In the future, will we get a utility bill for goo?

Every now and then on my daily drive from Seattle to Redmond I have a thought about technology that I feel I should capture as the basis for a future blog post. One of those thoughts is that I need a more simple way to record my ideas while I’m driving – it seems the solace of my 20 minute drive is akin to the shower for me – the canonical place for eureka moments.

Driving home last week I got thinking about something I heard from Jaron Lanier via a friend – the notion that in the future we’ll get a utility bill for “goo”. By goo Jaron is referring to the materials that are used by a 3D printer. It sounds a little “out there” but I think it makes a ton of sense and I explained as much in a post earlier this year titled Are Physibles the next download revolution? regarding my wish to print replacement parts for my Siemens fridge.

What really got me thinking in the car today though is the disruptiveness of the 3D printer to so many businesses and it led me to tweet what you see above. 

Tim O’Reilly was kind enough to re-tweet it though I’m sure I’m not the first person to make the observation that companies can learn from the decline of Kodak by looking at the disruptions that will fundamentally change their business. That’s what led me to observe that toy companies should embrace 3D printing now and get ahead of the game – maybe the next business for them to be in is providing me with a bill for goo, albeit cooler than my quick mockup here!