What went through your mind the first time you saw 3D printing in action? Did you simply think, “Hey that’s moderately cool. Oh look, a squirrel”? Or did you think, “Wow. I could build ANYTHING with that!” The very fact that you’re reading this article means it’s safe to assume that you belong to the latter group.
Is it just ‘cool’ though? Is it just the next big thing like flying cars and meals-in-a-pill? Those are potentially really useful things, yet they never became mainstream. Is that how it’s going to go down for 3D printing? Some things like Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs) and Walkman cassette players made the jump from fad to trend, but still faded away. Why?
What Makes a Fad?
What is it that makes an explosively disruptive technology last, while others fade away or never make it out of the gate? There are more criteria for that than we can possibly compile, and many of them just can’t be measured, like the ‘cool’ or luck factors. Ultimately, time decides.