More Layoffs at MakerBot

MakerBot CEO [Nadav Goshen] announced that changes are needed to ensure product innovation and support long-term goals in a blog post published yesterday. To that end, MakerBot will reduce its staff by 30%. This follows a series of layoffs over a year ago that reduced the MakerBot workforce by 36%. With this latest series of layoffs, MakerBot has cut its workforce by over 50% in the span of two years.

In addition to these layoffs, the hardware and software teams will be combined. Interestingly, the current Director of Digital Products, [Lucas Levin], will be promoted to VP of Product. Many in the 3D printer community have speculated MakerBot is pivoting from a hardware company to a software company. [Levin]’s promotion could be the first sign of this transition.

When discussing MakerBot, many will cite the documentary Print the Legend. While it is a good introduction to the beginnings of the desktop 3D printer industry, it is by no means complete. The documentary came out too early, it really doesn’t mention the un-open sourceness of MakerBot, the lawsuit with Form Labs wasn’t covered, and there wasn’t a word on how literally every other 3D printer manufacturer is selling more printers than MakerBot right now.

Is this the end of MakerBot? No, but SYSS is back to the pre-3D-printer-hype levels. Stratasys’ yearly financial report should be out in a month or so. Last year, that report was the inspiration for the MakerBot obituary. It’s still relevant, and proving to be more and more correct, at least from where MakerBot’s Hardware business stands.

41 thoughts on “More Layoffs at MakerBot

  1. Makerbot is a good representation why you dont screw your customers on expensive hobby gear, try and steal their designs. The software and the hardware… is not that great either. proprietary bullshit. buy this printer, oh it jammed, buy a new extruder its only 100$ oh those extruders were shit buy this 200$! extruder.oh the build plate is drooping, buy another one that will have the same issue. here buy some filament from us its “better” (sorry but I still get bad filament from makerbot…) The software is a pain in the ass still. save in “.thing” why? everyone uses .stl, why would I waste time using a format no one uses. conveyor.exe has failed AGAIN!

  2. I was an early adopter of the Makerbot 2X and was severely disappointed by the machine’s performance and their customer service. After that, I wasn’t surprised at Stratasys’s subsequent stock tumble after the rest of the market looked past the makerbot marketing/hype and adjusted accordingly. Stratasys has has a very dependably volatile stock price ever since. I’m still a little bitter about my experience with them, so i decided to do something about it. I started investing in their stock. I have no confidence in them, so wait for them to screw up. When bad news hits and they crash i buy. when it goes back up to the level it was at i sell. In the last 3 months with their CEO churn i’ve made $1k…and put it toward buying one of their competitors (Craftbot XL). I’m starting to feel a little better…

    1. I have to say your post confuses me. I don’t think Makerbot’s customer service on the 2X has anything to do with Stratasys, as it probably predates the acquisition and Makerbot was a tiny portion of Stratasys overall. Secondly, Stratasys stock was hyped up long before they bought Makerbot; that acquisition wasn’t what popped the 3D printing hype bubble. Finally, I don’t know why anyone would ever have a long position in a stock they genuinely didn’t believe in.

      1. “Makerbot was a tiny portion of Stratasys overall.”

        Might want to rethink that.

        “The deal will be transacted entirely in Stratasys stock, and the initial acquisition price is 4.76 million shares (worth $403 million today). Depending on MakerBot’s performance, an additional 2.38 million shares could be exchanged as part of the acquisition, yielding a total acquisition value of $604 million.”

        MakerBot’s revenue was only $11.5 million in the first quarter of 2013.

        Stratasys currently has a market cap of only 1.1 billion. It has been as low as roughly 850 million. Think about that for a moment. They basically valued Makerbot as roughly HALF of the ENTIRE rest of Stratasys although it seems unlikely that the additional 2.38 million shares were all exchanged, given the colossal write off of Makerbot.

        The rest of your post generally makes sense though.

    1. The thing o matic was great. The replicator is still being knocked off today ’cause it works. Then bre pushed the technical cofounders out, took a bunch of outside money, and fired his marketing team to replace them with his dad. Then he tried to play engineering project lead, marketing lead, and company lead without significant experience or people who could advise him. Which is why the printers after the replicator are highly polished turds. Look cool enough, don’t work for shit.

    2. They took an immature emerging technology, and made it accessible to people who had no clue how to build the machine itself. The company failed because it didn’t want to finish that promise to the community of customers it attracted.

      From a marketing perspective, “Makers” like “Youtubers” was a very successful campaign.

      The barriers are significant :
      * carcinogenic plastic VOC
      * fire hazards
      * china based cloners
      * domestic lame competitors who only want to undermine pricing structures and will bankrupt themselves too

      We saw the inventor of the J-head hot-end starve to death as a cottage industry, while makerbot like geeetech made millions off his work — you guys also helped it happen by not giving an F.

      I personally killed the sub $800 full color printer project at our company due to the freetard effect.

      1. Oh I gave a quote unquote F. Makerbot was simply always underdeveloped and overpriced. The fact that it had people fawning over it is simply perplexing. Especially when there where superior competitors at a fraction of the price and I’m not talking clones. Tho I also don’t understand who in their right mind would want to clone a 3d printer that at the time used laser cut wood……. cause a frame that very well could develop seasonal warping is totes worth the premium price :P

        1. Bre Pettis was running a huge campaign with his friends to make sure Makerbot was in the public’s mindshare for home 3D printing instead of Boyer and Reprap. The Reprap community never really had anyone willing to shamelessly self-promote to saturation levels to compete. They were all too busy designing better printers.

