SWW ’08 – Tales from the ‘Dark Side’

Posted on January 25th, 2008. Posted In SolidWorks Community

Ok, yes, I’ve been a little lax lately in posting. I know that saying that "I’ve been busy" is a really crappy excuse but, nonetheless, I’ve been busy. I’d planned on writing about World in the next day or two, but Ed Gebo, Co-chair of the CMNC-SWUG, sent me an email regarding a post he’d put up on their website calling me out. If Ed weren’t from Massachusetts I’d probably give him a beat-down but, where he is from Mass and he is a PATRIOTS fan, I’m gonna give him a pass…this time. Ya hear me, Ed?
Let’s get on with it then….
SolidWorks World ’08 was, for me, different than the last two (Vegas and New Orleans) that I’ve been to as I attended as a VAR this year. My first year I went as a user, last year as a member of the press. I don’t know what capacity I will attend in next year. I guess I do get a unique view of things having had access to different things each year. This year was probably my busiest, though. The VAR attendees actually have different agendas from general attendees. As an AE, I went to technical sessions to be able to better help my customers. Anyone who knows me knows that I truly want my customers to be satisfied with the services they receive from me, whether it is tech support or training. I qualified that statement ’cause I know a few people (Matt, Patrick, Ben) who’s minds would have gone in the wrong direction. I learned some great stuff that I’ll be able to immediately put to use. There was one course in particular, though, that was a huge waste of time, but I think it’s best that I not talk about it as I’m not sure it won’t haunt me.
Sunday was a tough day. A friend of mine from my previous employer was attending SWW and we went to a local bar to watch the Patriots/Chargers game. Being the loyal fan that I am, as well as an arrogant East Coaster, I wore my Patriots jersey. I walked into the bar, fully prepared for whatever comments would be thrown my way and…nothing. Not a word. Honestly, I was disappointed. There’s nothing better than when opposing fans banter back and forth. I suspect, though, that those Chargers fans knew that they’d end up eating their words and decided to keep their mouths shut. As it was, I had to leave before half time to go take an exam (part of the VAR experience). As I sat there waiting form my turn, I was staying up with the game on my phone. There was, obviously, a bit of a lag. With ESPN showing 1:36 to go in the game, my phone blew up with text messages and phone calls. (Thankfully I had remembered to put it on silent.) I knew then that the game was over and the Pats had won. For those of you interested, I did well on the exam.
Monday started with a, surprisingly, good breakfast. I’ll not bore you with details from the general session. You can check out what Mike Puckett, Ricky Jordan, or any of the other bloggers had to say in detail. I really enjoyed listening to Danny Forster from Discovery Channel’s Build it Bigger. He was entertaining and inspiring. I got to attend my first VAR session which was, well, boring. I really like teaching people how to use SolidWorks and helping them with any problems that may crop up. The whole "sales" thing…
Monday night found me and Jef (the friend mentioned above) going out for dinner. 
Tuesday rolled around too early, if you ask me. I was pretty excited for this day as I was part of the ‘Stump the Chumps’ panel. Ben Eadie, the head chump, had made up T-shirts for all of us to wear featuring our Simpson avatars. While, overall, the session went well, we had some technical difficulties. The KVM switch didn’t work, so we were stuck with one laptop. We’d also neglected to set a time limit, but you live and learn, right? We did receive a number of positive comments. To paraphrase the esteemed Gerald Davis, President of COSUG and sheetmetal guru, "…best user group meeting I’ve been to." I’m looking forward to next year.
Tuesday night featured the "Big Event". This year we had a block party in the Gaslamp District complete with tons of food, beer and wine. Jef, my co-worker Michelle and I wandered around eating and checking things out. We even tried the oxygen bar. This is, literally, where you sit down with a tube up each nostril and inhale oxygen. The oxygen is pumped through water that’s laced with various herbs and whatnot. Supposedly, depending on the mix, you’ll feel joy, energy, peace, etc. I only felt silly sitting there with tubes up my nose. I would say, though, that the highlight of my Tuesday night, aside from watching the dancing girls, was being stopped by Wayne Tiffany. I’ve heard of Wayne for years, he is, afterall, a SolidWorks luminary, and to be stopped by him was flattering. Thanks, Wayne. Sorry I missed your session…again.
Wednesday was another day of sessions, but not as long. It is, after all, the last day of SWW. Thankfully, I ran into some of my fellow bloggers, as well as others I’ve met over the years, and was able to say ‘goodbye’. It amazes me how, in the midst of 4700 attendees, I kept running into the same people over and over.
While most people were gone by Thursday morning, Michelle and I had one more session to attend. DriveWorks (you’ve seen me write about them a couple of times) were having a 3 hour session at the Marriott. Where there was free food and drink, and given the fact that I really like DriveWorks, we attended and gleaned some more knowledge from Glen and Maria.
It’s now Friday morning and, as I sit here, I realize just how quickly it came and went. I love SolidWorks World. I love everything that can be learned there. The friends you get to see again and the new ones you make. I’m already looking forward to next year in Orlando. It’ll be doubly sweet for me as my parents, who are "snowbirds", will be just an hour away. Yep, I’m already counting down the days…
Oh, and for those of you who busted my cojones, I will do my best to post more frequently.



Podcast for Managers

Posted on January 2nd, 2008. Posted In SolidWorks Community

Back in August ’07, Jason Raak, of RockSolid Perspective, started writing about his attempt to get his company to send him to SolidWorks World. His first post was written on August 6th. After the third installment, I sent Jason a comment about getting my former boss to write a testimonial for him to aid his cause. Jason accepted my offer and, ultimately, ended up getting his company to send him to SWW (click here for that post).
Well, Bob Jordan, the former boss, was just interviewed by SolidWorks for their SWW podcast series. Now, with time running out, you can present your manager with not only Bob’s testimonial, but you can play the podcast for them as well.

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