“I find that PTC customers use our products as a vehicle for expression of their ideas and their work ethic..” says Barton Fiske, who I recently had the opportunity to meet with and chat about PTC Products, the PTC Live event and PTC’s visualization technology. As many of you are aware, I recently left PTC to start my own firm “Punditas” that offers consulting services around PTC products. Barton replaced me as the solution director responsible for the Creo View MCAD product line. In this post, Barton discusses his passion for visualization, his experiences at the PTC Live event and his appreciation for the valuable customer interactions during the Technical Committee meetings.
Madhavi: You recently joined PTC and the PTC Creo View Product Management team. Tell me about your experiences thus far.
Barton: As an incoming solution director for PTC, having just started in April of 2014 – I was very much looking forward to the PTC Live event in Boston. I found the event inspiring on many levels. It was about as much education I could have asked for in one place. Also, I was most interested to see the products in action and hear from customers. I more than accomplished that and learned how PTC products help customers on a day-to-day basis.
My overall impression of the PTC Live Global event is that it was a world class, enterprise level convention. It was about the size I expected in terms of number of attendees and the scope. As a new employee attending the conference, it was re-assuring. My presentations were well received and the feedback was better than I thought it would be. So for me it was the start of a journey and an opportunity to establish critical customer relationships.
The Technical Committee meetings after the conference were particularly interesting. Having 20 to 30 customers in a room with a focused agenda to talk about was great. As a practiced group facilitator coming into the subject matter area new was a bit overwhelming. In the end I believe the attendees were happy with the experience based on their feedback scores and I know I walked away with a significantly deeper understanding than when I went in.
Madhavi: Why is Visualization interesting to you?
Barton: The best part about visualization is that you can visually experience and now touch the data you’re working with. Networking and database are interesting but visually boring. It is not hard for me to explain the value of 3D stereoscopic viewing if I can show Creo View running on a 3D display. Why try to talk about touch interfaces when all I have to do is to tell the customer to touch the monitor they are looking at? So, in that way it allows me to be a facilitator and a provocateur rather than a talking head and some software. Once I had everything working on a single laptop and three monitors, it was very straightforward to show off Creo View’s latest features. I think the one thing I wished for was more time on the show floor to see more of the overall PTC ecosystem in action.
Madhavi: Can you elaborate on how customers are using PTC’s Visualization technology?
Barton: At the recent PTC Live event, it was great to see NASA host a session “Ninja Cabling 3D” which was about cable routing in the visualization context. NASA took a pedestrian topic and elevated it to something cool and interesting by adding stereo support and working with PTC partner Virtalis. Seeing PTC customers contemplating how they could use stereoscopic rendering to enhance their understanding of their data was very exciting. At a meta-level, customers are using visualization at a solution level across the enterprise for validation and design reviews.
The Creo View Update and roadmap sessions were great opportunities to gauge how the current release (Creo View 3.0 M030) is resonating with customers as well as get some feedback. I also got a much better understanding of the product and PTC ecosystem and that visualization is used throughout the installed base of PTC software. Visualization is very pervasive and more of the workflow than I realized.
Madhavi: Do you have any final thoughts about PTC customers and the ecosystem in general?
Barton: What opened my eyes was the degree of connectedness that PTC customers have to the products and what they do with them. I’m not used to customers being quite so attached to the product. I find that PTC customers use our products as a vehicle for expression of their ideas and their work ethic. For example, a web browser is a web browser and people don’t get too emotional unless they write web browsers or feel it prevents them from doing their job. However, CAD authoring systems and PLM systems are the lifeblood of many companies and getting exposed to that reality was eye opening and inspiring and not that different from how avid video gamers feel about their favorite titles.
About Barton Fiske
Barton Fiske is Director of Visualization Solutions for PTC’s Enterprise, Validation and Review
solution portfolio. He has been fascinated by 3D graphics, visualization and 3D design from an early age and obtained his degree in Computer Science from the Rochester Institute of Technology. Barton has more than 25 years industry experience in a variety of roles, ranging from software engineer to systems engineer to technical marketeer. Previously he has held positions as product line manager for HPC software for Sun Microsystems, senior cloud architect for Oracle, and director of technical sales and evangelism for Silicon Valley startup zSpace, an immersive 3D stereoscopic display manufacturer. Barton is the coauthor of two books on Java programming, a semi-retired chef and aspiring musician.