QOTD from Glowforge: What do you do with your time (professionally and/or personally)?

Hey folks-

Tony here, founder & head of product at Glowforge.

We’ve got a lot of work to do in the coming months (and years!). I’m going to post occasional questions to the forums and would love it if you could take a sec to answer-- it helps us design and prioritize features, and it’s way more motivating to be building/improving products for real humans than hypothetical ones. When I ask a question, i’ll always be the first to answer it to get the ball rolling. So here goes!

Question: What do you do with your time (professionally and/or personally)?

My answer:
Professionally-- I’m a founder, designer, and head of product at Glowforge, with most of my focus on the user experience on the software side. I’ve almost always been a designer. At first, it was for fun-- I graduated with a Psychology Degree and was working in a bookstore in Anchorage Alaska, but did design on the side. When the internet happened, I was the one of the rare geek/designer hybrids and fell into web design. Since then, I’ve started a few companies (two of which are still growing today), but have always stayed away from pure management so I could keep my hands/brains where the fun is.

Personally, I’m a husband (my wife works at a STEM education non-profit), a woodworker (I’ve made lots of furniture and my wife and I remodeled our house), a cook, and a traveler. We live in West Seattle where we have a few chickens (eggs!), 80,000 bees (honey!), and one ridiculous dog.

Your turn! :smile:


Professionally: I am in-charge of all the IT at a private primary school in the UK, this is “part time” so I have a few hours a week+normal free time to work on other things. I am an experienced solo 2D games designer but have found this hard to work on in my spare time(very time consuming and requires some skills set I can’t possibly achieve! So working with others would help). I used to work part-time freelance design (websites and print media) and am very excited to bring my 2d design experience(and I have dabbled in 3d at University, I always sucked at texturing!) to the physical world with GF. I want to bring my GF into the school to see what the kids can do, plus I run a club at the school(games design) and would like to offer a physical board game design club or some other making based club.

Personally: I am betrothed to a lovely Girl (who wasn’t too pleased about me ordering such a pricey product, well she sees it as that!), she doesn’t like the word fiancée… We both love to play games (both board games and video games), Catan comes to mind :wink: we have 4 dwarf hamsters that didn’t get along so we now have 4 cages… We go to the cinema regularly, looking forward to seeing James bond and Star Wars this year!


Hey Tony,

Professionally - Based in Scotland, UK. For the last 25 years I have been an Engineer in the semiconductors industry, working with cutting edge technology. I fell into management role which while stressful sometimes was enjoyable & expanded my skillset. I was lucky enough to travel extensively with my job, USA, Europe & Asia & even lucky enough to have lived abroad for 10 years. Recently made redundant & you now have a chunk of my package :wink:

Personally - I am a husband, a father & very recently became a grandfather :slight_smile: I enjoy DIY(home improvements) & get restless when I finish a large project, wondering what I can get up to next. I have 2 daft dogs…both rescue dogs, not pedigree but very loving. The last 2 years has been tough for my family, I have had a serious illness to contended with, 2 major operations one of which I am still recovering from. Not currently well enough to work or travel but getting there slowly.

Glowforge will allow me to start a business that I can work from home…so make it good ;

1 Like

I spent 20+ years in IT doing everything from writing computer games to Insurance systems.

10 years ago I had a serious illness and downsized work and now run a wargaming company selling metal soldiers and paint.

I am looking at using GF to help me do everything from designing and producing masters for 54mm vehicles, etc to producing laser cut card inserts with holes for tying painted Toy Soldiers into boxes.

1 Like


After leaving teaching I have been involved in the IRL Games Industry as an Events Manager (ran Magic: The Gathering Grand Prix in Europe) and Organised Play Manager (Both Pokémon and Yu-Gi-Oh! in UK). My company, Gordian Knot Games, is now looking to develop it’s own games as well as open a store. When I saw the Glowforge, we just felt that having one of these on site and being able to manufacture personalised products for our store customers, was a great way to bolster the sense of community. Plus we had a ton of cool ideas of how to use this to make supporting products.
Annoyingly I had no business in Seattle around the time of your open day (All the good TCG manufacturers are based in Seattle) and couldn’t justify the trip :frowning:

I am one of the UKs legion of NFL fans however I support Washington and Jacksonville so this is probably not something to be proud of. Other than that my business is my hobby as I just love board games and TCGs.

Professionally: I have worked in IT for 20+ years from PC technician to network administrator to Professional Services manager for an IT services company. I have always designed, like you, first as a hobby and then growing into a side job. I have designed a number of websites, business cards, etc. but also design t-shirts, bumper stickers, and other items mostly New England and wildlife-themed. A year ago, I purchased a wide-format vinyl printer/cutter for my own use but have now taken on a lot of decal, heat transfer, and banner printing for others. Over the last few years, design and production has been a growing part of my income stream as IT work has slowed for me.

