Interview with Rachael Taggart – Part 2

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Deelip: Do you feel that the CAD Society is relevant to today’s world?

Rachael: As I responded in question 1, no, other than the awards which are actually relevant, the CAD Society as a whole loses its meaning. CAD vendors have mostly compromised on interop – or rather the lack thereof in the early days – to make it less of a problem. Engineers and designers use CAD by habit, and their means of differentiation is to learn another CAD system. PLM systems try to agglomerate multi-CAD environments. Smart Phones, iPads, tablets etc. are probably going to redefine the way design is done. CAD-specific user groups are strong. Where does a community or pressure group fit in? It doesn’t.

Now, over to me. I have been president of the CAD Society for just over a year. This coincided pretty much with the economic collapse. Since I am an avid mother and wife as well as a CAD industry exec., naturally my focus is on ensuring that I keep my job. (I work at Lattice Technology). And in reality, I love all of it. You know, Deelip, that I will work 24/7 to ensure that I keep my family fed, and housed, and that my job can be all-consuming. And as a result, my work with the CAD Society has suffered. I would love to be financially independent, start a horse farm in Panama and be able to work on CAD Society every day, but I cannot at this point. This is not, by the way, a resignation statement. It’s an admittance that I am human and compassionate. The CAD Society could be more relevant if it had a board that could be more engaged, a group of volunteers who could help out, and a mission statement that was more relevant. But that is not today’s scenario.

Deelip: Do you feel the CAD industry is relevant today?

Rachael: Yes. The CAD industry as a whole remains fundamental to vastly improved design, innovation and creativity. It has been obvious in the past 8 years that innovation in the industry itself has been slow. Many of the technologies we have today were invented 20 years ago, and we are past due for some significantly disruptive innovations. In my view, direct modeling was a natural evolution, not a disruptive one. (The guys at SpaceClaim and Kubotek are going to kill me on that one!) The rise of new platforms such as the iPad (and the obviously competing Windows tablets that will come out) will change the way we do things, the way we design, the way we communicate. The CAD industry needs to rise to that and start innovating.

Deelip: What do you think of the current CAD press and do you think its direction is correct?

Rachael: The CAD press has had a hard time in the last ten years. Multiple publications have closed, or gone solely online. Only a couple remain in print in the traditional definition. (Develop3D remains a favorite of mine as a magazine of great content and design). Many others are now regarded as ‘bloggers’ but they continue to play true to their roles – observe and comment. Often those comments are negative. Sometimes they are positive. Deelip, I see that you are now being invited to events held by major CAD vendors and I think this is positive for the industry – I think you herald a new generation in intelligent editorial for the industry. At some point in the next decade (or two) maybe the CAD industry will give you an award. 😉

Part 3 >>