10 Questions With... Harris Kenny01 August 2016
At the Eastman Innovation Lab we look to our fellow design and materials nerds for inspiration, community, and expertise. In order to get to know them and their projects better, we created a column called Ten Questions With…
Harris Kenny is the Vice President of Marketing for Aleph Objects, Inc., makers of the LulzBot line of desktop 3D printers. Frustrated by the status quo, Aleph Objects, Inc. began with the goal to allow people the freedom they need to get the job done -- specifically, the job of conceiving, creating, and manufacturing prototypes and projects. Built upon the philosophy of freedom, Aleph Objects, Inc., the parent company of LulzBot and based in Loveland, Colorado, develops and manufactures a line of open desktop 3D printers.
What is your program know for?
Aleph Objects, Inc. is known for its commitment to advancing Free Software, Libre Innovation, and Open Source Hardware. The company runs on Free/Libre/Open Source tools to build products that reflect these values, primarily the award-winning LulzBot line of desktop 3D printers. LulzBot 3D printers are famously reliable and versatile, printing in dozens of different materials including Eastman Amphora copolyesters.
What is the next project or product that you would be most excited to explore?
Desktop 3D printing has democratized the process of prototyping and manufacturing and I am fortunate to have a front seat in seeing what ideas our community is bringing to life. Projects interesting me lately include automated mobile device testing robots, brain-computer interfaces, EMG-enabled prosthetics, and underwater telerobotic vehicles.
What are themes that you find yourself addressing over and over again?
Our company is focused on developing tools that respect the user, while the user has the right and access to how it all works, it is also incumbent on our team to develop a UI/UX that advances accessibility and ease of use.
How do #materialsmatter to you?
People using 3D printers range from designers and engineers to hackers and students, so there is a diverse market with many different needs. Each material unlocks new possibilities for the user and quality materials are needed to help our community bring their ideas to life.
Who is doing work that you find inspiring?
Projects and products that advance collaboration and accessibility inspire me. Libre Office 5 and Blender are two projects that continue to make great strides in these areas, one newer project that interests me is PatternFly (an open interface project).
What advice would you give to yourself 10 years ago?
I would have encouraged myself to continue drawing and sketching. I enjoyed studio art in high school but lost that hobby over time, it's something I would love to pick back up and hope to soon.
What technology gets you excited?
Virtual and augmented reality are exciting technologies that overlap with 3D modeling and printing in exciting ways. There are more ways than ever to understand and improve the world we live in.
What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced and how did you deal with it?
Rapid growth for our company means that there is always something to work on. It is a challenge to understand the right priorities on any given day. Our refusal to compromise on respecting user freedom and providing an excellent experience helps focus decision-making, but prioritizing things remains a challenge nonetheless .
What’s something you want to get better at?
Communication is vital in Free Software and Open Source Hardware communities. I am always working to improve how we communicate to stakeholders through newsletters, documentation, brochures, tutorials, source file documentation, and more.
What’s your go-to reference book?
Coffee or tea? Coffee (Americano)
Droid or OS? Android (OmniROM)
Kindle or book? Book (paperback)
Sketch or build? Both!
What are you reading right now? "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress" by Robert Heinlein