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Having been President and CEO of Dassault Systèmes (parent company of SolidWorks) since September of 1995, Bernard Charlès has seen better than most how much the 3D software—and software in general—landscape has changed in the last twenty years. From the transition of industrial designers increasingly adopting CAD engineering tools into their workflows to the concept of Cloud computing and mobile devices, the world of 3D software is always re-shaping itself to meet the social and performance needs of today’s demanding product designer. We had the chance to sit down with Bernard at last week’s SolidWorks World to hear more about his thoughts on the move into Mechanical Conceptual as well as how a childhood in the French countryside helped shape the ‘always-inspired’ Bernard that we all know of today.

Not to be confused with Bertrand Sicot (CEO of SolidWorks) or Jon Hirschtick (Founder of SolidWorks), Bernard joined Dassault Systèmes in 1983 to research and develop new technologies. Three years later, he founded a new department dedicated to New Technologies, Research & Development, and Strategy where he helped steer the company into establishing CATIA as the world’s number one product design software.

From there, he shot to the top rankings of Dassault Systèmes by actively involving himself in projects ranging from the inspiration behind DMU (Digital Mock-Up), including the DMU of the first all-digital designed aircraft, the Boeing 777. In 1997 he helped orchestrate the acquisition of SolidWorks for $310 million in stock.

Today, Charlès is continuing to push innovation with the 3D Experience platform that also includes a portfolio of acquisitions that have fallen under the PLM umbrella including ENOVIA, DELMIA, and SIMULIA. With the addition of Mechanical Conceptual and other ‘Conceptual’ products in the pipeline, it’ll be interesting to see how Charlès’ vision of the future plays out into the existing workflows of dedicated users.

Keep an eye out for our upcoming Mechanical Conceptual feature that will break down the responses we’ve seen and heard since the announcement last week.

Filed under: CAD NEWS

  • Troy

    Thanks for that. I’m trying to keep an open mind and really understand what his vision is and what he sees as the intended use for MC. Why does he see this as having so much “value” and such a high justifiable price? And why do I and so many of the other out spoken people here on this site and elsewhere not get it? Why does this crowd not see the same value as he does?

    I think I’m starting to understand now, at least for me. Bernard places a huge emphasis, and value, on the social media and collaboration aspect of it. And that’s where I differ. And that’s where I don’t see the same high value and so, I guess I’m not the target market. Oh well, so much for that.

    I do see value in the redesigned workflow (not added functionality, like he also mentions). The streamlined interface and more intelligent sketching and modeling that speeds up conceptual ideation IS exactly where I see the value and exactly how I have been wanting to see CAD improve and evolve.

    But here is the key difference. I want to start there, then use the exact same model, complete with feature tree, and evolve that further into a more engineered CAD model/design. This is the missing link in in the evolution of CAD.

    I currently already have the same process in place that starts with conceptualizing in other ID software, then brings that quick conceptual design into SolidWorks as
    dumb geometry, and then I use that as an underlay to start the model over from scratch in SolidWorks and “engineer” it. So for me, for what I have been wanting to improve in the whole design process, I feel they have completely missed the boat. They are basically telling me to spend a whole lot more money to do the same design process I currently do already, but hey, at least I can be social now.

    Nope, Bernard and I do not share the same vision for the future of CAD. This product (and future 3D Experience products) do not seem to solve my needs. So thanks for the insight. I’m apparently not the right customer. So I’m moving on now.

  • DrShotgun

    Everyone is going “Social” now, and I think a lot of the CAD makers are totally missing the mark having been:

    A- Enamored with the rise of “social” they read about in business magazines, the tech press and in-flight magazines.

    B- Totally focused on the workflows and needs of big customers with large collaboration teams.

