I think my decision to open up this blog to readers was a good one. Allen Gager just wrapped up a wonderful three part series on the Autodesk Inventor API and others have expressed a desire to contribute to this blog. If you wish to contribute as well let me know.
The other day, Shyamal Roy, the owner of GEOMATE, a CAD software company that develops GrafiCalc, offered to write a piece on this blog about his product. I thought to myself, “Why not?“. If I am supposed to be part of the media and this blog is supposed to be my publication, then it makes sense that I do what the media does – become the medium for passing the message from manufacturer to end user. In fact, I believe a blog can take it a step further. It can also be a medium for passing messages from end users to manufacturers as well.
Normally, the message from manufacturer to end user is passed in two ways: (1) advertisements/press releases, or (2) user/editor reviews. There is a very strong view (see “Pay for Play“) that in some publications, the manufacturers (or rather advertisers) end up doing the latter as well. While I am looking for users to write about the products they use, I am thinking, why not let manufacturers write about the software they develop. End users would then be able to post their questions directly to the manufacturer as opposed to an editor who probably just started using the product for the first, or in the worst instance, is simply rewording the “What’s New” document in better prose.
For example, I have never used GrafiCalc before. I happen to be a Mechanical Engineer and given some time I should be able to understand and use the product. But by no means am I going to become an expert user in a day. So I would probably not be the best person to write about the product. In the absence of an expert user I think having the developer himself do the job is a much better idea.
The next post on this blog will be a case study written by Shyamal Roy about his product GrafiCalc. He was a bit apprehensive, “I don’t want it to look like a sales pitch“, he told me. I replied, “I don’t give a damn. Many of the so called ‘independent reviews’ and studies that we see today are sales pitches by manufacturers anyways. At least you will be putting your name to it.”
I would like shake things up a bit on this blog. Who knows? Every month I may end up dumping the content of this blog into a PDF, spit out a 200 word editorial and start calling it a magazine. 😉