22 Replies Latest reply on Dec 21, 2017 5:29 PM by Chris Clouser Branched to a new discussion.

    Trip Report to SW Headquarters Representing ONE and TWO - 11/15/17

    Rick Becker

      It's not commonly known, at least I didn't know, the extent that SolidWorks, both management and All employees, are Customer Centric. I now have an understanding and it's encouraging and inspiring to know there is a company, a corporate culture, of a huge conglomerate that is truly Customer Centric.

      How did I learn this?

      Let's start at the beginning.

       

      Out of the blue I received a group message on this forum. It was a group of three. Richard Doyle was the sender. Dennis Dohogne and myself were the recipients.

      Hi Guys,

      Would you be willing to come out to Waltham, MA to meet with several members of the teams that are responsible for the software and express your concerns? 

      I know you will have questions, so fire away!

      Richard

      There were some additional details included. I did have a bunch of questions instantly fly through my mind.

       

      First and foremost was Why us? and Who else would be there?

       

      I deduced the why. My best clue was Dennis and I being invited. It had to be connected with ONE and TWO  . As it turned out, it was indeed ONE and TWO.

       

      Richard replied to the why query...

      ONE and TWO - Both of you have expressed some "discomfort" with recent releases, and with a few exceptions, have been honest and sincere in your desire to see us do better.  I saw a presentation last week that will address a lot of your concerns, and I know you both would enjoy hearing it (and I think it will help you better understand our processes and quality assurance).  We do a lot of customer visits, webinars, meetings with customers, etc., but every now and then a face-to-face meeting like this important.

      Richard

      As for who would be there some of the programmers and the team responsible for customer development meeting with just Dennis and I.

       

      The planned date of the meeting, 11/15, was chosen to concur with the 2nd annual SLUGME ( http://blogs.solidworks.com/solidworksblog/2017/11/dont-miss-solidworks-largest-user-group-meeting-ever-2017.html ). First meet with the SolidWorks group and then participate in the user group also held on the SolidWorks campus. I will detail the user group and SLUGME in a different post.

       

      I had never met or even talked to Dennis Dohogne. I sent him a private email to pick his brain and see what his thoughts on this was. We exchanged a few emails to plan what we would do. We realized this was an huge opportunity. I recognized that this could be analogous to being a Neilson Family. I knew my voice would represent a large portion of the SW user base.

       

      People who know me well know that I can be rather opinionated. In that I mean I have thought about and discussed with others most everything important or interesting. I have come to a certain point of view on most of them and I'm not afraid to share my opinions and why I believe them. Sometimes vociferously. Ask my wife. She shudders when I startup at any affair we are attending and generally walks away leaving me to my discourse.

      I was prepared to be as outspoken as I have ever been. I was steeled to get my point of view clearly across to everyone at SW as possible . I was sure this was a once in a lifetime opportunity that I wouldn't squander.

       

      Nothing was squandered and no opportunity was lost. And, I didn't need to raise my voice or become obnoxious (some say my usual MO) in any way because the audience presented at SW listened. And not just listened, but engaged in a dialog that showed their true colors. Their true colors were responsive, understanding, hopeful and customer based.

       

      We arrived in Waltham Massachusetts early evening on Tuesday. Dennis flew in (boy are his arms tired) and I drove from Connecticut. We got to meet 7 members of the SW team for dinner at a local pub. The restaurant had a great selection of food and beer and couldn't have been a better spot. The food, beer and conversation was abundant. A true "getting to know you" affair and it was obvious that the seven really loved their jobs and got along with each other famously. Listening to stories of trips to far away locales was enlightening and enjoyable. Dennis and I got to share about ourselves as the perfect introduction to our meeting the next day.

       

      Here's a rundown of the day...

