There's an old saying that "Politics makes strange bedfellows." Apparently that's true for 3D printer startups as well. According to an article in the online edition of Monday's Wall Street Journal, Makerbot Industries will soon be sharing building space and rubbing elbows with the likes of Morgan Stanley and the Goldman Sachs Group.
Makerbot, no doubt the most well known robotic 3D printer startup on the planet, has experienced phenomenal growth since its founders hacked together their first prototype printer based on the RepRap initiative back in 2009. Fast forward just a few short years and the company has 125 employees and plans to hire 50 more in the immediate future. Not only has that put significant stress on the management and organization, it created a need for physical space.
To satisfy that pressing requirement, and to bring its employees back into a consolidated work environment where they can easily communicate and coordinate with each other, Makerbot has leased the complete 21st floor of the One Metrotech complex in downtown Brooklyn.
It's going to be interesting to see how the two disparate cultures - Wall Street and the hacker movement - get along occupying the same building. Of course, the Wall Street employees in the building are primarily back office and support staff, not their wheeler and dealer counterparts. At the same time, the original Makerbot employees come from the hackerspace mentality that originally gave birth to the company. They tend to be extremely results oriented and never hesitate to remove a window, cut a hole in a wall, or hack a solution, when it's the shortest path to achieving their goal, even if it's just satisfying their own curiosity. It will definitely be an interesting, and no doubt energizing mixture of personalities and dynamics.
For those that like exploring word and phrase origins:
POLITICS MAKES STRANGE BEDFELLOWS - "enemies forced by circumstances to work together; members of an unlikely alliance, often attacked as an 'unholy alliance.' 'True it is,' wrote Charles Dudley Warner in 1850, 'that politics makes strange bedfellows.' Warner, editor of the 'Hartford (Conn.) Courant,' was co-author with Mark Twain of 'The Gilded Age,'; he might have taken the expression from Edward George Bulwer-Lytton's novel 'The Caxtons,' published in 1849, which contained the phrase 'Poverty has strange bedfellows.' More likely the source for both was Act II, scene 2 of Shakespeare's 'The Tempest'." From "Safire's New Political Dictionary" by William Safire (Random House, New York, 1993). Page 762-763.