Back in 2011, Autodesk, some other vendors and many industry pundits were utterly convinced of the inevitable and near-imminent victory of Cloud-based CAD over standalone software. I wasn’t. I wanted to get a feel for how isolated my viewpoint was, so I started a poll and let it run for a while. Here’s how that turned out:
As you can see, this blog’s readers were less than convinced about the inevitability of that Cloudy future. Not so Carl Bass, who had this to say in an April 2012 TechCrunch interview:
I’d say two to three years from now, every one of our products will be used online. The only way to use … Full post
In a recent comment, I was asked how I know Autodesk’s move to all-rental is the opposite of what customers want. Have I conducted research? This is an excellent question and deserves a proper answer.
So how do I know this? Why am I so convinced? There are several independent sources of evidence, one bit of critical thinking and one undeniable proof. They all point in the same direction. First, a bit of evidence.
- There are many public places on the Internet where this issue has been discussed, including Autodesk’s own discussion groups. The viewpoints expressed everywhere are overwhelmingly against Autodesk’s all-rental plans.
- There are private places Autodesk customers hang out where I have access, and I receive private emails. Again, the overwhelmingly majority of the viewpoints I see expressed are very strongly against Autodesk’s strategy.
- There’s a poll right here. How’s it going?
- None of … Full post
As part of the site layout changes here, the polls were moved from the right sidebar to the left. The Polls Archive page remains unchanged. The new site layout is responsive, so if you’re using a narrow browser window (e.g. on a phone), the sidebars may be automatically suppressed. If so, you can still get at the current polls using this post.
Feel free to use this post to comment on any aspect of these polls. From the main page (or search results) where the comments are not immediately visible, you can comment by clicking the number next to this speech bubble icon:
I was going to ignore this subject, but I’ve changed my mind because it allows me to post something positive about Autodesk. After all, I do try to post positive things; it’s hardly my fault that Autodesk has a habit of making it difficult.
In upFront eZine #756, Autodesk’s Andrew Anagnost (or was it Clay Helm?) had the following to say, and must say I agree totally with the first sentence:
The best evidence is how we have behaved historically. When we included Mechanical Desktop with Inventor, the media complained that we were killing Mechanical Desktop; you were probably one of them. But we didn’t; we came out with six, seven more releases of it, completely free.
So, MDT users, you’re the poster child for how Autodesk looks after its customers. You’re also evidence for how wrong those nasty media naysayers … Full post
It’s probably unwise to make predictions about what is going to happen in technology. If so, I’m about to be unwise. So be it; if I’m wrong you can taunt me about this post in a few years. Here’s my prediction:
Autodesk’s attempt to move CAD users onto the Cloud is doomed to failure.
This is the first of a series of posts that will examine what I mean by that and the reasons behind it. The first thing that’s important to lay out is what I mean by failure. What I mean is that reality will not match Autodesk’s expectation of what will happen with its products moving to the Cloud. What expectation is that?
I’d say two to three years from now, every one of our products will be used online. The only way to use them will be online.
Carl Bass, April 2012, Full post
Autodesk has grown and prospered by always, as much as possible, placing the customer’s needs foremost.
John Walker, 1990, The Autodesk File
That was the dominant philosophy back in Autodesk’s ancient history, to the benefit of all. However, is that still the case today? I’m not going to offer an view one way or the other in this post. Instead, I will leave it open to the floor. Good or bad, please comment below using specific examples if you can. If you’re short of time, you can still use the poll on the right to express your opinion.
I’ve added a poll asking this question over on the right. I would like to see this done as soon as possible as a courtesy for those customers who find the current AutoCAD 2013 Help system inadequate. If you agree, vote Yes. If you disagree (for example, you think Autodesk should instead concentrate on improving the current system), vote No. If you wish to make a comment on this specific issue, feel free.
I have closed the polls asking if you trusted various companies to do the right thing by their customers. Here is a summary of the results, showing the percentage of “Yes” votes for each company. The most trusted company is at the top, the least trusted is at the bottom.
