COFES 2009 – Day 1

COFES 2009 starts full swing tomorrow morning. But today afternoon were three special sessions and the Business reception followed by dinner.

Special Session: CAD/PLM Market Survey Results

Brad Holtz, President and CEO of Cyon Research, put forth the results of his CAD/PLM market survey I mentioned earlier on this blog. Preliminary because the survey is still on. So far there have been 447 respondents and he expects the number to rise to 600 to 800. One of the questions asked in the survey related to the decision to buy new software or continue with maintenance in these trouble times. The results were pretty alarming. 25% of people said that they were holding all new software purchases. 19% were delaying purchase and 14% had canceled plans to purchase software. As far as software maintenance is concerned, 33% discontinued unused seats, 45% discontinued selectively and 32% had discontinued across the board. No wonder CAD vendors are posting dismal quarterly numbers.


Brad Holtz

Special Session: What’s Going to Stick

Kathleen Maher from John Peddie Research (JPR) gave a presentation titled “What Sticks to the Wall”, basically an update to her presentation on the Practicality Gap of last year.

JPR is a technically oriented computer graphics marketing and management-consulting firm based in Tiburon, CA, which provides specialized services to senior and middle management in computer companies and companies that are major computer users. Kathleen Maher has worked as an analyst and journalist in technical fields for more than ten years. She is presently the Vice President of JPR and Editor-in-Chief of Tech Watch, JPR’s bi-weekly newsletter on the PC graphics industry.

Special Session: International Business Update

Allan Brehrens from Cambashi presented his International Business Update. Cambashi is a management and marketing consultancy company. Allan’s is a director at Cambashi.

I missed this session because I was chatting with Bob Mayer (COO of IMSI/Design) and Bob McNeel (President of Robert McNeel & Associates) in the lobby.

Business Reception and Technology Suite Open House

This was the first opportunity for COFES newbies to meet their hosts. Every freshman at COFES is assigned a leading industry consultant who introduces him to other attendees. Last year, my host was Shyamal Roy, founder of GEOMATE. He helped me tremendously by putting me through to the people I wanted to meet, especially top executives like Jeff Ray (CEO of SolidWorks), Mike Payne (CEO of SpaceClaim at that time) and a bunch of other people. This time I didn’t need anyone and found my way around easily. That’s the beauty of COFES. The environment is extremely informal and friendly. Basically you stick your hand out to the person sitting or standing beside you and start talking. At the end of it you will find yourselves exchanging business cards, which more than often, turns out to the start of a mutually benefiting business relationship.

The Technology Suite Open House is a place where vendors discuss corporate direction, business development, and potential partnerships. This is a time where you sign up for appointment time slots for the Technology Suite briefings to be held over the next couple of days.

In the middle of the Business Reception, Blake Courter, co-founder of SpaceClaim and avid Twitter user took me to his room to give me a demo of the new features of SpaceClaim.

Blake Courter

Spouse & Guest-only Mixer

While COFES Attendees were at their business reception, their spouses and guests were treated to a wine tasting mixer/reception before they joined the attendees in the welcome reception.

Welcome Reception

COFES attendees brought along their spouses for an evening social by the pool. My spouse was on the other side of the planet busy taking care of our two boys. Speaking of which, my wife called me yesterday to let me know that Reuben (my 5 year old) had lost the first of his milk teeth and was pretty excited about it. I feel sad that I missed it. Looking at the bright side, he has many more teeth to go.

At the welcome reception I met Mike Riddle, the man who wrote AutoCAD. I first met Mike last year at COFES itself, where he showed me the latest stuff that we was working on. Yes, this 60 year old man still codes and thoroughly enjoys doing so. We got talking and found myself at a loss of words when he told me that he had purchased my book – “OpenCAD – A Step By Step Guide to Developing a Professional CAD Application“. This 60 year old man who wrote AutoCAD 25 years ago (I was 8 years old then) actually bought my book, read it and liked it so much that he is now encouraging me to take OpenCAD forward and make it a complete CAD system. I don’t know what to say.

I had a couple of copies of my book with me. I signed and gave him one. I asked him to sign the other for me. He wrote, “Great Idea! Best Wishes. I hope many people pick up on this – Mike Riddle


With Mike Riddle

This has definitely been an excellent first day. I look forward to tomorrow.