Sounder SIGN UP FOR FREE
Peer Check
Peer Check

Episode · 2 months ago

#15 - Why the CAD Ecosystem is Overdue for Disruption

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

As hardware capabilities have evolved over the last 50 years, many industries have successfully integrated new technologies and adapted to changing customer expectations. Unfortunately, this hasn’t been the case in design manufacturing.From passing around PowerPoint slides to a lack of mobile device support, the design manufacturing industry needs to embrace technology that allows for more efficient, impactful, and cost-effective collaboration. Because as time goes on, innovation will continue to leave the industry further behind.

István Csanády is one person leading the way for companies to start adopting new technology. István is the Founder & CEO of Shapr3D, a cloud tool that lets users take their CAD on the road by making it possible to design and iterate seamlessly across desktop and mobile devices.

Listen in as Adam and István discuss:

  • Specific ways design manufacturing technology needs to be updated
  • How design and manufacturing vendors can differentiate themselves effectively
  • Changing customer expectations around hardware and software capabilities
  • Democratizing access to CAD   

More information about István and today’s topics:

To hear this interview and more like it, subscribe to Peer Check! Find us on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or our website—or just search for Peer Check in your favourite podcast player.

Welcome to pure Check, a colab podcast. This is a show for engineering leaders who want to challenge the status quo for how design teams work together. You're about to hear a conversation about the ways the engineering world is changing and how top teams are carving a new path forward. Let's do it. Welcome to pair Check. I'm your host Adam Keating, and today we're talking about the evolution of hardware and what's needed to get us through the next decade to meet and keep up with what the world needs. My guest today is founder and CEO of Shaper three d. Is on chat. Shaper three d is the world's fastest growing CAG company used by tens of thousands of engineers and designers around the world. They're Apple Design Award winning products available on Windows, PCs, tablets, iPads, and max and I'm sure you've seen it on a video going viral somewhere on social media over the last couple of years. I just want to thank you for joining me today and thanks for having me. I'm gonna ask this first, like two parts of this question. One is what got you inspired to start shape for three D and the second parton why the I pad. First, I've always wondered why the I pad, But give me the background. So basically, I grew up with with Cat and I had I had two h hobbies during my child with two unusual hobbies. I started coding when I was six years old and I learned CAT when I was thirteen, and not not of our usual combination. I guess it's kind of it kind of feels like that I was preparing to all to start his company in my entire life. To be honest, I'm from a family h and I'm like, in the last three generations, we have like fifteen archidect and engineers in my in my family, and talking about CAD during a Sunday dinner it was a thing. And usually these conversations were very positive. Those...

...were mostly you know, like like complaints about how incredibly frustrating these are that CAT system is and and how much pain it is to use them, and how clumsy they are and and and this was in the nineteen nineties, and quite frankly, let's be honest, like not a lot has changed in the last twenty years in the world of World of Cat. And in two thousand and fifteen, when I for two thousand, actually two thousand fourteen, when I quit my really really great job at an enterprise sauce company where I was a software engineer, I decided to start my own company. And to be honest, I for me because of this, it was pretty obvious that I just have to start the CAT company. And in two thousand fourteen, when I started to think about like what to do next, and and and how to approach this problem to to bring this ancient software industry to the twenty first century, a few things were already quite obvious. The first one is that there are not too many software industries in the world that are these old, so like CAT was one of the first software industries in the world. Right, it's a seventy years or more than seventy years old software industry today, which is incredible. CAT was one of the first applications of computers. And it's also also one of the last software industries in the world that has not been disrupted for for twenty thirty years, because, to be honest, like, not much has happened basically since the mid nine nineties when and Solid verbs became the market leader. And to be honest, like, there has not been like a dramatic conceptual shift in in how we how we use three D CAT or how three D CAT systems were mostly what we are seeing are incremental improvements. And because of that, it felt like that this, this is a huge opportunity simply because you know, like pretty much all the other traditional software industries got disrupted in the last thirty or fourty years, some of them got disrupted several times, and I started thinking about how comm that CAT is...

