Open Letter

Dear Glowforge:

Business opportunity, pls respond

December 8, 2015 Published in the December 2015 issue of Seattle Met

Illustration by Majesta Vestal

Hello. I’m one of the people who backed the wildly successful crowdfunding campaign for your 3D laser printer for home use. (My sincerest congratulations, by the way. Raising $28 million in one month is quite a feat for a small team of 14 working out of a nondescript space in your city’s SoDo neighborhood! It took me much planning, many more people, and the assistance of a corrupt government to pull off something similar.) The Seattle entrepreneurial community continues to impress me with its seemingly unquenchable desire to change and, in some cases, take over the world. I would very much enjoy sitting down with your CEO, Dan Shapiro—along with other Seattle titans like Howard Schultz, Jeff Bezos, and Steve Ballmer—to discuss projects on which we might work together in the future.

With that said, I have a few questions about your product as you plan to start shipping this winter. I’ll be honest, this was an impulse buy—I just recently came into a large sum of money—and I’d like to manage my expectations. 

1. How big of a laser can your 3D printer make?

2. And would that laser be powerful enough to, say, cut through a cinderblock wall, a bank vault door, or—and this is strictly hypothetical—blow up the moon?

3. Oh…it’s not a 3D printer that makes lasers? Moving on.

4. Can I use it to make aircraft with stealth capabilities?

5. What about a fleet of ground-based assault vehicles?

6. Surely a Jeep for patrolling my compound?

7. No? Hmm…name tags for my henchmen?

8. Do you have a name tag template I could use?

9. How frequently can I expect the printer to jam?

10. Do you offer 24-hour tech support?

11. I tend to blow up/incinerate/launch into space things that do not meet my expectations. Will that void my warranty?

12. Do you ship to volcanic lairs?

13. I have a moat populated by sharks. Will that be a problem for the courier?

14. Your site says that the printer gives users “creative laser superpowers.” I presume that’s not a literal claim? I ask because—and this is just one man’s opinion—giving such powers to anyone willing to fork over a couple thousand dollars is a little irresponsible and could level the playing field…I mean unnecessarily arm the general population at a time when we really should be thinking about ways to curb laser-based violence.

15. Do you, by any chance, need a celebrity to endorse your product? I’m looking for ways to get my name out there.


Baron von Latimer

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