      • Richard Doyle meets us at the hotel to drive us to the Dassault Campus. Richard is a Gentleman. Friendly, outgoing and sincere as many of you have stated here so eloquently.
      • Our meeting took place in a large conference room with thirteen SW employees. A full day of presentations and discussions. This blew me away that SW would dedicate so many resources to a meeting with 2 customers. As we learned, it wasn't window dressing in any way. They all were there to listen, understand and learn as much as to tell their story. There were 5 or 6 of the top VP's, Directors, managers of every significant department with presentations and rich dialog. Included were VP R&D Operations, VP User Experience, Director of Product Definition, Director of Product Development and many more.
      • After introduction Dennis and I opened the meeting with ONE and TWO from our point of view. I articulated how detrimental bugs, crashes and instabilities are for us. I described skipping implementing SW2017 specifically because of the problems I read about in the forums. I talked about why I started ONE and TWO. Of the top ten ONE and TWO each got more than twice as many votes as the others. This spoke to me about the general feeling of the Engineers, Designers and other users of SW. I didn't want this point to go understated or be forgotten when the Top Ten is removed from the site (which it always has been). BTW, it is only removed from user perspective. All Top Ten discussions are retained and reviewed by SW as needed. I mentioned the horrible SR/SPR/ER voting system. We had a laugh recounting the blue icons.
      • We had several presentations complete with power point slides. Each one detailing a particular department or mission of SW. All of the presentations were very detailed and in-depth. We asked many questions along the way, and every question was discussed as valuable dialog, never as a distraction.
      • Jim Wilkinson showed the help system, SR/SPR system, and what it can do. The power and depth of the various search bars.
      • Talked several times throughout the day about the VAR/Reseller system. If you are on maintenance "You're paying for support through your VAR. Use it." We discussed the extensive training program/requirements that all VAR service techs must be trained with. We learned there are over 50 certificates/tests that are available to CE's. There are only 18 available to users. If something isn't working correctly or you can't get something to work, call your support VAR. Report it. Why? Because as any reported bug/crash/enhancement/SR/SPR/hope/wish/desire comes in, they are logged in a database and collated into severity of problem/number of users. Basically, SW programmers attack the biggest problems that affect the most users. This point was stressed several times. The only way to fix anything that annoys/bugs/affects you is to get it in the system.
      • Discussed in-depth how helpful the crash reporting dialog can be for SW. Only about 15% of users have checked the Customer Experience Improvement Program checkbox. The information collected by the crash dialog only has information about what command was selected, what part of the program failed, and some other technical information. No user identifiable information or file data is collected. This somewhat limits the ability or SW to determine exactly what is the root cause of a crash. If the user fully describes, using the dialog box in the crash report, to provide context on what was happening prior and during the crash, the ability to determine a cause is greatly increased. Every crash that is reported to SW is put into a database that groups similar crashes. This data is reviewed by humans and analyzed. The areas that affect the most users are the areas that are prioritized highest and worked on first. Over and over, one theme was "we work on what benefits the most people with the greatest impact". Vote for any enhancement requests and SPR's that will help you. Your vote actually counts. SW actually reads the crash report user input. Both Dennis and I expressed the needs for users to be acknowledged when a crash report is submitted. A simple email that states we got your report and we are looking into it. Just a little feedback can go a long way. It was stated they are working on a way to accomplish this. We were shown some improvement in the 2018  crash dialog box. It looks promising but still has a ways to go.
      • Help pages have a Feedback on this topic link (upper right corner). Whenever anyone uses this link the information sent goes directly to the personal that wrote the Help Page. This is hardly ever used by anyone. If you see something that isn't clear or correct, provide feedback right there on the help page. The responsible person will read your comments. Both Dennis and I commented that the help pages needs some additional context. It reads a bit dry and utilitarian. We would like to see some expansion of context and usage.
      • Four concurrent versions are being worked on at any given time. A major version has a 2 1/2 year life cycle. The life cycle follows a tried and true template of process that have a start and completion time frame. From what we were shown, the ontogenesis of a given major release works well.
      • We had a thorough discussion of the Forums. The forums are read by many SW personal. It is part of the job requirement for many to spend some time with the forum. Dennis and I both noted a change for the better in the tone and mood of the forums starting around 6 months ago. We pointed to Jim Wilkinson (and a couple of others SW people) posting regularly with extremely helpful information, knowledge and experience. These postings have steered the conversations in helpful directions. We both highly encouraged more participation by Jim and as many other SW personal as possible. There was a fear expressed that statements made in answer to questions or problems by SW personal may be misconstrued if any part of the answer is wrong in any way. It was further expressed that ongoing discussions may be suppressed once a SW answer is given, stifling valuable discourse by forum participants. I don't believe anyone would hold back on joining in the discussion just because of a SW answer. I also strongly expressed that a post by SW personal, even if wrong, wouldn't have any adverse reactions. We are all human and are working towards the same goal, bettering knowledge of SW. Many posts get off topic. Some are hijacked and some get off topic (and off color) so severely that the distraction overwhelms any good or helpful information to the point that many posters (SW personal included) "walk away".  We acknowledged that this is a problem and noted that, as of late, there is a move to self clean and regulate our own posts and clear out the noise. The "Kitty Dump" is also useful for off topic posters to at least have a place to say whatever they need to. It was acknowledged that rules may need to be implemented that allows off-topic discussions to be removed.
      • There is a large group of SW personal dedicated to Customer Experience. Each and every person in the group is charged to visit customers multiple times per year. The group has hundreds of customer visits per year. They are specifically tasked to learn what we need/want and to make it happen for the greatest number of users as possible. It is impressive how many resources are specifically dedicated to this effort.
      • MySolidWorks.com ( http://my.solidworks.com/ ) is a landing/home page for all things SW. Best thing on this page is a very powerful search box. Have a question or want to find something? Start here. I call it the Top-Level Search bar. There is something of interest there, and, it's only a couple of weeks old. Under mySolidWorks >Training>eCourses. "eCourses are complete courses converted from the SOLIDWORKS instructor-led training manuals into self-paced eLearning." This is a pay elearning course but, the same training classes you go to your VAR to get, are here (sheetmetal, weldments, etc.) exactly the same course as you would take in a classroom available at your computer.
      • We talked about the BETA/EV program. It is especially important to have as much participation as possible. This may be one of the very best ways to communicate to the people that count to help steer the next version release. More importantly, catching problems and bugs early in the BETA testing will eliminate those problems for everyone going forward. SW would like to see participation in BETA/EV greatly increase. I absolutely agree the increased participation is good for all of us.