    SolidWorks cut their teeth selling mid-range CAD to inventors, small-scale design shops and suppliers. While sharing Parasolid files around is a PITA, SW hasn’t even been very successful at getting everyone up to speed on version updates. For example; even though my injection molding shop and machine shop both have SolidWorks, one runs 2011 and another runs 2013 while I’m on 2014. If SW can’t even convince shops to spend $1500 a year to keep a seat up-to-date; what makes them think they are going to be able to get everyone to start paying $3000 a year, every year so we can all be in on the sharing schtick?

    For Boeing, or Airbus, or BMW, or SnapOn or some other big company with big design teams and chinese walls between design and engineering; I can totally see how the social tools are a game changer. For the small scale manufacturers, and job shops and freelancers though; the obsession with social seems to be leading down a path of having to purchase newly developed modeling tools inside of horrendously priced subscriptions… and then needing to blast through all the “collaboration” interface cruft to still spit out Parasolid files and attaching them to emails.

    The frustrating thing about all this is SWMC (and I’m assuming Design) looks to have some fantastic modeling and sketching tools; the sorta stuff I crave. Alas, let’s lay out the scenario going forward, based on what SW has announced:

    – SWMC is a brand new tool that likely isn’t fully mature. So to get going, I need to spend $248/mo ($3k/yr) AND need to keep my SW subscription up to date. There goes $5k.

    – In the SW view, the guys who make mechanical things and the guys who make “designed” things are different (hint: for small companies, they are the same guy/gal). So if I want surfacing tools, I’ll probably need to pay another $248+/mo to get Design Conceptual. So make that $8k a year.

    With that kind of money, why wouldn’t I just step up to a seat of NX? Or take the SolidEdge deal for $200/mo and start paying Autodesk $40/mo for Fusion while it fills out and matures?

    SW’s real problem here, is pricing. Unless they give current SW users a really slick upgrade/transition path, than they are going to force us to evaluate what’s out there now. If the SWMC+SWDC path pricing is as high as it looks, and the social stuff doesn’t twirl my beanie (hint: it won’t for a lot of shops), than we are gonna ditch SolidWorks for other options.

  • Anna Wood

    Fact Check…. SolidWorks was never owned by IBM.

  • Simon Martin

    Thanks Anna. They were in control of the distribution network however I had it worded wrong. Updated.

  • Anna Wood

    That is not true either for SolidWorks. IBM has never owned the distribution network for SolidWorks. You are confusing the distribution network for CATIA, etc with the SolidWorks reseller channel. They are very different sales channels.

  • I think it’s very interesting to compare this video with this one from the founder of SolidWorks, Jon Hirschtick:


    I have some questions for SolidSmack blog commenters:

    Which CEO makes you more comfortable and why?

    Which CEO do you think better understands what the real world problems are in CADCAM?

    Jon Banquer
    CADCAM Technology Leaders group on LinkedIn

  • Simon Martin

    I’m grabbing from the DS website:

    “…also resumed control of its entire distribution network in 2010, which had previously been in the hands of IBM….”

    Source: http://www.3ds.com/about-3ds/management/bernard-charles/

  • Anna Wood

    They assumed control of their V6 PLM sales channel, not the SolidWorks sales channel. I can see how it would be confusing, reading the website, if you are not familiar the DS sales channels.

  • Simon Martin

    Thanks so much for clearing that up!

  • Neil

    What ever it is Bernard really intends to convey, and some of it might have merit, I think a lot of meaning fails to translate because of cultural differences. He has a sort of abstract, philosophic, idealistic and romantic bent to his thinking (I presume this is a typically French outlook) that unfortunately appears a bit out of step with reality or even to be meaningless waffle to people who don’t have a similar conscious/culture. It would be likewise hard for me to convey to Bernard why if someone starts talking about ‘the Age of Experience’ or how ‘3DEXPERIENCE is Science based Emotion’ he is likely going to annoy me and perhaps come across as an idiot. Same sort of deal with ‘social industry experiences’ that Monica was propagating. Although apparently she speaks 4? languages fluently it still comes across as nonsense. This stuff just doesn’t travel well. All this aside from the rights or wrongs of what they intend to do with SW and the cost, security, data and whatever issues.

