Amazon.com, Inc. (AMZN), 3D Systems Corporation (DDD): A Taste of Things to Come

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We talk with author and media theorist Douglas Rushkoff, who has published 10 books on media, culture, and technology. He joins us to discuss his most recent work, “Present Shock”, about living in today’s immediate, always-on world.

What lies ahead for 3-D printing? In this video segment Rushkoff lays out two possible paths as we begin to adopt and adapt to these precursors of decentralized manufacturing. Our guest advises creating new, hybrid investment models that focus on real-time, local strategies — an approach that is well within reach for the individual investor.

A full transcript follows the video.

With the European debt crisis and slowing growth in China many investors are worried about heady growth going forward, but fear not, because the future is made in America. Domestic manufacturing is poised to once again become the investment driver of the world, and all because of one disruptive technology. You can uncover the three companies that will become the American Steel of tomorrow in The Motley Fool’s new free report. Just click here to read more.

Video: Douglas Rushkoff Interview – Part 10/11

Brendan Byrnes: I wanted to ask you about 3-D printing, because when I was reading through your book it struck me that, in a lot of ways, 3-D printing is kind of the tangible way of living in the present.

How do you view 3-D printing, going forward? Do you think this is going to take off? A lot of people are saying this could be bigger than the Internet. What do you think about 3-D printing?

Douglas Rushkoff: 3-D printing is a taste of things to come. It may be a baby, baby taste. It may be to local decentralized manufacturing what the typewriter is to the Internet because right now we’re talking mostly about plastic and metal, and where do you get the plastic, and how does it work? But it helps people envision decentralized manufacturing and production.

It will end up going one of two ways. Either people are going to get a free 3D printer from Jeff Bezos — he’s going to stick it in your garage and you’re going to be able to use it as long as you’re buying your plans and printouts from Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) – or it’s going to be some kind of MakerBot, open source thing that will really flip stuff open.

Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN)

The real question, though, is what ends up going in the printer? It’s the cartridges. What are we using? If it’s some high-cost, bizarre polymer that requires Africans to dig it out of a slave cave and then ship it over here, then you don’t really change anything.

Byrnes: Yeah. It’s definitely going to be interesting to watch. You see Stratasys, Ltd. (NASDAQ:SSYS) and 3D Systems Corporation (NYSE:DDD) stock just going straight up.

Rushkoff: It is. It’s interesting, but there are people that are buying 3D because it’s the only stock they can buy.

Byrnes: Exactly.

Rushkoff: Nothing against NASDAQ, of course, but once something’s on the public exchange it’s kind of over. It’s kind of already happened. They’re already done their exit. They’ve already left.

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