Entrepreneurs need lots of data about their desired customers before they build a product. Chris Anderson, CEO of 3D Robotics and progenitor of the modern "do it yourself" (DIY) drone trend, understood this well: Before founding his drone company, Anderson went about figuring out exactly what the world wanted.

Anderson created, a forum where amateur tinkerers and engineers trade tips on how to make all kinds of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). The forum has been an ideal focus group, and what has become clear is that, while normal people are obsessed with flying robots, they don't want to invest in building them from A to Z.

The solution? Manufacture and sell low-cost drones to the masses. And that's exactly what Anderson is doing. "We created the community, then the product," Anderson told the Verge in September, a day after announcing a $30 million financing round for 3D Robotics, which is building unmanned airplanes and helicopters. With his new money, many observers say, Anderson could really break open the market for mainstream UAVs. In 2012, Anderson's company sold over $5 million worth of drones—and this year, sales are projected to double.

Anderson envisions a day when mass-market drones make everyone's lives a little bit easier—a prospect that would bolster his company's bottom line. That goes for farmers who could use UAVs to monitor crops or cattle, as well as emergency responders who could use them on rescue missions. To get there, Anderson plans to continue his step-by-step approach to entrepreneurial success. "What comes next is the platform," Anderson, former editor in chief of Wired, told the Verge, "the software that makes drones useful to people in the real world."

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  • Admin

    Congrats Chris.

    Lets hope we make a difference in world of civilian UAV and those in various organizations like FAA take notice and give us the due we deserve instead of opposing what is inevitable in coming times or next decade.

  • Well done. I am doing my best to promote diydrones and 3dr on Linkedin. You can check my coverage if you are a connection. Chris, you are... I have a lot of friends in the geolocation bussines. 

  • Many congrats, the future is bright indeed!

  • Congrats, but whew, thank god you didn't make Time magazine. Although, they would have probably taken some of the orange out of the photo. :-)

  • I've heard of it but didn't see that. Amazing find among the internet media Gary!  

    Also Congrats to Chris you deserve this honor 100%!

  • 3D Robotics

    Thanks Gary! Very good company on that list -- and a great call-out for this community, too. 

  • Can't think of anybody better equipped to act as the spokesperson and number one promoter for the positive uses and public benefits of our little aircraft.

    Like it or not, it looks like you are in the hot seat.

    Damn the torpedoes and full speed ahead!

  • Congrats Chris !

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