Happy New Year!


Issue #802 |  January 14, 2014
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In This Issue


1. Kenesto on Reinventing Itself

   Steve Bodnar tells us what's going on behind the scenes


2. Heard in Twitter and On the Blog

   Carl Bass on Twitter swears off Facebook and LinkedIn


3. Letters to the Editor

   Our readers and their love-hate relationship with the cloud 


Kenesto on Reinventing Itself

It was only a year-and-a-half ago that Kenesto came out of stealth mode. Randall Newton at the time described it as the unPLM: "Manufacturing firms would use cloud-based Kenesto to create a business process workflow operation." It is cloud-based and runs in a Web browser.


The big name behind the new product is Mike Payne, who was also a co-founder of other companies whose names you may have heard: PTC, Solidworks, and SpaceClaim. But Kenesto probably not.


Steve Bodnar is svp of products and strategy at Kenesto. If his name if familiar, it is because he is the former vp of PDM [product data management] and PLM [product lifecycle management] at Autodesk. He told me what's been happening at the 12-person firm, the size that's ideal for getting things done.


"The company was first focused on PLM, then went into other areas. A year ago, we paused marketing and sales to focus on the product a whole year. I went through our differentiators, as there are things in our product that are applicable to the PLM/CAD industry. By December 1, a terrible time what with the onset of holidays, the product was ready, and so we are now reengaging.


"We now have a different way to market it, because it is too expensive to grow organically through traditional sales and marketing. I found that inbound marketing is poor (using AdWords, Web sites, etc) because conversion rates are poor: a 4% conversion is really good. Web-based marketing does not work, because CAD is not Facebook; it is B2B [business to business sales] and not B2C [business to consumer].


"We now focus on OEM solutions; we private-label our product [where other firms use the cloud-based software, but put their own name on it]. The perfect OEM company for us would be someone like Dropbox, because it has serious problems for users in the engineering collaboration space."


Mr Bodnar then went on to demo the new Kenesto, which organizes around workspaces, teams, or communities. It is not application-centric; it is whatever-centric. "Think of DropBox on steroids," he said. For instance, Kenesto has discussion flows, where DropBox does not; Kenesto views 250 file types, Dropbox does not.


There was much more he showed me, such as in the areas of file and content sharing, project organization, task management, workflow diagramming, and so on. Take the for-instance of workflow diagramming, which is not uncommon in management software. "But," said Mr Bodnar, "people in an organization know only their part of the workflow; no one person knows it all." So Kenesto allows each participant to model their portion of the workflow (see figure 1). The administrator then eliminates duplicates and overlaps.

Figure 1: Every one in the office contributing their portion of the workflow
(click image for higher-resolution version)


You can try Kenesto free after registering at http://www.kenesto.com.



SpaceClaim today unveils the beta version of their live 3D collaboration product code named Connect. "Delivering a solution from the cloud does not necessarily transform that solution into a strong collaboration tool," they say, taking a stab at certain other CAD vendors. To use Connect: you send others a link to let them into a browser-based collaboration session, which is driven by your local computer (strong enough to run SpaceClaim) and not a server, so that (a) no CAD files are transmitted [an NSA foil?] and (b) it works with just about any hardware on which Chrome browser works, even on a Nexus 7 tablet, as shown in the video. Shipping early 2014; that demo video is at http://www.spaceclaim.com/en/blog/14-01-13/Showing_our_Cloud-Enabled_Live_3D_Collaboration_Product_for_the_First_Time.aspx.


Heard In Twitter and On the Blog

Mike Steffy (@CadManager): @upFronteZine check out this from Carl bass. Seems to be contradicting thoughts from AU 2013 https://twitter.com/carlbass/status/419694810849484800


Carl Bass (@carlbass): Took care of the first two resolutions for the new year - closed my facebook and linkedin accounts. Feel better already


olegshilovitsky (@olegshilovitsky): @carlbass what was the main reason for disconnect? and why twitter is different?


Carl Bass (@carlbass): twitter helps curate info I find useful


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Rakesh Rao (@rakesh_rao): BricsCAD for Mac - We Have Moved One Step Closer to Beta #bricscad #mac http://bit.ly/1dAFxp9


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upFront.eZine (@upFronteZine): The Tablet command is making a comeback: it is newly available in GstarCAD 8 and in the OEM version of ARES 2014.


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upFront.eZine (@upFronteZine): TheStreet.com staff thinks that Autodesk makes a 3D printer -> http://money.msn.com/top-stocks/post--makerbot-wants-a-3d-printer-in-every-school


upFront.eZine (@upFronteZine): Here's the quote: "What separates MakerBot from other 3D printer companies like 3D Systems or AutoDesk and its 123D printer..."


Noah Cole (@noahcole): @upFronteZine 123D printer -- hey now there's an idea.


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upFront.eZine (@upFronteZine): At SIGGRAPH, Dell showed us their $3,500 30" 4K monitor; but Jan 23 they ship a $700 28" 4K monitor. It's always a good idea to wait.


bcbenton (@bcbenton): @upFronteZine some times it stinks being an early adopter!!


upFront.eZine (@upFronteZine): @bcbenton My first LCD monitor cost $1,500. It was 14". The 15-incher would have been $2,000, so I went with the cheap one.