...still pretty much the same. And one of the key insights that I had in the early days of shapers that every single time when CAT was disrupted, the CAT industry was disrupted. It happened because because a platform shift happened, like our computers changed so dramatically that for an income and company, for the traditional CAT company, it was incredibly hard to adapt to this, to this new world of new computers. And then they got disrupted by a new company. The first first company that did this with the main fram computers was was PTC, and PTC got disrupted by solid Works, and solid Works was riding the wave of the the desktop computer revolution, and basically basically their strategy was to like reinvent three D CAT for desktop computers, and by providing a graphical user interface, luring the barrier of entry to CAT and running on these toy machines because by the time destop computers were considered to be toys, right, they can just not only expand the market, but disrupted. And if you think about Shaper, actually our playbook is is the twenty twenty two version of the solid worst table We are betting big on on mobile devices. We think that the CAT industry has completely missed the mobile revolution. That doesn't mean that we're not mobile only. Of course, be one thing that desktop computers are going to go away, but we are mobile first and not but not mobile only, right, And this was basically one of the key driving thoughts behind Shaper three that in mobile devices, like by re menting CAT for mobile devices, particularly for these next generation tablets that are not just like toys anymore, because and I've had prove like the latest I've had throws more powerful than most destop computers. They're like the Apple Silicon chips are incredible. And we think that by by focusing on these devices, we can build something that is that can serve our customers better in many many ways than traditional CAT system CAT and...

...we think of shaper as an extension to UH to end to an existing will chain be right now, we're not aiming to like completely replace like a traditional CAT system, but Shaper three ly is becoming better and better everything every every two weeks basically, and we're covering more and more and more of the birth flow of our customers. And you know, it's not just about the ipen. They started to be an ipen application. Now we are available on on on even on be those tablets and in those Pecs max iPads, and we're very very excited about the future, like what other platforms you know, like may disrupt the designers and engineers hurtful you think that these harder ships or platform ships are just inevitable. Obviously, I don't know what's next, but we're very very excited about what other platforms we might see the next few years. So those family dinners, albeit six years old is probably an early age to be getting software development in thirteen is probably also pretty early to be getting into really think out a fixed CAT. I think there's a lot of people much older who are trying to figure that out. Still, that obviously set you up to think about this problem and then it sounds like the iPad element of this really was that like, Okay, here is the moment we have to take that next shift, like solid works actually was. We've talked about some other things in the past, about other changes and other big pillars that are going to invoke that revolution we need in hardware to stop having this problem of like, you know, tools built forty years ago, like your e r P, you know your pl twenty years ago, whatever it might be a still name what other pillars like waves are people rotting besides just the hardware shift, Like what else is important for people considering this evolution? Yeah, that's that's correct. So like basically I think this is a motivated to think about it, right, that so much changed in the last thirty for the years they've got completely ignored by design of manufacturing, so vendors, and just by...

...focusing on those things that changed the last twenty thirty forty years and focusing on those things, you can build something that is differentiated, something that solves problems that traditional solutions just canceled by nature, right, and you can like reinvent basically how how certain work flows should be done in twenty twenty two. Yes, I think that's that's a pretty good framework to think about it. What what ones outside of that or like you know, top of mind for you today. I mean, cloud is obviously one of those big things that you and I have talked about lots. I mean we're here right now recording this podcast across the Atlantic Ocean, and it's easy, right, I mean, like the tools in tech, But what else have you guys seen and bed on? Like? Cloud is definitely one of the biggest threads. And honestly, I think the way how the industry, i mean, the caty industry has positioned the cloud in the last few years, it's probably not the right way to think about it. But obviously cloud is something that that CAT and design software in general should take advantage of. So like I think, for example, collaboration, of course it belongs to the cloud. Right, Maybe I don't want to uh do like actual designer in the cloud because probably the benefits of doing doing that is probably it's not not every rate, but for collaboration and working together, that cloud is like it is a superior solution than self hosting a PDM or PLM server and just fighting all the time with with updates, and it's a it's a major pain. In the next right, the cloud is is definitely something that the CAT industry either misunderstood or completely ignored. I think another one is mobile devices. And I find it quite strange, to be honest, that pretty much every every software industry nowadays don't think of mobile devices or mobile presence or or or or mobile apps has just you...

