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A great interview and some thoughts about Autodesk

When I was writing yesterday’s post, which asked the question “Do you love your BIM software too much?“, I had in the back of my mind an article I recently read. But I couldn’t find it. Which is for the best because that post took a turn in a different direction. Well I found the article. If you haven’t already read this, take a moment and read a great interview with Autodesk CEO Carl Bass from ReadWrite.

Interesting huh? You’ve also already read this post I wrote that ponders “Which BIM Software should I use?“. I wrote that before reading the interview with Carl Bass. See a strong connection there? Of course you do. But I’ll hit you over the head with it.

Here’s a quote from the Carl Bass interview:

Compared to modern consumer apps, he said. “Enterprise software sucks.” The message has become, “less expensive means easy to use, more expensive means really difficult to use,” Bass said. “We have to remedy that!” Increasingly, professionals want the ease and convenience they get in their personal lives in their business environment as well – and are intolerant when the don’t get it. Business software companies that don’t give them that “will be losers,” Bass warned.

And here’s me coincidentally from the same time:

Which BIM software should I use?

When you really look at that question, the answer is insanely simple.

The one you will enjoy using most.

Ease of use is paramount. Our tools need to be invisible. That’s one of the reasons so many people are still in love with using pencils to design. They are invisible. They are obvious. They require more mental skill than technical skill, since you’re just focused on the task, not the tool. Of course they require technical skill, but the bar is way lower than the one required to create poetry via Revit or ArchiCAD. It’s one of the major reasons SketchUp rocketed onto the scene. It was easy to use. It also bridged the gap between consumer and enterprise software, being accessible to both markets. And as we know the consumer market is WAY bigger and much more demanding. We’ll have to dwell on that more soon.

A Critical Piece of the Puzzle

I’m impressed that the CEO of Autodesk gets this requirement for ease of use. Because it’s a big deal. That interview doesn’t assuage my concerns about being too attached to a particular software and beholden to a particular mega-corporation, but it’s a very positive sign. And you know what goes hand and hand with ease of use? Interoperability. Part of the joy of using Apps on our smartphones is that everything is connected. Socially sure, but also shareable within your own personal ecosystem. Every simple drawing app on an iPad or Android phone can save out to a .jpg. Even apps designed for kids can save out images. For our AECOU world, ease of use means interoperability. And interoperability means OpenBIM. And OpenBIM means full and continued support of IFC. Improvements to Revit 2014 sound like Autodesk might understand that side to this as well.

Convergence is Everywhere!

Let’s make some predictions. Which flagship BIM authoring program will learn (steal) from the world of consumer apps fastest? Who will be touch enabled first? Revit, ArchiCAD, Vectorworks, SketchUp? How much longer will we have to wait? Months? A year? Less than five for sure. Because if not, some newcomer will appear and disrupt everything.

Okay how about a bonus question. What else should enterprise software be stealing from the consumer world? What’s your number one? Migration to tablets? Being free? Being Cloud-based?

Every time you hear the name Carl Bass, do you think someone’s talking about that guy from ‘N Sync? Or was it the Backstreet Boys? I never remember. And I can live with that. Neither the CEO of Autodesk or any former boy band members follow Shoegnome on Facebook and Twitter, but you totally should.


  • April 12, 2013

    Digitless Dave

    How about a 3d digital modeling hologram/table (40×60) auto-linked to a smart tablet? Open it up for 3d views like old pop-up books… Hmmm

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