Billy Oliver and the Cloud

I promise that I’m not getting distracted from the modeling project discussion. I just have to tell this one more story from Solid Edge University. This is the story Billy Oliver told me at lunch one day about a certain sales rep from a certain CAD company who tried to describe to him the glorious future that some people are fleeing. Or rather it’s a story about the story.

Billy Oliver has been all over the CAD news for the last year. He’s been on audio and video recordings, as well as text transcripts. I (and you, and I’d be willing to bet Billy too) have probably felt that his story has been maybe overused. I had never met Billy until SEU, and I was a little shocked when I met him. We had exchanged some emails, but that was the extent of it. When Billy sat down next to me at the lunch table with Dave Ault, I suddenly just forgot about the rest of the world around me, because I could tell that he is a master story teller. How the CAD press never picked up on this I have no idea. Maybe they just aren’t used to paying attention to the human side of issues.

You see, my grandfather was a great story teller. Not that he meant to be, it’s just that’s how his generation passed information. Over the course of my life I heard the same stories from him over and over again, each time maybe a little different than the time before. The stories would be about how to get a rabbit out of a log, or about ol’ Why, the engineer and how he got his name, or how to clean a turret on a WWII merchant marine ship, or a hundred other tales that might make you think you were listening to Uncle Remus or Mark Twain in the flesh. Well, Billy Oliver is that kind of story teller, and when he broke into this story about how CAD on the cloud would work, I recognized the skills immediately. If you’ve heard, watched or read all the Billy Oliver interviews, and came away with the idea that Billy was not a very animated kind of guy, you’ve got to listen to this story. The CAD press never found the interesting parts of Billy’s story.

First, I have to say that I don’t have Billy’s permission to write any of this. We haven’t rehearsed it or rehashed it at all. This is completely taken from the romance of my imperfect memory. As Billy was trying to sit down at my table during the lunch provided by Siemens, he was running around the area trying to find some butter. Billy is from Texas, and I don’t know if that gives him special traits, but his need for butter seemed to be holding up the rest of his meal. Finally, he located a resort employee working the lunch and asked for some butter. This is something I’d never do. He started talking to the woman in a very friendly and engaging sort of way, and you could see her brighten up immediately. She gave him a big smile, and before you knew it, she was bringing a big plate of butter out for Billy, and seemed genuinely pleased to do it. Just magic. I obviously have a few things to learn here.

So he finally sits down, and we start chatting. I’m interested to get to know this guy that in all the press accounts has seemed frankly kind of boring. I’m noticing that he has three nice pieces of steak on his plate. The steak was very good at that lunch, and I was wishing I had thought of that.I’m kind of a big-around-the-middle kind of guy, and Billy is less so. Don’t worry, this all relates eventually. Next, he called over the resort employee again, plied her with more compliments and flattery, and asked for A1 Steak Sauce. And don’t you know, she was just as happy as could be to bring it out to him. This process took a few minutes, and was amazing to watch. The resort employee was a heavy set black woman, and Billy is a well dressed and groomed middle aged white guy from Texas. You could see that she was happy for the genuine banter to break up the routine even though he was asking for special treatment that the hundreds of other people there didn’t get. In the assembly line/cafeteria meal, Billy stepped out of line to first brighten someone else’s day and also to get exactly what he wanted without it seeming like inconvenience or taking advantage.

This maybe seems like a trivial story so far, but to me, this said a lot about Billy. First, I could tell he was a guy who knew what he wanted, and wasn’t afraid to ask for it. Second, it’s obvious he has some pretty good people skills. None of this came though in any of the interviews.

I have no idea if Billy is going to mind me telling on him a little bit, but he was eating lunch with a guy who was attending as “press”, and that’s the only capacity in which he has ever known me. Again, we haven’t discussed this since it happened. But now that he had all of the fixin’s assembled, he cut up his steak into small pieces and put butter on the steak. I assume he did something with the A1, although I don’t remember what it was, and I assume he ate something other than the 3 pieces of steak, but I don’t recall that either. All I know is that he was somehow able to eat all that steak with butter on it without taking a long time, and without talking with his mouth full while telling me one of the craziest stories I’ve heard in a long time at a CAD conference. So imagine in your mind Billy going through this ritual with his butter and his steak and a fork and a knife while using hand motions to help illustrate this story.

