SolidWorks World 2010: Back in the saddle again

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Well, it’s January, that means for those in the SolidWorks Community, it’s jamboree time as the user community gather for the annual gathering of like-minds for SolidWorks World. This year it’s in Anaheim, California – just a short 11 hours from the UK and already the event location is filled up with peeps all abuzz about the event. I’ve been coming to SolidWorks World since it was held in Palm Springs at the arse end of the nineties – missing only one in a rather chilly Boston sometime ago.

The event has grown massively, in proportion with the company’s user community and this year should see 5,000 or so attendees. Remember that includes staff, resellers, partners as well as users (Last night I was told that the Partner Pavilion is particularly strong this year). Looking back it’s always been a highlight of the year’s event line-up. The SolidWorks team are a friendly smart bunch that aren’t afraid to engage and discuss on almost any matter at hand, the users are incredibly welcoming and admirably passionate about what they do and the tools they use and there’s always something interesting going on, whether on stage, in the breakouts or in the bar afterward – the latter really does make it worthwhile. Over the last 11 years, I can think of five things that I would never have witnessed, where it not for this event.

  • Someone* opening the bomb doors beneath a B52, whilst simultaneously standing on them. The phrase “What does this lever do?” will forever now be linked with the sound of squeeky hinges, a short pause, the crunch of high speed impact with gravel and the word “Shit.”
  • Someone* turning up at a hotel reception, 5am in the morning, dripping wet, in their underpants, to get spare room key. Then replying to the question “Do you have any ID sir?” with “Does it look like I have ID?”
  • The delightful irony of seeing a modified golf cart with the words “Rodent Control” on Disney Property.
  • A young man** turning up to interview SolidWorks co-founder Mike Payne, in a wool suit, shirt and tie, in a desert. Mike isn’t the easiest interviewee and it usually ends up HE is asking YOU the questions.

If there’s been a change over the last year or two, it’s how these events are covered in the online world. SolidWorks, more than any other vendor I’ve come across, has taken the blogging world to heart and if you’re interested in what’s going on at the event, what the company is up to and what the ground level vibe is like, then there’s a veritable army of bloggers out there that will be telling you what’s going on. So, if you’re interested, then check some of these fine blogs and fine people and find out for yourself.

SolidSmack (solidsmack.com) – Dr. Mings. Enough Said. I’ve not run into Josh yet. My forehead tells me it’s not been headbutted, so it must be true. But it’s coming.

Ricky Jordan (rickyjordan.com) – Possibly the most polite man on the planet and already up for the week ahead asking about the forthcoming product announcement. My bet. Something that links SolidWorks to it’s parent company Dassault in a stronger manner than ever before. Whether that’s the Catia to SolidWorks data problem being resolved, something involving Enovia V6 (where my bet is placed), a new move by the companies into the AEC space (there’s been rumours of DS/SolidWorks acquiring a structural steel vendor for a while) or maybe Bernard Charles is just coming along for the ride this year.

RockSolid Perspective (rocksolidperspective.com) – Jason Raak – another wonderfully polite gentleman and looking at his agenda for the week, an incredibly busy one too.

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The SolidWorks Geek – (www.theswgeek.com) For this event, Alex is in his home town but he’s ready to go – at least staying at home means he won’t get charged for ‘accidently’ borrowing the bath robe this time around.

Gabi Jack – (gabijack.com) – Gabi rocks. Simple as that.

Last but not least, there’s the legend that is Jeff’s Tool Shed. (jeffmirisola.com). I ran into Jeff last night and I can’t believe he’s still apologising for last year. Good job there’s not much in the way of shubbery outside this year’s venue.

I’ve missed quite a few out, but there’s an exhaustive list here.

I’m out here and I’ll be reporting on what I find out, but to be honest, I’d rather take it a little easier than these guys, blog about what’s interesting for the wider community of designers and engineers – and my knackered old hands can’t type like these young punks anyway, so I’d be useless at keeping up. There we go.

Like another LA native, Tone Loc said “Let’s do it.”

*Neither of which was me I might add.
**I’ll put my hand up to that one.


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