SolidWorks World 2004 – Boston

Part six of seven

By some accounts, SolidWorks World 2004 was disappointing. Attendance was down, and the exhibit area was small. Having the event during winter in Boston had something to do with it, but the US economy that year probably played a bigger role. Even so, the conference had its share of great moments.

I got in on Sunday and registered right away. There were already a lot of users there, and I ran into several folks I knew. I was fortunate to dine that evening with Bruce Pilgrim, then editor of Solid Digital Digest. I agreed to provide some highlights from the SWUGN Summit in exchange for some help promoting user groups. According to Bruce, I became his new best friend that week (we still communicate on a regular basis – see his “Talking to My Cats” journal, its classic). After dinner I kept running into fellow SolidWorks users, and it took me nearly an hour to get from the second floor to my room. SolidWorks World always offers new people to meet, and plenty of old friends to get reacquainted with.

2003 brought quite a change for the SNUG committee; mainly because we weren’t SNUG (SolidWorks National User Group) anymore. The committee had transformed into the SolidWorks User Group Network (SWUGN), and went “International”. Two new members joined the committee to help serve user groups in Europe and the Asia/Pacific regions. The SWUGN Summit meeting was well attended, and we highlighted some of the past years achievements; the new SolidWorks user group website pages, 11 new user groups in North America alone, and some new ideas to help get members, partners, and resellers involved in local chapters. It was another successful meeting.

I made two new friends in 2004 (warning: name dropping ahead). Ed Eaton, known world-wide for his “Curvy Stuff” presentations, was kind enough to share his approach to creating complex geometry in SolidWorks, and also provide some insight on industrial design in general. We spoke for a long time, and I came away with a better understand of both. I was also able to talk him into coming to Austin for our regional event. Ed was a huge hit with our attendees, and I hope he’ll come back again. Marie Planchard and I had been in contact for years regarding user groups, and she was always a joy to work with. I finally got the chance to meet her in person in Boston. Getting to know Ed and Marie would have been reason enough for me to be in Boston.

SWW 2004 was the “Year of the Ad”. A SolidWorks competitor spent big bucks to run a full page advertisement in the local Boston paper targeting the conference attendees. I guess they didn’t know that the hotel distributes another paper to guests. They coughed up another chunk of change to re-run the page the next day. The blunder was good for a few laughs, and SolidWorks got a couple of day’s worth of free publicity.

Yes, it was cold. No, I didn’t bring a coat. And SolidWorks World 2004 might not be remembered as the best. But just like every other year, the conference offered an opportunity to learn, to share, and to enjoy the benefits of being a SolidWorks user and a member of the SolidWorks Community.

Next..The last chapter and my favorite SolidWorks World ever!!

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.