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November 10, 2007


Philip McCusker

Hello all. Interesting read. I have a few problems with the model so far.

Nick from Ponoko: “When someone asks us ‘what will a person be able to design and build through you’ - our answer is simply - ‘how far does your imagination stretch’”

I dont agree with the above statement.
The way Ponoko is working now is limited to the software skillset and knowledge of the designer. Ponoko is asking people to produce vector based designs in Illustrator, Corel Draw, etc, something which the vast majority can’t and won’t do. There are too many transaction costs associated with this model. If we look at Zazzle, they have witnessed rapid uptake because the entire design process can be completed within a browser. Wikipedia is also incredibly cheap to contribute and collaborate on.
The network effects which result out of a critical mass of users interacting will not be realised in my view on Ponoko unless these problems are addressed. So while their interface is clearly friendly, invitiing and informative, it is anyone’s guess as to how they can best smiplify the design process. Currently this cannot be done.
Ponoko made a big splash, time will tell if they will sink or swim.

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