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COFES Institute Announces George Gilder as a Keynote at COFES 2018

Posted on February 16th, 2018 in Uncategorized | No Comments »

COFES Institute Announces George Gilder as a Keynote at COFES 2018

The COFES Institute is pleased to announce venture capitalist and best-selling author, George Gilder, as a keynote speaker at COFES 2018 in Scottsdale, ArizonaApril 12-15, 2018 at the Scottsdale Plaza Resort. Mr. Gilder will be a featured keynote speaker on Saturday.

This year at COFES 2018, the theme will be Human-Aided Design: Changing the Relationship between Our Tools and Us. To request an invitation, visit apply.cofes.com. The annual four-day event for the design and engineering software industry brings together a diverse group of thought leaders in technology and science to engage in wide-ranging and meaningful discussions.

At COFES 2018, Mr. Gilder will be speaking about his forthcoming book, Life After Google, which is due to be published in 2018. The new book examines and discusses the coming profound shift in the global technological and business landscape being ushered in by blockchainand other emerging technologies.

“Mr. Gilder is an accomplished best-selling author and futurist,” said Vincent Caprio, COFES Institute President. “Gilder will challenge COFES attendees with new ideas and their application to the engineering software arena.”

“One of the key roles I have relished over the past 18 years was the opportunity to find and work with great keynoters for COFES,” said Brad Holz, co-founder of COFES, president and CEO of Cyon Research Corporation. “We look for folks who are way ahead of the curve, with ideas of significance, and who really want to engage with us. I’m delighted that the COFES Institute has been able to continue that tradition with George Gilder. While I may take personal issue with some of the positions he has taken on social issues in the past, he is indisputably a leading thinker on technology issues and I look forward to his latest work.”

About George Gilder
Mr. George Gilder is Chairman of Gilder Publishing LLC, in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, and a founder-fellow of the Discovery Institute in Seattle. He is the author of twenty books on economics and technology including, Wealth and Poverty (1981), The Spirit of Enterprise (1986), Microcosm (1989), Life After Television (1990), Telecosm (2000), The Silicon Eye (2005), and The Israel Test (2009).

In the past decade, Gilder has begun revolutionizing the field of economics. In his book, Knowledge and Power (2013), Gilder presents a new economy based on the information theory that enabled the computer revolution and the rise of the Internet. In a review, Steve Forbes stated that the book “will profoundly and positively reshape economics… (and) will rank as one of the most influential works of our era.” The book won the Leonard E. Read prize at FreedomFest in Las Vegas in 2013.

In his latest book, The Scandal of Money (2016), Gilder extends the economics of information theory into a prescription for overcoming worldwide disorders of money with new crypto-currencies linked to gold. James Grant, publisher of “Grant’s Interest Rate Observer,” stated that the book “will outlast the Federal Reserve.” Silicon Valley venture capitalist Peter Thiel declared “he is our best guide to our most fundamental economic problem.”

Mr. Gilder is a contributing editor of Forbes magazine and a contributor to such publications as the Forbes, Harvard Business Review, The Wall Street Journal, and other publications. He lives in Tyringham, Massachusetts, in the Berkshire Mountains, where he is an active churchman, runner/cross country skier, and with his wife Nini, parent of four children.

About COFES and the COFES Institute
Now in its 19th year, COFES is the annual, invitation-only event for the design and engineering software industry. Widely recognized as a think-tank event, COFES (cofes.com) gathers design and engineering software leaders (vendors, users, press, and analysts) together to discuss the role engineering technology will play in the future survival and success of business. COFES is renowned for hosting leading keynote visionaries that provide a new perspective to the future of the industry. Apply for an invitation at apply.cofes.com.

The COFES Institute was created in 2017 to provide sustainable leadership to COFES. The COFES Institute is a non-profit 501c3 governed by a Board of Directors led by Vincent Caprio. Other members of the board are (in order of last name): Jim Brown: President – TechClarity, Jim Doxey: Product Configuration Manager – Oculus, Nathanael Miller: Aerospace Engineer – NASA Langley Research Center, Jason Preston: Co-Founder – Parnassus Group (DENT), and Rebecca Yeh: Event Director & Secretary – COFES. In addition, the COFES Advisory Board was established to provide industry input to the COFES Board, see the COFES website for a listing of the Advisory Board participants.

Vincent Caprio to serve as consultant for Pfeiffer University Center for Digital Transformation

Posted on February 6th, 2018 in Uncategorized | No Comments »

Vincent Caprio to serve as consultant for Pfeiffer University Center for Digital Transformation

Pfeiffer University’s Center for Digital Transformation (CDT) has hired a new consultant to expand the university’s impact in the energy and water industries.

Vincent Caprio, Director and Founder of the Water Innovations Alliance Foundation, will provide Pfeiffer’s CDT with the insight and connections necessary to identify technology-based solution opportunities in these exciting fields.

“Vincent is exceptionally well-versed in a broad spectrum of emerging technologies that impact our country’s energy and water infrastructure,” said Dr. Ken Russell, Pfeiffer Vice President for Digital Transformation and CDT Director. “He understands the dynamic role technology can play in solving current problems as well as how market-driven technology solutions can provide keen insight into future trends.”

Caprio, who Keynoted at the Water 2.0 Conference held at Pfeiffer in September and will be presenting at the upcoming conference in Raleigh on May 17th, has produced 20 Water 2.0 conferences during the last 10 years. Caprio has been a noted speaker at numerous emerging technology conferences throughout America over the past two decades. He has testified before the EPA and OSTP and has contributed to several business publications dedicated to bringing effective solutions to the municipal water industry in order to help utilities work smarter and upgrade systems efficiently.

“I am thrilled to become part Pfeiffer’s CDT team and to collaborate on finding innovative solutions to difficult challenges,” said Caprio.

“Having been an association leader for years in both the water and energy sectors, I know the challenges facing the nation’s water infrastructure are extremely difficult and these sectors will greatly benefit from CDT’s strategy to promote a practical approach to solving such complex technology problems.”

The Center for Digital Transformation promotes a practical approach to solving complex technology problems. CDT is focused on building strong partnerships and providing applied and experiential learning opportunities for students while transforming the way the educational experience is developed, packaged, delivered and supported.