Remember, this is not a scientific poll and as with all polls and surveys there will be some self-selection bias. Does anyone find anything about the above results surprising?
As I mentioned earlier, any company that wants to move its customers to the Cloud is going to need the trust of those customers. Three months ago, I started a poll to try to get some measure of how trustworthy you consider Autodesk to be, in terms of doing the right thing by its customers. The results of that poll look pretty awful for Autodesk. Right from the start, the distrusters have outnumbered the trusters by three to one, with the current results showing an overwhelming majority of respondents (77%) not trusting Autodesk.
Why? What has Autodesk done in the past, or is doing now, that leads people to this level of distrust? If you have voted in this poll, I’d like to know your reasons, so please add your comments whichever way you voted. If you think there’s an issue with the question wording and/or its simple … Full post
It goes without saying that any company that intends to win at CAD on the Cloud had better be pretty darn good at doing Internet stuff. So, does Autodesk qualify?
There’s a poll on the right and your comments are welcome.
In February 2010, I ran a poll to gauge your feelings about CAD in the Cloud and left it going until October 2010. Just over a month ago, I asked the same question again and ran an identical poll. I have closed that second poll, and here are the comparative results (new poll at the top, old poll at the bottom):
I’m not pretending this is a scientific survey. There is bound to be some self-selection and other sources of bias, as there must be with anybody’s survey processes (very much including Autodesk’s CIP). Looking at the logs, I haven’t detected any obvious attempts to interfere with the poll, although there’s nothing I can do to stop people voting multiple times if they have access to multiple IPs (e.g. a work and home account). There … Full post
Using any software involves some degree of trust in the vendor. Using the Cloud requires a much higher level of trust.
Autodesk boss Carl Bass is a maker of carefully crafted things, so I’ll use that as an analogy. Using standalone software requires the sort of trust that a maker has in a tool manufacturer. Will the tools work properly and last a long time? Or will they break, potentially damaging the materials or even the user?
Using SaaS requires that same kind of trust, plus others. Will the tool manufacturer keep making that tool? If not, will spare parts continue to be available? Will the manufacturer change the tool design so it doesn’t suit your hand any more, or doesn’t work as well on the materials you use? Beyond that, there are some aspects of the relationship that stretch this analogy somewhat. For example, a SaaS vendor resembles a manufacturer that … Full post
I have closed the Which of these is most evil? poll, which had been running from 20 February 2009. It attracted 2,351 voters, each of whom could distribute up to three votes among thirteen (yes, that number was deliberate) candidates. Here are the ranked results:
Satan (36%, 846 Votes)
Microsoft (31%, 721 Votes)
Apple (26%, 614 Votes)
RIAA/IFPI/MPAA (26%, 601 Votes)
Miley Cyrus (23%, 546 Votes)
Autodesk (23%, 536 Votes)
Disney (16%, 382 Votes)
Google (10%, 230 Votes)
Dell (7%, 172 Votes)
The Pirate Bay (6%, 147 Votes)
Sony (6%, 140 Votes)
Steve Johnson (4%, 89 Votes)
Gaahl (3%, 82 Votes)
That top three is not going to shock anyone (except perhaps some fanbois), but are some surprises in the list. For example, more than a quarter of voters were aware enough of the evils of Big Content to be able to decipher the alphabet soup RIAA/IFPI/MPAA choice and select it. More than … Full post
…the Ribbon, according to your selections in the What are the worst features ever added to AutoCAD? poll. As in the best ever poll, the winner (loser?) in this race had no serious competition. I’ve listed eleven top (bottom?) features here rather than ten, partly because the popular (unpopular?) choice Memory Overuse isn’t exactly a feature. But it’s mainly because I’d hate to see Action Recorder unfairly miss out on a well-deserved mention.
