TUnder the perfect blue skies of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, Bob McNeel wonders if a perfect storm is brewing. He is speaking figuratively: the perfect storm being the confluence of conditions that would support a 3D design world, a universal acceptance of 3D design software.
Bob is founder and CEO of Robert McNeel & Associates, makers of Rhino. Rhino 3D modeling software is the beloved choice of 150,000 industrial designers, boatmakers, jewelers and so on. But that is the tip of the iceberg. Why isn't that 1.5 million users?
If you know Bob, you know this is not just corporate greed talking. If Bob was just after the filthy lucre, he could have sold his company many times by now and retired. He could be sailing one of the many yachts that ply the warm waters just past the smooth sandy beach and swaying palms under which we sit and chat.
The more I talk to Bob, the more I think he is the real thing. The DIMe conference, which Bob's company is sponsoring here in Mexico, is for college students learning industrial design. It’s more a labor of love than a commercial enterprise, entry is a mere $100US. Sure, Bob's Rhino software is being demoed on stage but it's not a hard sell. Besides, many of the kids seem to already be users of the Rhino. I asked Bob how he would advise younger kids seeking a profession. "Solve someone’s problem. They can do it through architecture, industrial design, whatever..."
Current wisdom would indicate the correct tool to use in order to solve the customer problem is 3D design software. Still, millions cling to 2D design software.
Perplexed, Bob asks me what I think.
Oh, Bob, don't get me started....