Autodesk continues questionable behavior during SolidWorks World.
Today I am at SolidWorks World. It's a great event. Nice staff, enthusiastic users, great exhibit floor with lots of vendors - who also seem very happy!
On the other side of the street, Autodesk is holding a launch of its Inventor of the Month effort. They have set up a Waveloch wave machine - a big, sloped pond that shoots water and waves so people can surf on the spot. Cadwire.net has the announcement: Autodesk Announces WaveLoch as Inventor of the Month for January 2006 .
The tactics used by Autodesk are interesting - if familiar - as a new low in the world of juvenile marketing activity in the CAD world. The launch has been set up in the hotel directly opposite Ceasar's Palace, the Imperial Palace. Signs and footprints (yes footprints) point to the event.
However, the launch site itself is unfortunately about a quarter of a mile walk through the parking garage of the Imperial Palace and across a dusty parking lot. I did the walk, and got repeatedly lost (the footprints are not as consistent as they could be.)
More disturbingly, I hear reports that the Autodesk PR people stationed a person at the top of the escalator headed into SolidWorks World to persuade people to go visit Autodesk.
The responses of the press and editors I hang around with has both verbally and via email been one of dismay and disappointment. Everyone seems to agree that Autodesk has stooped to a new low with this effort, and all the press I spoke to have refused to visit the launch during SolidWorks' flagship event. Apparently not many SolidWorks World attendees bothered to make the long and dirty walk either!
More promisingly, even refreshingly, though, the SolidWorks Management that I spoke to simply shook their heads and said 'Move on!' I am glad to see that they continue to act with dignity.
Evan Yares has said it best i think. From his blog article:
"I'm still trying to figure out what Autodesk gets out of this. They're unlikely to gain any significant sales from the handful of users they talked to, and they've done nothing to improve their standing among the press and analysts attending SolidWorks World."
My own take: SolidWorks' corporate culture does not encourage this kind of tit-for-tat marketing. Evidently Autodesk's does and it does not place them in the kind of light that engenders goodwill towards the company from anybody. Users, press, analysts, competitors. This kind of 'badwill' will eventually reach back to bite them.