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March 20, 2008

Comments

Jon Banquer

Greg Milliken isn’t worth my time to comment on but the follow is:

If Mike is not going to be an endless cheerleader for SolidWorks I would like to suggest that Mike starts doing what other SolidWorks CAD bloggers refuse to do... make it crystal clear, on a repeated basis, that SolidWorks badly needs high level tools to quickly and easily manage all the complex part relations that SolidWorks creates.

The current low level approach to using a roll back bar in the SolidWorks Feature Manager takes a massive amount of time and is totally unacceptable.

SolidWorks Corp. should be focused on core improvements to SolidWorks rather than on new bells and whistles. I can think of no core improvement that needs more work than giving users easy control over the complex dependencies that SolidWorks creates between part features. It’s time to clean up this mess.

Jon Banquer
San Diego, CA


matt

I personally welcome any confrontation that I'm not at the center of for once. Having read Milikens blog, I can completely believe that he more than stretches the facts. He opens his comment here by saying the blogosphere is open to that kind of abuse, and he should know, he's the one doing it.

Given that his ethics are that strained, I can fully believe that he said what Mike said he said. I've been around CAD sales long enough to know that there are a lot of slippery fish out there talking out of both sides of their mouths.

I'm not so much pro-Mike as anti-Greg. He's got an also-ran bargain basement product, and uses anything he can to gain attention, even if its negative. Old trick. He doesn't have to beat SW to be successful, just selling a few seats a month probably pays the mortgage.

Jason

I can't vouch for Mike's credibility but Greg posts misleading info on his own blog.....or rather he puts a typical marketing spin on the numbers.

http://alibre.typepad.com/alibre_ceo_blog/2007/11/the-evolution-o.html

Here his picture seems to indicate that SolidWorks (and others) cost much more than it actually does versus Alibre. The $7000 vs $1000 is not correct....its a spin on numbers.

To me this makes me question Gregs credibility. Or rather we see his Marketing values. Of course he's all for calling Autodesk on it when they use the the same tactic to boost Inventor's seat count.

Josh

I'll be the first and second to vouch for Mike. Honest and nice as they come.

I don't see what is so unspeakable about though Roopinder? (Good headline though :)) Editors give their opinions on things all the time. It comes out all over the mainstream media, ya know?

Greg Milliken

Roopinder,

Glad you chose to post on this.

One of the negative aspects of the blogosphere, as you know and allude to in your post, is that anything can be said without any sort of corroboration or accountability, certainly without that expected of professional journalists, or even of polished and responsible amateurs.

The irony is that I love this sort of confrontation. I've always reveled in taking people like this head on, and the more sure of themselves they are the better. I suppose I just like arguing, especially when I'm right. ;-)

Plus, to your comment about this being as exciting as it gets in our world: we need more excitement in this industry. We need passion, and we need change. I try to stoke that passion and effect that change all the time. Imagine what it would be like if hundreds of thousands of new users of 3D came on the scene and the dollars generated from that created a radically new class of product that was dramatically easier to use and cost a fraction of today's mid-range solid modelers. That's the kind of excitement we need, and Alibre is here to make that possible.

The inertia and perceived security of the status quo, unfortunately, has people lined up in product and vendor camps. Unable to look beyond their own choices, many think that anything that threatens "their" product, or anything that could destabilize the status quo is bad, or at least suspect. We all know about the resistance in companies that comes with people becoming so invested in a particular product and technology that they will do most anything to maintain it. Some take this to extremes, willing to do almost anything to maintain their perceived position of knowledge and prestige. And the CAD vendors do everything in their power to erect these barriers to ensure long-term revenue streams from captive customer bases.

I've come to the conclusion that Mike must believe what he says, but him believing it doesn't make it true, no more than putting up a blurry image of my business card makes it true.

When you take a level headed look at the situation you could conclude one of the following:

1) Giving Mike the benefit of the doubt, he innocently thought he heard something he didn't. SolidWorks is his life and he was eavesdropping on a competitor who he knows threatens SolidWorks. The trade show was loud. Sounds possible, if not probable.