...like as a secondary something as like typically everything, like most successful software vendors nowadays provide a mobile interface for their solutions. And these solutions that to be quite feature complete and and and I can do pretty much everything from from my mobile devices. And of course, like using a CAT system on the mobile phone would not make much sense. But a tablet that has a larger screen, and nowadays they have amazing processing power, like it feels like it was designed to do a design work on it. Right. Another and I think there's somewhat connected to mobile devices. But another trend that the industry has completely missed is the dramatic change in in chip design and and chip manufacturing. And and this is your relatively early in this, but it's already quite obvious that ARM chips are light years ahead of of traditional Intel ships. And it's also quite. I think it's quite obvious that these new generation armships, with their lower Parker consumption and incredible processing power, we'll just define how we do computing well silicon chips. In the next at least in the next few years, maybe in Tell will up their game and and then started competing um even on on on this run. But right now it's pretty obvious that we are shifting towards arm arm chips even in work stations. Another trend that the the CAT industry has completely missed is or or well, yeah, I think we can say that it completely is. That is the revolution in GPUs. Like graphics chips also became much more powerful than they were even like a couple of years ago, three years ago, and most CAT systems are not taking advantage of these amazing processing units, not at all, like very often it's just uncapable of doing that because of the way how they were built in the nineteen nineties,...

...and because of their obsolete architectures, or sometimes simply they are not taking advantage of these chips because because not and and I think it's a long list, right and and and these are just the industry trends that that changed. But if I if I approach this from from a different incle, from from the human in then the way how we work has also completely changed. And I'm not talking about necessarily about the impact of of the pandemic and remote working. Sure that's for us like that, that's that's a big, big change as well, but in general, the way how we prefer to collaborate, even before the pandemic, that's completely different. How we how we collaborated in the nineteen nineties, and this shifting in demand has been completely ignored, and the way how collaboration, for example, because of the works nowadays, it's painful. I think it's. Yeah, it's it's a very nice thing to say it's painful, and yeah, I think it just feels that we are we we got left behind in the ninet nineties. I mean sending around PowerPoint documents with screenshots and emails and like in commending on those and that's like, oh, come on, Like obviously there is that there's a better way of doing it. It's nobody really likes it. It's super error prone. It's we're super easy to lose track of the last revision or loose track of comments. It's like and in the last five to ten years. Collaboration tools in other industries have proven that cloud based collaboration can solve all of these issues super efficiently and super effectively, and somehow can't completely ignore this, and there's there's a bunch of stuff to unpack there because, like I think they ignoring it in many cases is actually intentional, and it's because of the competitive landscape in the capel and industry, there hasn't been a need to actually, you know,...

...really innovate around these pieces until now you're starting to see it. You're starting to see this, But I think there's, like to your point about platforming, there's also like a system shift that's going to happen from like this. You know you hear about all the time and sass there's always a bundling and unbundling of tools. There was a massive bundling that lasted for like twenty years. There's an unbundling happening right now where people want the best tools plugged in and it's because the other ones systemically cannot do. You can't be a system of record and change and the best collaboration creative tool in the world. Like, how would you do that? Right? If you're in your creative zen and you're going through this idea on your iPad, thinking about, yes, I'm gonna do this, and then all of a sudden you're like, Okay, I'm about to release a change that could change how the entire plant works or whatever, and there's no process around it. Like those two things shouldn't be together. The data should be synchronized, but there should be like a mental shift there. And one of the things that I wanted to ask you about because you, folks and invest is super heavily in the end user experience. Like I've seen videos go viral of like a two and three year old kid designing an iPad in shape with two D right, Like can you imagine telling someone to get their kid to set up solid works? Like solid works actually has like thousands of YouTube videos, so like maybe that's possible, But like when I went through university, solid works is actually hard to learn that we had an instructor teach us how to do the basics of solo works for an entire semester. Why why did you, folks invest so heavily and use your experience? Most people don't care and as soon as you why did you invest there? Most people are most companies. Most companies, most companies don't care. Most those care a lot. I think I think actually people do care quite a little. So I think this is this is one of you know, like this is one of the vibes that you aren't writing and this, babe is is like, yeah, it's not the very new one. I mean maybe like in the last five to ten years, people have...

