One of my hobbies is too assess markets and businesses for opportunity and growth. A market that has been hot is 3-D printing. It’s not a new technology and I’m sure there were 60 minute segments on it 20 years ago. But in the past few years it’s made that leap as something available for only for manufacturers to being available for early-adopters in the consumer market.

The printers are now consumer friendly in size, price, and use. I admit, I have not researched or worked with these printers but assessing markets as a hobby doesn’t require me to. The WSJ had an article  about this very thing. So what is the market for 3-D printers? For industry it’s a no brainer, the opportunity for prototyping alone is enough to invest in this technology.

Where else is there potential? When exploring 3-D printer manufacturers there may be something there but we’ve already started to see consolidation of firms in that maturing market. And ask yourself if you like where the consumer inkjet printing market has gone? I for one do not find it compelling and am uninterested in manufacturers.

Where the real opportunity may be is in providing the designs, the directions, the code, to producing whatever widgets people want to have at the moment. One example is folks on my development team who have used their printers to make devices that allow their iPhone to rest on their monitor for stand-ups  when working remotely. The potential to provide designs, or for a design marketplace that’s modeled like Etsy may be a potential area.

They’re are downsides worth mentioning here as well and that’s waste. When these printers reach the consumer market and potential consumer scale what will be done with all these frankenstein experiements? Where will they go? Plastics are already a problem, especially in our oceans. We do have this wonderful young man making a difference there. In the meantime, if you like to tinker and design I think 3-D printing has potential. As far as for me, I’m out.

Has it changed? Business Advice from Best Buy Founder Richard Schulze

A while back my MBA program’s quarterly published an interview with Richard Schulze,  the founder of Best Buy, about general business advice he could share to the alumni and current students. The University of St. Thomas’s Business School is certainly fortunate to have Mr. Schultze generating content for their publication (oh, not to mention the large gifts to the school).

That was in February and obviously a lot has changed in the business community regarding Best Buy with the CEO scandal of Brian Dunn and later resignation of Mr. Schultze as the Chairman. It would be interesting to learn if he would modify his original list of business advice from what he’s learned since the scandal. One potential tip that may benefit from some specific tweaking after the Dunn scandal was the fourth.

#4 – Have a Mentor

This one could also include be sure that key people have good mentors themselves. Not that a mentor would have stopped Brian Dunn’s behavior as one would hope he knew it was inappropriate but perhaps they would have seen the warning signs.

The buzz continues around Mr. Schultze making a play to take Best Buy private and for him to be successful it looks that he’ll be pulling this list out again. I think Best Buy still can have a retail play outside of the growth of Geek Squad and private equity may be the right play for it.

To PMO, or Not to PMO; That is the Question « Gonzobanker.com

This post from Cornerstone Advisors blog regarding PMO caught my eye last March. I had set it aside to go deeper on my thoughts of what is and isn’t a mature PMO organization but am going to table that for now. I will say that PMO is much like engineering in that not having the Steve Jobs “A” players will come back to bite you. A great PM and PMO office will save you greatly and a poor PM and PMO office will cost you dearly.

To PMO, or Not to PMO; That is the Question « Gonzobanker.com.