It’s an interesting thing that happens when you hold up a mirror for some people. Some see the things they expect, the things they know, and are content to move along. Some see things they’ve kept from themselves and smash the mirror into a thousand pieces. It’s easier to deal with seven years of bad luck than admit the picture isn’t pretty.
Last week, I made some comments in the Autodesk discussion groups that apparently ruffled some feathers. While I’ve always been an advocate for great resellers, I’ve also been a harsh critic of the system that allows some to survive while providing little to the end users that pay them. This is nothing new for me, a brief search in the Autodesk system shows posts from over six years ago where I advocate for users to find a reseller that fills their needs. I absolutely believe the right partnerships are crucial to any engineering firm’s success, and I believe there are a large number of outstanding resellers that deliver on the promise. Those channel partners are members of the larger community by their very nature. I respect their work, and enjoy collaborating with them when I get the opportunity.
Some are now using my criticism of the underbelly of the channel as an excuse to paint EE as a poison partner to the Civil 3D community, and this cannot be tolerated. We consider the engineers and designers our peers, and have always served to help them get more out of the software. We are a partner with Autodesk and have strived to help both the product development team and the reseller channel deliver the absolute best software and user experience possible. Before any vague accusations are made about our role as partner or as end-user advocate, let’s look at what EE has done as part of the community and part of the channel:
- Led the way in offering free training to our unemployed peers, expanding the user base and preparing engineers and designers to market themselves as ready-to-go Civil 3D users. Our only partner in this effort? Wiley Publishing, who is offering book discounts.
- Partnered with Autodesk to create both the AOTC materials for end users and the C3D 2010 Tech Camp materials for the channel, sharing our hard earned expertise with as many folks as possible.
- Created and maintained the industry leading civil3d.com blog. A free resource for users and resellers, we’ve never charged, nor stopped posting when the “cool” of blog marketing wore off. A million hits later, we believe in the power of knowledge.
- Created and wrote the Mastering and Introducing Civil 3D texts from Wiley publishing. We make less from each book than my double-latte costs, but we have created this series so that end-users (and even some of Autodesk’s own support staff,) have another top notch resource for Civil 3D information.
- Taught at AU for years upon years. Anyone who’s taught at AU will certainly tell you that the stipend doesn’t cover the cost, but our entire team has been part of the AU experience as long as Civil 3D has.
- Prepared and broadcast free weekly EECasts for the user community. We’ve never limited them to just our customers, taking the approach that more information is better for the community.
- Spent thousands of hours in the Autodesk and other discussion groups, helping users and sharing our knowledge of the software. And yes, upon rare occasion ranted about the status quo.
- Developed and worked with Autodesk to fill in the gaps in the Civil 3D package, then offered them AT reasonable rates to the end users.
- Contributed articles to magazines like SitePrep where we advocate for the adoption and integration of new technology as we move into the virtual design and construction world.
So, if you want to judge EE based on my one post buried in an ongoing discussion thread, that’s unfortunate. But to be fair, I would also ask you to evaluate your partners by what they offer beyond the license of Civil 3D. We’re here to serve the engineers and designers that use C3D because we love what we do. Some days its harder than others, but what I see in the reflection of EE is something I’m proud of.
James Wedding, P.E.
VP, Director of Technical Services