      2. To be completely fair, fuck the j head dude. He was the ONLY one in #reprap that would persistently discourage DIY hotened creation in 2016. He even tried to take his plans down from the reprap wiki, and was reverted buy the admins (GPL, b**ch, you don’t control the users). He even took his site down and THEN BLAMED ME, until he realized the sob story made him less money than actually making fucking hotends. So yeah. fuck that guy.

          1. You missed the point, these companies commercialized practically identical clones of some kid’s hobby. The intent of GPL is to encourage people to evolve the designs, and most china kits are even closing their Arduino based control boards now.

            It’s perfectly understandable the J-head guy was butt-hurt over how it went down, as even some of the rep-rap guys got a pay-day after the public push-back during the acquisition deal.

          2. i still haven’t seen much anyone actually could own any rights to, intellectual property is anything but.
            it is a mechanism for those willing top fuck over others.

      3. That’s what happens when you commit to open-source your designs, but don’t give your potential customers a reason to buy from you besides warm fuzzy feelings. You’re stuck with the R&D costs while someone else sells your design to your customers for half your cost.

        1. This has always been my problem with the RasPi “Foundation” and Make: and Adafruit. They sell sell sell the tiny Einstein model to kids and hobbyists as being part of a community, which is like when announcers call a baseball team a baseball “club” lmao. Yeah, a club that pays each member millions of dollars to show up. Then you have the ones that dev a product under Open Source and then rely on the forum/community to provide any meaningful support or debugging as they constantly break their IDEs/APIs like some other products HaD used to push on us on a daily basis…

      4. ‘freetard’ – found the theregister.co.uk reader!

        makerbot plagerized the reprap project. I met chuck pettis while he was demoing an early makerbot cupcake machine at the first HITB amsterdam. he was acting like he single handedly invented 3D printing as nobody there, including me had seen one in person before. I had however heard of the reprap project and asked him “neat! is that a reprap?” he replied “no! it’s an original makerbot”, I peered into the case… “Why’d’s it say reprap on the silkscreen of your main circuit board?” Chuck walked off and hid until he saw that I’d gone.

        It was only later that I’d learned that Adrian Bower was a minor investor in makerbot, that lad is a gent, never complained, the world owes him a great deal for bringing this tech to the consumer market, companies like makerbot stole his legacy in many parts of the world. He’s not mad, but I’m mad for him.

    3. People need a name, a star, a leader who will bring this 3D tech. Which the majority of people think is something star trek like. As understanding about what 3D printing can actually do spreads through the population, the hype goes off.
      Actual users begin to understand the trade-off between a brand printer and a clone, and can make a decision what to buy.

  3. If profit is your only motive, you’re eventually going to fail due to your own greed. It’s why I bought an Ultimaker instead of a Makerbot 5 years ago. The warning signs were there. Ultimaker has started to make similar mistakes with their international licensing, but I still have hope for them.

    Commenter “LOL” is an example of this as well. I doubt his sub $800 full color printer ever existed, but pulling the plug due to spite and not wanting to share is the hallmark of a greedy person. Fuck humanity, where’s my money, right?

    1. We are doing our best. Our core remains, “it has to be good”. Nothing should be rushed to production.

      But, also, yes, we’ve grown to a big company with all the good and bad that comes with that.

  4. Makerbot is a testament to “don’t fuck with your community”, They became too commercialised for a company that started out as being this nice friendly company. Transitioning like this is always going to kill your product.

  5. MakerBot is an Excellent example of what is WRONG with the current “Open-Source” movement targeting clueless “Makers”. Add “Crowd Funding” into the mix along with a bunch of greedy MBA’s, and Trial/Patent Lawyers” and the whole concept ends up in a dying in a stinky cesspool.

  6. HaD attributes Makerbot’s demise to the closed source decision. I think it’s the opposite.

    Makerbot is what happens to any open-source company attempting to sell innovation into a mainstream market. Even if it was kept open-source (by that I mean kept stealing ideas from the open-source community, but just not claiming ownership), Makerbot still couldn’t exist on “amazing customer service” or brand image alone.

    Innovation is not free.

    Innovation brings higher overhead thus more expensive products. Competition will be cheaper, possibly better in all other metrics, and therefore hold a high percentage of the market which is a positive feedback scenario.

    The only thing which can counter this effect involves reasons other than innovation, like brand image (ref Fubu, Apple, NFL) or additional value-add services (ref cell phone’s and their contracts) or have massive free publicity that your competitors can’t get (they had this). Since everyone cringes at the thought of DRM in a 3D print cartridge, Makerbot was only going to be in business as long as the media had a darling……

    Businesses can not survive on a innovation/open-source business model without some very extenuating circumstances.

    Please list examples which refute this and I’ll explain why they do not.

    1. @Truth … “Businesses can not survive on a innovation/open-source business model without some very extenuating circumstances.”

      SparkFun
      Adafruit
      Seeed

      For related open-source businesses: RedHat “Linux leader Red Hat fulfilled its promise to log $2 billion in annual revenue, a worthy benchmark for an open-source software company.” – Fortune.com

      And it’s possible to have open-source as part of the business, not solely the business, google, Facebook, even Apple is built upon open-source.

    2. additionally, if you’re still interested in “refuting” more examples – aleph lulzbot has some posts/news about growth and more (they’re FSF certified) – https://3dprint.com/73359/aleph-objects-lulzbot-revenue/ open-source doesn’t guarantee success, it just be part of success for some companies (and also failure) – however, it does not seem correct to say ALL “Businesses can not survive on a innovation/open-source business model”.

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