- Ribbon (30%)
- CUI (20%)
- Help (on line / 2012) (18%)
- Memory Overuse (17%)
- AutoCAD Today (2000i/2002) (16%)
- White / Cream Drawing Background (16%)
- Unreconciled Layers (16%)
- Nudge (10%)
- Blipmode (9%)
- Proxy Object Compatibility (9%)
- Action Recorder (8%)
Given the reception the Ribbon received when it was introduced, maybe it’s unsurprising to see it top the lists here. Cloud observers may find it interesting to note that that Autodesk’s … Full post
…LISP. I have now closed the What are the best features ever added to AutoCAD? poll, and the winner is AutoLISP/Visual LISP, by a long, long way. I don’t always agree with the majority view expressed in the polls here, but in this case I wholeheartedly agree. Adding LISP was the biggest and best thing that ever happened to AutoCAD. Autodesk owes an enormous debt of gratitude to John Walker for incorporating the work of David Betz, who was of course standing on the shoulders of John McCarthy. It’s a crying shame that Autodesk has been so terribly neglectful of Visual LISP for over a decade.
Here are your top ten “best ever” AutoCAD features:
- AutoLISP / Visual LISP (32%)
- Paper / Model Space / Layouts (21%)
- Xrefs (20%)
- Copy / Paste between drawings (19%)
- Dynamic Blocks (16%)
- Object Snaps (15%)
- Layer Visibility per Viewport (12%)
- Undo (12%)
- Grips … Full post
One argument that CAD in the Cloud supporters sometimes make is that the Cloud is taking over regardless of what anybody thinks, so we might as well just embrace it and reap the benefits. Nice try, Nostradamus, but I’ve been around computers long enough to see many Next Big Things come to nothing and am thoroughly unconvinced by such attempts at self-fulfilling prophecy.
How inevitable is a CAD in the Cloud takeover, in terms of Cloud-based applications replacing traditional software? I’ve added a poll with a specific question about that, so it’s your turn to play soothsayer. What are the chances of you using a public Cloud-based application as your primary CAD software in 5 years? Please vote, and as always, your comments are welcome.
Early last year, I ran a poll to gauge your feelings about CAD in the Cloud. Here are the results of that poll:
As you can see, the poll response bell curve was clearly biased toward the frightened end of the spectrum, and there was little in the way of excitement at the Cloudy prospects for CAD. A fair bit has happened since last February (particularly the recent Autodesk Cloud announcement), so I thought I’d see how the ground lies at the moment. Are you feeling more positive about Cloudy CAD than you were 18 months ago?
I’ve just added a poll for you to vote on, identical to last year’s. In addition, I’d love to see your comments on the subject. Is CAD in the Cloud inevitable, or is it not going to fly? If you don’t think it will … Full post
Using your suggestions and a few of my own, I have added two polls for you to select what are, in your opinion, the best and worst features ever added to AutoCAD. To help us find The Answer, there are 42 items in each poll, from which you can choose up to three.
A few items (e.g. Action Recorder) made it into both lists, while several items in the ‘worst’ list (e.g. 2012 Array, Ribbon, Annotative Scaling) were suggested multiple times. It will be interesting to see how the poll results pan out.
Audience participation time, I think. A comment on one of AutoCAD 2012’s new features recently set me thinking about what were the worst features ever introduced to AutoCAD. That in turn got me thinking about what were the best.
I’ll keep my opinions to myself for a while, as I’d like your input and don’t want to influence it. Please add a comment with your list of what you consider the best three features ever added to AutoCAD and the worst three. If you can’t think of three of each, you can submit less, but please don’t submit more. By all means discuss at length the things you love or loathe, but make it clear what you’re submitting by using a clear format like this (meaningless examples only):
1. Content Explorer
2. Online Help
2. Transparent zoom and pan
Congratulations to Ralph Grabowski, winner of my AutoCAD WS contest. His entry of Workspace was chosen by the greatest number of voters as the hidden meaning behind the WS in AutoCAD WS.
Ralph, your prize awaits! Just visit the App Store and you’ll soon be running a real live AutoCAD on your iPod Shuffle!