Letter from Rocco Azzarito
Co-Founder and President
Maybe it was because my father owned his own small business, or because I would have been a terrible employee, but the fact is, I have never been employed by anyone except myself. I guess you could call me a serial entrepreneur as I have started dozens of small businesses in my 45-year working career, the latest being a shoe brand called Telic. Telic footwear is a boutique shoe brand that sells a unique recovery shoe for athletes and active individuals. This soft, lightweight, injection-molded sandal is an ideal candidate for 3D Printing, and it was the search to 3D manufacture Telic that began my journey into technology. I have since read a host of books and listened to thousands of hours of talks and lectures on topics such as Nanotechnology, Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Quantum Computing, Robotics, Synthetic Biology, Blockchain technology, and of course 3D Printing.
A few years ago, I became convinced that with the convergence of many of these technologies hitting the curve of Moore’s law, surely a product as simple as ours could be 3D Printed. Was I ever wrong! It seemed that even with the many advancements in 3D Printing, it was still not possible to 3D Print a simple shoe like ours. Not being one to take “can’t” as an option I intensified my search. I meet with some of the biggest 3D companies, like Stratasys, HP, and 3D Systems, innovative companies like Materialize and Carbon, and many independent 3D manufacturing companies. However, I kept getting the same answer, “You are about 10 years to early” Most of the bigger companies were stuck on finding uses only for material they already developed, and most of the start-ups were stuck on exclusive projects controlled by exclusive partnerships with larger companies. After hitting wall after wall, my luck finally changed. I was attending a conference in San Francisco and I fortuitously ran into a past acquaintance who just started a job working with a 3D Print technology start-up. To my surprise their innovative process was fast enough for production, and their materials cheap enough to be competitive with injection manufacturing. I learned an important lesson that day, if you are looking for disruptive innovation, it will be found with the companies that have nothing to lose. One week later Telic was a Beta test for this innovative group of entrepreneurs. You could simply say, “We got lucky”!
Telic is presently poised to offer one of the first ever fully customizable 100% 3D printed shoes in the world. Next year Telic will be selling customizable 3D printed footwear, and by the spring of 2020 we will offer our retailers the option to print Telic footwear right in their own stores. These 3D Printers take up less space than an inkjet printer, can be operated with the push of a button, and can print a pair of custom fitted sandals in under 30 minutes. They lease for $1,000/MO, receive automatically software updates, are guaranteed against defects, and when new versions are produced they are swapped out for free. Plans are in the works to build an App where Telic customers can scan their feet with their smart phones to get a perfect custom fit. The softness of the foot-bed, height of the arch, deepness of the heel cup, positioning of the toe post etc. is all customizable. Customers will be able to pick color combinations and eventually the only design limits will be the limits of one’s own creativity. After the shoes are digitized using the App, the shoes are purchased and sent to the nearest printer to be added to the queue. To finalize the experience the printers are fit with cameras allowing customers the ability to watch a live stream of their shoes being printed! Now that is a game changer!
Somewhere along this journey I realized that 3D printing is going to be able to accomplish a lot more than just custom print shoes. As I dug deeper, I found that many industries like hearing aids, braces, and jewelry were already being disrupted by 3D printing. Crazy as it sounds, human organs, electronics, guitars, clothing, pizzas, and even entire houses are also being 3D printed. I knew then that I had found my Massive Transformative Life Purpose, to help create abundance using this incredible technology.
BIQUITOUS is about finding ways to support and motivate the community of companies and individuals who are developing 3D Printing. Telic got lucky and found the right partner to make 3D printed footwear a reality, but in the future because of BIQUITOUS you won’t have to be lucky. There will be a marketplace of 3D related companies, individuals, products, and services to help businesses find other businesses, consumers find locally manufactured 3D products, and people find other people to custom make the things they need. Very soon anyone who wants to participate in the coming age of decentralized 3D manufacturing will be able to do so.
I believe technology can be a force for good, and through it we can solve the most challenging problems known to man. Because of the exponential growth in 3D printing and other related technologies, we will soon possess the ability to meet the needs of every human on the planet. Therein lies the real reason I want to be a part of this amazing community, because through it we can end scarcity and create “Abundance for everyone”.