PTC Visit

I spent the entire day at PTC headquarters in Needham, Boston.

My meetings with top PTC executives went off well. In fact, I think they went off too well. So much so that they gagged me from just about everything they told and showed me.

Before we even started, John Buchowski, Director of Product Management summed up the general feeling in the conference room. He looked me straight in the eye and said, “I am finding it hard to figure out something here. Am I talking to a blogger or am I talking to a PTC partner?” I wasn’t sure myself and I told him so. So we decided to go with the flow and take things off the record as and when required.

What followed for the next eight hours were conversations and presentations that started on the record but quickly went off record. Now as I look at my notes I am so utterly confused that I am not sure what is on and off the record. So before I go ahead and write something that lands me or someone in PTC in trouble, I had better cross check.

But there is an irony to all of this. I embarked on this PTC due diligence excercise with the intention of figuring out the company and it products for myself before forming an opinion. As it turns out most of the opinions that I have been expressing on this blog are pretty close to the fact. However, after seeing the stuff that I have seen today, there are some opinions and conclusions that I need to change, but PTC is not allowing me to do so, although deep down they really want me to. Its complicated.

But I am going to say something here and hope that it does not get me into too much trouble. So here goes. Contrary to what PTC executives told me at PTC World in Mumbai, as far as direct editing is concerned, PTC is not sitting idle. I would like to leave it that and let you draw your own conclusions.

The day started out with Hiren Kumbhojkar, Senior Project Manager, giving me a demo on the PTC Product Development System. Andy Barlow, Senior Director of Business Development, was my host and took care of me the entire day. After the PDS demo I sat with Andy Barlow, John Buchowski, Tom Shoemaker (Vice President of Product Marketing) and Asa Trainer (Director of Product Management) and gave them a brief introduction of SYCODE and Print3D Corporation. But they were more interested in my perspective of PTC and I let them have it. Needless to say, what followed was quite an interesting discussion.

I asked them what PTC thought about blogs and bloggers. Asa was of the opinion that blogs were influential and PTC needed to pay more attention to them. All four executives admitted that PTC was not the most press friendly CAD vendor and needed to be more agressive in its marketing in order to keep up with its competitors. Just about everything was taken off the record in this one hour session. But all said and done, I really appreciate them for patiently listening to my views and also sharing with me information about PTC, its products and its future plans, some of which were quite sensitive.

Next was a one on one session with Tom Shoemaker, who explained PTC’s vision of Social Product Development. This was followed by a working lunch with Andy Barlow who explained to me the recently revamped PTC Partner Program. After lunch, John Buchowski gave me a brief run down of the upcoming Pro/ENGINEER WildFire 5.0 and explained its roadmap. He literrally breezed though his presentation and I kept wondering why he was in such a hurry. After the presentation I came to know why. He wanted to show me the “new stuff” that the PTC R&D team in Needham was working on, stuff that amazed me but unfortunately was meant strictly for my eyes only.

Asa Trainer spent more than an hour explaining the PTC interoperability roadmap. At SYCODE we have been working on our first plug-in for Pro/ENGINEER, a STL file import plug-in and I gave him a brief run down of what it does and how it will help Pro/ENGINEER users. Asa discussed various issues related to data exchange. I made a few suggestions to improve the usability of Pro/TOOLKIT, the API used to build plug-ins for Pro/ENGINEER.

After I get back to India I hope to gather my thoughts and write some more about the things that were discussed today. Tommorow Mark is going to take me around Boston and then later we will be going to see the baseball game between the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees, tickets courtesy of PTC. I have been advised to wear a Red Sox cap before I enter the stadium.