  • Troy

    To answer your question, I do feel more comfortable with how Jon Hirschtick explains all of this. But I honestly don’t hear/see a whole lot of major differences in the fundamental beliefs, except for the part about improving the fundamentals of CAD. But even then, Solidworks Mechanical Conceptual does seem to have improved the fundamentals. So even that point is not drastically different. The main difference is that Jon Hirschtick is just explaining everything differently, in much more down to Earth manner and less dreamy-land like Bernard, but the overarching messages seem to me to still be about the same.

    For example, Jon talks about advantages of both cloud and social collaboration, even at the smallest company level, and especially for the younger generation. Sure you can find a lot of examples of that, but you can find just as many examples of companies, such as the design firm I work for, that do not operate like that and have no real need for that sort of social collaboration. He talks about no software installation or license
    codes and alludes to subscription based Software as a Service models, and the software/data hosted on public clouds like Amazon and assures us that the security issue is no big deal. He talks about needing to utilize cloud processors because computing speeds aren’t increasing like they used to. All of these things he talks about have also been discussed in one way or another by both Dassault and Autodesk.

    Back to the cloud security issues, he compares the paranoia to people hiding their money in their mattresses, but then turns right around and acknowledges half jokingly that “today maybe there could be some truth to that…”. But continues to try and argue that cloud is actually more secure. Now here is the main problem I have every time I hear these arguments from anyone. I personally don’t have too much of a problem with cloud and the security, and can certainly agree with the advantages.

    But it’s the clients my company does business with that have the issue.

    The design firm I work for does business with mostly all fortune 500 type big companies, and several of them are so secretive about the design projects that they require us to never use email, and to even encrypt the project folders on our own computers that we are working on. Then destroy all of the files when the project is over! These companies would
    never allow their design data to be hosted somewhere out on the cloud that they do not have total control over. This is the issue that nobody, not even Jon Hirschtick, seem to be taking seriously enough. Especially with all of the revelations these days about how much data of all sorts from all places is being compromised all the time. There needs to be a major revolution in security understanding and security guarantees to make
    these “secretive” super competitive corporations feel more at ease, otherwise it’s a no go, no matter how cool and advantageous the cloud might be.

  • Lee Lloyd

    I think where the disconnect comes in, is that you, as am I, are from the “old” way of doing things, where if you want to make something, you have to design it, work out the engineering, then either prototype it yourself, or send those designs to a manufacturer who invariably is very literal in interpreting the design, and does nothing but produce it, making sure it meets the QA specs you provided.

    There is, however, a whole new generation of designers, who don’t concern themselves with any of that. I tend to derogatorily call them “Kickstarters,” whose workflow is to come up with a cool idea, make some pretty design sketches, then raise money to get it made, and let some factory in China work out all the engineering of how to make their pretty sketch a reality. Maybe, if they are really hip, and really “social” savvy, they’ll even crowdsource their specs, and let their users handle defining features and goals.

    To those people, and they are an entire subset of the ID world these days, this focus on collaboration is essential to their business model. They have neither the skills, nor inclination, to learn how to do all this on their own, so the only way their product will ever get made is through collaboration. In many ways, though they might be one-man shops, they still work like some massive company, because they rely on the resources of dozens, if not hundreds, of people to get from that pretty sketch to a finished product.

    I’m not saying one approach or the other is better, though I think my personal biases are pretty clear, but I recognize the market Dassault is aiming for here. That said, I think their pricing completely misses the mark, but I see what both they and Autodesk are hoping to cash in on.

  • Troy

    Yeah I think you might be right. I am really trying to understand where the market for this social CAD is, because it’s not here in the major design firm that I work for. Nor is it with any of the other major design firms that we consider our competition. I know this because we know how they work. Nor is this demand with our clients (or they would have asked us). And it’s also not with the typical manufactures that we and our clients work with to get the the designs manufactured. I guess we all do things the “old fashioned” way. And we are among the best in the business at doing design this way.

