I have been writing this post in my head for about 3 days now and I feel no closer to knowing what to say than when I started. It doesn't happen to me often but I am truly at a loss for words that can accurately and adequately communicate what I saw and felt at the Solid Edge ST4 Launch Event in Huntsville, AL. I really don't know what else to say other than Siemens got it right. There will be plenty of technical blogs on the event so I'm choosing to cover the people side.
I have often said that one of the most under utilized resources available to Solid Edge is its customers. I don't think that I'll have to repeat that statement after what I've seen. Solid Edge has always had an awesome product. The problem has been that there is more to having successful software than just having an awesome product. The pieces that were previously missing are now falling into place. Siemens "get's it" now. They are listening to their customers and beginning to leverage their strong user base. Solid Edge is going to be a force to be reckoned with for some time to come. Honestly, if I were a competitor to Solid Edge, I would be worried.
In attendance was a who's who of Solid Edge employees, VAR's, and customers. I think that I can speak for the majority when I say that it really felt like a family reunion. It was so nice to have the opportunity to put faces to the names that we see on the newsgroups. I was truly blown away by everyone that I met. I wanted to share my thoughts on a few select individuals.
Karsten has been pivotal in solving the missing pieces that I mentioned previously. I have corresponded with him over the past year or so via various social media mediums but it's difficult to judge a person's character over the Internet. In the grand scheme of things, I'm not one of the most important people that he needed to spend time with at the conference. Yet, he sought me out and gave me 30 minutes of his undivided attention and listened to what I had to say. Not only that but he is actively following up with me. For those that don't know Karsten, I can tell you that he's the real deal.
Dan needs no introduction. I have met Dan in passing a couple of times over the years but never really had to chance to sit down and talk with him. I already had a meeting setup with Dan and some of his team on Friday, the day after the conference, so he really had no reason to seek me out. One evening, I was sitting on a sofa in the hotel by myself when the elevator doors opened and out comes Dan. I always try to be respectful to people in big positions because I know they are usually very busy and have full calendars so I simply acknowledge him and went on about my business. The next thing I know, Dan is sitting down next to me and buys us both a drink. Probably not a big deal to Dan, but to me, it was one of the coolest moments for me at the conference. Needless to say, we had a great talk and it will go down as one of my all-time coolest moments. I'm a dork, I know ;-).
The entire GTAC team
I'm man enough to admit it. I have not always been nice when I've called into GTAC. In my opinion, these guys have one of the most thankless jobs at Solid Edge. Think about it. The only time we ever call them is when we have problems (and are usually ticked off)! I'm thinking about giving them a call tomorrow just to say 'thank you'. I met several of them during the conference but I had the unique opportunity to have lunch with several of them Friday, the day after the conference. I can't be any more sincere when I say, they are good people. You may not always get the answer you want to hear from them but I can tell you that they do care. They are ordinary folks just like you and I. I remember thinking during my lunch with them how much it felt like I was back home in Oklahoma.
Rick also needs no introduction. If you were to lookup 'Solid Edge customer' in the dictionary, I'm positive there would be a picture of Rick. The simple fact that Rick was willing to fly all the way from Australia speaks volumes and reaffirms that Siemens is taking the right steps in rebuilding the community. I had dinner with Rick one evening and I can tell you that he's one cool cat. During the closing ceremonies, Rick lead the audience in a standing ovation. Honestly, I got a little choked up. He may not have realized it at the time but he spoke for the entire community by putting his seal of approval on the event.
Bob, up until last week, is best known for his 'Mileti Moments' in the newsgroups. I had several opportunities to chat with Bob at the conference and I can tell you, he's nothing like what I had imagined. Bob is a cool dude! Besides being a cool dude, he is a very talented engineer. It was a treat listening to his stories and seeing some of his inventions.
As I've written this post, I'm realizing that I could write a book on all of the great people that I met. My point in writing this though is to try and give justice to what I saw and felt. Not sure how successful I was but I tried. I've said it in the past and I'll say it again now. As long as Solid Edge is hosting the conferences, I'll be there. If you didn't make it this year, I hope to see you next year!