In a comment on a recent post, Nato Welch asked, "But will fabs really produce any phenomena so startling revolutionary as their own exponential growth?"
That got me thinking. Exponential manufacturing would be a large conceptual shock to many people. And Nato makes a good point that the existence of any exponential manufacturing system would help people accept MM and encourage them to pay attention to the implications of molecular manufacturing. I certainly don't want to downplay the value of that.
However, I would say that yes, MM fabricators (nanofactories) could produce phenomena (products, capabilities) as revolutionary as electricity was, and very likely more shocking than exponential manufacturing.
Today's nanoscale technologies can create new and improved products. Near-future exponential rapid prototyping may create an industry. But molecular manufacturing could create whole new fields of human endeavor. Imagine what you could do with fuel cells at a gigawatt per cubic meter, and electric motors at a petawatt per cubic meter (this means a car engine could be shrunk to a few cubic centimeters), and a grain-of-rice two-watt Earth Simulator (until recently, the world's fastest supercomputer), and as many molecular sensors/receptors/effectors as you cared to build... Aerospace would be completely revolutionized. Computers would advance as far again as they have since 1950 or so. Some aspects of medicine would become as straightforward as automobile repair.
In fact, even if you look only at the acceleration of medical research that would result from rapid-prototyped massively-parallel molecular-to-meter-scale medical devices (both diagnostics and therapeutics), I think MM will likely present several opportunities for radical and startling revolutions. Anti-aging medicine is not beyond the realm of possibility. I'd think that a 200-year healthy lifespan, or an effective solution to pain, or broad-spectrum neurotechnology, would be at least as much of a shock as exponential manufacturing.
Going back to aerospace, it might take longer to catch on, but I'd think that cheap public access to space would cause a change of worldview. At first it would be extreme sports, but the sports would rapidly become less extreme and less dangerous. It hasn't been that many decades since skiing and surfing were extreme sports. Assuming that civilians are allowed access to space (which is far from certain), I could imagine people vacationing there and deciding they liked it--within two decades after MM, and likely within one decade.
I haven't mentioned weapons yet. It doesn't take a lot of imagination to think up weapons whose mere existence would cause a paradigm shift.
In summary: If you think that exponential manufacturing will be a huge culture shock, then hold onto your hats, because there's a lot more where that came from.