I’m sure I won’t get all of the facts exactly right, and I’ll definitely leave out some of the details to protect the ignorant, but the story went something like this:

A regional sales guy from the 3D Experience company asked to stop by and talk to Billy about switching back to his previous CAD package. So they sit down and start talking. I don’t know how long the actual conversation lasted, but Billy told it to me in slow motion. What I got took about 15 minutes, but it was about 5 minutes worth of dialog, a few minutes of commentary, a few minutes of steak and butter, and a little bit of repetition to keep the momentum building. What follows is a lot of paraphrase. If I had this on video, there would be no need for the lack of accuracy.

3dX guy: “What can we do to bring you back?”

Billy: “Tell me about the future of your software.”

3dX guy: “We can’t do that.”

Billy: “Then we don’t have anything to talk about. Have a nice day.”

3dX guy: “There must be something you want?”

Billy: “I already asked for it. You declined. Have a nice day.”

3dX guy: “Ok, I can’t tell you what the software is going to be like, because I don’t know. They won’t tell us because they know we’ll tell you. So is there something else you would like?”

Billy: “I’d like a little honesty. Tell me what you do know.”

3dX guy seems to evaluate the situation. He’s got one chance to salvage anything here, or he’s going home empty handed. “Ok” he finally says. He readjusts his chair so he is square in front of Billy, and maybe that too-close-for-comfort thing that sales guys do when they want to get your attention. Then , with his hands a few inches apart like he’s holding a big baked potato. “This”, and pauses to emphasize his hands “is the cloud.” Takes a moment to let that sink in. Then he spreads his hands apart so they are on either side of his head. “Ok, now we zoom in, and THIS is the 3dX cloud.” Pauses are important in this story. “Ok? This is the cloud.”

“And now, within this cloud. we have…” moving his left forearm to a position horizontal in front of his face, with the fingers extended and the hand parallel to the ground, and moving it back and forth from left to right. “The backbone.” Ok, this is serious. It’s the backbone in the cloud.

At this point Billy is looking at me with an intense glare. He’s not blinking. He’s not smiling. He’s not chewing steak and butter. He’s just looking directly into my eyes as deadpan as you can imagine, and moving his forearm back and forth along “the backbone”.

“It’s like this. This,” Billy says, emphasizing his left forearm held in front of his face, “is Enovia V6”. Then after another 10 second pause to make sure I’m understanding, he sticks a finger from his other hand vertically up into his horizontal left forearm. “This,” emphasizing the vertical finger “is Catia,” then he moves the vertical finger a couple inches along his arm “This, is 3Dvia. This is Delmia. This is […mumble…]via. And THIS” moving the finger again, significantly this time, “is SWV6”.

I’m sure my mouth was hanging open.

Billy Oliver giving Karsten Newbury a Crash Course in the Cloud

Something interrupted Billy, and to make sure I was following the story, he had to start again. “THIS, is the Enovia V6 backbone in the cloud”, shaking his forearm again. “This…This…This… and THIS is SolidWorks.” It all comes right off of the backbone.

With a look of exhaustion, the sales rep sat back in his chair, head hung in shame. “And that’s what I know.” I almost felt bad for the guy, with his own employer sending him out to do battle armed with that.

Dave Ault was sitting there listening with me, although maybe not as enthused as I was.

So Billy Oliver got the 3dX guy to spill his guts, and it turned out that there was next to nothing there. What they are keeping secret from customers turns out to be a bunch of mindless arm waving. Even when they are desperate, they don’t have anything of value to entice customers with.


19 Replies to “Billy Oliver and the Cloud”

  1. I think Matt need to create a new post where people can start to rank themselves as they switch. Billy will always be 1 of nn, but it would be interesting to see how many show up? By the way, this reminded me of Star Trek… 7 of 9 😉

  2. Please forgive me for taking so long for the ‘rest of the story’.  I hope you find it entertaining.  But the good news is that you have not had to wait for this as long as you have waited to find out what the heck V6 is. 🙂

    Matt’s new news ….. might pertain to the rest of the story by deeming it obsolete?????


    The Magic of the Steering Wheel

    I showed the gentleman the ‘MAGIC’ of the steering wheel, live rules behavior, model changes, sheet metal modeling, import part, etc……………..  That it was not just move face, etc…………… ……  Well you all know what you would show him, so I’m sure that I showed him pretty much what ‘MAGIC’ you would have. 🙂 

    Everyone has made a play in the Direct Modeling Arena

    Then we began to discuss the following old topics, etc…..:

    Everyone has made a play in the direct modeling arena except for SW. 

