Tony Affuso, CEO of Siemens PLM, flew to Huntsville, Alabama, home of Solid Edge, to deliver the keynote at the ST 4 Launch. To the Solid Edge team, who may have been feeling estranged, it seems to validate not just a separate users’ event for Solid Edge (they had been asked to share the space under the big tent of Siemens PLM World) but much more. It could be seen as an affirmation of the Solid Edge business.
“It’s time to get serious about the midstream business,” says Affuso. He admits to not having done a great job with sales and marketing for Solid Edge and he promises a change. “We know we are #3, behind Autodesk and SolidWorks. How do we get from #3 to #2, #2 to #1?”
Tony’s visit has uplifting effect on the troops and the users. It is picked up in Tweets, and blogs. I expect articles to follow.
The words soon reach Jon Banquer, thousands of miles away in San Diego. For Banquer, Tony’s words appear only as unfulfilled promises. And that’s putting it mildly.
Banquer is quick to remind me of my own post of June 1996 called Solid Edge-- the Best MCAD Program You Won't Buy and Tony’s similar promise to deliver on sales and marketing for Solid Edge. See also Solid Edge in the Spotlight, where Tony promised of an “aggressive marketing campaign” at the Solid Edge user conference in 2005 in Cincinnati.
Banquer makes his point. It looks like I have been repeating myself.
I’ve never met Jon Banquer. His online persona makes him a feared man. He admits to being hated by machinists, SolidWorks users – even though he is one. He calls CAD and CAM users wimps with “no backbone.” He is quick to point out any deficiency, rise to the defense of his favorite products and causes (his current hot button is integrated CAD/CAM), puncture any inflated claims... all in his attempt to keep people honest. It matters not if it is a CAD CEO or some blogger.
Banquer doesn’t get invited to these events. I imagine he sees many of us who do attend as seduced and tamed, wined and dined, ensconced in 5-star hotels, all of which we exchange for favorable prose. That, also, is putting it mildly.
Jon Banquer’s outspoken views, and a penchant for scathing remarks, it would be easy to dismiss him as a hothead. I’m sure a lot of CAD industry professionals do just that. I know those that “manage” the blogosphere for CAD companies who wince under Banquer’s prolific and sharp criticism.
And yet, Banquer makes some important points. Most relevant to this post is that Banquer is actually a champion of Solid Edge, which he sees as a preeminent solid modeler. He is frustrated by its lack of traction against the MCAD applications it competes with, something that even Siemens PLM would concede. He points to a lack of CAM 3rd party apps, more. There’s much more. In fact, once you get Banquer talking, it’s hard for him to stop.
Banquer may never get a chance to tell a CAD CEO what he thinks to their face. By now every event planner has Banquer’s front and side picture on the wall. But I hope the fortifications they build around their leaders are not too thick because, at times, they will need someone like Jon Banquer to tell them they have no clothes.
And, Jon, thanks for keeping me honest as well.