    But maybe I should be raising a red flag and waiving it in front of this design companies owners face and alerting him that there might be a stealth competitor sneaking up from behind and about to become more serious competition to his business? Sure everyones well aware of Kickstarter and similar approaches. But my boss, and just about anyone else I work with certainly does not consider that to be a direct thread to our design business. But maybe we are all wrong and Autodesk, Dassault, and Hirschtick are the only ones who are right?

    And maybe I should also tell my boss that our CAD company has abandoned us is favor of a completely different business model that they are betting is going to put us out of business?

  • Lee Lloyd

    I think a growing pain the industry is going through right now, is companies getting their head around “software as service” models. Historically, all of these programs have been astronomically expensive, because all the R&D involved, and the small user base. Now, companies see a possibility to grow their user base, by removing the upfront cost of purchase, while getting regular revenue from subscriptions. This works great for a company like Adobe, that has previously been a buy-only vendor, where they depended on upgrades to earn money.

    However, it gets weird, confused and wrong, when a company like Dassault or Autodesk (who already operated on expensive subscriptions) tries to jump on the bandwagon, because they just don’t understand what about a subscription is appealing to a user, and end up getting the whole thing completely wrong.

    For a company like Adobe, the math makes perfect sense to a user. Instead of paying $1,500 every couple years, you now spend $600 a year. First year, you save half, second year you save $300, third year, it gets more questionable, but all in all it is roughly the same cost over 5 years as if you had been buying every update, maybe even a little cheaper. However, something like this new SWMC makes no sense at all to a user. Instead of paying $3,000-$10,000 up front, and then $1,300-$2,000 a year thereafter, you now pay $3,000-$6,000 a year. What?!?! The longer you have the software, the worse the value proposition becomes. By 5 years in, you have rebought the software several times over.

    It really does smack of executives hearing about some “hot new business model” that will make the company a lot more money, and failing to realize that they were ALREADY ON that business model, so just doubling their prices.

  • Lee Lloyd

    Well, to a certain extent, I think you probably should be warning people. It is not a perfect analogy, but I think there is a certain similarity between the design houses of today, and publishing houses at the beginning of the desktop publishing revolution. I went through that transition as well, and I certainly can see some parallels.

    Kickstarter, and the general mindset it represents, certainly is popularizing a production model that centers around “good enough” design, “good enough” engineering, and “good enough” manufacturing, supplanting hype and lots of social jargon, for quality design, engineering and manufacture. I have no doubt that long term it will have deleterious effects on the design industry as a whole.

    Some guy hawking his napkin sketch on Kickstarter certainly doesn’t directly compete with your design business, but I can find dozens of examples where your clients, my clients, or some other guy’s clients, are having a hard time selling their product, because every news source on the planet is obsessing about a competing Kickstarter project that is a shameless copy of their product, won’t be on the market for at least another year, but somehow raised a million dollars, that people aren’t spending on currently shipping products.

    Eventually that is going to hurt our clients, and thus us.

  • Adam

    I, for one, think these semantics matter. The fact that Hirschtick understands and articulates what makes the product useful to engineers is why SW took a mature industry by storm in the late 90’s, knocking more corporate-style companies (like Dassault!) aside in their wake. Users saw value in a tool that took them seriously, rather than the typical “business consulting” attitude of Big-Brother-Dassault, Siemens, and PTC.

    I’ll comment on the topic of cloud security below, but suffice it to say that attitudes are changing rapidly, and I think we may be surprised just how quickly the cloud thing becomes a non-issue when the right tool comes along.

  • Adam

    “It really does smack of executives hearing about some “hot new business model” that will make the company a lot more money, and failing to realize that they were ALREADY ON that business model, so just doubling their prices.”

