Observations


#1

On the day I first logged onto the forum, I subscribed to receive every post made and I read every single one. Hey….I’m retired…I have plenty of time! :relaxed:

I also have plenty to learn and am still eager to do that. I have watched the forum bloom, then die down a bit, then explode again…which is what it’s doing right now. Part of the recent explosion is due to more owners joining the forum, which is a very good thing. I cannot know some information like gender and age, so my observations are not based on a scientific study, but the forum seems to be comprised by the following demographics;

• Most owners are male
Most all the owners would seem to be between the ages of 30 and 50
A huge percentage of owners are educated in computer coding and/or development and have good experience with using vector software.
Most owners own and have experience with other types of machinery.
A vast majority are into woodworking

Although I am very computer and tech savvy and love new technology, if there were a “way far out left field” I would be in it.

I am female
I am 70
I am not educated in coding/dev. at all, but am attempting to learn some of the software
I have no other, nor have I used any other types of machinery
Have not done any woodworking.
I am beginning to feel a bit overwhelmed by all of this. My creative ambitions have been visual rather than creating with my hands

These are not complaints, merely observations…which still leaves me very excited to begin this new adventure with Glowforge. I appreciate being able to ‘expound’ here on the forum. There’s only one way…up and forward!


#2

I am sure the team will appreciate the feedback from members that are outside their core audience. Having a different point of view will allow you to explore and look at things differently than most. Diversity is good!


#3

I think the best part of your presence in the forum is the different point of view you bring. I know reading through I have seen some of you posts and gone hmmm I never thought about it like that. Thanks for being here and keep up the great work!


#4

Welcome to the ‘maker movement’, where everybody helps each other figure these things out…


#5

AMAZING ATTITUDE! I love it!!!


#6

You also are probably getting a skewed demographic on the forum. Those that are posting regularly likely fit the demographic you have listed. But many, many people are just looking and learning. If you look at the number of members, over 500 owners joined the forum in the past week alone.


#7

As @rpegg says, the forum self selects for people who 1. have enough time in front of a keyboard to post, and 2. are comfortable with online discussion when there are any number of reasons to avoid it, and technology is not the only one.

I think the Glowforge initial purchasers may also skew more towards the demographic you describe for a few reasons:

  1. They need to have enough disposable income to take a risk on an unproven product (not many professional fine artists of my acquaintance can pony up >$2,000 in cash).
  2. They could ONLY have learned about it online or at makerfaire.
  3. They must be at least sufficiently comfortable with CAD or graphic design software to think it will be a benefit.

As time goes on you may see more and more folks with different backgrounds buying Glowforges and joining the forum. To be honest I am thrilled and surprised at the wide range of knowledge and experiences here already (and you are part of that)!
I expect it to only get more interesting. :+1:

(And you might be surprised at how many of us are off the far end of your age range…)


#8

Thanks @Xabbess and @rpegg. I am very much like Xabbess. I am not a designer, in the computer industry/a coder, or in fabrication. I am a Communication (Speech) teacher at a community college.

Also, like Xabbess, I am eager to learn and have had much success in teaching myself new things over the years. On a teacher’s salary, I cannot always afford to hire help for home improvement. Over the past 15 years I’ve learned to plumb, drywall, fix basic electrical (change outlets, rewire lamps), and build. I’ve built a 6 foot deck, a 100 foot long fence, and multiple pergolas/patio covers. (Thank you Internet and a teacher’s schedule that allows for summers off.) I tend to stick-to-it, and I do not easily give up on or walk away from a project. In education, they call it “grit.”

I too read every single thread and post on the Discussion Board (DB), but I rarely post. I check to see if my questions have been answered on the DB before I post a question (they usually have been). While I have much to learn, I don’t feel like I’ve had much to add at this point. I wonder how many others are lurking on the DB like me :grin:?

For now, the DB seems to be getting a bit overwhelming. There is so much information I need, but it seems to be so wide spread. I’ve been flagging posts to return to later, and can search out information, but I am hoping that eventually we’ll all be able to construct a single, easy to access/read, PDF that offers the basics (in categories like working with “paper,” “wood,” “acryllic;” using “2D” and “3D” software; “building 3D printed objects;” and things to avoid).

I really enjoy reading all that is posted, and I’ve really learned much about lasers, 2D/3D software, and designing. A big thanks to all who post, help, inspire, motivate, and teach on this DB.

I began reading about the GF months before the campaign began. And, I was able to purchase a GF around the 1000-2000 mark. I hope I am ready to use the GF by the time it arrives.

Whew, this post is long enough. Back to lurking.


#9

I am certain my viewpoint is skewed…for the very reasons you mentioned. I may be updating my ‘observations’ at a later time. It’s amazing how many more people have showed up on here. Thank you


#10

(And you might be surprised at how many of us are off the far end of your age range…)

I might be…but probably not. :relaxed:

I liked reading all the reasons you came up with as to why many people fell into the list I made. They all made perfect sense and I hadn’t thought along those lines. As I noted, it certainly wasn’t a scientific study on my part. As I mentioned…I have lots of time on my hands to read and post here. I will continue to be interested in the wide variety of owners that come about. Thanks for your input.