(Pictured from left to right, Dr Ken Russell, Vice President for Digital Transformation, Pfeiffer University; Allison Chinchar, Meteorologist, CNN and Vincent Caprio, Director and Founder of the Water Innovations Alliance Foundation.)

COFES Institute Interview with Joel Orr, Co-Founder of COFES

Posted on January 18th, 2018 in Uncategorized | No Comments »

 

 

 

 

COFES Institute Interview with Joel Orr, Co-Founder of COFES
January 2018

Today we are proud to share our third COFES Institute newsletter, with our interview of Joel Orr, Co-Founder of COFES.

Steve Waite: It is wonderful to speak with you today, Joel. Tell us about the genesis of COFES and what you were hoping to achieve with the event as a co-founder.

Joel Orr: We were driving to the airport after the NDES show – the National Design Engineering Show – in 1999. We all noticed the same thing at the show. All the interesting conversations happened in the hallways. So we decided to try to create an event that would be mostly hallways. The back room discussions, so to speak, became front and center. That was our genesis and that is what we have attempted to achieve with COFES.

SW: Excellent! You have a long, distinguished career in CAD. Take us back to the early days and tell us what you saw.

JO: I got into the technology of CAD at my last W-2 job. I was Systems Manager for the computer department of Nashville, Tennessee. I was in charge of creating one of the first municipal geographic information systems in 1973. From there, I became a consultant and did similar projects in various cities in the US, as well as in Israel.

There was an emerging trend where companies were investing more money into electronic, mechanical and architectural design than they were putting into mapping. Because of my familiarity with the technologies, I took a role in more general CAD while staying involved in mapping. That gave me a very broad kind of outlook.  I’m a techno-dilettante. That is someone who is an inch deep and a mile wide in all of these areas.

SW:
What was a conventional CAD system like back in the 1970s?

JO: CAD systems in the ‘70s were something that cost in the neighborhood of $100,000 per seat, at a time when a senior engineer was making $20,000 per year.  Before purchasing a system like that, companies wanted to get some assurance that if they bought one, they wouldn’t be sorry. Paying a consultant $5,000 to spend some time helping them understand the nature of their issues and what might be useful was a good deal for them. Everything evolved from there.

SW: What were the key factors in evaluating whether a CAD system made sense for a company back in the 70s?

JO: Most issues in large companies are people issues, not technology issues. Early on in the game, people were dazzled by the technology. It seemed magical. There was no way it could fail. I would bring a little bit of a wet blanket to the promises of the CAD sales people and teach my clients about the right questions to ask and who to ask them of.  Every CAD vendor had some success stories. Early on, I realized that most benchmarks are staged affairs. I focused on interviewing CAD users to get around the staging issue.

SW: That is interesting. I was part of a team with Gideon Gartner and one of his protégés that did something similar back in the early 2000s. I didn’t realize you were a pioneer in this area. Where did interviewing CAD users take you? What kind of opportunities emerged from that approach?

JO: That work with users led to consulting with CAD vendors. My contacts with the clients were useful to the vendors. I had established a reputation as an independent consultant that could not be bought.  They would bring me in to educate the client in general or for discussion. That became a good part of my business as well.  I worked with both users and vendors.

SW: So you developed a model that allowed you to work with both CAD users and vendors without any conflicts of interest. Is that a correct statement?

JO: Yes it is.

SW: That is an admirable business model. From your grand perspective of collaborating closely with both users and vendors, what is the primary value add of a CAD system?

JO: The essence of the engineering is that it is a non-deterministic process. That is, having a set of initial conditions, you cannot accurately predict the final conditions. The dynamic that drives this process is trial and error.  You try something. You tweak it and fiddle with it. You hope that your fiddling converges – that it gets closer to the ideal. That in and of itself is not guaranteed either. The essence of CAD is to build models more quickly and more precisely than you can in any other way. That is how CAD happened.

SW: So the primary value of CAD is speed and precision within an engineering process that is non-deterministic.

JO: Yes, that is correct. And there is another important element. With CAD, mistakes are cheap.

SW: Ahhh… it is easy to see the incredible value CAD brings to the table: Speed, precision and cheap mistakes.

JO: Yes. There was a time before CAD when getting the precise volume of something like a shampoo bottle was not a trivial exercise. It involved wooden models, creating a plastic mock up, and measuring the amount of liquid that could go in it. CAD was able to do this. You could specify by volume rather than having to experiment with physical models. CAD transformed the entire container industry.

SW: Let’s fast forward to today. We’ve seen remarkable advances in technology hardware and software since the early 70s. We can do trial and error faster and more precise than ever. Engineers are using CAD systems today to design products at the nanometer level. What’s your perspective on CAD today?

JO: We are designing semiconductors with circuitry so intricate and tiny that the human eye cannot see it. CAD enables this type of nano-engineering. This is all moving into the world of medicine. We are 3D printing kidneys today. You have to be able to manipulate very, very small things – things you cannot see.

SW: The designs and engineering enabled by CAD systems today are truly astonishing, bordering on science fiction in some cases. What kind of CAD-enabled future do you foresee based on current technological trends?

JO: In the mid-70s, my IBM salesman was my best friend. He said that IBM Labs had developed a simulation system that could predict the outcome of the World Series based on various data inputs. He said there was only one thing wrong with the system. It took three weeks to make the prediction. We know that the World Series doesn’t take three weeks to play, so that was a big problem. The fact that you can predict the outcome of an event like the World Series a week or two after the outcome wasn’t valuable.

SW: Things have sped up quite a bit since then!

JO: Yes, they have. Think about knowing what the outcome of the World Series is before it is over. We have computer systems today with that kind of power. That’s a game-changer. (Although I haven’t seen any World Series prediction systems that work yet, so the salesman may have been a bit over-confident…)

SW: That boggles the mind. What’s the role of the human designer and engineer in tomorrow’s CAD world – a world that is likely to be increasingly populated with AI, machine learning, virtual reality and other emerging technologies?

JO: That’s a good question. The way a friend of mine put it, there is no question that real AI is coming. But the real question is whether it will like us and keep us around.

SW: Well, that is a provocative statement and one that is likely to generate a great deal of discussion. Let’s table any further discussion for the upcoming COFES event. We’ll be talking a lot about human-aided design in a world of AI. Suffice it to say, the upcoming COFES event promises to be another great one!