2) Or, maybe Mike was so upset about the popcorn bags and the effrontery of anyone who would dare take on the product and company upon which he has based his career. He was mad and looking to strike out. He was the SolidWorks avenger (in his mind), and as you say, “all those that disrespect SolidWorks had better hope they don't run into Mike.” He listened hard for what he “knew” he would find, and what do you know, he found it. In this case I don’t see him as innocent; he had an agenda and has a history of this sort of thing.

3) Or you could believe that I irrationally told some "unassuming" guy at the tradeshow that SolidWorks wasn't parametric and Alibre Design was. And I did this even though our entire strategy is based on offering an 80/20 solution, where we position ourselves as similar to SolidWorks, offering 80% of the functionality at 20% of the cost, focusing on the key features everyone uses every day, and leaving out the bells and whistles (sorry, I couldn't resist). But no, at this moment, I suddenly changed strategies to "say whatever I had to to sell a seat of [my] software." And strangely, on that day, what I felt was necessary, now after all these years, was to say that SolidWorks was not parametric but Alibre Design was.

What worked even better than that, was when I said that if someone bought Alibre Design, when they got home there would be a unicorn in their backyard being ridden by a beautiful nude woman who would grant their every wish. That got them every time, but I was always careful to make sure no one else was listening when I used that one. Damn, I thought, what the heck have we been talking about this 80/20 parametric stuff for all these years, unicorns and nude women work far better. Change the press release boiler plate!

Now I might give Mike a pass for misrepresenting a conversation he was listening in on, but not for fabricating a discussion with me afterwards where, according to him, he took me to task for lying about SolidWorks not being parametric; oh yeah, and rendering me speechless in the process. Surely that last part alone gives pause to all who know me.

The other alternative is that he is literally doing the bidding of SolidWorks. We did catch SolidWorks putting out an error-laden marketing piece on Alibre that attempted to use FUD against us. I blogged on it here: http://alibre.typepad.com/alibre_ceo_blog/2007/06/make-sure-prosp.html .

This last possibility brought to mind this quote from “The Art of War” by Sun Tzu: "The skillful employer of men will employ the wise man, the brave man, the covetous man, and the stupid man. For the wise man delights in establishing his merit, the brave man likes to show his courage in action, the covetous man is quick at seizing advantages, and the stupid man has no fear of death."

Mike

Roopinder,

I think its better for everyone if I leave the superhero spandex costume in the closet for the time being! The Greg Milliken story was really meant to explain the difference in how two C.E.O.'s from two different CAD companies interact with the public. On one hand I listened in on a conversation Jeff Ray had with a Solidworks customer where he was genuinely interested in what he had to say, and thanked him for supporting Solidworks. On the other hand I was wittness to Greg Milliken saying whatever he had to just to sell a seat of his software. I actually never would have wrote the story I did if I hadnt of been able to over hear the conversation that Greg was having. I would have simply just posted some pics of the Autodesk booth, and the unique popcorn bags! Greg can continue to explain away what was said that day, or he can just keep claiming I fabricated the whole thing, and thats fine by me. As you mentioned I have no ad space, or special perks to worry about, and the Alibre CD Greg gave me continues to function just fine as a coffee mug coaster on my desk. I would like to say that while my blog certainly revolves around Solidworks, my intention is to not be some mindless cheerleader for them. They produce a software package that a majority of the time makes my job easier, and gives me the tools I need to get my work done. While I have noted on numerous occasions that they provide my blog space, that is where our arrangement ends. Over the past year I have on several occasions pointed out the negative aspects that I encounter from time to time while using Solidworks. The best part about that is that Solidworks listens, and attempts to make things better for everyone. As for getting a chance to interact with other CAD C.E.O.s, who knows, maybe someday soon I will bump into Carl Bass and I can ask him where I can get one of those snazzy Solidworks hockey masks!

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