       

      I'm sure I have only mentioned half of what I was shown. I haven't mentioned all of the great people I met by name. Bottom line, I was given the opportunity to learn how SW uses the information that we tell them as well as the many ways information is gathered. There are many ways to communicate what you want/need/desire, tell what's broken or ask for something more/new. Contact your VAR, submit SR/SPR/Enhancement request, participate on the Forum, submit/vote on Top Ten, participate in the BETA/EV program, receive a visit from SW, participate in SWW, submit crash reports and many more. The mechanisms are in place and being used to take all that data from users and turn it into what the programmers actually work on.

       

      I'll admit I was impressed. I'm hard to convince of something I don't believe. The sincerity, great attitude and knowledge of each and every person we talked to was almost overwhelming, and very inspiring. And, I believe the programmers and management at SW are working diligently in our best interest (it's also their best interest). There are 3 million of us users/seats worldwide. There are probably that many different sets of wants and desires. The biggest problems that help the most users are what they work on. They are listening and compiling data. Give them some data to compile from your point of view.

       

       

      TL;DR - I visited SolidWorks HQ. I was shown a vast array of processes and methods to listen to and respond to customers and what's broken, missing or wanted. SW is spending huge resources on Customer Care and product improvement. SW needs our input to tell them what is going on. They don't get enough input from enough users. As an organization, from the top down and at every turn, SW is customer centric, is listening to customers and is responding to customers' needs. The response is based on fixing and adding based on the most impact to the most users.

       

      Rick Becker

        • Re: Trip Report to SW Headquarters Representing ONE and TWO - 11/15/17
          Steve Calvert

          Wow Rick, that is a very concise report.  I'm glad the two of you got to attend.  I've had the opportunity to go there twice and enjoyed meeting and talking to all kinds of fine SW people.  I think they do listen and that's why some of us don't get overly bent out of shape when things seem to be wrong.

           

          thanks,

           

          Steve C

          • Re: Trip Report to SW Headquarters Representing ONE and TWO - 11/15/17
            Dan Pihlaja

            Thanks for taking the time to do this Rick.   With Dennis, I would like to personally pat you on the back....let me know when you are in the Traverse City area next. 

            • Re: Trip Report to SW Headquarters Representing ONE and TWO - 11/15/17
              Jim Sculley

              Rick Becker wrote:

               

              ....

              ....

              ....