...been talking about it, and they're talking about it more and more and more and some quality consumerization of enterprise software. Some call it like you like lowering in areal entry and just focusing like minimizing time to value and so like there are a lot of was to think about it, but I think I think that fundamental inside behind this is that customer expectations have dramatically shifted towards software in general, not just B tow see software B two B software like what kind of software? Simply generations grew up with iPhones in their hands. Generations were educated about how to adopt a new software solution without doing through the sales process because consumer software. This is what consumer software and thought for generations and not just for new generations, but basically the entire industry. Like the end like everyone who has been you who have been using for UNS in the last my fan twenty thirty years, use consumer software, and everyone got educated that, oh, like, this is how software should work. And this expectation to our software that I don't want to go to a to a training for for a week, or I don't want to talk with a with a salesperson just to try the product, or or I want to get started by myself and explore the product by myself. These expectations are there even in the B two B byer Jurky. And this is something that has to be supported heavily by the product. It's not just you know, you can't put a free trial or or or a you know, like on on a product that is that was not built from the ground up for this kind of software ad option. It's something that that has to be represented from the first line of good to the last line of like every single pixel in your product has to support this approach simply because this is how people prefer to use for prefer to adopt products,...

...and prefer to buy products. And I think this is this is one of the most interesting things when you when you talk with legacy vendors, for example, Legacy ACTA vendors that they like, this is something that they completely missed because the go to market strategy or the sales strategy that they they are relying on today versus really well with the with the product that they build. But their goal to market strategies is becoming obsoletely because of the changing customer expectations and building for this completely different goal to market strategy requires a completely different product strategy. There you must focus on building the most amazing user experience that is supporting the like the self service journey, the self exploration. The adoption is of adoption, and this is why we are focusing on on amazing customer experience. It's not just a gimmick. It's just highly strategic biller both on the product and on the go to market side. And it makes it makes it differ for instant people being able to actually get in and get what you said, get the value. But like, seriously, if you can pick this out and immediately figure it out, it's completely different going to another vendor where you need six months of role configuration just to open up your cat tool and properly get the license to actually do the thing to try it out. It's a very different sphere of thought. And the thing that's interesting was like the person making the buying decision in the next ten years is going to completely change what their background and profile looks like. So right now, many of these big enterprises, there's still folks that have you know, worked these tools for a long time, are used to buying the old way, and they're used to having the tools where they are kind of crappy, and they kind of just put up with the user experience. But that generation is really starting to change your attitude. Like the amount of times we hear it about how long we'll take to implement because somebody's been burned by a three or four year PLM rollout, How easy is it the un how we can ask those questions every single And that's that's the generation that didn't grow up on iPhones. Wait until...

...the generation who grew up on iPhones are used to just download thing your phone then try to buy software like it's a completely different thing. And it also goes beyond that, right, It goes beyond just the sale. It goes into how people feel like I fund to make you believe UX is a feeling like it's a feeling of being with people and being immersed and it's like, it's the reason why Figma is so powerful in the design space is it feels like you are working with someone on something and it's just a completely unbelievable difference, the same way Google Docs was five ten years ago, whenever it really became kind of mainstream. I'm curious on like the broader heart revolution side. When you folks think about like getting cat into people's hands easier, think about the platform shift that you've helped enable. While role do you see shape Er playing and kind of transforming people's mindsets around other technology that we know or needed to hit these like crazy hardware goals. Right, we're talking about going to Mars, We're talking about life changing medical equipment. We're talking about like you know, decarramanizing the world and clean tech. That's that's happening way too slow, Like just fundamentally is way too slow. I mean the shift the mindset. You know, what role do you see shaper playing in that mindset? Shift for the next role next Arab innovators. So, I think one of the most interesting brands that we are seeing at our largest customers is how the democratization of access to CAT inside their companies is changing their vertuals. So like, what is really really exciting that ship or three can be used by by my legacy CAT users as well, and they did love it and they really appreciate what it can we can offer, what they can be all. It can be also used by by people who have very little experience with CAT and basically they were like those people who were separated from the design tool and they had to work together a bit of basically the CAT operator, but like with...

