Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Planned Obsolescence

50-year old prescient ruminations on the dangers of pursuing style over substance:

"To comprehend the strategic mapping going on behind all the commotion about styling, we need first of all to understand the shell game Detroit plays with the public. The body shell is crucial to obsolescence planning."
- Vance Packard, "The Waste Makers" (1960)

If the transportation of Things (Industrial Age) has evolved into the transportation of Ideas (Information Age) then the parallels are even more timely. And if Cupertino and Redmond (and even San Rafael) don't care whether or not they're running headlong into becoming the Detroit of the Information Age? Well, then I doubt it'll take 50 years to get there.

Long term success requires a rigorous focus on:

- Style of (not over) Substance
- "Hypercentralization" of Function
- The Compelling Advantage of "Implementability"
- Predictable Efficiency
- Ubiquity of Access

And yes - as an avid Mac user the Style:Substance Irony Ratio(TM) has my spider senses tingling. Especially when the launch of a new color of iPod/iPhone/iMac/iEtc is considered by some as a cultural event worthy of standing in line. In other places, people stand in line for, well - food.

More to follow. Need to head to the Apple store for an overpriced, white audio cable...

Saturday, July 25, 2009

While Supplies Last

All profits shall to go to the benefit and treatment of substance abusing leprechauns (not to be confused with Hobbits...sorry Guy).
- And by "treatment" I mean beer.
- And by "leprechauns" I mean persons wearing this T-shirt.
- And by "benefit" I mean The 1st Annual Meeting of "The Order of the Drunken Leprechaun" at AU 2009.

More to follow. :)

More colors and styles available! Act fast!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Cat 1, Bag 0

Well - perhaps I can finally stop obsessing over Drunken Leprechaun Mode(TM). And maybe the Factory will stop obsessing as well. Leave both UI's in and instead focus on Site Tools.

Any chance I can present my AU sessions with this? Cause if most people are using 2009 (or 2010 in Classic mode) I'd probably just end up confusing the customer.

On to bigger and better things! :)

Speaking of which - New Zealand is moving closer (literally) to Australia. Unfortunately, it'll eventually mean a Dingo feeding frenzy. Poor Hobbits. They are an endangered species as it is.

But there is at least one silver-lined cloud! At this rate, Guy will be able to drive to his daughter's future wedding in Sydney. ;)

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Keep Digging

"What kills a company is not competition but arrogance."
- Eric Schmidt, CEO Google

Since it's already been shown that, "There is no way to switch your user interface back to the user interface used in pre-2010 Revit products" is complete bollocks - perhaps someone can amend the Service & Support response?

Link for feedback here.

I think we're going to need at least one more feedback bubble. ;)

Update: Pulled. Cached. Revised.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Monday, July 13, 2009

There Will Be Blood...

Seriously hard is it to get the color of the eyes right? Would someone please remind Jerry Yang that the share price is up nearly 50% since the start of the year! Show some respect!

Full article here.

Friday, July 10, 2009

It's All Fun and Games Until
Someone Loses an I(nvestor)

My take? My very own personal and completely unscientific .02?

This is a really big deal. And this is not about the OS. If you're in doubt, just compare prices between the next full version of Windows and present full version Microsoft Office. Operating systems are commodities. Except for rabid Mac users (myself included), most people don't care as much for their operating systems as they do their digital photos.

People just want to be able to get to their "stuff".

Now add to that:
"People just want to be able to get to their "stuff" - anywhere."

What's really happening? By offering people the ability to create documentation, presentations, spread sheets, email and so on over the web, Google is getting people used to the idea that they can in effect, *trust* the Cloud. Ubiquitous access. Compute intensive. Software as service.