    LOL Lee, you crack me up man. Completely agree.

  • Adam

    I agree that the social aspect of SWMC etc are not as exciting as Bernard makes them out to be–and certainly not worth the outrageous pricing they’re trying to charge–but that doesn’t mean I think they’re useless. For indy peeps like me, the cloud thing could actually be a huge boon to productivity, believe it or not. Instead of my current systems with box.com, dropbox, and Basecamp, I could invite my clients to look at 3D for evaluation in real-time during meetings, which would be incredibly helpful since I’m in DC, and my clients are mostly in Seattle, LA, Boston, SF, NYC, and Chicago. Design reviews involve a lot of “hand waving over the phone” that can be seriously frustrating for all parties.

    As for security, I think it’s been pretty well established that cloud services like these are just as secure as local storage, and in many cases much more so, since very few people encrypt their laptop hard drives or thumb drives, and very few small businesses have the savvy to keep their LAN’s as secure against attack as the full-time security experts at, say, Google, Amazon, Box.com, etc. There are always security concerns, but suffice it to say that cloud is here to stay, and those companies who’re not yet on board will be soon. Those who insist on continuing to rely on internal IT will, for example, become Targets (pun intended). Much better to leave security to real pros!

    I’m all for cloud services and Sas, I just don’t want to entrust my business to a company who seems to care so little for my interests as a user.

  • Lee Lloyd

    On the security aspect, I think you are part right, part wrong. Yes, most likely Amazon, Google, et al., have far better security that your small business. If someone is specifically targeting the designs of your business, they are probably safer on a secure cloud server, than on your LAN. This ignores the footprint of the service though.

    That example is great if the attacker even knows or cares about your company in specific. The problem with cloud solutions though, is that it isn’t just YOUR designs. It is a central repository of a massive number of high value designs, and that’s where the risk factor comes in. The past few years have shown in dramatic detail that, any security can be circumvented, provided enough resources and determination.

    The NSA, the Chinese government, your client’s biggest multinational competitor, and so forth, probably don’t even really know what your company does, or care what’s on your network. They aren’t likely to devote hundreds of man hours to infiltrating your network on the off chance that there is something neat on it. However, one network that contains ALL the designs of EVERY company on the planet who uses Dassault software? Now that’s a high value target, that it is well worth devoting resources to compromising!

    Do you really think that there is no commercial value to Boeing, to see in realtime, what designs Airbus is working on? Do you really think Samsung wouldn’t like to see where Apple is on their new product? And guess what, as soon as some enterprising hacker figures out how to collect his millions for providing all these companies with the espionage they want, he just so happens to have the keys to YOUR stuff too, because it’s stored on the same server!

    I think the threat is less one of specific designs, and more of someone, or some entity, compromising the service as a whole, and offering a clearinghouse of designs, once they have downloaded the entire database.

  • Troy

    Thanks Lee on the security issues! I was starting to say something very similar. But I’ll add this.

    As for our security, we are small enough such that generally no hacker would really bother with us (Like you said Lee). And the designers are trusted and have signed agreements to confidentiality. So if they breached that, they would be liable. If for some reason we do get hacked, then we are liable. I agree again with you Lee that hackers are more likely “target” bigger fish like Google and Amazon. And then who a at Google or Amazon are going to be held liable? As cloud storage service agreements are currently written, to my knowledge, they claim no liability. So then what?

    If this stuff gets better worked out, and/or if my clients say they don’t really care, then fine, I’m all for cloud. But I think these are still very real issues.

    I agree there’s definitely a market for the social aspect of what they and others have created. I’m just trying to better understand what and where that market exists, because it’s not where I work.

    The real thing I’m wanting to understand about Mechanical Conceptual, is just how much of the high price is due to the Social aspect? And from Bernards comments in the video, I deduced that it may be quite a lot of the price.