Personally: My wife & I just recently celebrated our 10th anniversary. We enjoy hiking, biking, cross-country skiing, and anything else that gets us out in the woods and mountains. My wife is happy for me for my purchase of the GF (mostly because my business paid and not the family). She is looking forward to me making her some jewelry. I also have a 24" x 24" CNC router that I bought primarily for projects around the house and gifts with hopes of turning into a money maker. I haven’t focused on the business side of the CNC router much yet. I’m a member of the local Lions Club (and, boy, our members are going to have some great looking name badges next summer once my GF arrives).

I hoped to add a laser engraver/cutter to my business probably in 6 to 8 years but, once I learned about the GF, I jumped at the chance of adding this as another tool to express my creativity.

I do my design work on a PC primarily using CorelDraw. I have done a little 3D work in SketchUp. I use Vectric Aspire for my CNC work.

Hi Tony,

Professionally: I am currently a senior software engineer with Adobe. Previously, I served in the US Air Force (20 yrs) as a metrologist (calibration, electrical engineering, QE, etc). Before the Air Force, I worked as a Tool & Die maker.

Personally: I have lived in several places around the world (17 of my 20 years in the Air Force were overseas). I’ve had many interests and hobbies over the years, including woodworking, building computers, book binding, and linguistics.

Professionally, I do two things. I run a screenprinting shop that works with artists all over the world. We also dabble in prints and projects ranging from board games to installations. My ‘day job’ is software QA. A boring job, but someone has to do it. At least it is with a Fortune 500 so I get those ‘technology company perks’.

Either way, I like the balance that I get between having these two jobs. One I get complete and total creativity control and chaos, while the other provides a very one-path drive to quality and spec alignment. It’s pretty much opposites, but gives me a good view of everything.

Professionally and personally are the same thing for me right now since school takes up 110% of my time. I study theater Design and Technology in Orlando Florida. When i do get to work i normally build something for a “wizard or a mouse or a whale” if you know what i mean…

Hi Tony,
Nice post. This being a somewhat limited community scope makes it a bit easier for people to share I guess.

I am an architect. The bricks & mortar type. Lived and practiced in Dublin, Ireland for 12 years and now back in my native South Africa still picking up the pieces after the recession of 2008. We have two small companies: Duality Architects and Duality Design. Architecture is my passion but I have always had a love for product design as well. Duality Design aims to solve random problems that we identify, using lateral design thinking - we only play where we can innovate. We fund the development of our own projects as much as possible - our first one is the GPU Turbine (www.pixelredemption.com). There are some very interesting ones on the way…

I am married and we have 2 lovely little girls. My eldest is 7 and she will be learning to design and draw for laser cutter projects soon… And then teach her sister.

1 Like

Professionally (or “professionally”) - I’ve work as an editor in reality TV for ~5yrs. Before that I was in the shirt & tie world working as a pseudo-graphic designer/marketing guy for an industrial manufacturing company.

Personally - I’m a Wisconsin > Hollywood transplant, having moved here go go to film school in '09 and now live in Venice with my bad-influence wife (a UX designer) who encouraged me to buy the Glowforge to compliment my XCarve CNC as I work on starting a small biz. I’m an avid reefkeeper (saltwater aquariums with live coral), we have two dogs, my wife came with 2 cats, and we have a baby girl due in February.

Professionally: I WAS a CA(CPA) for 30 + years and the CFO of a commercial real estate development/management group of companies for the last 25 of those years. Retired 2011. Among other things, I now make pickups for electric guitars. I designed the CNC guitar pickup winder I use to make the pickups, including fabrication all the hardware, and design and coding of the application to run in PC in VB.NET (all from the ground up). Play a lot with the toys in my shop which includes, a full-on non-CNC milling machine with 3 axis DRO and x-axis power feed plus the new Shapeoko 3 CNC router. All fun stuff AND I still have all my fingers (touch wood).

Personally: Happily married 38 years now. My wife still works. We spend a significant amount of time at the cottage with the pup (the replacement for our 2 grown children). In the water every day when there (OK, when the water is warm and actually water not ice). Lots of fishing, lots of paddling and a good enough amount of time on the customized cruiser style bike.

To this point, life has been good. . .

1 Like

Hi Tony,

Good idea!

Professionally: I’m a freelance software developer and cloud architect. Started my own business about 10 years ago and have a small and loyal set of clients that I love working for.

