accommodations for it. This includes management consultants, futurists, public policy makers, and lobbyists.
            -- Entrepreneurs, investors, and Fortune 1000 business development managers, who need to know what is the next wave that is going to out-sizzle the Internet in return on investment.

Your marketing problem is that it does not look to me like you are addressing your conference to these audiences. Current users of fabbers ("RP machines") are certainly interested in the future, excited about the future, and are already even living and working in the future. But for the most part, when they go to a conference, they need to get good, hard, practical, hands-on data on how to improve the output of their SLAs, LOMs, and FDMs, how to get their engineers' CAD stations to generate water-tight StL files for fabrication, and how to sell management on approving this year's fabber upgrades. I'd like to know if I'm wrong, but I don't think you are going to fill this future-oriented conference with RP-ML members or the people who attend the SME or Austin conferences.
    If you happen to agree with what I'm saying, that doesn't mean that you can solve the problem by directing your promotion of the conference to CEOs, lobbyists, and entrepreneurs. Because, by and large, those groups do not yet have any idea that fabbers are a phenomenon worth paying attention to. You have a classic chicken-and-egg dilemma. The purpose of your conference is to raise the consciousness of America about the fabber future, but to get attendance you need to find people who are already believers.
    Now actually, the problem is not as bad as I make it sound. Your Web site says you only need to sign up 125 people to make the conference succeed. That's not a lot of people. Maybe you can get that many from the RP-ML, the RPA, etc., and maybe the results of your survey will give you an idea of whether that is true. What bothers me is that when I look at your proposed program, I think there should be 20,000 people jammed in a stadium to hear about this incredible stuff. That's how Comdex is in the computer industry, and one day fabbers will draw that magnitude of crowds. I hope you can hold your year-2000 conference and I hope it succeeds, because you will then be planting the seeds of the fabber industry's Comdex. (Or should I say, "Fabdex"?)
    I look forward to hearing how your survey comes out.
Best regards,
Marshall Burns
Ennex Corporation, Los Angeles, USA, (310) 824-8700

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