In the buttoned down world of corporate culture, RapidMake 3D Printing’s CEO Konrad Malik stands out with his colorful footwear and innovative approach to design. He also happens to be a consummate professional who’s passionate about 3D printing and committed to bringing it to a wider audience. Convinced 3D printing is the wave of the future, he’s continually seeking innovative solutions to bring the technology to the public at large.
Konrad Malik began his career in the Toronto tech world immediately after high school when he founded RapidMake 3D Printing to help make the technology more accessible to all types of consumers. Today, he continues working toward that goal, while remaining ever-curious about both the expanding 3d tech world and interests outside of it.
What’s the most important piece of advice you can offer young entrepreneurs?
Starting a new business isn’t easy or else everyone would do it. Who doesn’t want to be their own boss? Still, when you’re in charge, you have to lead by inspiration, by modeling the behavior you want your employees to follow. Sometimes, that means working twice as hard as anyone else. In the end, you can’t be afraid of hard work.
Any tips for those searching for venture capital to start a new business?
It really is about who you know, and who they know. Don’t underestimate the power of networking, of getting to know people who are connected and convincing them of your expertise in your particular industry. Show them your knowledge of and passion for what you do, and, importantly, the kind of accomplishments you have done in the past.
You opted against following the usual career trajectory – college, then career. Are you still satisfied with that choice and would you recommend it to other young entrepreneurs?
Absolutely, but I believe you have to think about why most people go to college in the first place. For them, it’s about finding themselves and discovering what they want to do with the rest of their lives. I always knew what I wanted, so I decided to skip that step and follow my ambitions.
Traditional education is fantastic for a lot of people, but I’m one of those individuals who learn best by doing. I don’t regret my decision to bypass college, but it’s not a choice everyone should make.
What advice would you give someone starting a new business that you wish you’d known when you founded your company?
I’ve always been passionate about finding solutions to problems. So, when I started out in the industry that’s where my focus was, on inventing technology that could help people. What I didn’t take into consideration was there’s a lot more to running a business than creating a great product.
When you start a new business, there are a lot of different hats to wear. I wish someone had warned me not to try them all on at once. You can’t have too many pairs of sneakers, but you can have too many hats!