    The old “pain and status quo” comment.

    The old comment that “SW will never have direct modeling”

    That as of November 2011 SW forum still answers, names and functionality are still a mystery and years away.   I pulled up this blog link and showed them.  And asked for more information.

    The key items are that there is still no real answers and no information for the V6 but definite answer to the fact that ‘no change’ for SW V1 which I assume will become the ‘status quo’ which will cause all of the ‘pain’.  But there are some nuggets of information in the blog, that make sense now after this discussion.

    —— >>>>>> below  from the SW forum <<<<<<<<<<——————————

    From the SW forum……………these are responses from Matthew West

    Nov 16, 2011 8:05 AM

    Re: Rumors of a Kernel change in SolidWorks…is this true?

    Our next generation software, which will be released in the next few years, will include a different modeling engine than the one we use today. This software will be offered in addition to the software we currently sell. No customers will be forced to move from the current version to this next-gen version.

    The current version of SolidWorks, which we will continue to develop and support in parallel to the next-gen system, will continue to be based on the Parasolid kernel. There is no “change” coming for the tools our customers use today

    Matt / SolidWorks:

    Nov 16, 2011 8:05 AM

    Re: Rumors of a Kernel change in SolidWorks…is this true?

    Hi Greg.

    It’s a completely new modeling tool that’s being built from the ground up, and will have its own separate pricing model. We haven’t released any details on how it will work or what it will look like, but as soon as we’re ready to release that information, our forum members will be some of the first to know.

    Nov 16, 2011 11:50 AM 

    Re: Rumors of a Kernel change in SolidWorks…is this true?

    James – we haven’t released detailed information yet, and can’t answer all of your questions yet. But perhaps I can shed a little light.

    1. Our next-gen product will have ENOVIA underpinnings. There is no mandatory link to CATIA or SmarTeam. I’d be interested to know where you heard that.

    2. The new product will able to leverage cloud resources and storage, if that’s what you want. If you want to store your data locally behind a firewall, that should be fine too.

    3. We’ll ensure a seamless transition for customers who want to make the transition from the current product to the next-gen product.

    You may be interested in reading a few of the interviews I’ve done with some of our execs over the past 13 months.

    Nov 16, 2011 2:48 PM 

    Re: Rumors of a Kernel change in SolidWorks…is this true?

    Sure. Doesn’t that apply to most things in life? Why do people make any changes in their lives? Because the status quo doesn’t meet their needs anymore. The same statement could apply to the car you drive, or the house you live in, or the job you’re in. When you reach the point that those things aren’t working for you anymore–for whatever reason–you make a change.

    Jeff wasn’t implying that we were going to purposefully make life hard for our customers and force them to migrate. It has more to do with reaching a point where new applications can give you more speed/power/flexibility/collaboration than older ones, or the point where your business ecosystem dictates a change (your customers and network are using the new tools, for example). It’s similar to the reason a growing organization might choose to implement EPDM–because they’re having problems with overwritten files, or misplaced data, or version control. When the pain of dealing with that gets too hard to bear, a company has to make a change and implement a new system.

    Nov 17, 2011 6:48 AM (in response to Matt Lombard)

    Re: Rumors of a Kernel change in SolidWorks…is this true?

    Matt Lombard wrote:

    Would that be safe to say? Is that also part of the plan?

    I think it’s safe to say that is pure speculation. Everyone will see what we have in store for SolidWorks 2013 at SolidWorks World, and details about the next-gen platform — both functionality and licensing-related — will be released when they are ready.

    Nov 17, 2011 7:03 AM (in response to Chad Schmidt)

    Re: Rumors of a Kernel change in SolidWorks…is this true?

    We have not released a timeline yet.

     —— >>>>>> the above is from the SW forum <<<<<<<<<<——————————


    Round and Round we go to the software futures land.

    I then began to say what do you expect us to do you won’t tell us anything.

    So I began to ask questions  Asked a lot of the standard stuff.

    Question:  Will V6 have direct modeling?

    Answer:  We don’t sell on software futures, can’t say don’t know.

    Question:  Will there be a desktop standalone version?

    Answer:  We don’t sell on software futures, can’t say don’t know.

    Question:  Will there be a cloud version?

    Answer:  We don’t sell on software futures, can’t say don’t know.

    Question:  When will it be released?

    Answer:  We, can’t say don’t know, nobody knows.

    Question:  What’s it going to be called?