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Letters to the Editor

Re: We're Online! (Who Cares About the Rest of the World?
"Mr. Tara accurately highlights another example of the extreme hubris of Autodesk's leaders. Their thinking makes some short-term economic sense, tho, once one understands their motives: The real reason for their cloud is to stop software piracy, which was a serious problem in the 90s, (and seems to remain a top priority to this day), but it doesn't seem to prevent them from posting enough profits to stay afloat.


"This effort to control all software and content has been a long time in development, which means that they have too much corporate momentum to change course now, rocks and reefs and shallows be damned. Remember, if the profit margins start to lose weight, upper management can be voted out -- that is their first and main motivator, all else is distantly secondary.

"If those folks in India or Rwanda don't have broadband, then they probably can't afford Autodesk's rental fees. This in turn means that those folks aren't 'lost' customers, because they can't afford to become customers in the first place. As for the folks in Argentina, Autodesk can simply say. 'If you don't like it, then don't by it,' which is a correct answer.


"However, there are many others who cannot store their SECURE content on any type of external cloud, especially one owned by a company that states they can do with your content whatever they wish, and they are not responsible for any losses of your content. The following problem then arises: We would have to 'dial out' to get access to some software, then thru that program, dial back into our own secure server to access the files. Is this efficient or forward-thinking?

"My guess is that much of this push to cloud-based SAS [software as a service] will have a short-lived gee-whiz appeal, and will enjoy only very limited adoption by serious paying customers, outcomes which will have a negative impact on the company's 2015 profits. This, in turn, will cause the company to eventually reduce their emphasis on these cloud-based efforts."

    - Peter Lawton

"Great editorial!"

    - Dairobi Paul


"Does Roopinder somehow imply that until Rwanda gets fast and affordable Internet access all the developers of products that rely on the Internet should stop doing what they are doing? So, you should then consider stopping writing your eZine and posting on your blog because in Rwanda they have really hard time reading them. Obviously Roopinder should also stop all his Internet related activities because in Rwanda they cannot read TenLinks.


"Or maybe, just maybe, we should all happily continue to push innovation as far as we can and, separately, as a completely independent activity, figure out a way to help undeveloped nations lift themselves out of poverty (and there is a lot more work to be done there than providing fast Internet access). And we could afford doing that exactly because of all the money we make by selling advanced products to advanced customers in advanced countries."

     - Cristiano Sacchi

The editor replies: "There is a difference between reading a small newsletter and runing an MCAD system over a poor Internet connection; think Edge or 3G cell networks we have here in North America. Mr Tara's point is that Autodesk is going faster than customers in emerging countries are capable keep up. Should Autodesk push all its software on the cloud (which is their master plan) when places like Rwanda are largely off the net?"


Mr Sacchi responds: "In my opinion, the answer is a big time YES, the reason being that Rwanda has no influence on the future of Autodesk and Autodesk has no influence on the future of Rwanda. The best that [Autodesk ceo] Carl Bass can do, if he he feels so inclined, to help Rwanda. Not by developing off-line software but by taking a chunk of his sizable paycheck and donating it to some NGOs that help Rwanda. The problems with these nations is by and large their own government. India, in which Roopinder claims has only 6% of the population online, has a notoriously corrupt government. Since when that is Autodesk's problem?


"To me, when it comes to CAD cloud software, the really interesting question is, 'How much of it and which is actually useful to people that have 100% high speed connectivity?" I feel there is a big component behind cloud software in CAD that is just a fad. Somehow, justbecause it works great for Salesforce.com it must be great for CAD too. I think we should expect Carl Bass to provide sound arguments in favor of CAD cloud software for advanced users in advanced countries and not expect him to worry about Rwanda or India."


The editor replies: "Like me, Mr Bass is entitled to keep his charitable giving discrete. Public records, however, indicate that since September he sold 1.2 million ADSK shares. Dunno what he netted after taxes, but today's share price is $51."



"Excellent editorial by @rtara"

   - Bilal Succar (@BSuccar)

     via Twitter

Notable Quotable

"You promised me Mars colonies. Instead, I got Facebook."
     - Buzz Aldrin



upFront.eZine is published every Tuesday, except during summer and Christmas vacation. Editor: Ralph Grabowski. This newsletter is read by 11,000 subscribers in 70 countries. Your comments are welcome at editor@upfrontezine.com! Deadline for submissions is every Monday noon.


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Entire contents copyright 2014 by upFront.eZine Publishing, Ltd. All rights reserved worldwide. Letters sent to the editor are subject to publication. Article reprint fee: $840. All trademarks belong to their respective holders. "upFront.eZine," "The Business of CAD," and "WorldCAD Access" are trademarks of upFront.eZine Publishing, Ltd. Letters to the editor may be edited for clarity and brevity. Translations and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by upFront.eZine Publishing, Ltd.


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