I have been on a much-needed sabbatical for the month of June - and it’s been so great to recharge my batteries. It’s been a long time since I’ve taken so much time to relax and just see what each day brings. Make sure as you advance in your career that you build in time to recharge so you can keep ascending! I’ll have another announcement in my next newsletter - so stay tuned! Until then, have a great July 4th weekend!
My early exposure to ‘maker shops’ came in the form of laser-cut toast and party invitations. My friend Ali opened a maker studio in Cambridge and we got individual invitations that were intricate and beautiful. (Check out this Wired article to see how OKGo, toast & YouTube figured into the story.) While the shop didn’t stay open that long, it was a fun place to visit & tinker with expensive machines, wood and leather. It also got me exploring other types of ‘maker tools,’ namely 3D printers, another key item in many maker studios.
3D printing (aka additive manufacturing) is a process for making a physical object from a 3-dimensional digital model. The sheer range of physical objects that can be created in terms of size, shape and materials used is mind-boggling at this point.
For a brief period of time, all engineers and tinkerers that I knew wanted their own 3D printer for the home. Full stop. Not just available at a maker studio, they wanted access at home. However, many of the home kits fail or don’t produce the level of quality expected. We’ve definitely seen this consumer trend tail off - and most 3D printing efforts have focused on professional or enterprise usages.
I’ve seen a lot of growth in 3D printed housing for reasons of sustainability and affordability. I was first introduced to this concept via my friend Max, when Icon, a company he invested in, printed its first house in 24 hours at SXSW in 2018. (Max also linked to many additional articles if you’d like to learn more about 3D printing and the developing world.) Mighty Buildings is a startup also trying to address the housing shortage with tiny backyard houses. And you can also use 3D printing to create uniquely designed houses made out of dirt as well.
3D printing also has important applications in the medical field, the military, and space. Healthcare organizations can use 3D printers to print cells, biomaterials, and even entire organs. The global 3D medical devices market is predicted to reach $3.2 Billion by 2026. The military units of multiple countries use 3D printing technology to help short circuit supply chain issues and save on expenses, by manufacturing what they need from small parts to large bunkers in the field. Relativity Space is expanding its facilities to offer reusable rockets, printed in much less time with 3D printing technology.
And now, we can even print nature! A bit esoteric, but you can use wood waste to print new wood that mimics endangered wood, thereby saving forests of endangered wood species. And of course, there are 3D printed steaks and other similar food items entering the market as the demand for plant-based alternatives to meat increases.
Making the switch to a new job in tech? Let me help you find the tech job of your dreams as I've done for so many others: Check out my Coaching options here.
Stay in touch with your advocates and ‘weak work’ contacts to have success in your job search
I get a LOT of questions about how to best leverage one’s network in job searching. We’ve all heard the adage that ‘weak ties’ help you find jobs -- but it’s not quite true anymore. These days, you need to leverage both your strong advocates and your ‘weak work’ contacts to be successful in today’s job market.
Let’s define these two types of contacts.
- Strong advocates are individuals who know you well and can speak in specific detail about your work. These can be current or former managers, direct colleagues, or even those who have volunteered with you on a significant project.
- ‘Weak work’ contacts are individuals who know you and your work, but probably not very well. You may have only had a brief interaction with them, or they may be someone you met via a work-related networking event.
Why keep in touch with both types of contacts?
- Strong advocates are important as companies are always seeking references, and SAs can provide a strong reference. These individuals are also invested in your success, and can help you with in-depth advice that could help you make it through an interview process.
- ‘Weak work’ contacts are also important as they can let you know about roles at similar companies, often moving in similar circles as you do. Often, these are people who will become future colleagues again or future collaborators, so staying in touch can be useful for both of your careers.
How do you keep someone as an advocate or build a stronger bond with a ‘weak work’ contact? Stay in regular contact with them and show gratitude.
- Did you know that the vast majority of people who network during their job search never follow-up with anyone they networked with? Don’t let that be you!
If you're still in your job search process, send a quick 1-2 line update to just let your contacts know what’s happening. Especially if it’s been a few months, they will appreciate the quick note, updating them either about your status with their company or your general search. No real ask is included - just an update & a quick thanks for reading.
- Sometimes it might yield a spontaneous offer of help. But its purpose is to lay the groundwork for growing and maintaining this relationship - and to show it's not just a transactional interaction.
If you’ve received and/or accepted an offer, make sure you follow up with ALL the people you networked with, especially if they are in the company that gave you an offer.
- No one does this -- so you’ll stand out!
- Say thank you for their help, mentorship, guidance, regardless of the level of support they offered. Tell them if anything specific that they did was particularly helpful. If you didn’t accept an offer with their company (and chose to go elsewhere), still thank them!
- If they went above and beyond to help you, you could consider a gift (like a nice candle or flowers or a pen or a college-related item if you’re a recent grad). A nice thank you email or handwritten note are also well-received.
- If you are joining their organization, ask for a meeting to discuss tips on how to be successful within their organization. If you are going elsewhere, ask them for one tip on how to be successful when joining a new team. Either way, you’ll be building the relationship to show you value their mentorship outside of just the job search process.
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Bye for now,