Oh, God, this is daunting. How does one go about writing about someone like Josh Mings? He writes one of the most popular CAD blogs, SolidSmack.com, he’s half of the incredible Engineer vs. Designer, and he’s a Web Marketing Manager at Luxion. He also has over 3500 followers on Twitter. If I don’t do him justice, I could be ostracized by the CAD community. Y’know, I think I’ll just let Josh do the talking.
First, let’s get some background on you. Where does Josh Mings come from?
I hail from the great white north, Illinois, but the south part, where the corn and apples grow plentiful. So, I guess you could say, I come from a corn field… when strange enough, I spent plenty of time being drug through by an angry horse after some oats. That and thistles… what was the question?
How about education?
I went to a public school, got my nipples twisted my some mean high-schoolers, got into some fights and talked back to my parents enough to end up in a private school. First teacher I ever liked was there, inspiring me about traveling and making things. I was that strangely amalgamated basketball player/skateboard punk in highshool. Wrote a lot there and had plenty of encouragement to keep with that. Wanted to go to the Art Institute of Chicago to pursue architecture and model-making, but the ‘swiss-army’ knife degree I was cunningly persuaded by my parents to pursue, was mechanical engineering. I failed calculus while spending more time in the labs and building stuff. I ended up graduating, strange enough, with a mechanical engineering technology degree and a design technology degree. I’m partially through an MBA, but have put that off to actually run a business.
At what point in time did you realize you wanted to be an engineer?
I don’t think it was ever something that hit me in the face, but when my little brother threw a dirt clod that hit me in the face, I built a small fort, and from then on I’ve always been interested in not being hit by dirt clods. I think that’s a pretty common path most engineers go down.
Do you remember your first design? If so, what was it?
It was the dirt clod fort or the hay bail fort. After that the first ‘real’ design was a skateboard ramp. Research, concepts, testing, drawings… the whole bit. We ended up with a half-pipe that rocked the block.
When did you first come up with SolidSmack, and what prompted it?
I had been involved with the SolidWorks community to an extent since 96. However, I lost interest in that back in the cad.comp.solidworks days. I had a personal blog and wanted to do something along the lines of my interests, so I thought a blog on SolidWorks would be a cool idea. That was in 2007. I didn’t know about any other ‘cad blogs’ out there at the time. I remember deciding to do it, thinking of the name and designing the first logo in about an 30 minutes to get it up and going.
From what dark part of your mind do your ‘good morning’ sayings come from?
Ha! Yeeeeeaah. I don’t know man. It’s probably some slightly demented section of my brain, combined with early influences from Ren & Stimpy and lack of sleep. I refuse to check email first thing in the morning, so instead I vomit on paper, or in this case on twitter. By the way, you can find a lot of those here.
What, exactly, does a ‘Web Marketing Manager’ do?
Ok, so, a web marketing manager can be a lot of things. I take on anything having to do with the web. This includes anything from web development and SEO to blogging and tweeting. I see what’s effective, build on that and spread the good word. So, in my case it spans a lot, and mostly it revolves around me making a lot of noise.
You’re married with kids, where do you find the time to do your job, plus SolidSmack, plus Engineer vs. Designer?
I get up early, 5am to start the day usually. I keep a tight todo list and fairly tight schedule, avoid the trap of email except for the occasional strategic bathroom breaks.
What does a typical day entail for you?
Get up at 5am. Have a little run/walk, tea and bible reading. I write posts immediately to get them done and schedule them througout the day. I’ll also look through my twitter lists, feeds and schedule tweets to go out throughout the day. I’ll have a quick look through email, answering back any and setting others as tasks. Then the day starts. From the web marketing side of things, I hit the social sites first, check Google alerts, answer comments, questions on forums and interact with users on Facebook and Twitter. I’ll check analytics, trends, adwords (not everyday) to see if there is any unusual activity and work on ways to grow incoming traffic and links. I’ll do a blog post, prep and plan others and communicate with users to do customer stories or find out more information about what they do. That’s usually the morning out of the way. Afternoons are spent on website optimization, SEO and searching out ways to engage users. I review my todo list mid-afternoon and knock-out anything that needs immediate attention, make some notes for the next day and prep whatever I can. Even with that tight a schedule, I can get overwhelmed with task, have rough days or get completely thrown off from travels. On the weekends, I try to stay away from the computer (although lately that has been impossible.) On Sundays, I’ll wipe the slate, clear out my emails, mark all my feeds as read and start fresh.
You just won $1,000,000, what are you going to do?
If I had a million dollars, first I’d pay off the house. I hate debt and that’s a big one that’s always looming. After that, I’d give some out to my family and then do the boring thing and invest the rest… after I bought a Ducati and a racetrack of course.
