Nora Toure: 8 years of 3D printing
After 8 years by our side, Nora Toure, our General Manager in the US, and founder of Women in 3D printing, is leaving to start another adventure. From now on, Nicolas Mathian, our European Sales Director, becomes our new General Manager for the US.
During these 8 years, Nora saw the 3D printing market drastically change. How does she see the additive manufacturing world? And Sculpteo’s unique culture? She shared her views with us.
8 years of 3D printing
Why did you choose to work in 3D printing?
I joined Sculpteo, and the 3D Printing industry, late 2010. At the time, I had, of course (especially coming from a background in Law and Business Management), no clue about what 3D Printing was. I had a choice between a few options for my internship – I was wrapping my mind around the options and it didn’t look that good for the 3D Printing one! But when Clement (our CEO) made me come into the office for the 2nd part of the interview, I got to see an actual 3D printer. That’s all it took for me to sign!
How did the world of 3D printing look like 8 years ago?
From my perspective, nothing like today’s! As I had to learn all I could about 3D Printing, we also had to continuously teach potential users about it too!
Not only did we need to figure out who our customer-base was, we also had to teach them what 3D Printing was and then convince them they needed it.
Having mainstream media shouting that “anything is doable with 3D printing!” wasn’t always helping either…
What has changed?
I think it all really shifted from being consumer-focused to industry-application focused in 2012, and with that came the emergence of an actual Additive Manufacturing “industry”, whereas before we became applications-focused (“we” as in all of us working in 3D Printing, not only Sculpteo), this wasn’t an industry.
Becoming an industry means we are starting to see clusters and organizations emerging, and also more companies working together figuring out larger “general questions” that would benefit other companies as well.
We also see the technology being adopted by more “outsider” industries, which is bringing in an entire new scope of potential applications. We are seeing 3D Printing being adopted by end users the same way AI, VR, and AR are being thought and viewed: as technological tools to other industries.
Do you think you could have foreseen these changes?
Not as fast as they are actually happening! Less than 8 years ago, when I would represent Sculpteo at a major event, people were still asking me “what is 3D Printing?”, even though the technology had been around for 30 years already.
In less than 8 years, we went from “What is 3D Printing” to “What material do you recommend for a portable solar panel?
How do you think the world of 3D printing will look like in 8 years?
I would say “Sky is the limit”, but that’s not even true for 3D Printing!
Which project struck you the most in 3D printing during these 8 years?
There are so many great projects we worked on! Being on the Sales / Business Dev. side of things, I actually get to see almost all of the cool things our customers are doing. Too bad I can’t talk about them!
The projects I specifically loved working on were projects that didn’t seem to be big wins at first and turned out being production series. I like working with customers, understanding their needs and then help them understand the technology and how it can help them in their more global goal. This is how we worked with Audioquest, printing the double honeycomb structured piece for the NightHawk headset.
I also particularly appreciated working on the BtoBtoC side and working on the Staples’ 3D Printing offer.
8 years at Sculpteo
How was Sculpteo when you arrived 4 years ago?
I joined a team of 7-ish, almost all engineers working on the core added value of Sculpteo’s service: its software. Building our own software, in addition to having the printers in house early on, was key in being able to deliver a reliable, consistent and fast service globally. In terms of values: we are all dedicated, passionate about the technology and keep the customer always at the center of everything we do.
What has changed?
We are now about 60 globally (US and France), and I am glad to see that even though we scaled up, we are still true to our core values, especially about keeping the customer at the center of all of our decisions at all time.
We improved our offer over the years of course, and now are offering, in addition to the core service bureau: fabpilot software as well as Sculpteo Studio for the engineering service offering. It was exciting to see those offers coming up and the decision-making process from the inside.
What do you think Sculpteo brought you?
I grew up with Sculpteo. I joined the team as an intern, and end up General Manager of the US office. Until very recently and starting my own adventure with Women in 3D Printing, everything I knew and did in this industry was thanks to Sculpteo.
I can’t actually thank Clement and Marine enough for the support and trust they gave me on numerous occasions: when they flew me to San Francisco in 2013, and then when I started and grew Women in 3D Printing late 2014.
Your best memory?
I have so many good memories with this team, from road trips to trade shows, first speeches preparation with our management team, celebrating customers success, and team building events.
It’s almost impossible to pick one, but if I really have to, I’d say having our management trusting me with the USA business and flying me to the SF Bay Area building the business opportunities would come first.
One last word?
It has been an AMAZING almost 8-year journey working alongside this team!