As short as two and a half years ago I was in awe of the assembling of the pieces of a software juggernaut. HSM and Delcam had been bought up by Autodesk under Carl Bass who was himself a man who actually used this stuff and understood shop floor manufacturing. From an actual user viewpoint and not like the current head mucky muck with Autodesk who can only count dollars. There is a huge difference between these two mind sets. But I figured that Carl was putting together a manufacturing ecosphere and getting this set of tools in front of students and future business owners/ operators in ways that would bear large amounts of fruit in years to come.
Just as fascinating as it was to see the assembly of the juggernaut is the speed with which it all now comes crashing down. It looks like perhaps Carl was also an advocate of subscription Hell for Autodesk’s customer base. Whether he was also for the gutting of R&D for product development and the huge price increases I will never know. I like to think he left the company because the Anagnost faction conspired with the new hostile investor types who had bought their way to seats on the board to remove him. Unbridled greed with the Anagnost and hostile investor types VS the guy who may have wanted subscription Hell to but perhaps would have stayed closer to the Adobe model than the rape and plunder Anagnost model.
To me Carl showed foresight and planning and methodical conquest of rivals but still providing value to customers. Anagnost on the other hand is the bare face of greed and conspiracy with people who do not use their software products and could care less about users. All they see is someone who promises to deliver a captive market held not by voluntary exchange of money for goods and services but rather squeezed out of people who theoretically have to pay and have no alternative to paying whatever the extortionists want. Living in a purely capital gains world unlike anything this country has seen before quick quarterly stock manipulation to generate fictitious improvements is the new way. These guys want to cash out and then leave when it all turns south and find another Vulture’s roost to occupy for a while. No longer is it what goods or services will make money but how can we lie to the world about share value so we can churn the market and get rich through theft. This then is the new Autodesk.
Remember when companies were bought and sold for steady revenue streams and stock buyers looked for steady dividends to live on? Capital gains were considered the icing on the cake but not the cake. It was something to be hoped for but dividends were king. This was the historic norm up until the late 90’s when the consequences of Clinton selling the Lincoln bedroom to influence peddlers freed banks to embark on wholesale plunder of manufacturing by being able to invest or offer financial services not at all related to lending. This has led to stocks being grossly overvalued by historic norms by the traditional metric of cost to dividend ratios being chief amongst investor considerations.
So we come full circle to the world of Autodesk today. Autodesk sells software products to people like me. Well let me rephrase that, used to sell to me. We make long-term use of the software to build real world things and we use it for decades at a time throughout careers offering services and physical goods to customers who have a standard of quality we must meet. If we don’t they will go elsewhere. We have to take a long term view of the productivity and stability and the improvement of our software tools because it is our life blood.
Piranhas now inhabit the Autodesk leadership and are creeping onto the board and what can we chew up and on today is now the future planning metric. Feed me so I can leave when the body is consumed and go find another body.
Here are two links. https://forums.autodesk.com/t5/moving-to-subscription/bd-p/2017 will take you to an Autodesk forum they would rather you did not know about. Spend time here and see what actual users who have to think in terms of decades and careers think of what Autodesk is doing. Next up is http://www.seekingalpha.com/amp/article/4077637-autodesks-position-continues-become-precarious for a stock analysts thoughts on Autodesk’s eight underwater quarters in a row and their future.
One of the huge things hardly discussed in my opinion is the forcible breaching of security and losing the ability to protect IP by Autodesk forcing people to have to work online. The most egregious offender is Fusion360 which demands you go online and save all edits and files to a remote server where you have to rent your data back forever to use it. Apparently Autodesk is also working on license verification which has to allow online access from your workstation which is supposed to be secure and not go online to get permission to run. Theoretically this was supposed to happen “only” once a month but comments on the Subscription forum are indicating this could be as much as a daily occurrence or more. This is for all subscription services and automatically breaches all your confidentiality agreements when you are forced to go online to check in. It is just a matter of time before huge breaches of security occur to an Autodesk customer because of this. Autodesk is certain this will happen to by the way and you can verify this by reading the TOS where they spell out they are NOT liable for any damages incurred by having to go online.
This then is the true regard this new wave of management has for its customers. Sit down shut up pay up and don’t whine and complain. FEED ME SEYMORE!!! The only important thing in this whole wide world view of theirs is their plans to get in and cash out (wouldn’t you like to see Baked Bean Anagnost’s golden parachute he is assiduously preparing so no matter what his rear is covered in gold).
You buy anything from Autodesk and pin your future livelihood to it you better think long and hard about how they regard you. Most telling I think is the bean counter mentality referenced in the Seeking Alpha article where Autodesk states they are cutting R&D. Now this coming from a company that has already dropped the ball on adding value to existing software through improvements is quite revealing. Years go by without significant program improvements and problems linger for years without being fixed. Read what is said by satisfied customers about this on the Subscription forum.
Today regard the new Autodesk Juggernaut. Rather than eating up market share it will be eating customers. Autodesk is looking for new
customers and it could be you if you are silly enough.