Changing Times for the CAD Media

For quite a while now the traditional CAD media has been wondering why they were being sidelined by CAD vendors in favor of bloggers. I don’t think some liked the fact that bloggers were being given press “privileges” at vendor hosted events. Today SolidWorks employee, Mike Puckett, explained in great detail, exactly why he believes that bloggers do a much better job than the traditional CAD media, at least in reviewing software. This is what he wrote on his blog today:

“When the group of bloggers visited SolidWorks earlier this month, they had already been using SolidWorks 2010 for at least a month and a half so the questions they were able to ask were far more advanced then say someone who had just recently seen a demonstration of what’s new. That’s why reading the information these guys and gals will be going to put out over the next few weeks will be invaluable. It will be a review of the next release from a point of view that pretty much can only come from a blogger, that of someone who uses the software full time as part of their job.”

If Mike was speaking in a foreign language and I was the interpreter I would put it this way.

“We wine and dine these CAD press people who designed their last part a decade ago in 2D, if ever. We fly them back and forth and put them up in good hotels where they crib about internet connectivity. We send them demos and betas that they never install, let alone use. And they proudly call our software “shelfware”. We make our best demo jocks give them demo’s. They end up taking down notes and asking stupid questions like whether the next quarter will be any worse than the last one. We end up sending them the Powerpoint presentation so that they can use some of the screen shots for their article. They never installed the software, remember. In some cases our PR people write the damn review themselves and send it across to them along with a check for a couple of full page ads. WTF?”

Normally, I happen to disagree with quite a few things that Mike Puckett says. But not this time. I agree with each and every one of his words that I quoted above. However, I do not think that he will agree with each and every word of my interpretation. At least, not publicly.

Ever since I started blogging, I have received numerous requests to review software. In fact, along with half the world, I received a Spaceball as well (the Notebook version), but never got down to writing a review simply because I did not find myself using it with my notebook. Truth be told, I feel a bit guilty every time I look at it on my desk. However, I do talk about stuff that interests me. For example, the article on Variational Direct Modeling I wrote earlier today. You may be surprised to know that Ledas did not ask me to write about VDM. It was the other way around. I was working with them on a project revolving around VDM and found its innards particularly interesing. So I asked them if I could write about it and they gladly agreed. My point is that a person reviewing something should do so because he wants to and not because he has to or feels obliged to.

I can bet that these SolidWorks bloggers have been bursting to tell the world about SolidWorks 2010. And thanks to the SolidWorks NDA, which expired today, they have probably been rattling out the new features of SolidWorks to their spouses, children, pets and plants.

Having said all of the above, I must add that not all traditional press fit my interpretation above. There is one way to know though. Read their articles and reviews. If you find a key ingredient missing, you will know. That key ingredient is called passion.