JO: Yes, it does.

SW: It has been wonderful speaking with you today, Joel. Thank you for your time. We hope to see you at COFES 2018.

Steve Waite is a member of the COFES Institute Advisory Board. He is the author of several books, including Quantum Investing and Venture Investing in Science.

 

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If you are interested in participating in COFES 2018, then please contact Vincent Caprio, President of COFES Institute vincent@cofes.org

Happy Holidays from NanoBCA!

Posted on December 21st, 2017 in Uncategorized | No Comments »

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Holidays from Water 2.0!

Posted on December 21st, 2017 in Uncategorized | No Comments »

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

COFES 2018 Early Winter Update

Posted on December 21st, 2017 in Uncategorized | No Comments »

You might want to take a look at the COFES Update below, which includes news on:

  • End of normal registration period (you can save $400 if you register before December 31st!)
  • George Gilder, Best-Selling Author and VC to give Saturday Keynote
  • COFES 2018 List of Participants
  • Theme for COFES 2018: Human-Aided Design: Changing the Relationship between Our Tools and Us
  • Last Call for CAD Society Nominations
  • Call for Roundtable Topics
  • COFES Institute Interviews
  • COFES 2017 Audio and Videos now online

I hope you will be able to join us in Arizona next April.

COFES Late Registration Begins January 1st

If you haven’t done so already, be sure to register today!

Save $400 by registering by Sunday, December 31st!

If you are interested in registering for COFES 2018, then please email me at vincent@cofes.org

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George Gilder, Best-Selling Author and Venture Capitalist to give Saturday Keynote at COFES 2018

Mr. Gilder is Chairman of Gilder Publishing LLC, in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, and a founder-fellow of the Discovery Institute in Seattle.

He is the author of many books on economics and technology including, Wealth and Poverty (1981), The Spirit of Enterprise (1986), Microcosm (1989), Life After Television (1990), Telecosm (2000), The Silicon Eye (2005), and The Israel Test (2009)In the past decade, Gilder has begun revolutionizing the field of economics.

In his book, Knowledge and Power (2013), Gilder presents a new economics based on the information theory that enabled the computer revolution and the rise of the Internet. In a review, Steve Forbes stated that the book “will profoundly and positively reshape economics… (and) will rank as one of the most influential works of our era.” The book won the Leonard E. Read prize at FreedomFest in Las Vegas in 2013.

In his latest book, The Scandal of Money (2016), Gilder extends the economics of information theory into a prescription for overcoming worldwide disorders of money with new crypto-currencies linked to gold. James Grant, publisher of “Grant’s Interest Rate Observer,” stated that the book “will outlast the Federal Reserve.” Peter Thiel declared “he is our best guide to our most fundamental economic problem.” His next book, Life After Google, is due to be published in 2018.

Mr. Gilder is a contributing editor of Forbes magazine and a contributor to such publications as the ForbesHarvard Business ReviewThe Wall Street Journal, and other publications. He lives in Tyringham, Massachusetts, in the Berkshire Mountains, where he is an active churchman, runner/cross country skier, and with his wife Nini, parent of four children.

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COFES 2018 List of Participants

COFES attracts thought-leaders from many disciplines. Here is a list of participants for COFES 2018 thus far.

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COFES 2018 Theme: Human-Aided Design: Changing the Relationship between Our Tools and Us

COFES is that place on the calendar that we set aside to lift our heads from the daily grind and consider our work in a broader context. This year at COFES 2018, we will explore human-aided design and have an in depth look at the changing relationship between our tools and us. The advent of digital personal computers and the development of software profoundly transformed the way products were designed. The advent of computer-aided design gave engineers an array of powerful new tools. As the Internet evolved, CAD migrated into the cloud. Today, powerful design tools are available globally and have become an integral part of the engineering landscape.

Today, we stand at the dawn of a new era of design – what we refer to as human-aided design. Advances in computer hardware and software are profoundly altering the way in which we interact with technology. Humans are now merging with computers in a way that has never existed previously. Artificial intelligence, machine learning, virtual and augmented reality are radically reshaping the design landscape. Innovations in 3D printing technology and advances in additive manufacturing processes represent a convergence of atoms and bits that promise to usher in the next industrial revolution.

At COFES 2018, we will examine the emergence of human-aided design and discuss the convergence of atoms and bits and the impact it promises to have on the way products are designed and engineered. We hope you can join us for what promises to be an exhilarating event.

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Last Call for CAD Society award nominations

The CAD Society is accepting nominations for the 2018 CAD Society Industry Awards until December 31st, 2017.

If you have someone you think would be a good candidate, please email your nominations to: register@cofes.com.

Nominations must identify the award category and candidate. It would help to also share your thoughts on why the nominee deserves to be honored.

The CAD Society Awards acknowledge the contributions made by individuals that have affected and developed the CAD, engineering, manufacturing and architecture software industries. The awards are presented each year at the COFES Saturday night reception.

The CAD Society presents awards in three categories:

Joe Greco Community Award: For outstanding work in improving communication and developing community within the CAD industry. Steve Robbins was the 2017 Community award recipients. Other past award recipients include: David Cohn, Bob Deragisch, Jon Jarrett, Al Dean, Marie Planchard, Jeff Mottle, Evan Yares, Sean Dotson, Chris Yessios, Lynn Allen, Randall Rath, CJ Shirk, Kristine Fallon, and Ralph Grabowski.

Leadership Award: For outstanding technical and business leadership in the CAD industry, and focus and dedication to the needs of CAD users. Chuck Grindstaff was the 2017 Leadership award recipient. Other past award recipients include: Peter Schroer, Jim Heppelmann, Hardy Meybaum, Wilfried Gräbert, Oleg Shilovitsky, Dieter Neujahr, Carl Bass, Jay Sunyogh, Dana K. “Deke” Smith, Robert McNeel, Tony Affuso, Tom Butta, Jon Hirschtick, and Bernard Charles.

Lifetime Award: For a lifetime of outstanding technical and business contributions to the CAD industry. Chuck Hull was the 2017 Lifetime award recipient. Other past award recipients include: John McEleney, Jon Peddie, Ivan Sutherland David Levin, Ken & BJ Anderson, Dave Weisberg, Richard Riff, Mike Riddle, Dean Kamen, Russell F. Henke, Ken Versprille, L. Stephen Wolfe, Carl Machover, Dr. Joel Orr, and Patrick Hanratty.