              Every crash that is reported to SW is put into a database that groups similar crashes. This data is reviewed by humans and analyzed. The areas that affect the most users are the areas that are prioritized highest and worked on first. Over and over, one theme was "we work on what benefits the most people with the greatest impact".

              While I understand the idea behind this, there is something to be said for making an effort to attack the myriad of minor-seeming (What *Minor* Bug in SOLIDWORKS Drives You Crazy ) problems that are likely affecting far more people on a daily basis.  There is a good parallel to this in the idea of paying off debts.  One school of thought is that you should attack the largest debt first and work your way down to the smaller debts.  The other school of thought is that you should attack the smallest debt first and work your way up toward the largest.

               

              By ignoring small, minor and obvious bugs that have lingered for years and years, it gives the impression of a shoddy product.  It also makes it seem like the people writing the software have never actually used the software, or don't care about it enough to correct problems unless the specified number of users complain about it. 

               

              Some other thoughts:

               

              • I would suggest that SW implement some sort of small, focused hit squad responsible for going after all the low hanging fruit that everyone knows is there but no one seems interested in picking. This is the kind of stuff internships and co-op programs are perfect for.  My first co-op manager called them projects that were "brown and curly at the edges".
              • Give us some sort of indication when votes for a particular SPR are approaching the threshold where it will be addressed.  Then, let me list SPRs by number of votes so I can determine whether my vote will make a difference.
              • Make the SPR database more collaborative, allowing comments and additional information submitted directly by the users for a given SPR.  Users doing so would be held to higher submittal standards than for the forums, with the understanding that unproductive comments/submittals would be grounds for revocation of the privilege to do so.
                • Re: Trip Report to SW Headquarters Representing ONE and TWO - 11/15/17
                  Jim Steinmeyer

                  Jim Sculley wrote:

                  .......

                  Some other thoughts:

                   

                  • I would suggest that SW implement some sort of small, focused hit squad responsible for going after all the low hanging fruit that everyone knows is there but no one seems interested in picking. This is the kind of stuff internships and co-op programs are perfect for. My first co-op manager called them projects that were "brown and curly at the edges".
                  • Give us some sort of indication when votes for a particular SPR are approaching the threshold where it will be addressed. Then, let me list SPRs by number of votes so I can determine whether my vote will make a difference.
                  • Make the SPR database more collaborative, allowing comments and additional information submitted directly by the users for a given SPR. Users doing so would be held to higher submittal standards than for the forums, with the understanding that unproductive comments/submittals would be grounds for revocation of the privilege to do so.

                  Some very good points Jim

                        I do find Jim Wilkinson's responding and providing SPR numbers on your thread encouraging. Also There is currently the box for adding comments to SPRs available, but it would be nice if some of those additional comments would be appended to the original listing. 

                  • Re: Trip Report to SW Headquarters Representing ONE and TWO - 11/15/17
                    Jim Wilkinson

                    Jim Sculley wrote:

                     

                    Ri

                    While I understand the idea behind this, there is something to be said for making an effort to attack the myriad of minor-seeming (What *Minor* Bug in SOLIDWORKS Drives You Crazy ) problems that are likely affecting far more people on a daily basis. There is a good parallel to this in the idea of paying off debts. One school of thought is that you should attack the largest debt first and work your way down to the smaller debts. The other school of thought is that you should attack the smallest debt first and work your way up toward the largest.

                     

                    By ignoring small, minor and obvious bugs that have lingered for years and years, it gives the impression of a shoddy product. It also makes it seem like the people writing the software have never actually used the software, or don't care about it enough to correct problems unless the specified number of users complain about it.

                     

                    Some other thoughts:

                     

                    • I would suggest that SW implement some sort of small, focused hit squad responsible for going after all the low hanging fruit that everyone knows is there but no one seems interested in picking. This is the kind of stuff internships and co-op programs are perfect for. My first co-op manager called them projects that were "brown and curly at the edges".