What's really, really happening? People are getting used to trusting the Cloud for design. Basically, Google is begining to tackle the commodity design and collaboration space, which is a really big deal to AEC. Google is quietly usurping:

*Web Browsing? Explorer = Chrome
*Communication? Outlook = Gmail
*Instant Messaging? Messenger = Google Talk
*Phone Service? ATT/whatever = Google Voice
*Documentation? Word = Google Docs
*Presentation? PowerPoint = Google Presentation
*Spreadsheets? Excel = Google Spreadsheets
*Photos? Photoshop = Picassa
*3D? Max = SketchUp

So here's the really big deal: suppose you really, really want to disrupt the AEC market? You go after BIM, right? Nope. CAD. All over the world, CAD is the ubiquitous, commodity design space. And getting CAD into the Cloud will require a lot less lifting, while creating a lot of valuable feedback that could eventually spill over into BIM. So what if Google took a tool like IntelliCAD and hosted it in the Cloud?

Well, that would leave us with:
*CAD? AutoCAD = "GoogleCAD". Stupid name, but you get the idea. In the Cloud. Software as service. Multi-platform. Free.

Sure - the really big companies won't trust it (at first - or as soon as it starts to really cost them business). But in the meantime, the vast majority of design firms are only around a dozen people. Firms that size don't make have phone calls to schedule conference calls to schedule meetings. They just decide.

What's really unfortunate? While ADSK has been busy polishing their cross platform UI so people would hopefully use (i.e., buy) more stuff across platforms, Google has been taking the keys to the kingdom. It's never been about which CAD is better. It's always about who controls distribution. And distribution via the Cloud is really, really disruptive. And Google is owning the Cloud.

Don't think you'll ever trust the Cloud? Try pointing to where your email lives. Or your text messages. Or your Netflix Watch Now movie. Or your Facebook/Twitter/LinkedIn/Webpage/YouTube Channel/Blog/etc. You don't know where they live - hardly anyone does. But it still works.

The irony is the unintended consequence of concentrating on a "Common Look and Feel" hasn't seemed to motivate the masses to move to Revit. It's as if just the opposite has occurred. The forums aren't full of AutoCAD users rejoicing about how easy Revit is to master now that the buttons look the same. If anything, the buzz is no longer buzzing. It's as if that sound a car makes when you've got the pedal all the way to the floor has been replaced by the quiet rush after you lift your foot and start to coast.

Why no mass migration to learn Revit? I'm convinced the thinking has gone something like this: "Heck - all these tools look the same now anyway. So now I can learn to use Revit anytime I want. So what's the rush? ZZZzzz..."

In other words, rather than maintain a sense of urgency by concentrating on the unfamiliar (BIM), ADSK has created a sense of complacency by emphasizing the familiar (CAD). It's not that it isn't easier to move over to Revit - it's just more comforting to stick with AutoCAD. Who's idea was this?

And in the meantime, I believe CAD is about to get very, very interesting.

My suggestion? Stop polishing the "Common Look and Feel" bumpers, get back in the car, turn the key and put the "Features and Functionality" pedal down to the floor as fast as possible. Because the next exit up ahead is BIM.

And Google is fast approaching.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Lemonade from Lemons

Ever heard of musician Dave Carroll? I expect you will after this classic response to having his $3500 Taylor guitar smashed by intentionally careless United baggage handlers at O'hare airport. ;)

The song is actually quite catchy and I wouldn't be surprised if it gets picked up in rotation. As of this morning (and one day after being posted online), his YouTube video had over 130,000 hits and over 1,000 viewer comments. And two more songs are on the way.

Here's a link to the first video.

Cowboy songs used to be about themes of loneliness, whiskey, women and such. Why can't country music evolve with more modern trials of air travel!? :)

Link to iTunes here.

Well done Dave!

Update: Friday morning. Over 1.2 million views. United caves. Go figure.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

"Training" is Broken

Industrial Age training methods for delivering meaningful knowledge in the workplace is fundamentally flawed for Information Age businesses. Technology is evolving far too rapidly to justify allowing employees to work blind until the next big, annual "technology" conference. And working blind increases stress, creates distractions and introduces inefficiencies.

Play an instrument?

More to follow...