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Call for Roundtable Topics

Roundtable discussions are a key element to COFES. We don’t announce the topics until about two weeks before the event. That gives us time to consider the topics that are relevant at the time of COFES (rather than guessing a year in advance).

Have a topic you think is relevant? A pressing issue that could impact software for design and engineering? We’re actively seeking ideas for roundtable topics for COFES 2018. Give us a shout at becca@cofes.com.

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COFES Institute Interviews

October 2017
Brad Holtz, Co-Founder of COFES

November 2017
Jon Hirschtick, Co-Founder and CEO of Onshape

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COFES 2017 Audio and Videos Online

In case you haven’t heard, we’ve posted the videos from the COFES 2017 keynotes and special presentations on the COFES website. Check out COFES.com/video.  These, as well as the audio below, are free to all.

We’ve also made it possible for anyone to listen to the audio recordings from Tech Suite Briefings, Analyst Briefings, and Roundtable discussions. COFES.com/audio. Check them out!

COFES Institute Interview with Jon Hirschtick

Posted on November 20th, 2017 in Uncategorized | No Comments »

 

 

 

Today we are proud to share our second COFES Institute newsletter, with our interview of Jon Hirschtick, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Onshape.

COFES Institute Interview with Jon Hirschtick
November 2017

Jon Hirschtick
Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer
Onshape

Jon holds a Bachelors and Masters from MIT, and has worked in CAD for over 30 years. He was a Founder and CEO of SolidWorks, a group executive at Dassault Systemes, director of engineering at Computervision, manager at the MIT CADLab, a player and instructor on the MIT Blackjack team, and a professional magician. He serves on the Engineering Advisory Board at Boston University and as an advisor to Magic Leap, Inc. and MarkForged, Inc. His hobbies include golf, 3D printing, tennis, yoga, and magic.

SW: The theme of the upcoming COFES event is human-assisted design. I’d like to get your perspective on the transition underway toward human-assisted design. Let’s use generative design as our launch point into the discussion.

JH: Generative design is a great idea for certain design problems that will undoubtedly be a very useful tool to add into the CAD tool set for the designer. However, I don’t think we are at a point where design itself is going to get completely automated. It’s too complicated a domain. You need to think about so many aspects of a product, including how it looks and how strong it is (which is typically the focus of generative). I would note that for years now, the computer has been somewhat synthesizing geometry.

For instance, in Onshape, we have an n-sided fill surface command. You give it boundaries and it fills in the surface. You give it different kinds of controls that influence the shape of the surface, but don’t precisely define it. The system comes up with the smooth surface based on what you tell it. It is not like we have been explicitly defining every little piece of design. For quite a while now, we’ve been giving certain inputs. I think what you see is more and more power in the engineer’s toolbox and generative design is one example of that along with others.

SW: Let’s talk about CAD in the cloud. Give us some perspective on what the cloud brings to CAD.

JH: For our customers, it brings three things. One is access. You can access your tool on any device. That’s huge because access and deployment are a much bigger issue in the environment of modern design teams. The second thing it gives you is an illumination of what I will call “design gridlock.” What happens today is everyone is waiting on each other: Where’s the file? Where’s the latest version? There are concerns about overwriting design changes. The only way to moderate that in old-style CAD is to do locking.

The third thing is eliminating crashes and data loss. Cloud systems don’t really crash. At SOLIDWORKS, we spent all of our time chasing down bugs and crashes, mostly. At Onshape, we don’t even have a category for crash bugs. The experience associated with a crash is you disrupt your workflow and you lose data to varying degrees of severity. With Onshape, you might have disruption, you might have something fail, but disruption means, “Hmmm… strange message in my browser, I’ll hit refresh, boom, it’s back and the data is right back there.” You lose no data. Our customers love these three things – access to the system, eliminating design gridlock and never losing data.

Let me add that you have to look at these benefits of CAD in the cloud through the lens of the modern design team. What we provide is a value because of changes in the way people design. It is not a team under one roof that is static, working in a room. It’s a distributed team. And it is not just about engineers. You want to be able to share with everyone involved in the process.

SW: How do you see Onshape and CAD in the cloud evolving as we process in the digitalization of manufacturing?

JH: Another buzzword I will throw out there is “Industry 4.0.” You talk about having a global, real-time, single source of truth. Onshape is the only system in the world today that has a global, real-time single source of truth where there are no offline copies, no downloading and no syncing. If you and I were to work on an Onshape model right now, we could be collaborating within minutes. You would see the same model I see. It is impossible for us to be looking at different models. In the world of Industry 4.0, we are the only system that does that today. In the world of additive, it is something that fits beautifully with what we are doing because you generally are working faster with an extended team and more complex shapes. And all of that amplifies all of the benefits of CAD in the cloud I described earlier.

We have a partner program with a complete set of additive tool chain partners, including shape optimizers, shape generators and simulation partners like SIMSOLID. We are talking to ANSYS. Their Discovery Live product is a very exciting product. I think this product is very useful to additive because you don’t have to mesh the models. In summary, I think you are going to see process change because of additive, and a need for working with new types of geometric shapes. And with respect to both of those, I think Onshape is perfect.

SW: How do you see CAD in the cloud evolving along with emerging technologies such as augmented reality, virtual reality, machine learning and artificial intelligence?

JH: We can tie these back to the three major benefits of CAD in the cloud discussed earlier. I’ll start with accessibility. Because we can run on any kind of device, anywhere, we have this global, real-time, single source of truth. You look at VR or AR or my favorite, which is Mixed Reality, we are very well set up to support these with real-time collaboration, and the fact that we don’t put the CAD on the device. We don’t have to port a CAD system to run it. We might want to build a very small client app for those devices. That is something we are quite interested in. We have announced we have a partnership with Magic Leap. I’m on their Advisory Board. We will be talking more about that partnership in the future as it evolves. I’m pretty bullish about these emerging technologies. They have the potential to improve the way everything gets designed.

SW: How do you think about integrating machine learning and AI into Onshape?