...the CAT person who was like using the CAT system and translating their like their ideas into a into a CAT document. And by opening up access to a three D design tool, the design process becomes much more efficient because suddenly a CAT system shaper CRET becomes not just that like a CAT system or a manufacturing documentation tool, but it becomes a communication tool where you can explain your ideas without without leeding to describe them. And like describing something is three D, a lot of information gets loss. It's very very different when you show a model, like like if a picture says a thousand verse, then a three D model says at least two million birds, I guess, and as shaper City becomes their primary communication to their three D communication tool. It is completely transforming how they work together and and what they can achieve and how efficiently and effectively can work together. Yeah, I mean one of the interesting I mean the type of figure my guys. Example, Like I'm not a designer by background, but because I had access to what our design team was doing early on, I actually learned enough to be dangerous but also to really contribute to like the ideation process. So instead of just getting something at the end and being like, Okay, it doesn't work, it doesn't meet requirements or whatever, I'm in there early just like dropping little tidbits and it takes me like ten fifteen seconds right to get access, ten fifteen minutes to do the thing, and then I'm gone. And that's a fundamental rewiring of the brain. And what I always say, like when it comes to this hardware evolution, the next wave of evolution is going to be driven by behavioral change. Its driven by people expecting more, wanting more, and just doing these things without even thinking about it. Because like Microsoft Teams is a great example, Like COVID forced everybody basically to shift the team Slack video calls whatever. Because of that, people who may have not before cared at all about these tools.

Now we're used to communicating with people in a real time nature. So when you go into a tools the natural extension. Then as they expect that to happen in their tools, and they expected to being their tools, and they expected being their cat, expects me to PLM. It's like over time everybody expects more and has a lower bearer themselves, like actually take on more. And that's when you start to see this like massive snowballing. Because you're right in the beginning about the good of market motion changing, but it's also the adoption motions changing. The curve itself needs to be so much lower because people don't have patience for it, Like the fundamentally don't care to go read a massive manual or do three weeks of training, Like nobody wants to do that anymore. I'm curious, like you kind of like tell us all like together, what advice would you give to you know, an engineering leader, someone that's like leading digital transformation in these companies, or even like someone like yourself, you know, that thirteen year old kid who's thinking about invoking this change, Like what would be your ad ice to them, unlike where they can tangibly find a way to make an impact. Now, because this has been around thirty years, it's problem has not been like the last three weeks, and we're just trying to figure it out in thirty years, Like what advice would you give to those people to actually make meaningful change? Huh. I don't think that there is like a good general answer or it is, to be honest, it's a it's a really really tough question, and I really hate generalized answers because it always depends on the context. I think though, from from our perspective, and I think about how how probably you guys and and how we can collaborate to their success. I think what we are seeing is that introducing modern tooling in your company has a major impact on pretty much everything. On on efficiency, on empltee. Happiness like not having to like fight fight spontinuously made with these old, clumsy tools and working with modern software...

...that feels like like oh okay, like this is how we should work in twenty twenty two can actually dramatically impact your colleagues happiness, your efficiency, your effectiveness, how you like decision making in general, hiring right, so you can you can hire. I think if you present like a modern tooling in your company and tools that that will not make feel new candidates that they got stuck in the nineteen nineties. I think that's also not something that is especially for for the next generation designers and enter is something that they really really appreciate. I think, um, you should not under underestimate the impact of modern software tooling. It impacts your company in in ways that you cannot even imagine today. Yeah, I think it's like you're back to what I was saying moment here. I think it becomes a cultural thing. Like, look at the software developer world. You are a developer. Imagine I made it was example all the time. Imagine if they asked you when you started the screenshot your code and send it over email, take that down market up and paint, send it back over email and let me know what you think. And it took three weeks to do that, Like you wouldn't have been a software developer. You would have left because it's so just brutally painful. When that can just be a pr and leave a comment right on the line of code and just get out, you know, and spanned a couple of minutes. I think that's like the shift. And I think the thing that I always tell people is like I agree because their point there is no one size fits all advice for all the companies. The one thing I think they can do, though, is actually take something that has like high value but like an immediate return, like something that is like not a five year endeavor. It could be something simple. It could be literally like if your team's doing drawings on paper, review like moving too. The cloud of your team is literally trying to conceptually design something, use a whiteboarding tool that's virtual, or you grab shape or three D like do something that is like just a step, like take a step, and then other people start culturally saying I want to...