#11

@rebecca and @Xabbess: The best thing you guys can provide (and any lurkers who also read and feel they have nothing to contribute) is to ask absolutely any question the instant it pops into your head. Filters off ladies!

My background is very book deep. I know tons of things, but often don’t know that I know them, because I learned in abstract. I frequently have “Ah-ha!” moments where something I am struggling with presents itself in just the right way to trigger obscure things I learned years ago, and I realize that I actually do know precisely what to do.

Rambling summarized: Asking questions of “the experts” helps them to focus their attention on a specific direction and is often helpful not just to you and other random readers, but to the expert as well. Heck, over half of what I ever say/present/post is information I am not sure of, and am trying to place in front of other people with knowledge to confirm or refute for me (I do try to be very clear when I am uncertain of something though).

So, while you may not have much knowledge and experience to contribute, the questions and confusions are a completely valid and valuable contribution.


#12

I think @jkopel nailed it with his reasoning. That being said, there is a whole lot more diversity here than in many of my other hobbies. I am excited to see so many different types of people and that will only benefit us all moving forward.

It would be interesting to have a pole to get some real stats. I am sure your observations would likely prove to be the majority but I still find it refreshing to see so many unique people here.

I suspect once the Glowforge is out in the wild and especially if/when they start advertising in channels that are more mainstream we will see somewhat of a change. My wife is also very excited about the arrival of the Glowforge and has lots of teacher plans for it. It is one of a very small number of tech/tool purchases I have made that I will have to share with her, of which I am very happy!

I have two young girls and I have made it my mission to expose them to all sorts of experiences regardless of any gender norms. They both have a good time designing and printing on our 3D printer, they both fly with me, have helped with construction of my airplanes, we ride ATVs as a family and have no fear of getting dirty. They are also very happy putting on fashion shows and love pink…


#13

I think what’s so amazing about Glowforge is that it’s allowing for this crazy mix up of people from all kinds of backgrounds and skill sets! Honestly, I was a total forums lurker before Glowforge partly because some of the boards were so homogenized or filled with super-experts that I didn’t want to sound stupid :stuck_out_tongue: Now I just don’t care haha, but also with the range of backgrounds on Glowforge’s forums everyone is bringing something new and I love it.

Also, love your outlook @chevalier_jeanpaul- who says you can’t love pink AND making airplanes? Not me!


#14

Another one here! Except @xabbess has about 10 years on me. I am a retired pharmaceutical research chemist who specialized in process development. Part of that work involved fabricating equipment that was needed but didn’t exist, out of Swagelock fittings, stainless steel tubing, and heat tape or whatever we could scrounge from the storeroom. What an ego boost when it actually worked! Maybe that’s why the Glowforge appeals to me–I’ve always enjoyed creating new things out of pieces and parts.

I do have to say that I really appreciate the willingness of the more experienced members to patiently answer some of my questions that I later realized were pretty silly!


#15

Retired, male and 60. Spent my career as a CPA, so things like a GF become a ground up learning experience. I’m sure it’s the same for many here. I think the driver for learning here will be having a “product” goal. You want to make a tea candle holder or an acrylic nameplate, OK, how do I do that becomes the problem. Then, you just dig in and solve the problem. Everyone learns differently, but I think its easier to gain the required knowledge (assuming its not acquired already) in this area by having problem that requires solving or a thing you want to make rather than to treat it as an intellectual learning exercise with no “I built this thing” reward at the end of the tunnel. I had to learn some CAD/CAM over the past year to get ready for my Shapeoko 3 CNC machine. I started with SketchUp, then to SolidWorks, then to Cubify Invent and finally to Fusion 360. Each got me to a better place than the one before it. But, it was because I had a problem I wanted to solve that the CNC machine could get done. in the end, I barely remember the learning experience compared to the product that solved the problem. And now, I am proficient enough with fusion 360 to solve any problems I can foresee. I find it all pretty cool.

I guess all that to say that once you become fixated on a type of thing you want to see come out of your GF, the learning that gets you there will just be a byproduct of it all. And what you can’t figure out, you can get direction on from members here. Lots of knowledge hanging out in this place.


#16

Well said!


#17

Xabbess, we are a husband/wife team (husband mid 40s, wife age 29 for several years now😉)and when reading your posts, we have found your insights and approach to the Glowforge interesting and insightful. Thank you! Your presence here in the community is much appreciated.


#18

Lest there be any doubt… Glowforge is for @Xabbess. Glowforge is for @rebecca. Glowforge is for @cynd11, and @steph_, and @Maiman. Glowforge is for @jkopel and @rpegg and @Mike13 and @markwarfel and everyone else in this thread, and many more. The exciting thing for me about what we’re building is not tools for toolmakers; it’s tools for creators.

Welcome everyone, and thank you for being a part of this amazing community.


#19

By the time I get done ‘liking’ all you guys (which I truly do)…I might get to just become a ‘regular’ on here. :smile:


#20

Congratulations Xabbess; you are now. And might I add well deserved.