I don’t know that I’ve ever said this, but I truly love being a blogger for SolidWorks. It’s provided me with some wonderful opportunities, both professionally and personally. Take today, for instance. As a blogger, I wasn’t subjected to the cattle-callish nature of trying to get a good seat that so many others are. It’s reminiscent of the days when rock concerts had general admission and people would push and shove to get the best seats. None of that for the members of the press, we have reserved seating up front. Truly a wonderful thing.
Today’s general session started as one would expect with Jeff Ray coming out and talking about this year’s SolidWorks World, the attendance compared with last year’s, and the fun we could expect. He then talked about how he’d promised changes last year and told us how he felt that SolidWorks had done over the course of the year. When all was said and done, he gave their progress a B-, admitting that there were still areas that needed work. I agree with that statement, though I wonder if a B- wasn’t a bit generous.
Next up was Jeff’s interview with Sir Richard Branson. Not the normal keynote speaker time, but a one-on-one interview ala "The Tonight Show". I gotta say, Sir Richard is a pretty affable guy. Funny, engaging and he came off as being pretty down to Earth. It was most apparent in his nervousness. Apparently, he doesn’t like to talk in public like that. Kudos to him for doing it. You’re probably thinking he got paid a ton of money for it. Well, you’re wrong. His speaker fee was donated to his charity. Everyone I’ve spoken to truly enjoyed listening to Sir Richard (do you have to keep calling him ‘Sir Richard’, I don’t want to break protocol here…). He had a couple of funny stories. In one, he talked about when he was just starting up Virgin Air and called Boeing to buy a used 747. In the end he was asked, given the name of the airline, were they going to go all the way. Naturally, that cracked me, and everyone else, up. He also spoke of a time when British Airways was having a publicity event. (At this point, I missed a bit because of the people in front of me who were talking). Whatever it was that BA was trying to raise wouldn’t go up. Sir Richard, upon hearing this, "scrambled" one of his airships and had it fly over the site with "BA can’t get it up" in lights.
I spent a fair amount of time in the vendor pavilion today and lined up some new products to review for all of you. Among them will be the new offerings from SolidProfessor, Vuuch, Zygote Ergonomics and solidThinking. TactonWorks will be coming in the near future as well. The product that I’m going to test out first is Xpresso. Imagine having an add-in that will greatly lessen the number of times you need to use your mouse while aggravating your coworkers at the same time (my spin on it, not theirs). In a nutshell, Xpresso is voice command software for SolidWorks. If it works as well as the demo I was shown, it could very well do away with my beloved ‘S’ key. Stay tuned for that one coming out soon.