JH: That’s a great question. I think we have a big opportunity. We collect more data about what people do with the system than any other vendor. I’m hoping we can use that data in the future to make design tasks easier. There are two ways to look at it. There’s a top-down way and a bottom-up way. I would argue that generative design is an AI’ish algorithm anyway, in a sense. I would also say that from a bottom-up standpoint, we might start by giving people more automation at low-level tasks. For instance, say you want to put a hole in a design, you ask the computer to suggest the right diameter. Or I am going to put in an extrusion feature so it selects the right depth. Or, I am going to make these parts and it suggests the right mates. CAD systems have been doing some of these things for a while. I think we can do more and maybe we use AI and machine learning to do more.

Another thing the system might do is to recognize common patterns of modeling. Unfortunately, I can’t actually say which of these will come along. I can say we are looking at it. I think there is great potential here. But all of these things you have mentioned – machine learning, additive, generative design, cloud CAD – they all help the engineer, but they don’t do the design. Humans do the design. I heard somebody in Silicon Valley recently say that machine learning is getting good at anything a typical human can do in less than a second. In sum, I think we are going to be able to build better design tools through the use of machine learning and AI to take some of the drudgework away. We are going to be able to add a lot of great tools going forward.

SW: Managing complex problems are a big deal with the design process. How does Onshape help ease the burden associated with the complexity?

JH: With complex processes, you have lots of people, lots of data and complex decisions. First of all, we help with lots of data. We have what we call a compound document structure where you can throw anything into an Onshape Document – PDF files, datasheets, spreadsheet data, text data, G code – whatever you want. You can put that into your document. It is shared and versioned with everyone instantly. We support branching and merging, which is really helpful as a way to explore different options and decisions. We facilitate groupthink through eliminating the gridlock of sharing data. So we can really help a team work on hard problems, but ultimately they do the work and they solve the problems. We are not in the intellectual set of tools that structure decision-making or help organize alternatives. We don’t do that at Onshape.

SW: I wanted to get your thoughts on how blockchain technology might be integrated into what you are doing at Onshape. You may have seen Julus Urbach’s piece on Medium talking about a Render token using the Ethereum platform.

JH: I have thought about it. I think that where we could use blockchain is to pay for computing or services. I think that is really neat. If we had a coin we could use to buy rendering that could be useful. The other thing we could use it for is to secure providence, if that’s the right word, of information in manufacturing. One of the problems with existing CAD is you send perfect digital masters of your data around. We vastly reduce that because you aren’t sending anything around. But then at some point if you want to 3D print the design you have to send the digital representation to the machine. Today, that is completely uncontrolled. That’s when it leaves the wall, so to speak.

We take a giant step toward expanding the secure boundary of data from just the server to everyone’s device, but we don’t go right to the nozzle on the 3D printer. The 3D printer could be secured in the future through a blockchain system where you say, “I have this model I’ve been asked to print. I am going to authenticate with the owner of it that I’m authorized to print it.” And the owner says, “You are authorized to print it once.” With the blockchain, there is a record of the one-time printing job. We could do that type of application. We could also say, “I know that this part is the one that was authored by Jon and Steve on this date and labeled B-34.” I know this not because there is a filename or an email. I know it because of the blockchain. This type of application is way more exciting to me than mere payment.

SW: We have time for one more question today. You have been a past participant of COFES. What are two or three things that you have taken away from attending the event that have been a big value add to you and your business.

JH: Yes, I’ve been to at least ten COFES events. The first thing that COFES gives me a chance to do is have personal contact and meetings with people of great influence and value in the industry. Number one to me is I can sit down in a relaxed way, free of a business agenda, free of an obligation to get to my booth or whatever, and talk to other people like me in the industry. That to me is the first key thing I love about COFES.

The second key thing is COFES gives me a chance to meet new people, and hear about ideas or products that we haven’t really ever considered before. That has happened many times at past COFES events. I suppose if I had to add a third thing, it is that COFES also gets me out of my four walls in a place that isn’t filled with day-to-day business.

SW: Thank you for your time, Jon. It has been terrific speaking with you today. We look forward to seeing you at COFES 2018.

Steve Waite is a member of the COFES Institute Advisory Board. He is the author of several books, including Quantum Investing and Venture Investing in Science.

 

 

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From the COFES Vault

In each newsletter, we are going to showcase a talk from a previous COFES event. There is a large collection of material on the COFES website that we encourage members to view at their convenience.

In this newsletter, we would like to share a talk that Murray Cantor, Founder and CTO of Aptage, gave at COFES 2017. Murray and his colleagues are working with companies to track risk in the innovation process. Murray’s talk can be found here: Murray Cantor – Tracking Risk in Innovation

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I hope you enjoyed our second COFES Institute interview.  I would like to thank Jon and Steve for their participation.  Jon and Steve will both be participants at COFES 2018.

COFES 2018 Fall Update

Posted on October 31st, 2017 in Uncategorized | No Comments »

You might want to take a look at the COFES Update below, which includes news on:

  • Dates for ASSESS 2017: November 2017, near DC
  • Theme for COFES 2018: Human-Aided Design: Changing the Relationship between Our Tools and Us
  • Call for CAD Society Nominations
  • Call for Roundtable Topics
  • COFES 2017 Audio and Videos now online

COFES Late Registration Begins January 1st

If you haven’t done so already, be sure to register in the next two months!

Save $400 by registering by Sunday, December 31st!

If you are interested in registering for COFES 2018, then please email me at vincent@cofes.org

I hope you will be able to join us in Arizona next April.

Regards,

Vincent Caprio
President
COFES Institute
vincent@cofes.org
203-733-1949

ASSESS 2017 to be held November 2017

After the success of the inaugural summit, and first formal congress ASSESS 2016, Joe Walsh and Brad Holtz are collaborating once again to host the second annual Analysis, Simulation, and Systems Engineering Software Strategies (ASSESS) congress, November 1-3, 2017  in Potomac, MD.

This congress continues where the first congress left off: bringing together the key participants to further review the current status, issues, goals and actionable items of the ASSESS Initiative, but with a deeper and broader pool of the leadership from the community of domain experts, industry analysts, software providers, researchers, and others in the community of model-based analysis, simulation and systems engineering. The role of the ASSESS 2017 congress is to continue to guide and influence software development and strategies to the capture of value of, and to enable, expanding the use and practical scope of software for model-based analysis, simulation and systems engineering.

Those participating in ASSESS 2017 will once again help shape the industry and product strategies for the next decade.