Ok, so maybe I took the easy way out on this interview, but I just don’t know that I could have done Josh justice using my limited writing skills. Josh is undoubtedly one of the movers and shakers in the CAD community and I’m flattered that he took the time to answer my questions. Some day, when I grow up, I hope I can come up with awesome “good mornings” like his.
Picture stolen, but I can’t remember from where.
Deelip Menezes, of deelip.com, started out as an Mechanical/software engineer who wanted to use his domain name for good. Unfortunately, he fell a bit short of his goal…
I kid, of course. Deelip’s blog is widely read and he is a well respected member of the CAD blogging community. How did he get to this vaunted level? To answer that question, we’ll need to climb into the DeLorean and go back in time (collective groan).
Deelip graduated with his BSME from Goa Engineering College in 1997. Upon graduation, he went to work for Automobile Corporation of Goa as a mechanical and software engineer. He was hired to create and maintain a system that would automatically create drawings of the bus parts created by ACG.
In 1999, he and a friend started Floating Point Solutions where they developed custom CAD software for companies around the globe. They also started Equinox, a company that created custom business software for the Indian market. They parted ways in 2004, and that’s when Sycode came into being. After starting Sycode, Deelip changed course and stop outsourcing and started developing products and technologies. He considers it the best business decision he made. Had he not created all the IP that he did, 3D Systems would never have paid the gazillion dollars for Sycode that they did.
Fast forward to 2006. Deelip had the deelip.com domain, but was unsure of what to do with it. After an all night drinking binge, he was visited by a ghostly apparition that bade him to write about CAD and then guided him to blogger.com where he signed up for an account (Um, I may have embellished a bit there). The topic at the time was the fight between AutoDesk and the ODA. Deelip weighed in with his two cents, people responded and, voila!, deelip.com was off and running. Deelip now covers any and all happenings in the CAD community. Some of his recent posts The Fuss about Creo’s old UI, GrafiCalc at half the Price, and AutoDesk 123D Sculpt.
Unlike me, Deelip is an intelligent man and it comes through in his posts. I’ve never gotten the impression that he just pulls information out of thin air. He writes well has no problems
I asked Deelip about Goa, as I had absolutely no idea about it.
Deelip equates Goa to Hawaii, which makes it sound idyllic.
These days, Deelip is busy setting up 3D Systems Asia. Right now he’s hiring people and moving to a new office space. In the near future he expects to be managing various teams as the country head of 3D Systems. He also e pecks that he’ll be doing less traveling abroad and more within India.
Here’s a tidbit of info about Deelip: all of this started with a loan he got from his father to buy a laptop back in 1999. Now look at him, he’s a gazillionaire!
Picture stolen from Deelip.com.
If you were to close your eyes and imagine what the stereotypical New Englander sounds like, there’s a good chance you’d hear a voice similar to Joy Garon’s. Every time I get the opportunity to talk with her, I’m immediately whisked home to Andover, where I grew up. She has enough “Boston-ness” to offset the fact that she, a die-hard Red Sox fan, married a Yankee fan. Well, mostly anyway. So, in honor Joy, and her awesome New England accent, I’m going to write this interview with a New England accent.
Joy stahted her design careeah at the tendah age of seventeen as a draftah/designah. At eighteen, she joined GE Aircraft Engine group as a tool designah, while continuing her education at night. (Side note: you’ll just have to affect the accent yourself now. It’s too difficult type) It was here that she was first exposed to CAD/CAM. They used ComputerVision and Joy was quick to realize the value of 3D design. It was her love of 3D, coupled with her love of computers that propelled her to jet a job at ComputerVision. While working there, she spent time dealing with large automotive companies domestically and internationally. Becoming involved with data management was a necessity at this point of her career. She also met some of the founders of SolidWorks while at ComputerVision.
Joy left ComputerVision and went to work at SmarTeam, becoming more involved with data management. She started realizing the the challenges of implementing data management and PLM at smaller companies. In 2001, she left SmarTeam to join SolidWorks as a Product Manager for data management.
When she first joined SolidWorks, she was more of a technical product manager, which is where her passion lies. As the position evolved into more of a business management position, she decided to join the training team so she could continue to remain a techie and prepare herself for a teaching career when she retires.
The training department as SolidWorks is responsible for writing all of those wonderful books that the VARs use to teach all those lucky enough to go to training. Much of Joy’s time is spent working with pre-release software, creating all those cool exercises in the books. Then, of course, all those books need to be translated into umpteen languages.
What Joy failed to mention was the fact that she travels all over the world to provide training from one of the best. Asia, Australia, Eastern Europe. Joy is all over the map. (Strangely, I can’t seem to get her out here for a SASPUG meeting…) Joy is also a fixture at SolidWorks World and her PDM sessions are always well attended. Should she ever make it to your neck of the woods, you’d be doing yourself a favor to let her learn ya.
Picture stolen from SolidWorks.com