SoidWorks World 2011 – Monday – General Session

Let me start by saying that of all the times that I have been to SolidWorks World, Monday was easily the most memorable. 

This General Session began differently from all of the others that I have attended – I was asked to arrive early, go to a secured entrance that contained a list of “special guests”, and I needed to bring my wife Jade.  Getting to see the General Session area prior to the doors opening was a new & unique experience –

SolidWorks World General Session - Empty

Not knowing what to do, we walked up to a group of SolidWorks employees near the stage. Fortunately, one of them asked if they could help us, when we explained that we were told to be there, they said that there were seating assignments, and they helped us find our seats (“rock star seating” does not even begin to describe our spots) –

Rock Star Seating

(Yes, my wife’s “assigned seat” was right next to Jeff Ray) – For the handful of you that don’t recognize the name, Jeff is the former CEO of SolidWorks.  He was recently promoted to Executive Vice President of Geographic Operations for Dassault Systemes.  He’s a pretty big deal within the SolidWorks Community, but more importantly, he’s a super nice guy – I talked to Jeff and his wife for quite a while at the tweet-up on Sunday night.

There is nothing quite like getting to see the surge of attendees enter the General Session from our vantage point –

Since San Antonio is his hometown, Jeff Ray was the obvious choice to kick off the General Session.  Jeff talked about the rescue of the Chilean miners, as well as a new product for treating jaundice in infants from Design that Matters, and even recognized a small contingent of die hard attendees that have NEVER missed a SolidWorks World.   Jeff also introduced Bertrand Sicot, the newly appointed SolidWorks CEO.  After thanking the SolidWorks development team and discussing the growing number of DraftSight downloads, Bertrand said this –

This clip was taken from the SolidWorks Video of the Day 1 General Session, the complete video can (and should) be viewed here –

While Bertrand was talking about us, this is the image that was on the big screen behind him –

Anniversary Announcement

This image was taken by Ricky Jordan, and was found on the Flickr SolidWorks World 2011 photo collection, which can be found here:

A little bit of trivia about the photos that were shown:  They were all from our actual wedding, which took place on top of the Stratosphere in Las Vegas during Solidworks World 2006.  We exchanged our vows and then we were launched high above the Vegas skyline on the Big Shot.  We even met the Mythbusters (the special guests at World that year) when we returned to the conference after getting married!

I was still in a state of shock about our little “surprise” when they brought out the keynote speakers Gene Krantz and Jim Lovell.  Everyone should remember them for their roles in saving the Apollo 13 mission from imminent disaster.  Gene was at mission control and Jim was in the space capsule.  They had to work together as a team despite the fact that they weren’t even on the same planet at the time!  One of the details that amazed me the most during their presentation was how young they were at the time – most of the people involved in the mission were in their twenties!  I have always been a HUGE fan of the space program – NASA truly epitomizes the idea that if you work hard enough, anything is possible.  This was easily one of the best keynote speeches that I have ever seen period.  If you don’t believe me, use the youtube link above to watch their presentation – In-cred-ible! 

Public Service Announcement – Seatbelt Safety

We interrupt our regularly scheduled “What Happened at SolidWorks World 2011” blog update to bring you the following public service announcement . . . Wear your seatbelts.

It is safe to say that if you have found your way to this site, it is likely that you work with SolidWorks; since there are many CAD options available to you, and you work with SolidWorks, it is likely that you are intelligent; if you are indeed intelligent, you should already be using your seatbelts, if not, let me tell you why I believe in seatbelts.

Maybe it is because I have a tremendous respect for those that design motor vehicles (and the safety systems that they have created to protect us), or it could be that I have just seen too many crash test videos, but I literally feel naked if I don’t wear a seat belt.  A week ago today I was given a not so gentle reminder of the importance of seat belts.  I consider myself to be a very good driver, unfortunately this incident could not be avoided.  I was waiting in the turn lane at a red light when someone turned in front of an oncoming car, the cars grazed each other and one of them deflected into me.  I only know this information thanks to the accident report – I remember getting into the turn lane, the next thing I remember was waking up in the Intensive Care Unit like this:

 It was when I saw the pictures of what was left of my car that I truly realized how lucky I was just to be alive.  From the front of the vehicle you can tell that there is substantial damage to the driver’s side:

From the driver’s side of the vehicle you can see a majority of the damage that was done to the car:

From the passenger’s side of the vehicle you can see that the front axle snapped when the car was pushed into the curb:

From the driver’s seat, you can see why I consider myself lucky to be here.  To name a few of my injuries; I have 3 broken ribs, a partially collapsed lung, a new scar on the back of my head, and a serious case of double vision.  If you look at the tiny amount of space under the steering wheel, it is extremely surprising that I did not have serious leg injuries:

I am still facing a significant recovery time, but I have my wife, my family, and my friends to help me through it –  I don’t even want to think about would have happened if I would not have been wearing my seatbelt. 

Wear your seatbelt – not just for you, but for those who care about you.