The conversation continued at the ASSESS congress will be expanded upon at COFES 2018. More information about our findings, and plans for ASSESS at COFES, will be decided at the conclusion of the congress. Check the COFES agenda in the coming months for more information.

A list of those already registered for ASSESS may be found at http://www.assessinitiative.com/congress/assess-2016/#foundation-sponsors

If you did not receive an invitation but would like to attend, please just drop us note, or give us a call at +1-706-839-1562

Questions, comments or input to add? Email us at: info@assessinitiative.com

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COFES 2018 Theme: Human-Aided Design: Changing the Relationship between Our Tools and Us

COFES is that place on the calendar that we set aside to lift our heads from the daily grind and consider our work in a broader context. This year at COFES 2018, we will explore human-aided design and have an in depth look at the changing relationship between our tools and us. The advent of digital personal computers and the development of software profoundly transformed the way products were designed. The advent of computer-aided design gave engineers an array of powerful new tools. As the Internet evolved, CAD migrated into the cloud. Today, powerful design tools are available globally and have become an integral part of the engineering landscape.

Today, we stand at the dawn of a new era of design – what we refer to as human-aided design. Advances in computer hardware and software are profoundly altering the way in which we interact with technology. Humans are now merging with computers in a way that has never existed previously. Artificial intelligence, machine learning, virtual and augmented reality are radically reshaping the design landscape. Innovations in 3D printing technology and advances in additive manufacturing processes represent a convergence of atoms and bits that promise to usher in the next industrial revolution.

At COFES 2018, we will examine the emergence of human-aided design and discuss the convergence of atoms and bits and the impact it promises to have on the way products are designed and engineered. We hope you can join us for what promises to be an exhilarating event.

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The CAD Society is accepting award nominations

The CAD Society is accepting nominations for the 2018 CAD Society Industry Awards.

The CAD Society Awards acknowledge the contributions made by individuals that have affected and developed the CAD, engineering, manufacturing and architecture software industries. The awards are presented each year at the COFES Saturday night reception.

The CAD Society presents awards in three categories:

Joe Greco Community Award: For outstanding work in improving communication and developing community within the CAD industry. Steve Robbins was the 2017 Community award recipients. Other past award recipients include: David Cohn, Bob Deragisch, Jon Jarrett, Al Dean, Marie Planchard, Jeff Mottle, Evan Yares, Sean Dotson, Chris Yessios, Lynn Allen, Randall Rath, CJ Shirk, Kristine Fallon, and Ralph Grabowski.

Leadership Award: For outstanding technical and business leadership in the CAD industry, and focus and dedication to the needs of CAD users. Chuck Grindstaff was the 2017 Leadership award recipient. Other past award recipients include: Peter Schroer, Jim Heppelmann, Hardy Meybaum, Wilfried Gräbert, Oleg Shilovitsky, Dieter Neujahr, Carl Bass, Jay Sunyogh, Dana K. “Deke” Smith, Robert McNeel, Tony Affuso, Tom Butta, Jon Hirschtick, and Bernard Charles.

Lifetime Award: For a lifetime of outstanding technical and business contributions to the CAD industry. Chuck Hull was the 2017 Lifetime award recipient. Other past award recipients include: John McEleney, Jon Peddie, Ivan Sutherland David Levin, Ken & BJ Anderson, Dave Weisberg, Richard Riff, Mike Riddle, Dean Kamen, Russell F. Henke, Ken Versprille, L. Stephen Wolfe, Carl Machover, Dr. Joel Orr, and Patrick Hanratty.

Nominations must identify the award category and candidate. It would help to also share your thoughts on why the nominee deserves to be honored. Email nominations can be sent to: register@cofes.com

Nomination deadline is February 1, 2018.

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Call for Roundtable Topics

Roundtable discussions are a key element to COFES. We don’t announce the topics until about two weeks before the event. That gives us time to consider the topics that are relevant at the time of COFES (rather than guessing a year in advance).

Have a topic you think is relevant? A pressing issue that could impact software for design and engineering? We’re actively seeking ideas for roundtable topics for COFES 2018.  Please contact vincent@cofes.org

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COFES 2017 Audio and Videos Online

In case you haven’t heard, we’ve posted the videos from the COFES 2017 keynotes and special presentations on the COFES website. Check out COFES.com/video.  These, as well as the audio below, are free to all.

We’ve also made it possible for anyone to listen to the audio recordings from Tech Suite Briefings, Analyst Briefings, and Roundtable discussions. COFES.com/audio. Check them out!

 

NanoBCA Recommends NNI Workshop 11/1 Washington DC

Posted on October 31st, 2017 in Uncategorized | No Comments »

The NanoBusiness Commercialization Association (NanoBCA) would like to recommend the following:

 

 

 

Technology Development Pathways Workshop: Case Studies from the National Nanotechnology Initiative
Wednesday, November 1, 2017
470 L’Enfant Plaza SW, Suite 8001
Washington DC 20024 

Registration: This workshop is free and open to the public, but space is limited. Registration is on a first-come, first-served basis. Click here to register now.

What:  The Technology Development Pathways workshop will showcase NNI success stories where nanotechnology has had commercial impact. Keynote presentations will highlight the pathways companies have taken to get from research to commercialization. Afternoon panel discussions will focus on specific steps of the development pathway, such as scale up and quality control/measurement systems. Conversations at the workshop will enable companies to share best practices for overcoming technical challenges during the commercialization of nanotechnologies. This event will support the goals of the Sustainable Manufacturing: Creating Industries of the Future Nanotechnology Signature Initiative and help identify remaining research challenges in nanomanufacturing. Workshop discussions will inform future directions for the initiative, including potential activities that can be leveraged by later-stage investments from the private sector.

How: The goal of this workshop is to provide case studies and facilitate the exchange of technical information among private sector participants. Federal Government representatives will also participate, enabling attendees to learn of ongoing research activities, agency needs, and funding opportunities.