                    Hi Jim,


                    We already do this in a number of different ways:

                    • New developers - it helps them get their feet wet in the code base
                    • Interns
                    • "Quality projects" - each release, all main areas of the software have projects that specifically are looking to improve the quality in that product area and that includes "little things", not just things with high customer hits. We might go after a sub-area, within a major area; for instance, concentrating on bug fixes on just broken views within drawings.
                    • When working on "new or enhanced functionality" projects in a certain area of the software, we'll also look for bugs around that area of functionality that can be fixed a the same time.
                    • Consistency project - Look at complete areas where better consistency would be good across the system. For instance, ones we've posted in the forum for input on in the past to help find all the inconsistencies are messages that should have "don't ask again" functionality or commands that don't properly have the right mouse button OK cursor popping up to more quickly accept the command.
                    • "Death by a thousand paper cut" projects - these are ones where we are looking for all sorts of little things that interrupt a particular workflow that should be cleaned up to make everything smoother for the user.

                     

                    So, we don't want to give the impression that we ONLY go after the ones with high hit counts, but they are the obvious ones to go after, especially if they are crashes. We also have all sorts of other approaches to go after other issues.

                     

                    Thanks,

                    Jim

                  • Re: Trip Report to SW Headquarters Representing ONE and TWO - 11/15/17
                    Alex Lachance

                    This was a refreshing read. I'm glad I took the time to read it. It puts things in a different perspective for me.

                    Rick Becker a écrit:

                    • There is a large group of SW personal dedicated to Customer Experience. Each and every person in the group is charged to visit customers multiple times per year. The group has hundreds of customer visits per year. They are specifically tasked to learn what we need/want and to make it happen for the greatest number of users as possible. It is impressive how many resources are specifically dedicated to this effort.

                     

                     

                    Where do we sign up for this? I've never had anyone from SolidWorks contact me personally let alone visit me, unless that includes VARs. That would be pretty fun if I could get one to come around, have a little meeting of an hour or so with everyone of my office to ''brainstorm'' with him.

                    Rick Becker a écrit:

                    • We talked about the BETA/EV program. It is especially important to have as much participation as possible. This may be one of the very best ways to communicate to the people that count to help steer the next version release. More importantly, catching problems and bugs early in the BETA testing will eliminate those problems for everyone going forward. SW would like to see participation in BETA/EV greatly increase. I absolutely agree the increased participation is good for all of us.

                     

                     

                    If it is so important to have as much participation as possible, they need to find a way to make SolidWorks retro-fit to the year before or so. I wouldn't mind participating in the betas but having files be converted in a future version and then not work in the other version kind of stops me from doing so.

                     

                    If I can't save, I can't truely do the testing SolidWorks would want me to do. This is why it needs to be compatible between versions to a certain extent.

                      • Re: Trip Report to SW Headquarters Representing ONE and TWO - 11/15/17
                        Jim Steinmeyer

                        Alex Lachance wrote:

                        .......

                         

                         

                        If it is so important to have as much participation as possible, they need to find a way to make SolidWorks retro-fit to the year before or so. I wouldn't mind participating in the betas but having files be converted in a future version and then not work in the other version kind of stops me from doing so.

                         

                        If I can't save, I can't truely do the testing SolidWorks would want me to do. This is why it needs to be compatible between versions to a certain extent.

                        This is a very real need. I would love to Beta test SW. I have been signed up for the last few years to do so but I actually only get a small amount of time to do this while I am working on a few small projects around the house because I can't be playing around on projects at work. So what little I actually do by no means represents what I do at work.

                          • Re: Trip Report to SW Headquarters Representing ONE and TWO - 11/15/17
                            Dan Pihlaja

                            Jim Steinmeyer wrote:

                             

                             

                            If I can't save, I can't truely do the testing SolidWorks would want me to do. This is why it needs to be compatible between versions to a certain extent.

                            This is a very real need. I would love to Beta test SW. I have been signed up for the last few years to do so but I actually only get a small amount of time to do this while I am working on a few small projects around the house because I can't be playing around on projects at work. So what little I actually do by no means represents what I do at work.

                             

                            I also am in complete agreement with this.   This is the exact reason that I have never participated in the Beta testing.

                             

                            Any and all work done in the beta testing would be "playing" and would not represent any real work.

                             

                            Hence the Beta testing would have to be done in my "spare" time, in addition to work.   If I could do real work in the Beta testing scenario, then it would see real life situations and scenarios.

                             

                            But with all the things that I am currently doing, Beta testing will never see the light of day on my computer unless I can do real work on it to test it.

                              • Re: Trip Report to SW Headquarters Representing ONE and TWO - 11/15/17
                                Edward Poole

                                I'm with you 100% on that one....