    Answer:  We, can’t say don’t know, nobody knows.

    Question:  What’s the interface going to be like?  Will it resemble the current SW in any way?

    Answer:  We don’t sell on software futures, can’t say don’t know.

    I asked him what does that mean ‘software futures’.  He said, “that they never put anything out that is not concrete.  That they cannot put any idea or concept out there that they might not achieve.  That they won’t talk about features that are not in the software or finished just in case there might be a chance that they done make it.  The user base won’t be upset that a feature that they had been told about that they wanted did not make it in the release.”   OK that sounds reasonable.


    A Date in the Clouds

    I said, “that I cannot believe that someone inside SW does not have a date on the wall is some conference room that has been circled as the release date.  I just find that hard to believe that there is not a date on the wall somewhere.”  And kiddingly I told him that, “You know there probably is a date on the wall in a conference room somewhere, but you guys just can’t see the wall, cause you guys are already in the clouds, and it’s so cloudy in the conference room with the release date that you cannot see the wall, (you know cause its cloudy).”

    I told him that I believe that SW found out they were not getting Sync Tech from Siemens in 07

    I told him that, “I believe that SW found out in 07 that they were not getting the Sync Tech stuff.   But they had been using the Synchronous hooks in the parasolid kernel for move face, instant 3D, Dimension Xpert.”

    “That’s why the development of the SW 08, 09, 10,were weak.  They were putting their development efforts on the BIG SHOW of SWW 2010 showing the first glimpse of SWV6.  (Which according to Matt, now all of that has been abandoned.)  And also thru 11 and 12. 

    And the only thing that I ‘REALLY’ know for ‘CERTAIN’ is ‘UNCERTAINTY’.  If they would have said in 2007, guys in Jan 2017 we will release SW V6, at least we could plan for that…………  But we have been told, guys we will release SW V6   (envision a big silent room hearing the pin drop).”

    “And that SW has taken us users for granted, like a dog on a leash that you can pull and jerk around as you see fit.  That we will just patiently wait how many years 2, 3, 5, 8 who knows.  Well we don’t have to wait forever, there are plenty of options out there.”

    “And that’s why we made the change, everyone has made a direct modeling play, but SW, and from where we stand SE has the best implementation in the mid range ,market.   We don’t have any more time to waste.”

    I then said, “that we got ST3, now we are on ST4 since January and we will be moving to ST5 as soon as it is available.  And that ST3 was a viable release, ST 4 had further additions and improvements and ST 5 will continue this trend.”   He took that as ST and ST2 were not a viable product.  We discussed this for a while.  I told him, “I did not follow SE ST and ST2 at all.   That I really did not know much about them.   I just know from the history on the web about the issues that those releases had ( all to be expected ).  And the ST3 was the merged environment of ordered and Sync. All things that everyone knows.  (I mean that the first to major releases can’t have everything in the software.)”

    He seemed to imply that SE ST and ST2 should not have been released.  Seemed to imply that SW would NOT release software that was not ‘viable’.  I told him, “SW will have to have its Release 1 of whatever it’s called whenever its released and I’m sure that the Release 1 will not be a viable product.  It will be an infant, then Release 2, then Release 3, then Release 4 then Release 5 and one of the latter will be a viable product also.

    And I told him, “That whenever and whatever SW finally releases something I will give it a look-see.”  Who knows what they will come up with, but after all of the waiting I’m going to have to look.

    ???? Matt’s news 2012-07-25 – ? If everything is scrapped ?  And they are starting over, NOW what will be the date of Release 1????

    OK what can you tell me, there has got to be something you can tell me? . Please reference the images ‘the cloud’, ‘the backbone’ and ‘all the stuff’.

    Well he said, “I do have something that I can tell you.”

    He said the following:

    “Just like SW was visionary and first to the windows desktop platform in the nineties SW V6 is going to be ‘First in the Cloud’.”

    I asked him, “If that cloud was outside my window or on this side of my window.”

    He said, “That my desktop computer was obsolete, my licensing method was obsolete and cost me too much money.  That is currently is illegal for me to use my license say in China, that my license is a territorial US license only.  There for if you had operations in the US, China and say the UK, you would need three different licenses in three different countries, costing lots of money, that are only being used for 8 hours in each country, wasting money.”

    I told him, “I did not realize that the licenses were territorial.”

