I have had quite a few criticisms volleyed towards Max Freeman, the Marketing VP for Alibre, Inc. in regards to Alibre’s presence in social media.
As an engineer, I am conservative in my approach to new, untested technologies. I was late to LinkedIn, late to Twitter, and I still don’t have a Facebook account. Like many others, I questioned the value of these tools but could easily see the distraction they created. None the less I couldn’t criticize if I haven’t tried them. After using them, I realize there is value in these products, more than just name or brand recognition. When used properly, they really do create relationships; provide timely, meaningful information about my industry; and don’t take up much time out of my day.
My criticism, though, lies more with the mentoring of future engineers. Why? Because Facebook and Twitter are where the future engineers are. If we are doing our duty as senior engineers and mentors, then we need to reach out to the young engineers – and that means social media.
Much to my surprise, last week Max announced on the Alibre forums a new website, Alibre Powered. This is a Facebook-like clone developed specifically to allow Alibre users to showcase their abilities. So, not only is it social media, but designed from the ground up to be a value-added user experience.
I wasn’t about to let Max off the hook so easy. He stated that Alibre spends its resources making the best CAD for the money and therefore doesn’t have time for social media. But, Alibre has time for an entire social website? Much to my dismay, I couldn’t pull one over on Max. This is Alibre’s vision for Alibre Powered, via Max’s response to my razzing.
The amusing this about this project is that it required literally no resources. We thought about the idea, made it happen, and went live inside of basically 24 hours. The real goal is to let the users come and post their designs – and we can point schools, young engineers, media types, prospective customers, etc. here so they can see what “real” people do with our software, versus “marketing people” (us). We made this with a specific goal of making a living gallery basically, which is why the 2 main sections are “designers” and “their stuff” – but as you suggest it will also serve nicely as a social media aspect.
So congratulation to Alibre and their marketing team for putting together a very cool, useful, social outlet for Alibre users. And, you can even use Alibre Design to create the logo.