    But I don’t really want those features, especially if they are causing the features of MC that I do want to be priced beyond reach. So why is that? And what I think I’m learning through all of these conversations is that, man the design company I work for must really be “old fashioned”. I must be really old! Time to start an early mid-life crisis!

    It’s really a difference in how we do design, and how you are doing design. You see, we don’t generally collaborate in real time with the client. We don’t design with them. They hire us to design something for them. Which we do, and then present to them when the designs are ready. We make a range of concepts, then put that together nicely and professionally into a presentation, and then present that to them in a meeting. There’s no hand waving. They mull over everything and get back to us with some decisions. Then we continue onto refinements, and then present again, and so on. I thought this was the pretty standard way of design, and I know this is how our competitor design firms also do things. But like I wrote in the post below, maybe I should be more concerned that this is all wrong now.

  • Adam

    I definitely don’t think it’s “wrong”, and it’s definitely the conventional way of working at a consulting firm. Many of my “clients”, however, are consulting firms like yours. So I’ll be a hired-gun-for-the-hired-gun. In these cases, collaboration is almost always necessary.

    There are many clients for which the “throw it over the wall” approach makes really good sense, but there are others for whom a more collaborative approach saves lots of time and money. Some clients have told me candidly how tired they are of the closed-loop nature of consulting firms, and that they really appreciate my openness about the design process.

    The agency approach is a great business model, and will continue to be. But there’s a lot to be gained by being flexible.

  • Lee Lloyd

    I agree with Adam that it isn’t the “wrong” way to do it. I’ll go even further, and say that I think it is actually the right way to do things. However, as Adam mentions, it might not be what customers want, even if it is the right way to do it.

    Let me just give you an example, by way of history. Back in the ’90s, I mainly did software and interface design. I had a good business, a good reputation, and even won a few awards. Back then, we very much used the same sort of agency model you are describing. A Fortune 500 company would come to us, we would have a series of meetings to decide what they wanted, then we would pretty much go dark, and make what they said they wanted, while they had no real contact with the team, except through the account rep. When we were done, we would have a presentation, take notes, make tweaks, and then deliver the finished product. It worked well, we had good budgets, satisfied clients, were always on schedule, had lots of return business, and everyone walked away happy.

    Then the web happened. Practically overnight (well, in the space of a few years), the expectation was that the client would have constant access to our live testing server, and had no compunction about constantly emailing the artists, developers and management about any little issue in today’s build that they didn’t like.The result was, inevitably, that projects were always behind schedule, always over budget, and the client was rarely as satisfied with the work as they had been previously, which meant that come time to do the next project, they were always on the lookout for another vendor, so less repeat business.

    That was when I got out of the interface design market. My wife is still a web producer, and that mode of work is now the standard in the industry, and budgets have gone through the roof, as has employee turnover, and team size, while all around customer satisfaction is at an all time low, as is worker job satisfaction. I would say it is exactly the wrong way to run a business, but nonetheless it is now the industry standard, and very few clients will even consider leaving you alone and just doing a presentation when the work is finished, and ready to present.

    It is not hard at all for me to see the same thing happening in the product design industry. Clients LIKE to micromanage projects into the ground. It makes them feel in control, and gives them that feeling of instant gratification that has come to characterize our society. Besides, there is very little reputational cost to the person micromanaging, since they can always just blame failures on the vendor. I have never met a client who didn’t at least THINK they wanted more of a hand in the process. I saw the same thing in the video post market. As soon as the technology made it possible to work in near real time, there were clients pushing to literally sit watching over your shoulder as you put their spot together, asking you to change this color, or move that a little over to the right.

    It is probably an inevitability that ALL creative industries will go this way, but it doesn’t mean it is the “right” way for them to go.

  • Neil

    Too hard to follow a discussion here. I’ll leave you to it…
    I think if you keep talking you’ll end up agreeing with Bernard and paying God knows p.a.

  • Troy

    Great. So what you’re saying is, everything that the owner of this company has built and be the best in the business at doing, is doomed to go the way of suck.