    He said, “I was not around back in the seventies and early eighties, but back then everything was mainframe based with users only having client machines.  I have only heard about the stories.  That mainframe computing was the norm.  Then the computing industry evolved from that method through Unix based workstations, then to the method we have today, the desktop or the personal computer with computing resources on the desktop.”

    “We believe that method of desktop computing is obsolete and that everything is going back to mainframe computing, server/client based computing.  And the current desktop computing method existing today that is expensive will become be replaced with a low cost client, that all computing will be done thru the ‘Cloud’.”

    He then held his hands open facing each other as shown in the image.

    He said, “This is the cloud”.


    He then took his right arm held it horizontally and pushed his flat hand into his open left hand as shown in the image.

    He said, “This in the Enovia backbone in the cloud.”


    He then kept his right arm horizontal and moved his left hand and began to touch his right arm with his left hand and began calling out software packs as shown in the image.


    Basically he said, “Everything will be in the ‘Cloud’ hanging off the Enovia backbone.  All licensing will be in the cloud, all software will be in the cloud.  Everything will be run on a mainframe/client method as was done in the past.”  (Kind of reminds me of a new Back to the Future movie script).

    “As far as the licensing goes with it in the cloud, it will cost less money for a company that has operations worldwide.  With the license in the cloud, you will only need one license that can be used by three different people around the world.  There will be no territorial limitations.  One license can be run in the U.S, then released to the cloud, then that same license can be used by someone in China, then later by someone in Europe, then the next morning you can access that same license that was just released from Europe for you work day.”

    “As far as software goes, everything will run off of the Enovia backbone.  All applications will be transparent to each other.  You will be able to activate any document through the backbone.  Catia, Delmia, 3Dvia, Solidworks.  That it would be that any application could read any others data including Solidworks.  Everything hanging off of the backbone.”

    I said, “WOW”.  (And I am thinking of the very powerful notebooks the he and I have just purchased for very low cost and that what he is now saying obsoletes them)

    Then I said, “When are you going to release that?”

    He said, “I don’t know, nobody knows.”

    Then I said, “This Solidwork’s that’s in the cloud hanging on the Enovia backbone running on the license that’s in the cloud on my client station, will it have direct modeling?,  What’s it gonna be called?  What’s it gonna look like?  What’s it gonna do?”

    He said, “We don’t sell on software futures, can’t say don’t know.”

    Then I said, “So you cannot tell me anything other than this is all going to be in the cloud on the Enovia backbone.”

    He said, “That’s all that we know right now.”

    I think that he could sense that I was not enthused.  And the VAR asked him, “if there was anything that they could do for me, do they have something for me?”  We have SW 2010 installed.  He asked if, ” I knew of the new Design Costing software and if I would be interested?  We will upgrade you to 2012 for FREE, NO CHARGE,  NO back maintenance fees, NO penalties.”

    We have not paid our maintenance with them since 09.


    I said, “I have heard of it, but if that’s the only thing that I don’t currently have inside SW I don’t believe that I need that.  SW parasolid is a stagnant product, there is nothing that I gain by getting 2012.”  And I said that with a little disdain.

    “Why would I even be interested in your product right now.  You can tell me nothing.  You will not give me a timeline that I can determine for myself if it is detrimental to stay with a ‘status quo’ product.  You must think that we are tied to your product that you can treat the user base however you want to and we will just patiently wait.”

    “Today we have plenty of choices.  And with Solid Edge, I know today what the plan is for releasing ST5, ST6, ST7, ST8, etc….”

    “As far as a Major Capital expense, CAD software is not for a small to midsized company, like ours.  The price of a seat is just over the price of a high end PC.  Companies routinely are always upgrading their PC’s buying 5 or 10 at a time or 1 at a time continuously.  It’s not like a seat costs $500,000 dollars today.  So if I can replace a few seats of software, for the price of a few PC’s, that will preserve my data, and put me in the forefront of this next wave of technology.  It is easy to switch.  Your user base is not captive to you.”

    So then the VAR asked him, “Do we have anything for him?”

    And he said to the VAR, “No I don’t think that we have anything for him.”

    And I said, “That’s right I don’t think that you have anything for me.”

    1 of 1

    It was quite for a few moments.

    Then the gentleman said, “That’s OK. your just 1 of 1.

    I said, “What”

    He said, “Your just 1 of 1”

    I said, “I’m 1 of 1, what do you mean by that?”