Click here to view AGENDA

Contact:
Email: techpathways@nnco.nano.gov
Twitter: #techpathways
Direct link: nano.gov/techpathwaysworkshop
Registration: https://goo.gl/forms/Fsr6t3Dy7JsQJ4Us1

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OTHER NANO EVENTS

Singh Center for Nanotechnology Seminar Series
Friday, November 3, 2017
11:00am
Glandt Forum (3rd floor), 3205 Walnut Street, Philadelphia PA 19104
For additional information please contact: johnruss@seas.upenn.edu

The Unveiling of the Second Generation Nanoscale Offset Printing System (NanoOPS Gen 2)
2017 Nano and Microscale Printing of Sensors and Electronics Workshop
Dec 13 – 14, 2017
9:00am – 5:00pm EST
George J. Kostas Research Institute, 141 S Bedford St, Burlington MA 01803

MFG Day – Follow-up
MFG Day was Friday, October 6, 2017
Tell us about your MFG Day Experience
Share your story

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NanoBCA CORPORATE MEMBERSHIP

We welcome you to join our roster of Corporate Members.  For further information, please contact Vincent Caprio vincent@nanobca.org or 203-733-1949 to discuss.

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NanoBCA INDIVIDUAL MEMBERSHIP

We encourage individuals interested in continuing our efforts to provide information in regard to emerging technologies to become Individual Members of the NanoBCA.  Individual Membership includes participation on our monthly conference call. Our next call is on Thursday, October 26th at 2PM ET.  Click here to become a NanoBCA Individual Member.  The annual Individual Membership fee is $150.

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Looking forward to seeing you at the Technology Development Pathways Workshop on November 1st in DC.

COFES Institute Interview with Brad Holtz

Posted on October 16th, 2017 in Uncategorized | No Comments »

Today we are proud to announce our inaugural COFES Institute newsletter.  We will be interviewing visionaries and thought leaders from our community.  Our first interview is with Brad Holtz, co-founder of COFES.

Brad Holtz
Since 1999, as co-founder and CEO of Cyon Research Corp., Brad built and led a team of industry analysts focused on the field of software for design and engineering. In that role, he also led the creation of COFES: Congress on the Future of Engineering Software.

 

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COFES Institute Interview with Brad Holtz
September 2017

SW: Hello Brad! We are delighted you could spend some time with us today. There’s quite a bit to discuss so let’s jump right into it. First off, I wanted to get your thoughts on the transition to human-assisted design, which is the theme of COFES 2018. Can you give us a little context of how we got to where we today?

BH: Sure. We have seen an evolution in CAD that has progressed from mainframes in the 1960’s, to mini computers in the ‘70s, to workstations in the ‘80s, and on to microcomputers/PCs from the 90’s on. Our CAD software tools have evolved along with the hardware, eventually leading us to generative design tools and the advent of Human-Aided Design, which is what we are on the verge of today. With Generative design, an architect or engineer can quickly evaluate hundreds of automatically generated design alternatives. These alternatives can be tested and tweaked to kick off a next round of iterations. Designers learn from each iteration what works and what does not. The generative design process also enables designers to create options that would not have been otherwise possible, coming much closer to an optimal design. Generative design is one of the first steps of human-aided design. In the big picture, human-aided design is changing the relationship between who is doing the creation, where the creation is happening, and where the judgment is happening.

SW: Interesting. What is the next part of the evolution in generative design?

BH: The next part is when we start adding cognitive analysis and related tools to our CAD systems. This part involves engineers talking with and interacting with their computers to achieve a desired design.  The computer is doing the designing, led through human interaction, as opposed to the other way around. It is a 180-degree shift.

SW:  They did this kind of design engineering on an episode of “Star Trek: The Next Generation.”

BH:  Yes, this type of engineering was the domain of science fiction, but no longer. We are now at the stage where we can actually do it. We’ve seen huge leaps in processing and storage technology over the past couple of decades.

SW: Yes, we certainly have! So we are in an age of generative design and making a transition to human-aided design that once was the domain of science fiction.

BH: That’s right. We have most of the tools today necessary to accomplish what I’m talking about. But they’re not coordinated or all in the same place yet. Software developers need to understand what it is they should deliver and how they want to deliver it, and then take these technologies and then figure out where they want to apply them. For example, where do we want to apply machine learning? That’s really the key. We have all the tools in the toolbox we need.  That, of course, doesn’t mean that we can do it yet. We have to go out and start down the road of not so much automating, but adding cognitive technologies and intuition and interpretation into our systems. The vendors in this industry have the ability to do this now. The software exists to do it.

SW: I see. What role do you envision COFES playing in this evolution toward human-aided design?

BH: When my colleagues and I founded COFES in fall of 1999 we first did a formal summit at the Palmer House in Chicago with sixty-four people. It was very well received. That gave us basically the green light to go ahead with COFES, which is the Congress on the Future of Engineering Software.  When we did the summit, the purpose of the summit was to follow the ideas from the great summits in chemistry and physics at the turn of the previous century because we were at the turn of this century. We said, “Ok, let’s get the leaders of this industry together and talk about what are the big issues of the day.” And that’s what we did. And that evolved into a congress discussion talking about these big issues. The guiding principals of COFES from my standpoint have always been to foster collaboration and communication with the intent of pushing the industry as a whole to serve its customers better, faster.

SW: A very commendable endeavor, indeed. Bravo!

BH: Thanks. When we launched COFES we wanted to make an impact. It was never about the money. Look at the things that came out of COFES. There’s the 3D PDF Consortium. Magic Leap was conceived at COFES. Intel’s Larabee architecture, came from chat between Jon Peddie and Omid Moghadam at COFES back in 2003. And there have been a large number of acquisitions that have taken place because of introductions that have happened at COFES. There have been a lot of long-term relationships formed at COFES. There have been companies that have been funded as a result of being at COFES. COFES has been fostering a long look at the future. COFES is that time in the calendar when you can pick your head up out of your day-to-day rut and take a longer term view. That’s what COFES has been about.

SW: That’s wonderful, Brad. How do you see COFES evolving going forward?

BH: Cyon Research donated COFES to the newly formed non-profit, COFES Institute this year, with the goal to take COFES to the next level. I’ve taken COFES about as far as I can take it, personally. I felt it was time to move it forward for the next generation, with new ideas and new blood, putting COFES on a firm foundation where it can grow for the long term. And I’m not walking away from COFES. I’ll still be there, still supporting it behind the scenes and still guiding it. But I won’t be driving it. With the COFES Institute taking control of the event, I’ve offloaded most the enormous amount of time I’ve been required to commit to the event. I will still be at COFES as moderator. I will still be engaged in providing advice behind-the-scenes and coaching the new team as they move forward. But, I’m not the one who will be driving it. I will be very engaged, but it will be other people pushing it forward and a next generation driving the vision for future generations. That’s really what the event needs to go on for the next eighteen years.