Personally: I’m a husband and father of two boys, 7 & 11. I spend as much time with my kids as possible, coaching their baseball teams, working on fun art & robotics projects, and playing lots of tabletop games (we’ve become board game addicts). The Glowforge is going to fit right into our art and science projects, we’ve already got a list of lasercut projects a mile long!

Im a UX developer/software developer during the day, and by night im a prop maker and all around curious hobbyist.

I was the CTO of a tech based real estate startup for a number of years, and have moved into remote contract UX/SW dev so I can better manage my time (and location!).

I love making things, and the more fields of interest that are used to create them, the better. If I can work on a project where I craft the physical form of the object, create the electronics, and write software to control them, Im happy. In an industry (prop making) where there is a heavy concentration on the aesthetic, it is usually fairly shallow on the functional side, and that is where I like to spend a bit more of my time. Make it look good, but make it do cool things too!


Hi Tony,

I’m a laboratory Service Engineer in the Oil and Gas business in the UK but I have a degree in Forensics and a background in analytical chemistry. My last job was I in medical devices where I managed product but I spent lots of time in R&D and found I loved fixing things.

I’ve always been into design, graphics and computing. I helped my wife build and brand her small business Humble and Maker which started out making craft kits and now also makes 3D printed jewellery combining printed parts with fabrics. I also help out friends with website, logo and product design on the side. I

Personally: I’m a husband and a big kid. I love to travel, cook and eat. I love computer games but I’m trying to wean myself off them for a bit and get more creative in my free time!

I like this tread a lot, I always find it interesting to get more of the back story. I am finding it interesting how many software/IT types have pre-ordered. I would have expected more from the art crowd. This topic is new, so maybe with time the demographic will shift some, or maybe not?

Professionally: I am a graphic artist, specializing in 3D renderings/animations/simulations for the civil engineering industry. I also have a significant background in CADD. My primary day to day tools are the AutoDesk and Adobe suites.

Personally: My wife is also a STEM (actually STEAM) educator. We have two girls, elementary and middle school age, both trying their hand at acting. My primary hobby (of many) is aviation. I have built two experimental aircraft, have a private pilots license for single engine and glider as well as a hang glider rating. I also have interests in photography, welding/metalworking , woodworking, 3D printing, electronics/technology, gardening/food…too many other areas to mention. Here is a link to my blog: google.com/+NewMexPilotJPC

There is a lot of excitement in our house for the Glowforge. My wife will be using it for classroom related projects as well as arts and crafts. My oldest child is very into fashion and is following the uses for fabrics and jewelry. My youngest child’s eyes almost popped out when she saw the dollhouse in the product video. Both of them picked up TinkerCAD quickly and have fun with the 3D Printer. My father loves technology and woodworking, this will be a great tool for his projects. For me, it’s all about turning my digital designs into reality. I have a Printrbot 3D printer and I love seeing my digital models become physical. The Glowforge will open up a whole new world of possibilities…

1 Like

Hi @Tony,
Professional: I am a physician here at Harvard Medical School, with 30% of my time clinically as a hospitalist, and 70% of my time I am the chief information architect for clinical informatics. I spend a lot of my time writing enterprise level applications, but part of my passion is device development. I do a lot of making personally, and this is building up my home makerspace. We are starting up an innovation center for doing this, and even though I have a background in industrial control systems, decided that being able to play with laser cutters, 3D printers, etc at home would be fun as well.

Personally: Married to a veterinarian whose hospital is next to mine. We have 2 kids one is in college planning on being a bench researcher and the other is still deciding, although probably aerospace of some kind.

Hi @Tony,

Professionally, a retired engineering professor at Univ of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, but I still teach there occasionally when they need extra help (which has been every semester since 2011!).

Personally, married with three grown kids, two of which are still in grad school getting higher degrees.

Professionally, I split my time between an IT day job and a custom guitar building evening/weekend business. :smile:

Personally, I am married to a wonderful wife (who is as interested in the Glowforge as I am) and I’m a relatively new father of a very active baby boy. I play music, which dovetails nicely with the lutherie bit. :wink:

Hi @Tony,

Professionally Im a Digital Brand Specialist by trade but my background is in Design and Digital Media (code/video/graphics). For my day job I work with Brands and show them how the should act and spend their money digitally - centrally keeping all the departments on the same page and singing from the same hymn sheet. In my free time I like to tinker and i like to play with leather.

I don’t actually get to make stuff myself these days professionally so after work and at weekends it nice to relax and physically make something. This is usually in leather these days but also involves carpentry, DIY or Arduinos.