Jon Hirschtick founded SolidWorks in 1993 and was its first CEO till 2001. He is now a Group Executive and Board Member and is involved in SolidWorks’ activities. I first met Jon at COFES 2009 last April and was keen to meet him again at SolidWorks World 2010. I tried scheduling an interview with him with SolidWorks PR because that was the only way I thought I could get to talk to him in a 5000 strong user conference. But he was all booked up. Imagine my surprise when I received an email from him saying “Let’s make our own slot. Tuesday 4:15 pm meet for a drink?”
So this evening we met up at the bar in the Hilton lobby for a drink. Although we discussed a few things on technology and business in general (this was not a formal interview), we were constantly interrupted by people stopping by, introducing themselves to Jon (some hysterical), trying to get him to remember something he did for them, asking me to take pictures of them with him and then profusely apologizing for interrupting. I was utterly amazed. It was like I was with some rock star. At one point, I asked him, “Jon, are you even aware of how many people you have affected in all these years?” He replied, “I try not to think about it. These people simply overwhelm me. But here is the thing. After this event is over I am just another ordinary guy going about doing my job.”
I told Jon about my meeting with Configure One in the Partner Pavilion and how overwhelmed I was to see my customer use my product in their solution. I am not going to even start to pretend that I know how Jon feels when he meets so many of his customers and partners in one place. I am sure the feeling is not very different for other SolidWorks employees here at SolidWorks World.
As we go about doing our jobs or running our businesses to provide for our families, we sometimes lose sight of the fact that along the way we affect so many people and their lives. Maybe not always positively. We do not even know or meet most of them. But when we do, the feeling is simply great.