SolidWorks World 2011 (Day 2) – General Session

Jeff Ray, former SolidWorks CEO, took the stage and spoke about the involvement of SolidWorks software in the Chilean miners rescue and a couple of ingenious products, one of them being Firefly, a device to cure infant jaundice.

Jeff introduced his successor Bertrand Sicot. One of the first things Bertrand did was make 63 SolidWorks employees working in the R&D team stand up and be applauded by the audience. He spoke a little about the defeaturing functionality added to SolidWorks, which he mentioned was the most liked feature. He also called DraftSight the most successful 2D CAD system in terms of adoption. There were 300,000 downloads in the last six months.

Then Bertrand went on to say something that will be quite reassuring to SolidWorks customers. Referring to the SolidWorks on the Cloud chatter, he said, “We have been reading blogs about the technology update we showed you last year. I would like to say today that it will never be an either or decision for you. We will always offer a locally installed desktop CAD application. I repeat, we will always offer a locally installed desktop CAD application.” Quite expectedly, there was an applause from the audience after he made that statement. I muttered to myself, “Now why the heck didn’t someone from SolidWorks say this months ago.”

Next Dassault Systemes CEO Bernard Charles came on stage and spoke about Post3D, a solution involving 3D VIA designed to help companies sell their products virtually. I tried visiting the web site on my iPad and found that that it required a username and password without a way of creating one to begin with.

What followed next simply transfixed the audience for the next hour or so. Capt. Jim Lovell and Gene Kranz, lead flight director of the Apollo 13 moon mission recited in excruciating detail their interesting story. This is a keynote speech that I am not going to forget for a long time to come. As we were walking out of the ballroom, SolidWorks blogger Jeff Mirisola said to me, “Did you see how the tweeting virtually stopped when they were speaking?”