On Tuesday 30 March 2004, I posted this on TypePad:
This is the first post to see how it all works.
Read other weblogs, thought I'd have a go myself.
RobiNZ CAD Blog
The reason I chose TypePad, then a new'ish (public launch October 2003) hosted platform, is one of the most influential 'other weblogs' was Shaan Hurley's Between The Lines ~ AutoCAD Blog. I'd been thinking about blogging but had no interest in coding or self-hosting. When Shaan told me his pioneering CAD Blog was hosted, authored, on TypePad it was enough to spur me into action, create mine, and change my life.
On April 1, 2023 (albeit 31 March, 2023 US time) this post appeared on Shaan's blog:
31 March 2023
YAG – “Yet Another Goodbye”, a longtime Autodesk tradition going back to the founding.
Dear Colleagues and Friends,
Today is my last day 25 years after my first day joining Autodesk. As some of you may already know, I am leaving Autodesk as a result of the recent COO/DXC reorganization, and my role being eliminated in the process. While it is not easy to say goodbye after 25 incredible years, I wanted to take a moment to express my gratitude for the opportunity to represent fellow deskers, Autodesk products, advocate for our customers, and forge genuine connections between product teams and our customers to embody what it means to be a customer company...
Despite the New Zealand timing it was no 'fool' and in outlining his extensive career achievements, across several roles, with Autodesk Shaan included:
"Founding the Autodesk blogs and social outreach that gave Autodesk a more personal touch and helped forge stronger relationships with customers."
I was one of those customers
Before blogging I had only been involved with Autodesk Corporate as a (tiny 1-6 seat) customer at the bottom of the world connecting via forums, both public and beta. It was due to those forum and blogging connections that, in August 2004, I decided (with some employer assistance) to go to Autodesk University. It was my first visit to the US and I took the opportunity to meet many of those virtual contacts in person.
I flew from NZ to Vegas via San Francisco and while there Shaan invited me to visit the Autodesk San Rafael offices. I didn't have a car but the Ferry to Larkspur, a bus, and bit of taxi got me there. Shaan was very gracious spending time with me despite it being Thanksgiving Eve and the last day to prepare for Autodesk University straight after the holiday weekend. He also learned something, to his detriment, after dropping me back to the ferry (just as it arrived) as it took him ages to get out of the carpark thanks to the influx of commuters exiting!
That was the first of many US trips where I arranged holidays around the AU time, again with partial company or Autodesk support, over the years.
The Autodesk Blogger in New Zealand
In 2006 Shaan visited NZ, for a regional Autodesk corporate event that coincided with a local resellers innovative Building Ideas Roadshow in a high-tech multi-media bus. We spent a weekend visiting some of the central North Island tourist spots, around Taupo and Rotorua, but he didn't stop blogging...
Shaan mobile blogging at Huka Falls, Taupo, New Zealand, in 2006 on a Blackberry. Despite appearances he did see the falls!
"I bet I am first to blog live from a Blackberry device while on the overlook at the brilliantly blue Huka Falls on New Zealand's North Island..."
Unofficial custodian of Autodesk history
Shaan took the initiative to archive historic Autodesk media and hardware. In the mid-1980s we used AutoCAD 2.something on one of the first CAD machines to arrive at Unitec (then named Carrington Tech) in New Zealand. It was so early in their adoption I still remember “Beth”, can’t remember her surname, who came to New Zealand from Autodesk to spread the AutoCAD word. She was amused, bewildered?, by product design students trying to do things real draftsmen wouldn’t attempt. I remember it resulted in a few calls back to the US for updates or test code!
Some of Shaan's archive was bleeding edge technology when I was a student!
My Feedback and more
The beta forums became the 'Feedback Community', led by Shaan, which collaborated on-line and meetings (both work and social) at Autodesk University. This soggy crumbled paper aircraft was my 'ticket' to attend Autodesk University 2006 via a competition run in the Feedback Community.
A webcast, live?
The group of bloggers and 'deskers', (now) past and present, came together to learn about AutoCAD 2010 and more in the One Market Street space. Just seeing the production process was fascinating, part of a direct to customer web presence that was a evolution of Shaan's pioneering social media work. I posted more about the production than the actual product!
TypePad and Kiva
On that trip I visited the TypePad San Francisco office as had also become involved in their beta program. As part of that they had waived their annual hosting fee for the beta duration. Despite multiple requests they never removed that comp, so I paid it forward, putting the equivalent and advert income (if had any) into Kiva microloans. Although not much as a lump sum due to constant reinvesting over the years it has funded over 1,600 Kiva Loans, totalling ~us$42,000, in 78 countries.
Indirectly Shaan's hint, "we use TypePad", has helped thousands of lives around the world.
I don't know how corporate accountants, or HR Departments, calculate 'return on investment' for connecting people, but they should...
A connection to history...
Shaan was involved in a US National Park Service & Autodesk Project to dive and archive 3D scan the USS Arizona at Pearl Harbour. I mentioned I would be visiting Hawaii, enroute to Autodesk University 2017, and he recommended a helicopter flight which added a unique perspective to my Pearl Harbour visit the following day. It was moving being at the memorial, with all its historical significance, also knowing someone who'd so recently been down there. Must have been even more so for Shaan, who discovered a family connection to the Arizona crew on that day while involved in this project: RIP W. R. Hurley.
Change = opportunity...
Back in 2009, in the Autodesk San Rafael Office atrium (below), Shaan mentioned he'd watched these carp grow up and "I have fed them leftover breakfast for almost 12 years. :-)". Autodesk are no longer in that office, the carp (I guess) are also long gone, but memories remain.
I don't know what Shaan's plans are but am certain it will be amazing for the people who are part of it. Thanks for all you did, so much beyond your 'job', at Autodesk Shaan. I am pleased you have kept your "Between The Lines" blog, although born in a corporate it was always a personal blog and look forward to seeing whatever is next for you.