COFES-Russia/isiscad 2010 Seminar Roundtable Discussions

Now that I’m finally back home in India I have some time to write about the stuff that I missed at the COFES-Russia Seminar that I recently attended in Moscow. COFES is a unique event in the sense that it is tailored towards discussion and exchange of ideas, as opposed to selling stuff. The first half of the day was pretty much the exact opposite with CAD vendors taking the stage and making sales pitches. However, after lunch the round table discussions changed the atmosphere to something more like the COFES I know.

I moderated a round table discussion on Direct Modeling. That turned out to be quite a challenge because I needed to do that with the help of a Russian interpreter. I asked Vladimir Malukh of Ledas to help her with the technical terms.

The Direct Modeling round table discussion

I started the discussion by asking the question whether geometry was a solved problem. As it turns out nobody in the audience thought that it was. So then I started asking questions which were aimed at getting a sense of how big a problem it was. People started chiming in with their frustrations with history based parametric modeling, while at the same time mentioning the limitations of the current Direct Modeling approaches.

After a while, one of the attendees interrupted the discussion and told me that he had no idea of what Direct Modeling was and had decided to take part in the round table in the hope that he would  learn about it. So I gave the audience a very brief explanation of what Direct Modeling was and the different ways it was being implemented by history based parametric modeling vendors like Autodesk, Siemens PLM and Dassault Systemes. As I expected the discussion became a bit polarized with one side calling history based  parametric modeling too cumbersome, while the other calling Direct Modeling limited when it came to adding intelligence into the model. Eventually we ran out of time and I had to cut short the round table discussion with everyone pretty much wound up.

Bruno Chollat of SpaceClaim, Martyn Day of DEVELOP3D and I took the discussion outside during the coffee break

Next I attended another round table discussion on social media moderated by Elena Konvisar of Neolant and Oleg Shilovitsky of Beyond PLM. This was a kind of an eye opener for me. Apart from a few exceptions like  Anastasia Morozava of Autodesk Russia, the Russian CAD vendors and their resellers have a totally wrong view of social media, at least in my humble opinion. This stems from their overwhelming need to be able to control it. By that I mean, they want to be able to control what gets written and discussed about them, which I believe is nothing short of stupidity. I bluntly told them to basically stay away from social media if control was what they were looking for. I asked them to stick to press releases, white papers, magazine ads and other of conventional media that they have complete control on.

Martyn Day of DEVELOP3D basically gave them a piece of his mind as well, telling them exactly what he thought about press releases and the old fashioned way of doing things.

Martyn Day of DEVELOP3D

Brad Holtz (Cyon Research) and Oleg Shilovitsky tried their best to put our side  of the arguments in better prose. But frankly, I left the discussion with the impression that the other side didn’t learn much from us. Although, I’ll be very happy if I am wrong.

The pictures in this post were taken from the isicad 2010 photo gallery. You can visit it to see more pictures and information about the event.

  • Anonymous

    Deelip, By following few blogs in Russian, after event, I can say that roundtable was kind of eye-opener and it turned people to think differently.

  • Neil

    ..and you dont think for example SW try to control what is written and discussed about them…

    • Quite to the contrary, I believe SolidWorks’ approach to social media is the best one out there today. I even used them as an example in the discussion. By cultivating a set of bloggers, they are encouraging people to talk about them, which is the whole point of social media. As opposed to traditional media where you talk about yourself. Sure they would like only good stuff to be written about them. But they understand that it is out of their hands.

  • David Levin

    Deelip, thanks a lot for your open and sincere impressions.

    Note that situation in Russia is always and in almost all domains more contrast than one can conclude from prompt translated impressions. There are some people in Russia that are even more progressive in social media than (pardon me) you, while the others can hardly imagine what does this really mean.

    I am happy we had such discussions at our event, we will for sure continue them in our blogs+, and next discussions in Moscow or Novosibirsk – hopefully with your participation will very probably demonstrate our mutual progress.

    I’ve just posted an English version of the event report: maybe some short comments and pictures can help better understanding of what was it: .

  • Neil

    SW will rewrite wikipedia enties to promote a good product image and they are just as interested in having pet journalists recycle handouts as any other CAD company.
    They will also remove critical posts on their forums.
    As you quite rightly point out they have deliberately cultivated users as bloggers as a marketing gambit that blurs the natural divide between buyer and seller. Its clever but in no way is this intended to encourage real discussions of real issues. Its supposed to be friendly and tame.
    Personally I find the practice sickening to behold. I think it disrespects those people who in the early days communicated with the company to improve the software. There was a sincerity and integrity at one time that is missing from the corporation today.Today its mostly just contrived opportunities for self promotion and tends to make otherwise good people look like shills. I can think of only a few people including yourself who would actually post something with grit.

  • David Levin

    Gentlemen, please explain me how can the best possible blog (for example like Deelip’s) substitute a press-release that just promptly announce a release of a product/version which I am particularly interested in?

    For example, I often start my day by 5 mins looking through 10links to see whether there are news from my competitors, customers or just some sensations. I would be very happy if couple hours or days later I can read some comments of Deelip, Ralph, Oleg, and others but (1) they are not able to comment everything I am for some particular reasons interested in and (2) news are news while comments are comment. Believe me, in press-releases and news, I usually pay attention only to couple factual lines but not to statements of boasting bosses, although such boasts are sometimes informative – if you know more than was said in a concrete press-release.

    On the other hand, we at LEDAS regularly publish press-releases, say, about new versions of our geometric solver because we definitely know who and why reads them. Which does not mean that we underestimate a great value of independent reviews, evaluations, feebacks, etc.

    A somewhat similar situation is with whitepapers. Who, if not the author of the idea and its implementor, can initially explain nuances of the novel technology? Which again does not mean that I underestimate a great, if not decisive, importance of independent reviews that came from experts, bloggers, customers…

    Finally: a formal, uncompromising contraposition of, say blogs and press-releases, is, to my mind, not fruitful and not realistic (today); they can be good and bad in different situations; in both cases one needs a skill of writing, selecting, and reading.

    David Levin