...do more. And it's like having that mindset changes everything because a lot of people don't write. There's a lot of digital leaders, it leaders who don't have the same mindset, and they make it difficult and they're stuck to the tools that are there, and that's holding companies back in this whole process moving forward. Yeah, and then these things matter a lot. I mean, I think you're completely right that these kind of things impact company culture, and like how can you expect your your team to come up with innovative, normal ideas and and thrive for excellence. And you're like, I build the most amazing stuff and design the most amazing stuff if the tools that they have to work with. So I feel that they feel like how they feel? Yeah? No, I And the last thing I want to ask you kind of like wrap the whole thread through with the Shaper. What are you what are the big things you folks are focused on now that you're able to talk about, you know, in the recent release, upcoming releases, like what's on your mind in terms of impact you can have on the hundreds of thousands of people following you know, your journey and relying on your products. Today. We just had a launch event on September thirteenth, and there we are now is a bunch of new stuff. For example, the one point of version of Shaper three D four Windows, So now Shaper three D is fully feature part on Windows tablets and pieces with the Mac and the iPad version. That means that, for example, our visualization feature is that our real time mutualization feature is available on Windows as well. He just announced brand new incredible augmented reality features that are available on iPad. You can assign materials and textures to your model and then in a single half you can look at it in in augmented reality. It's a it's an incredible presentation and communication to it elevates the presentation to a pull new level. We just announced the Shaper three D Cloud...

...where we are building a lot of new stuff. First of all being released Chaper three D sink and the Shapers three D back Up. I think the names are telling what what they mean. So basically you can seamlessly switch between your devices, so you can start designing on your iPad and you can you can just seemless you switch your beIN those computer and continue the design there when you need a bigger screen or more horsepower, and then you can speak you back and forth between your devices, Chaper three D back up automatically backups or your designs and um your OsO working on collaboration features inside Shapper three D. Your our customers will be able to chair and collaborate on on their designs with their pears. Nice and that's incredible. Yeah. I think every time you folks do one of these events, it's you're you're trying to push the boundary of Apple's launch days a getting the same kind of energy. But that's incredible to see and I think like it goes back to this whole conversation we've had about the tooling, like even just the investment and something that you just said about like sinking between the platforms that people can literally go from you know, the desktop here doing something to sitting down on their iPad or back and forth and not have to worry about that. Like that's the common investment that every vendor should be making, and you know, I think that's what makes you folks special. So I want to thank you for joining us here today, and also thank you and your entire team really for actually doing the hard thing, which is investing in user experience and the user journey. And I know we'll see a lot more setting videos, great launch events, um killer products over the next couple of years. But thanks so much for joining, Thanks thanks for having me. Collab is on a mission to accelerate the pace of engineering innovation by giving design teams a better way to work. As an engineering leader, you know it's crucial to empower your team to do their best work. Let Collab help you achieve your goals with our web based tool that makes it easy to share and review CAD files with anyone, so you can focus on the work that batters out missing a beat or a bolt. Learn more...

...at Colab software dot com. You've been listening to pure Check, a Colab podcast, keep connected with us by subscribing to the show in your favorite podcast player, and please leave a rating on the show that helps us keep delivering conversations about how the engineering world is changing and how you can challenge the status quo. Until next time,.

In-Stream Audio Search

NEW

Search across all episodes within this podcast

Episodes (18)