SolidWorks World 2000 – New Orleans

Part two in a series of SolidWorks World recaps

My second SolidWorks World experience got started early this year. The official call-for-papers came out in mid-July, and I started to get excited about a return trip to the conference. Once again my abstract was accepted, and I began making my plans.

I chose to make the trip by car, an eight hour drive from my home in Austin. I used the time and a cassette tape (cassette tape, what’s that?) of my session to rehearse it as I traveled the interstate. I made New Orleans around noon, and checked into the hotel.

I didn’t have to sweat out my session this year; I was scheduled for the first day. I learned a lot from previous year, and decided that this time I would work with SolidWorks “hands-on” during the presentation. Everything was going well, and I knew my material backward and forward, until…BSOD. A quick restart and off I went only to have it happen again. I was rescued by one of my resellers AE’s who jumped up and got the computer going again while I stood and used my hands, feet, and facial expressions to describe what I had wanted to show. The little song-and-dance kept my audience’s attention until we were able to get running again. It turned out to be a computer problem – another presenter later had the same issue in that room.

We were bussed to a nightclub for the offsite event, held at a large, but cozy nightclub. The night was complete with food, drink, and music provided by a local choir group. The SolidWorks executive team (ALL of them) spent the evening mingling with the attendees introducing themselves, asking questions, and learning how they were using SolidWorks. It was another reminder of how everyone at SolidWorks is interested in us and what we do. I left a little early with a friend and took the requisite walk down Bourbon street. I had never seen such a site, thousands of people lining the street, spilling out the doorways of clubs and restaurants. I can only imagine what it must be like during Mardi Gras.

The October prior to SolidWorks World, I was asked to become a part of a volunteer committee that would help SolidWorks oversee the growing user group community. I jumped at the chance, and the SolidWorks National User Group (SNUG) committee was formed. We held the first annual SNUG roundtable of user group leaders at SolidWorks World. We literally sat around in a circle, and spent most of the allotted hour introducing ourselves to each other. We didn’t discuss a lot of user group business at that first meeting, but it was a good start and gave the committee some ideas to work with. The group is now known as the SWUGN (SolidWorks User Group Network) committee, boasts 8 members, and has done quite a job for SolidWorks user groups since.

My only regret from SolidWorks World 2000 is that I didn’t get a chance to meet Jay G. (and I still haven’t for that matter). Jay posed his dilemma on the newsgroup:

“My boss has an accounting background. Basically, what he is asking for me to do is prove to him that our company will financially gain from my attending the conference”

My response to that question led to him getting approval to attend, and morphed into the SNUG SolidWorks World justification letter. I still get dozens of requests for the justification letter leading up to the conference, and it’s now posted on the SolidWorks World website yearly. I promised Jay a beer on Bourbon Street that year; I still hope to pay up someday.

Only 13 days til SolidWorks World 2006!

Next..Mickey, Donald, and something kind of Goofy

Matthew West

SolidWorks alumnus. I like plate reverb, Rat pedals, Thai curry, New Weird fiction, my kids, Vespas, Jazzmasters, my wife & Raiders of the Lost Ark. Not necessarily in that order.