General Session and Keynote: Day 1

Day 1 in the massive assemblage of SolidWorks Users staff to find out what SolidWorks has been up to. Jeff hits on what you think about SolidWorks and what can be improved.

And then guess what. He has a sitdown interview with Sir Richard Branson about World Record, what makes a good design and dealing with tough times.

Here’s the highlights…

SolidWorks Report Card
Jeff Ray is doing the opening address after a pretty impressive animations (that we’ll get a hold of and post later on). First off, he’s sizing up SolidWorks is doing based on customer feedback. What’s the score?

Customer Service
Customer satisfaction at 91%
Customer portal saw 1.2 million visits.

How did SolidWorks do on performance for 2009?
Large assemblies and drawings 65% faster according to users
8x savings

User Experience
UI and support for widescreens
striving for consistency

Other User highlights
50% Users spend 70% of time using SolidWorks products

8 discreet touchpoints to capture feedback 8000 pieces of feedback for 2009
SolidWorks Brainstorm – vote publicly for features and enhancements in customer portal

Mentions twitter and #SWW09 twitter hashtag. Right on Jeff

want to ‘obliterate installs’ – real problem for larger users – plans to get rid of the install process

Tough Times
Great inventions sparked during hard time – nylon sythetic fiber, car radio, spam 1937 by hormel. Hundreds of great stories of people solving problems. A few are…

Wind Energy
windmills problems of size, locations, payback
payback only 5 years

Organ Tissue
Much organ wasted/unused
Regenerative Technologies (RTI)
Nick able to help 108 people by donating organs
tissue donors bone tissue – cleansing weakens cell structure.
patented tech to clean without weakening
mills bone for replacements, use dust for paste

Access to safe drinking water
bombard water with uV light
TrojanUV providing safe drinking water
2.2 billion gallons of water clensed/day – olympic size pool filled every 30 seconds

1/2 of deaths wouldn’t occur if there was a incubator
Design that Matters
visited sites, found broken down incubators, cars and trucks and mechanics
incubator made from car parts, headlights provide heat and warmth, turn light for signals and alarms.

Sir Richard Branson
Branson Being introduced by Jeff ray – Started with student magazine, 360 corporations, Humanitarian, knighted in 1999

Jeff Ray interviewing, sitting with Sir Richard Branson

Any recent record, attempting breaking records?
hot-air balloon – first across the Atlantic
5 Guinness world record for being pulled out of sea by rescue helicopters

What motivates you to keep trying things like this?
I can’t say no, loves challenges. creating the technological challenge, doing things that haven’t been done before

Slowing down at all?
Hope not, aproaching 60. as long as you don’t injure yourself, you can keep going.

First Business Experience?
raised bugerygards(???), rats ate’em, christmas trees, rabbit ate those, student campaigning magazine-funded with advertisements @16yo
Virgin records – young boy approached him, record companies wouldn’t take his record, so he started his own record company.

Jeff Ray asks Branson to sign first Virgin Record Tubular Bells

What started Virgin Aircraft?
Wasn’t happy with airlines, called up Boeing for a used 747. – “our only concern, with a name like virgin will the airline go the whole way?” (har har har)
Bars in planes, flight attendants help design suits, lighting changes.

How do you find a way to make experiences fun and not take it all too seriously.
Enjoy every minute of your life. It’s very critical. (ahhh, words to live by)

What makes a good design?
The absolute key is not designing a product first. Talk to consumer before creating product. Experience what others are saying. then set about designing something people will want. Try to be 5 years ahead of competitors. Listen, listen, listen to people.

Irreverence and sex appeal important to virgin brand, what’s the line?
If you make people smile, your’e not going over the line. Branson thinks it’s sad that people have become puritanical.

How do you get people to take you serious?
There are serious problems, but we still have a lot of fun. you’ve gotta have humor – Jeff, yes, life is short.

Keynote speaker fee for Branson went to Virgin Atlantic “the Elders” cause.

Advice for hard times?
Expanding out of it instead of contracting. Virgin is starting new airlines. Companies with resources need to continue to expand. Don’t take baton down the hatches mentality. Before laying people off, sit down with workforce and explore ideas. Explore 4 day weeks, job sharing. Greatest pain is being out of work all together.


Josh is founder and editor at SolidSmack.com, founder at Aimsift Inc., and co-founder of EvD Media. He is involved in engineering, design, visualization, the technology making it happen, and the content developed around it. He is a SolidWorks Certified Professional and excels at falling awkwardly.