Letter to Community: It’s all about people.
This is to you, dear GrabCAD community – engineers, our team, friends and supporters.
One of the most important lessons I have learned in GrabCAD is that ideas don’t matter. They don’t. Only things we build matter.
While I have been busy recruiting, raising Venture Capital and leading GrabCAD through an industry in desperate need of innovative tools and platforms, the GrabCAD Team has been hard at work. They’ve built a thriving section for CAD tutorials, an in-browser 3D viewer, designed a beautiful new user interface, and added the ability for engineers and designers to give us frank and honest feedback through the “I wish” button (among tons of other great features and tools). None of this functionality existed a year ago anywhere in the engineering and design world.
It has been the hard work of our team that has turned ideas to tools and features that touch the lives of over 250,000 engineers and designers.
So far, we have significantly impacted the way people who build physical products work and think. This is great, but we are far from satisfied with what we have built. We want to push harder and build more great tools that will help people do their work better.
Ideas don’t matter. Shipped features and tools matter. And we can build these useful things only with a great team working hard and having fun. With this in mind, I’d like to share two stories.
A year and half ago in a weird restaurant in a Boston suburb I had a lunch with a guy named Jon Stevenson. I was 30 minutes late– I could not find a parking space for my zipcar so I ended up parking in a tow-zone. I took a deep breath because I knew that I didn’t went to meet Jon in my flustered state. To be honest, I wasn’t even sure what the meeting was about.
After half an hour of explaining the GrabCAD vision, I needed to run to my next meeting. I asked Jon if he wanted to be part of our journey and invest. I’ll never forget how he looked at me and said “yeah definitely.”
This “yeah definitely” blossomed into a mentoring relationship. Jon is full of great advice and connects wholeheartedly with our vision. About a month ago, Jon and I met up for coffee in that same restaurant in the suburbs. I was 30 minutes early this time and prepared.
I asked Jon if he wanted to join us full-time and he said “yes.” Jon will join as a VP of Technology and will lead Technology and Product for GrabCAD. He knows CAD and Web better than anyone I know. Jon led the PTC CAD Division, built the Parasolid Graphics Engine and has most recently been involved in 3 super successful Web startups.
When I asked Jon why he decided to join GrabCAD, he said:
“Having built the world’s largest active community of mechanical design professionals, GrabCAD will change the way products are designed and manufactured. GrabCAD is changing the way engineers and companies collaborate to build better products”
The second story I’d like to share also revolves around building a kickass GrabCAD Team. One evening back in January, I was supposed to meet a guy named Grant at 6PM. An hour passed and there was no sign of him. I was putting my computer back in my bag thinking I’d never connect with Grant when he strolled around the corner and sat down.
We spoke for 10 minutes about what problem GrabCAD wants to solve. For the next hour and a half we studied screenshots, layouts and web-pages. It become clear that this guy needed to join us. Grant will join as Product Lead for a new tool we are working on that will fundamentally change the way engineers and designers collaborate and share. (It will be released soon)
I asked Grant why he joined GrabCAD:
“At Gemvara.com, I experienced first-hand the difficulties of coordinating input from merchandising, manufacturing, and business stakeholders on designing new products in CAD. I’m thrilled to join GrabCAD to build the next major evolution in CAD collaboration, both in the workplace and beyond.”
With our current team and the addition of Grant & Jon, we will continue setting the bar higher and higher for ourselves. GrabCAD.com is poised to change the world of engineering and design.