                                Dan Pihlaja wrote:

                                 

                                Jim Steinmeyer wrote:

                                 

                                 

                                If I can't save, I can't truely do the testing SolidWorks would want me to do. This is why it needs to be compatible between versions to a certain extent.

                                This is a very real need. I would love to Beta test SW. I have been signed up for the last few years to do so but I actually only get a small amount of time to do this while I am working on a few small projects around the house because I can't be playing around on projects at work. So what little I actually do by no means represents what I do at work.

                                 

                                I also am in complete agreement with this. This is the exact reason that I have never participated in the Beta testing.

                                 

                                Any and all work done in the beta testing would be "playing" and would not represent any real work.

                                 

                                Hence the Beta testing would have to be done in my "spare" time, in addition to work. If I could do real work in the Beta testing scenario, then it would see real life situations and scenarios.

                                 

                                But with all the things that I am currently doing, Beta testing will never see the light of day on my computer unless I can do real work on it to test it.

                                I'd love to do Beta-testing, but if it affects the project that my co-workers and I are getting paid to design, it's not happening.

                            • Re: Trip Report to SW Headquarters Representing ONE and TWO - 11/15/17
                              Jim Wilkinson

                              Alex Lachance wrote:

                               

                              This was a refreshing read. I'm glad I took the time to read it. It puts things in a different perspective for me.

                              Rick Becker a écrit:

                              • There is a large group of SW personal dedicated to Customer Experience. Each and every person in the group is charged to visit customers multiple times per year. The group has hundreds of customer visits per year. They are specifically tasked to learn what we need/want and to make it happen for the greatest number of users as possible. It is impressive how many resources are specifically dedicated to this effort.

                               

                               

                              Where do we sign up for this? I've never had anyone from SolidWorks contact me personally let alone visit me, unless that includes VARs. That would be pretty fun if I could get one to come around, have a little meeting of an hour or so with everyone of my office to ''brainstorm'' with him.

                              Hi Alex,

                               

                              For one, sign up here: User Research Program | SOLIDWORKS

                               

                              That puts you in our database with your information so if we are looking for customers with certain skills/backgrounds we can find you and also if we happen to be in the geographical area doing customer visits, the visiting team can find you that way as well.

                               

                              If there is a user group meeting in your area where a SOLIDWORKS Product Definition or User Experience team member is presenting, they almost always are collecting business cards for future visits. I know Richard Doyle would put in a plug for helping manage your local user groups. Then you would be involved in helping determine agendas, etc. and can specifically ask for Product Definition engineers to present at the user group and any time they do, they are looking for customer visits to go on while in the area and you'd be able to volunteer directly with them while arranging the agenda.

                               

                              And finally, you could contact your VAR and tell them that you are interested and they can get in touch with their SOLIDWORKS contacts to let them know and get your information to the Product Definition group (the group that specifically sets up the user visits).

                               

                              All of these things will increase the possibility of a visit, although not guarantee it since it all depends on what the individuals are currently researching and in what geography.

                               

                              Thanks,

                              Jim

                                • Re: Trip Report to SW Headquarters Representing ONE and TWO - 11/15/17
                                  Alex Lachance

                                  Thanks Jim, I have signed up  for the user research program, though I find that the survey is made to be answered by an employee, I believe there should be a broader section that concerns an entire company. I do not use simulation in the company so I checked it as ''Not used'' but the engineers around here do use it, so the survey kinda falsifies everything if the point is to have a global view of every company.

                                   

                                  Concerning the ''geographical'' thing, does us being in Quebec affect the chances of us ever having someone from SolidWorks coming over? Or was that more of a reference point for stuff like the whole european ordeal that Dennis has spoke about in the other thread?

                                    • Re: Trip Report to SW Headquarters Representing ONE and TWO - 11/15/17
                                      Jim Wilkinson

                                      Alex Lachance wrote:

                                       

                                      Thanks Jim, I have signed up for the user research program, though I find that the survey is made to be answered by an employee, I believe there should be a broader section that concerns an entire company. I do not use simulation in the company so I checked it as ''Not used'' but the engineers around here do use it, so the survey kinda falsifies everything if the point is to have a global view of every company.

