Tomorrow is good.
In a weekly column, alternately written by Lucien Engelen, Maarten Steinbuch, Carlo van de Weijer and Daan Kersten, E52 tries to find out what the future will look like. All four contributors are – in addition to their ‘normal’ groundbreaking work – linked to SingularityU The Netherlands, the organization that focuses on spreading knowledge about technologies that can provide solutions to the problems of our time. This Sunday, it’s Daan Kersten‘s turn.
By Daan Kersten
I write this column overlooking the Pacific in Venice Beach and feel chased by Bart who asks me for the text. Since this wonderful place on earth is lagging 9 hours behind Eindhoven, I imagine myself in the luxury of time. It’s ten degrees warmer than in Eindhoven and the weather forecast for tomorrow is even better.
The expansion of our fast growing company in the United States brings me in California. With its extensive aeronautical and especially space cluster, Los Angeles is the place where we are challenged to continue scaling our 3D metal printing technology. So the rocket engines of tomorrow will become better and cheaper.The exploration of new planets and organizing space travel is approaching fast and startups with great ambitions are all around us, following the example of inspiring entrepreneurs like Elon Musk of SpaceX – about whom I wrote before – and Jeff Bezos of Amazon.
In the car with our future business partner, he asked me about my ambitions for the future of our company. I replied that we want to be the global leader in the field of industrial metal 3D printing. That was not the answer he was looking for. He wanted to know to what value we would want to grow our company. “No idea,” I said, because we are not really aiming at that kind of value. We mainly want to serve our customers best and by doing so grow and build a flourishing business. Both my co-founder Jonas and I come from a family business. That might be one of the reasons that we are more focused on the long term. Also, this is likely a more European style of doing business. How different is it in the US where you start a company to sell it, and success is defined in terms of business valuation.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if our company could grow into a beautiful industrial company that offers an inspiring work-environment for many talented young and older people? And wouldn’t it be super cool if Jonas’ and my children could take over the baton one day, if they would have the ambition and abilities? Isn’t continuously building a business for the next generation a much loftier ambition than quickly selling your shares and accidentally charging your bank account?
Gazing over the Pacific waves, Eindhoven lures again – even despite the beautiful weather, the palm trees and nice temperature. I will see my children and can resume the work with our rapidly growing team, in order to fulfil our long-term ambitions. With our exponential technology, we will make tomorrow better; many many tomorrows hopefully.