When I was seven, our family got a computer. You don’t always recognize crystal-clear turning points in life, but that was one for me. Putting my child-sized hands on the keyboard, learning that I could make this powerful machine work for me — it felt like magic. Even better than magic, because unlike with a magic trick, I could see how it worked. And as I always say, that changed my life.
When we had our own kids, we thought a lot about how to give them that same feeling of empowerment. One of my core beliefs is that understanding technology can make kids more confident, capable, and, yes, happier. Robot Turtles, my board game for learning the basics of computer programming, came out of desire to demystify technology for my kids — and every other kid who plays it.
Glowforge came out of the same impulse: to take a potent but inaccessible technology and bring it within reach of everyone. Especially kids.
That’s why one of my favorite things is seeing Glowforge in classrooms. I love seeing young eyes light up when kids first press that glowing white button, and the laser starts doing exactly what they told it to do. They watch intently, and when it’s finished they’ve created something that didn’t exist in the world just minutes before.
It really is magic. And they can’t wait to do it again.
Recently I got to visit Redwood High School in California. It’s an alternative school that focuses on small class sizes and individual instruction, especially for students who may have had challenges elsewhere. It’s a very special school, made more special to me by one of the staff there: my “little cousin” Kenny is the principal. So I used that as an excuse to drop by and help them set up their new Glowforge.
(Before and after - that’s me on the far left!)
I got to tour the school and learn more about the amazing work they’re doing with students, truly giving them the tools to shape their futures. I got to see faces light up alongside the laser. And I got to see the potential unlock when the lid came open and that first print came out. Now, they’re going to learn to make things, not just buy them.
One of my proudest achievements is that Glowforge is now in more than 3000 schools around the country. In schools like Redwood, every day, students are having amazing experiences, and their numbers are growing — we’re sending hundreds more printers out to schools this month.
I think about what Patrick at the Magellan school, who already had his Glowforge integrated into the curriculum, told us: “Glowforge has transformed how we approach making and innovation with even our youngest students. It’s been magical having this machine. We keep our Glowforge on a low table, so that even the youngest students can walk up to it and open the lid. It’s become a regular part of the school day.”
That’s me when I was seven, walking up to a machine I didn’t know anything about, and beginning the learning journey that would change my life. Learning how to use magic.
I’m still using it today, and passing it on to as many people as we can. Thank you for being part of that.
This month we’re making it easier to release ownership of your Glowforge… if, for example, you’re donating it to a school after you upgrade! That can now be done without contacting customer support; you can find out more about it here.
We’ve also made it easier to change the email address for your Glowforge account. Our simple guide for doing that is here.
Finally, we’ve sold our last Glowforge Basic. We’ve had a great run with this design, learning a lot from all of you and continuing to advance over the years. But Pro has been so spectacularly popular, poor Basic dropped to just 5% of our sales. So we bid it farewell.
We’re on the last legs of the school year. The sun is finally out (we went to the beach this weekend!) and we’re gearing up for summer. We’ll be printing at home - and the kids’ new high school has a Glowforge in their robotics lab, so they’ll be printing there too. I hope you have the same, and a terrific month ahead!