    We try very hard to not let the client micro mess up the process. We have built a very good process, that when followed, almost always leads to great success. But if the clients decide to short cut the process, or just think they can design it all better themselves, then the project always, and I mean always results in failure. An over-budget mess of crap and stress, with the product never making it to market.

    And so what you’re telling me, is that you think product design is inevitably headed for that unfortunate fate. And Autodesk and Dassault are right there excitedly pushing it in that direction. But hey that’s the future of design, so jump on board! It’ll be an awesome fun social mess.

    Great, I think it’s all settled now. I think we really have just talked enough so that we all now agree with Bernard! Just like Neil said below would happen!

  • Lee Lloyd

    I don’t personally agree with it, which is one of the big reasons I’ve been working hard to try to move away from client work, and transition to actually selling my own products to consumers. This is one of those things where I desperately hope I’m completely wrong.

    That said, I saw it happen in the print industry, I saw it happen in the software industry, I saw it happen in the video industry, so I have a hard time believing it won’t happen in the product design industry too.

  • Adam

    Aw, you guys. Nobody likes micromanagers, but collaboration is a good thing. My most frequent design collaborator lives in Boston, and we work on projects big and small for corporations all over the country. When we collaborate, it would be a huge help to be able to make certain kinds of design decisions in real time. I don’t see anything wrong with that, and I can see products like this being a huge step in the right direction.

    My only beef is the price.

  • Lee Lloyd

    Here’s the thing Adam. Collaboration between talented peers, all working at the same, or at least complementary levels, and playing to each other’s strengths, is a wonderful thing, and ALWAYS yields results surpassing the abilities of any single team member. If the world were a complete meritocracy, where no one in the process ever could have gotten there without proving themselves, and earning that position, then collaboration would always be a joyous thing.

    In the real world, it never works out that way. There is always that guy on the client side, who has never shipped a successful product, or maybe even a product at all, and has a history of going over budget, and falling behind schedule, but since he has a degree from Parsons, or is the nephew of the owner, or is just really good at backstabbing and schmoozing, somehow ended up with the Special Project Creative Director title. As soon as that guy is in the mix, the line between “collaboration” and “micromanaging” becomes nonexistent.

  • Adam

    “Never” is a strong word, given that I do this every day. I make my living at this too, remember.

  • Lee Lloyd

    I’m being hyperbolic. Of course I’ve had clients that are a joy to work with. It is always the horror stories that stick in you mind though, not the jobs that go off without a hitch.

  • Lee Lloyd

    Just to be even more clear, I’m not trying to be dismissive of your view on this. Hell, I’m willing to bet you work with far more clients every year than I do, especially since the past few years I’ve been trying to move away from client work altogether, and these days only really work for clients as a favor to old business contacts.

    This particular pivot in the industry, to a more collaborative, inclusive, and “social” industry, just happens to be one of those “been there, done that, I know how this ends” sort of things for me.

  • Troy

    We collaborate here great internally. We are all designers and we collaborate on every single project. No project is ever a solo project. But we are all here in the office collaborating together in person, as actual real life humans actually talking to each other. We don’t have a satellite office or designers that work from home. If we did, then this sort of technology is great, and that’s where I absolutely see a great benefit…sort of. For that kind of collaboration I actually think the new augmented reality eDrawings thing or the new SpaceClaim thing is the way I would prefer to do it. Not social media.

    The problem is when, like Lee related, the client wants to be overly involved because they are a control freak and think they know best about everything. And of course the “client is always right”. Except when they are wrong and have no idea what they are doing, and that’s why we were hired in the first place. This is not the same as true collaboration like the way we work as a team here in the office. That is watching over your shoulder because they don’t actually have the faith that you know what you are doing. In fact, I’ve had a few instances where the client actually insisted on coming to the office and watching us do the CAD. None of those instances have ever been productive or helpful in any way. That’s not collaboration.