                                      Good feedback that I have passed on to the person who runs the survey. Originally, this was designed for my team (User Experience) for usability testing where we are more looking for individual skills, but it has been expanded for other groups like Product Definition looking for customers to visit so perhaps it needs some changes specific to that.

                                      Concerning the ''geographical'' thing, does us being in Quebec affect the chances of us ever having someone from SolidWorks coming over? Or was that more of a reference point for stuff like the whole european ordeal that Dennis has spoke about in the other thread?

                                      Visits are usually done in clusters of multiple companies in one trip and are also often tied into travel for other reasons (user group meetings, on site beta testing, etc.). So the geographical reference was more relating to whether there would be one of those other events to attend in the area while traveling or a number of customers in the area that could be visited at once. Visits are done all around the world. And, sometimes visits to individual companies are also made in one trip, but that is more unusual; like any business, we want to maximize the benefit of every trip made.

                                       

                                      Thanks,
                                      Jim

                                • Re: Trip Report to SW Headquarters Representing ONE and TWO - 11/15/17
                                  Deepak Gupta

                                  Dennis Dohogne and Rick Becker, great report on about your visit and I'm sure this would encourage many of us would be pro-active in reporting and participation.

                                   

                                  Your reports have proved my point I tell other that even silently SOLIDWORKS is always listening to it's customer/users and does everything it can to help them.

                                  • Re: Trip Report to SW Headquarters Representing ONE and TWO - 11/15/17
                                    Edward Poole

                                    Very well written Rick Becker! I too have met many SOLIDWORKS personnel over my years of being both a user and a user group leader, and I can vouch for everything you've written about these folks, they certainly are a great, passionate, group!

                                    Many thanks to you and Dennis Dohogne, both for travelling, writing and most of all, your HUGE contributions to these forums

                                    Oh, and let's not forget all of our other posters as well!

                                    • Re: Trip Report to SW Headquarters Representing ONE and TWO - 11/15/17
                                      Dave Bear

                                      Well done Rick,

                                      In fact, well done to those at Corporate as well.

                                      Let's hope that this channel of communication between Rick, Dennis & Corporate can remain fruitful, transparent and constructive.

                                       

                                      Dave.

                                        • Re: Trip Report to SW Headquarters Representing ONE and TWO - 11/15/17
                                          Rick Becker

                                          Dave Bear wrote:

                                          ...this channel of communication between Rick, Dennis & Corporate can remain fruitful, transparent and constructive.

                                          Good way to put it Dave. That is exactly what our meeting was and if I have learned how to size-up people in my 50+ years, it certainly will continue.

                                          But, not just for Dennis and I. I want that channel of communication to grow between corporate and any user who desires more interaction.

                                           

                                          Dennis and I have a proverbial foot-in-the-door and we will foster that relationship for the betterment of all. I personally accept this as both an opportunity and a responsibility.

                                        • Re: Trip Report to SW Headquarters Representing ONE and TWO - 11/15/17
                                          Chris Clouser

                                          Rick.  thanks for the write-up.

                                           

                                          It's hard to believe that all this is happening and we're still having the frustrations listed here on the forums so prolifically.  What are all these concerned people doing?  How did we end up with gray icons?  Who's the genius that gave us FULL BACKDATING?  How did we end up losing our two computer activation agreement?  Why am I still crashing several times a day despite a righteous computer, proper video driver, waiting for SP4, ETC.

                                           

                                          HOW DO ALL THESE OBVIOUS PROBLEMS OCCUR?

                                           

                                          I'm personally paying $2500 a year for this software out of my own pocket.  My employers and clients pay much more depending on how many seats they are using.  What's our ROI for maintenance??

                                           

                                          WHAT DO WE GET FOR THIS INVESTMENT?

                                           

                                          Often, a bunch of very minor, but nice, improvements.  In 2018, I am very grateful that they implemented an ER that I've registered several years ago: the ability in SIM to utilize results from parts and sub-assemblies in higher level, more complex studies.  Is that worth $2500?  Hardly.

                                           

                                          Onshape doesn't do this annual release dance.  They don't release a broken product to justify maintenance costs and then spend three or four service packs fixing it.  We are buying a product that is unusable at first and we have to wait months and months, sometimes a year or more, before we can use it!!  You're considered an idiot on the forums if you try SP0, SP1, and even SP2 or SP3 and then have problems..."YOU SHOULD HAVE KNOWN!  YOU SHOULD WAIT WAIT WAIT!"... "But they've already cashed my check!!??"

