Think3 Update

Taking into account the confusion among Think3 customers regarding the two sources of software and support for the Think3 line of products, Andrea Ferri, the court appointed trustee of Think3, has issued a press release stating:

From today the following activities are operational:

  • The customer care service, operated by professionals with years of experience as well as through the www.think3.com web site the Thinkcare service is running.
  • The license administration for license code management
  • The sales and distribution of products through authorised think3 resellers

The press release continues:

We have also decided to offer all customers a grace period until the end of the year to cover any assistance even if customers currently have a maintenance contract with Versata.

On its part, Versata has announced the new date for its webinar which was postponed after the court order asking it to stop using the think3 trade names among other things. It will now be held on Thursday, May 19, 2011, 02:00 PM Eastern Standard Time. You can register for the webinar here.

Yesterday Austin Scee, Versata’s new General Manager for Think3 products, sent an email to all customers and partners that started out with an apology for not keeping the information on the http://think3.versata.com sub-domain up to date after losing the www.think3.com domain name to the Think3 trustee. According to Austin Versata is not a public relations focused company. Instead they “focus on developing great code”. I find that odd because writing HTML, PHP, whatever is far easier than C++.

Austin also gave a brief overview of the history of Versata and then explained the change in the company’s direction:

“… the business model shifted to a focus on acquisition and revitalization. Over the last five years, we have acquired over 20 different software companies or, as in the case of think3, assets of software companies. Each of the acquired companies was in a state of severe financial distress. Our successful track record stabilizing and revitalizing these companies stems from our two key priorities:

  1. A relentless focus on the existing customer base and their success.
  2. A global, outsourced operational model that we call “devFactory,” which enables us to develop products faster and more efficiently than the companies we are acquiring could ever hope to.

It will be interesting to see if an entire suite of engineering software products can be developed and revitalized using the “global, outsourced operational model” that Austin is referring to. It will also be interesting to see of a court appointed trustee along with a Creditor’s Committee will be able to do something that the people who ran Think3 into the ground could not do. And that is, keep the company operational and then sell it to someone who can take care of it. And by take care I don’t mean fire most of the developers and start outsourcing the work all around the world. I have run a software business long enough to know that the key people in a software company are the developers. If you haven’t found a reason to fire them after they have been working with you for some time, they should be the last people you lay off when you do start laying off people.