    I have strong need to collaborate with my peers who are working with me on the design project. I do not have need to constantly collaborate with the client, or the molders, or whoever else that doesn’t need be directly involved with what I’m doing. I only need an occasion piece of information from them to keep the design on track.

  • Troy

    I agree the semantics do matter. That’s why I said I like Jon better. He discusses these things in a more realistic way. And with that I find I trust him and Belmont Group/OnShape more than Dassault or Autodesk. But they are all still talking about the same things. Which is very interesting considering that I get the distinct impression that there are two completely different motivations. Dassault and Autodesk do it from more of a self-serving fully profit driven attitude. I get the impression that they don’t want to make improvement just because that’s what the consumer wants. But Jon does give the impression that he really wants to improve the industry because he legitimately emphasizes with the customer.

    So the interesting thing to watch here, is given the exact same topics and technologies, but only differing in motivations, how will the solutions be different?

  • al dean

    *cough* Y’all missed some KEY questions out

    Personally, I like how Bernard talks about this stuff. Understand him? Not so much. And I’m used to the French folks. Remind me to tell you about that week I spent sharing a bed with Goat herder’s son in a barn 20 clicks outside of La Rochelle.



  • “I’ll comment on the topic of cloud security below, but suffice it to say that attitudes are changing rapidly, and I think we may be surprised just how quickly the cloud thing becomes a non-issue when the right tool comes along.”

    I completely agree with Adam’s statement.

    I’ll take it a few steps further:

    Jon Hirschtick is much more user centric than the CEO’s of Dassault, Siemens and Autodesk are.

    The attitude of user choice and empowerment is pervasive in Onshape employees who I communicate with.

    Onshape knows what they need to do and I’m convinced they will do it.

    Jon Banquer
    CADCAM Technology Leaders group on LinkedIn

  • Troy

    Jon Hirschtick is the only CEO who thinks the fundamentals in CAD are still the main issue and he makes this his major focus. That’s the big difference. He’s right that this should be the focus.

    Jon Hirschtick understands where SolidWorks fails and what needs to be done differently this time.

    Jon Hirschtick understands that CAD needs a major change from reliance on a tree structure which has become the default place to dump just about everything. Major innovation is needed in this area.

    Autodesk’s CEO is focused on being a Maker. He can’t relate to professional issues that many in my LinkedIn group disucss every day. In fact, Carl Bass recently posted on Twitter that he closed his LinkedIn account.

    Dassault’s CEO is focused on social and having a “3DExperience”. I don’t see social as trumping the still broken fundementals in CADCAM. I don’t relate to Dassault’s CEO or SolidWorks CEO and for sure they don’t give a dead rats behind about relating to me. I can easily live with that. Not only that but I think I understand social and how to empower CADCAM users better than either do.

    Jon Banquer
    CADCAM Technology Leaders group on LinkedIn

  • CBecks

    Wait, the original creators of SolidWorks are now creating a brand new 3D modeling software? That’s pretty interesting.



  • Josh M

    Ha! We were short on time 🙂

    I can only imagine the songs you two sung as you drifted off to sleep in the hayloft.

  • Josh M

    yep, just you wait.

  • Why should anyone have to wait after years of delays for DS/SolidWorks to get it right with SolidWorks Mechanical Conceptual?

    It’s overpriced.

    You have to rent it forever.

    It only runs on a public cloud.

    As it stands, SWMC will be DOA.

    Jon Banquer
    CADCAM Technology Leaders group on LinkedIn

  • Al,

    “Understand him?”

    Yes, I do.

    Here is what I understand:

    Bernard Charlès isn’t focused on the broken basics of CAD.

    Bernard Charlès isn’t focused on better CAM integration with either legacy SolidWorks or SWMC.

    All of the above also apply to SolidWorks CEO Bertrand Sicot.

    That’s all I need to understand.

    Jon Banquer
    CADCAM Technology Leaders group on LinkedIn