Interview with Arnold van der Weide – Part 6

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Deelip: As you continue to build your platform do you fear that you will run into the same problems as the ITC with members fighting with each other for the same piece of the pie. I mean, earlier when your focus was on DWG read/write members used the software as a small helper component for their main product. But now with more and more members basing their core product on the ODA platform, the situation is slowly becoming quite similar to the ITC. I mean, you already have Bricsys, Graebert, the ITC and even IMSI/Design. They all operate in the same space and are fighting for the same customers. Do you see or anticipate flash points in the board meetings?

Arnold: No, not really. Sometimes there is friction. But that is normal. If you look at the ITC, they have one product and everyone competes with that one product. The ODA is quite different. There are 1100 members spread across 40 countries and building all kinds of applications. Of course, they will step on each other from time to time. But there is sufficient play and space for all. It’s not as constrained as what the ITC is doing.

Deelip: I remember your keynote speech that you gave at the ITC World Conference in Athens, in which you kind of gave the ITC a verbal spanking. In that speech you admitted that you would never ever do some things that you did at the ITC. You went ahead and gave them some advice as to what they should do. A lot of time has passed since that speech. Do you think that they have taken your advice? Or are they on the path of doing so? Do you think your speech had any effect on them?

Arnold: I think the speech had some effect. First of all, it motivated me heavily to stop the ODA from going down that same path. It took me a lot of time. There was a lot of frustration. I really wanted the ODA members to start contributing back. Why? Becasue if you don’t, you are just simple screwing yourself. Things deviate from the standard. In our case, DRX does not work across all applications. You have all sorts of dialects of DRX. In fact, this was also one of the reasons for our branding exercise. Now if someone creates a variant of our technology and calls it the same as we do then we can stop them.

When I was the President of the ITC I thought that it was a great idea at that time to give members absolute freedom to do what they want. And it completely ruined the IntelliCAD brand, which was a reasonably good brand at that time. So yes, we should have said, “IntelliCAD is this and nobody is going to deviate from it.” Unfortunately, the cat was out of the box, more or less, and to get it back in was almost impossible. So what I said in Athens was more less an advice to tell the ITC to try and get one standard IntelliCAD. I had proposed that to the board several times while I was President of the ITC. But I could never get it through. Anyways, that is ITC’s problem and they have to deal with it.

Deelip: Do you have an idea why the ITC is taking such a long time to come out with IntelliCAD 7?

Arnold: Actually it is a long and difficult process.

Deelip: Well, Bricsys, which I guess started after them, already have come out with a DWGdirect based product for a couple of years now.

Arnold: Actually, Bricsys started a little before the ITC. This is actually a task of 60 to 100 man years. And then there is a question of how far do you want to develop it? Does Bricscad have all the commands that you need? I don’t think so.

Deelip: So you are saying that the ITC is trying to put in everything that exists in AutoCAD?

Arnold: Maybe that is a reason. I don’t know. At the moment, I don’t have any insight as to what is going on in the ITC. But like I said, it is hard work. To write 900 commands, it takes time. And besides, you are trying to hit a moving target, because at the same time, Autodesk is continuing to developer AutoCAD.