    He said, “Your just 1 of 1 customer who has switched, you switching means nothing.  So far you are the only SW user who has switched.  There are 10’s of thousands who have not switched.  So you are 1 of 1, it means nothing.”

    I then rolled my chair close to him, he was sitting with his legs crossed and his left foot was up in the air.  I lightly back handed the bottom of his shoe and said, “You know with an attitude like that, that 500,000 customer base that you were talking about earlier, with an attitude like that, that 500,000 number will probably be down to 200,000.”

    I rolled my chair back, and said, “I’m 1 of 1, but you know what I feel sorry for you guys, you got caught with your pants down.  You thought you would get Synchronous Technology.  You found out a long time ago you were not.  And you have been playing a shell game with us ever since.”

    He then said, “We are done here, we have nothing for him.”

    As they began to pack up and as I walked them out, I said several times and even patted the gentleman on his shoulder, “This is nothing personal, This is nothing personal, we were left with no other choice, but to change.”

    And I bid them farewell.


    I don’t understand the need to go to the cloud for storage.

    Standard HD are getting more compact every day, 1T, 2T, 3T etc

    The Solid State HD technology is going thru a technology leap right now

    The SDXC Standard goes from 32G to 2TB, how crazy will that be, 2TB on an SD card the ‘size of a stamp’, when they get that worked out

    I don’t think desktop or local computing power will go away entirely.

    The desktop and local computing is undergoing change right now with tablets, SSHD, form with all-in-one’s, etc, etc, etc

    For some areas a wireless tablet with a keyboard for doing word processing database stuff might be all that is needed and server/client is the most cost effective solution

    But we are seeing with processor speed and performance, crazy amounts of storage capacity in a very small footprint evolving right now this year with all the new notebooks coming out with SSHD’s

    CAD has gotten more compute intensive, I would rather be processing what I am doing 2 feet away verses 2000 miles away

    PLM storage, we would never have our data out on rented servers

    PLM server use worldwide multiple locations, is OK you are storing data, syncing data world wide, but then you are bringing that data local to you network to modify it

    I unlike my guest did work on server/client machines, back in the day.

    It was brutally slow, and the geometry was not that complex

    And if there was a problem with the server, everybody was down

    The per seat cost was astronomical.

    And I lived thru the UNIX days

    And the early PC days

    To me the trend will be more computing power local, more processors, more storage, more graphics

    One major hurdle now is in massively paralleled computing…. I’m sure that they will get that all figured out in the next ten years or so, such that all software can take advantage of the method.  Some applications can run parallel today.  I believe that this is an evolving and changing technology.  That the methods and specifications utilized today will transform into specs and methods that we cannot even envision today.  For instance I remember when the VESA bus came out,…. the trade magazines where saying how it was the video bus of the future and that it was the GOLD standard, the pinnacle that would never need to be replaced.  They were serious back then,  but we all know how funny those comments seem today.

    Basically, not less computing power to the end user, that just does not make sense.

    I believe that computing power, parallel processing, GPU, memory and storage space to the end user will only increase in the next ten years.

    It should be fun. 🙂

    Have a nice day. 🙂


    1. Billy, I think that qualifies as the longest and probably the best comment ever. 1 of 1. That’s beautiful. SolidWorks arrogance rivals PTC.


    2. Billy,

      I believe that you have hit the nail on the head. SW was hoping to get Sync Tech from Siemens. Now they have to develop something new from scratch while Siemens is already releasing ST5, ST6, ST7 ST8……. I think that SW are trying to downplay the potential of direct editing and are trying to sell the Cloud as the next big thing, which it is not.

      If they think that a Catia Lite version will fulfil the needs of the mid-range market they are in for a very big surprise. I have played around with NX in the past and even a scaled down version of NX will have a very steep learning curve.



  3. I was thinking of just PATIENTLY drumming my fingers on the desktop while I wait for chapter two 🙂

  4. Introduction:

    Nothing that I have ever said or asked of SW of my VAR has never been personal.  The folks that I have dealt with at SW have always been professional.  Even back in the day in the beginning in 95′ when we would communicate with them was good.  And my SW VAR and salesperson had always been great.

    A month or so before this event in Mid-April, my sales person called me and said that a SW representative wanted to come and talk to me.  They wanted to know what they could do to get us back.  And if I would be willing to meet with the SW representative to see what he had to offer.  I said sure, no problem, I will meet with them anytime.  So a meeting was scheduled, and the following is a synopsis of what transpired.

