The internet is changing the face of business irrevocably. The simple fact that we have a cheap way to communicate with the whole world and to publish our thoughts, ideas and software for free, means that there are now entirely new business models that never existed before – and that allow the individual entrepreneur to go toe-to-toe with the huge conglomerate.
But this is only the start of it, and what’s potentially even more impressive is the way that the internet is now allowing people to create and mass produce physical objects as well – with no expertise, with no up-front investment and with no equipment and resources. This really means that no industry is safe from the march of progress and soon we might start to see a world where indie developers rule. Here are a few examples of the kind of thing I’m talking about…
For a while now there have been printing services available online that allow you to create your own t-shirts, hats, mugs and other items by simply uploading an image or some text and ordering. This means that anyone can have a great looking t-shirt to promote their business, or if they have a fun design that people like, to make a good profit and start a new business. Why wear the same things as everyone else when you can have items of clothing that are entirely personalized?
3D printing services like Shapeways are incredibly exciting when you think about what they’re capable of. Basically 3D printing involves using a laser to cut a material into any shape and again this is something that people can accomplish by simply uploading a file to the correct site (this time an .STL file or another 3D mesh). This way you can create your own mugs, your own phone holders, your own crockery and much more and again you can sell them directly with no need to print out lots of copies.
Injection moulding is another way that you can now make real physical objects, but this requires something a little bit more complex by way of instruction as these will often be more complicated designs that incorporate hinges and electronics etc. If you want to make a design this way then you may need some up front investment, but for this you can use a site like Kickstarter which allows anyone to ‘crowdsource’ funding from people who like the sounds of the idea in exchange for freebies and credit.
Making your own books has never been easier and no longer is it difficult to become a published author. Of course getting your books published on Kindle or on iTunes isn’t that hard and e-books have been easy to make forever. However in the last five years POD services like LuLu have become much more popular. These are ‘Print On Demand’ services which again have you uploading a file (Word document or PDF for instance) and then getting it printed as a bound book. The POD bit means that these are printed out only as you or buyers order them meaning that once again there’s no risk and no investment – anyone can see their name in print.
The above guest post is written by Finley Weild, a freelance writer specializing in SEO, technology and business posts. He recommends visiting On Time Screen for the best screen printing in CT.