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Message - Re: Market Share

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Posted by  Kevin Matthews on September 26, 1999 at 15:51:36:

In Reply to:  Re: Market Share posted by kenkuhlman on September 26, 1999 at 14:59:45:

Dear Ken,

>Autocad, SoftPlan, MiniCad etc. allows the user to draw a wall section >and plan that will layout elevations and roof plans automatically.

As an official judge of the CAD Shootout event at AEC Systems 99 in LA -- one who paid close attention to the complete competition presentations -- I think I'm pretty up-to-date on this stuff. I can assure you, Ken, that these apps (with the inclusion of various extra-cost accessories, in some cases) can do that kind of automatic drafting only in their marketing presentations. They cannot do it on realistic buildings in an everyday office setting. In other words, more than 90% of architectural CAD licenses are just used for simple drafting of 2D drawings, despite all the grandiose claims in the industry.

The enormous BS gap between what integrated CAD apps say they can do, and what they really can do, together with the general passive acceptance by architects of said BS gap, is one of the biggest obstacles to progress in the architecture profession in the US today. Two or three big CAD vendors, supported by the leading periodicals that live off their ad revenue, together with the mute aceptance of the senior leadership of the profession, have maintained a reality-distortion field of Alice-in-Wonderland proportions for several years.

I must agree with comments that certain pricing policies, such as a lack of cheap academic pricing, and charging extra for necessary translators, can suppress the demand for software even if it is technically excellent. BTW, Artifice money is where my mouth is on this -- with some of our roots deep in academia, it has always been easy for Artifice to understand the future value of academic users of our software, and we've worked hard to make it easy for both schools and individual students to use DesignWorkshop. We've also always included a range of translators as part of our core product. On the other hand, while we believe these progressive pricing policies are good for our users and thus for us in the long run, they've cost us significant profits in the short run.

I'm not sure there's any one right answer. From a user's perspective, I like to think you'll consider the total value proposition represented by a piece of software coming into your operation. This kind of serious analysis cuts through a lot of confusing differences and short-term pricing effects. When I tried to implement MiniCAD at the University of Oregon, I discovered that practical shortcomings outweighed the low initial price, and that PowerCADD was a much better overall value. Ken, I don't think you need a serious 2D drawing/drafting application in your line of work, so it is not surprising that while you respect PowerCADD for what it is, the PowerCADD total value proposition doesn't pencil out for you.

But for people like Bob and Gary for example, who rely on drawings as a big part of their working process, the elegance, reliability, stability, ease of learning, use, and training, and so on make PowerCADD a great deal, even if they do end up paying more than the apparent sticker price.




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