SW: Well it is terrific to know that you will be involved in COFES going forward. We spoke at the end of last year about your vision of COFES going forward. You wanted to build out the community through a membership organization.

BH: Yes. Community building is important to how I see COFES evolving in the future. We’ve invested six-figures in producing video and audio from COFES to make available to the general public. There are literally hundreds of hours of video and audio that are up on the website. Cyon Research hasn’t had the focus or resources to publicize that. It’s been free for everybody for a long time. One of the things the COFES Institute will be able to do is push these assets to the broader community –to let people know that the content is out there. They can also spend the time to index it so that it can achieve greater reach and they can work with the COFES community to add richness and provide ongoing value through evolving into a membership organization that continue with the goals of COFES.

It seems to me that a membership organization is the right direction to go in. It doesn’t need to be painful to be a member in terms of costs, but there should be some significant value to being part of this community.  We also want to bring other voices in here, particularly voices of future superstars from the next generations. The COFES Institute will continue our efforts of proactively identifying who are the likely leaders of the next generation – trying to spotlight them, bring them to the event, and have their voices heard earlier, and also to get them connected with people who can accelerate their career.

SW: Very good, Brad. Let’s talk about the next generation. What are some of the things they are doing that get you excited?

BH: You’d be hard pressed to find anyone under 50 who started in the era of drafting boards. When I started college, we still used slide rules – calculators didn’t come until later. The generation after me had calculators. The generation after that had computers. And the generation after that had iPhones. The current generation has more computational power in their pocket than the most powerful computers in the world from the time I was in school.

SW: When I think about the next generation, I think of VR, AR, AI, Machine Learning, Additive Manufacturing and 3D Printing. How do you see these fitting in with COFES going forward?

BH: Well, all of these technologies have been part of the conversations at COFES for a very long time. They haven’t been center stage at COFES, but they are evolving from the sidelines toward the center stage. In 2002, we had Eric Drexler talking about nanotechnology. In 2004 we had John Koza talking about genetic programming. Six years ago we had a talk about storing data reliably for eons, encoding the data in gut bacteria DNA. The whole idea here is not to get people to change, but to get the industry’s leaders -the people who create the tools for the people who create the world – to start thinking about these things years in advance.  What we are trying do to is to influence the context of the conversation.

SW: That’s refreshing to hear. Let’s wrap this interview up by returning to theme of COFES 2018 and the transition from human-centric to human-assisted design. What role do you see the emerging technologies associated with the current generation playing? 

BH: The transition underway is from humans doing everything and being helped by a computer, to human-assisted, where the computer is our right hand, so to speak, and can do things and generate ideas for us where we are making decisions based on information that is presented to us based on queries.

SW: That’s a huge leap. Please continue.

BH: Yes. It is a major leap, and we are just at the very beginning of what will be a very long path. And so what we are trying to do now is to have this conversation up front about where we want to go so that the people who are helping us get to where we want to go can start thinking about it in ways that are constructive. We are in that exploration stage.

Now, any time we go through these major transitions there is huge difference between what is possible, what is practical, and what is pervasive. We are dangling with what is possible at COFES. Some people at the leading edge are using portions of this in a way that is practical; particularly if we are talking about specific, isolated things like external facades on a building or the structure for a chair or a crash structure, if you will. In the beginning we were using computer-aided drafting to do building perimeters and cores. This took a dozen or two years before it was pervasive. Think about it as a generation.

With respect to the major trends, there is VR and AR; there is Machine Learning and New Manufacturing, which includes Additive and Multi-mode manufacturing. Multi-mode is additive and subtractive together.  VR is allowing us to explore a concept in the computer separated from the real world. Augmented reality, or what some people refer to as mixed reality, is an overlay of information on top of the real world. Those are two very different things. I think of VR is going to make a change in the way we think about things. AR is going to change the way we do things and interact with them. Machine learning and cognitive systems are tools that replace our cognitive load and allow us to focus on other things and enable us to do things that would not have been possible before. New Manufacturing allows us to create things that could not have been done before; it allows us to create things where they could not have been created before.  It allows us to change the iterative loop between how things are created and when and where they are created and allows us to directly go from the computer to a physical object that I can hold in my hand, as opposed to VR which allows me to create a physical object I can see and with haptics I think I can touch.

SW: Good stuff, Brad! We’re looking forward to discussing these things further at COFES 2018. For our last interview question, what are the two or three most important things you have learned or experienced since you have been part of the COFES community?

BH: (long pause…) There are so many ideas that we have brought to COFES. One of the most important things I’ve learned is the value of communicating with your competitors, or put another way, the value of a beer with a competitor at the pool.  There aren’t many places where you can go and sit around the pool with a beer with the people you are competing against in the marketplace the rest of the year. At COFES there is the ability to talk about things that are so far in the future that they aren’t in the competitive landscape. They can make a difference for everyone.  The other thing is the value of identifying the areas that are not competitive advantage. That’s one of the things we’ve done and focused on at COFES. That is, how do we get the community to do things as a community when there is no competitive advantage and a significant cost for each of the members of the community to do it on their own? We know that companies within industries are all about getting a competitive advantage and building customer relationships, but not everything is competitive advantage. Some things just need to exist. The 3D PDF Consortium is one of those ideas that came as a result of this.

Let me just add this: I’d like anyone reading this to pay attention to and be on the lookout for the people who are going to be making a name for themselves – our future superstars. Tell us about them. Let work together on getting them to COFES and let’s get their careers accelerated. I’ll be working behind the scenes with the COFES Institute to help recruit the next generation of leaders in our industry.

SW: Cheers to that, Brad! We thank you for your time today. It has been a pleasure, as always, speaking with you. We look forward to seeing you at COFES 2018.

BH: You are welcome. I’m looking forward to the event.

Steve Waite is a member of the COFES Institute Advisory Board. He is the author of several books, including Quantum Investing and Venture Investing in Science.

 

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I hope you enjoyed our first newsletter.  I would like to thank Brad and Steve for their participation in the interview.