    This event took place over the course of a few hours:

    Ladies and gentlemen, the story you are about to read is true.  The names have been changed to protect the innocent, except for me.

    The gentleman and my salesperson arrived at our facility at 10:38 AM.  I was taking care of some personal business that morning and I arrived at 10:55 AM.  We met in the parking lot and proceeded to my office.

    We settled in and the gentleman and I exchanged life stories and got to know each other for the first half hour of our conversation.  A very nice guy with a very distinguished career.

    Notebook Power :

    Approximately after 30 minutes or so the small talk had dwindled.  And so the question can up and I asked the gentleman, “Why are you here why did you want to meet with me”?

    His response was,  “We want to see if we can get you back, We want to show you what we have to offer and find out why you switched”.

    About that time he pulled out a brand new HP notebook, (very very nice).  I’m a HP fan myself.  I had several days earlier bought myself a new HP notebook.  He began to tell me what a “HIGH POWER” awesome little machine he had.  “Big hard drive, lots’ a ram, fast processor”.  I believe it had a 500G drive, 6G ram I think it was a 15 or 16 inch screen.  It cost him $850.00.

    (You know I should email him and see if he recorded our conversation, it got pretty funny.  And he really was not taking very many notes.)

    I told him about my machine, it is a 14 inch screen, 750G drive, 6G ram expandable to 16G, Beats audio, but I only paid $550 for it cause it was last year’s model, (I did not tell him that did not want to make him feel bad.)

    This conversation could have been an episode of Tool Time, with all the talk of the POWER in our new notebooks, and about adding RAM etc, etc…. which is something I still need to do to mine.  (note this for future reference)

    That transpired in talk of Moore’s law, how for years PC’s keep getting more powerful but the prices for a high end machine was $3000.  And that transpired in to talk of how you can get such powerful machines today for such good prices.  I can’t even count how many $3000 dollar PC I have thrown away.  That it is amazing to get such computing power for so little money.

    And we talked about, just think what the future holds as far as personal computing power, that it should be really cool in ten or twenty years.  The power that everyone will have on their desktop, and the power of notebooks, and even phones.

    Then the comment was made that SW is a really good deal also, that since 95 the pricing has not changed.  $3995, $5995, $7995 and the software has gotten more and more advanced thru the years without any increase in price.  Similar to the PC’s with Moore’s law.

    Then he made the comment that SW vs. SE in that SE pricing was not fixed, that the sold SE at different prices to different customers.  (????? I thought to myself and said nothing.)  Then I remarked in a joking fashion, “Well you know that $850 dollar machine you have would of cost you $3000, 5 or 6 years ago.  If SW was really keeping true to the hardware industry, you software should be about $1800 not $3995, your software is overpriced.” 🙂

    Then he said, “What’s the big deal with SE, it’s just ‘direct modeling’ that’s nothing”, with a little disdain in his voice.  We went back and forth a bit he was implying kind of that it was nothing new.  That it’s just direct modeling, (kind of ho hum) no big deal that it’s not really necessarily. I was trying to find out what he meant by that.

    He got onto a line that history based modeling was a ‘mature’ technology.  That everyone in the industry has a ‘mature’ product and that history based modeling can do anything you need done, implying that “direct modeling certainly was not necessary in the future”.  He was kind of implying that history based modeling had maybe reached its zenith.  That there was nothing more to do?  And that SW with its market share was obviously the best history based solid modeler on the market, because they have the numbers of seats to prove it.  But the direction SE was taking was not the right one????

    I asked him if he had ever seen Solid Edge with Synchronous Technology

    He said no, so I proceeded to give him a little demo.


    (to be continued……………..)


    1. I hate the phrase “to be continued”!  Get you hooked on the story and then leave you hanging… 😉

  5. Matt

    Thanks for the kind words….  I have started to write down the cloud saga… gonna take a few weeks I think, and will post partials, to  the story, but here is the jist in pictures.

      1. Matt those hand motions are not my creation, they are the only documented discription that I could get from SW about the software futures.  Because as you know SW does not sell software on software futures. 🙂  Also the images are a bit fuzzy and hazy and hard to see as if they were in a cloud. 🙂

  6. WOW, I am impressed by the DSS image of CAD software. I rather suspect that this is the full extent of the technical knowledge of the management. Geometry, is so last decade.

  7. See now Matt I was paying attention though. SolidWorks was the only thing coming off the BOTTOM side of the Dassault  backbone according to Mr Sales Guy per Billy.

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