                                           

                                          BETA PROGRAM:

                                           

                                          As you mention, a big part of the problem is the BETA program.  This is a massive piece of software to BETA test and most SolidWorks users are really infants when it comes to CAD usage.  Yes, I know they all think they're experts, but most users don't design large assemblies and most don't use but a fraction of the software's capabilities.  And many lack the capacity to realize when and if the software is faulty.  I would imagine that only a few percent of users really have the ability to push the software to the point where legitimate BETA testing is occurring.

                                           

                                          I've explained how to fix the BETA program ad nauseam if you search the forum.  I've gone into great detail how it can be fixed and function significantly better than now.

                                           

                                          Customer Experience Improvement Program:

                                           

                                          Regarding the Customer Experience Improvement Program, YES THIS NEEDS WORK!  The fact is, I'm crashing way too much on 2017 and then the CEIP dialog CRASHES as well!!!  HOW do you get feedback in this instance?

                                           

                                          Crashes should be compiled and publicly reported to the forums by rank.  We can see what is being worked on and what commands/workflow to avoid.  We want to see the number of crashes as a percentage drop each year!!!  there should be much transparency on crashes!

                                           

                                          Enhancement Requests/Bug Reports:

                                           

                                          This too I've discussed at length on the forums.  SWX needs to get more people involved in the feedback experience on MySolidworks (ER's and Bug reports), the forums, interaction with VAR's etc.  It's just that simple.

                                           

                                          I get freaking emails from SolidWorks Corporate on how I should switch from 2D to 3D dozens of times a year, year after year, despite using this product since 1999.  What the HELL!!???

                                           

                                          And yet not one email about helping to improve the product through the means mentioned above.  And CERTAINLY NO INCENTIVE TO DO SO!!!  My previous rant somewhere in the forums on improving this process includes generous incentives based on if your ER is implemented, or if your bug report is a legitimate problem that should have been caught by SWX.

                                           

                                          You are doing their work by participating in the ER/Bug system and you have every right to be rewarded.  Otherwise, it is theft.  Plain and simple.  If I force my clients to do the work that I am supposed to do then I am stealing from them.  If you buy a new car but in order to get it to go down the road you have to troubleshoot it and explain to the dealer why it won't run...well we all know how that would go.

                                           

                                          Every single legitimate Bug Report, once verified that it is a bug, should get the reporter at a minimum a tee shirt or mug or flash drive.  Something to say thanks!  Or you can save up "points" for something bigger.

                                           

                                          What if a few individuals who were the biggest participants in the product improvement process got badass workstations each year for their labor?  I think word would get around that being part of the improvement process is a good thing.

                                           

                                          And what did I get for all my Enhancement Requests over the years?  Multibodied parts, Lock Rotation Mate, Unconstrained bodies in Sim, the other thing I mentioned above as well as many others...  NOT EVEN A SINGLE THANKS!

                                           

                                          I'm basically doing R&D for SolidWorks for free.  I should at least put that on my resume.

                                           

                                          So when I think of taking the effort to submit an ER or Bug report, I start to think like most SWX users and just say, why bother?

                                           

                                          Now some rubes will say, "well you get to use the features you suggested.  That's your reward."   Sure, thanks.  I'm helping to make a multi-billion dollar product worth even more, and my ideas helped get it to where it is in fact, and all I get is to use those features.  Sorry, no.  It's still wrong.

                                           

                                          So forgive me if I'm a little less enthusiastic than the OP.  They've had plenty candid feedback and tons of great suggestions over the years on how to repair much of these processes and to date have largely refused to listen.

                                           

                                          TL:DR

                                          Not getting good value for maintenance costs.

                                          BETA Program is still broken.

                                          ER/Bug reporting Program is still broken.

                                          Still have to deal with ZTG.

                                          Still no voice/gesture commands.

                                          Several things going the wrong direction:  see Solidworks rescinded the ability to have a two machines activated at the same time?   SolidWorks "Expired Subscriptions" will be switching to a “full backdating” format 1/1/16 etc...

                                           

                                          my .02