June 30, 2021

Digital Manufacturing in the Cloud

Augmented reveals the stories behind the new era of industrial operations, where technology will restore the agility of frontline workers. 

In episode 23 of the podcast, the topic is: Digital Manufacturing in the Cloud. Our guest is Jon Hirschtick, Head of SaaS, Onshape and Atlas Platform, PTC.

In this conversation, we talk about the story of SolidWorks, using agile methods, listening to the market, charting the evolution of CAD into SaaS, and its emerging and future iterations in the open source cloud and beyond.

Augmented is a podcast for industry leaders and operators, hosted by futurist Trond Arne Undheim, presented by Tulip.co, the frontline operations platform, and associated with MFG.works, the industrial upskilling community launched at the World Economic Forum. Each episode dives deep into a contemporary topic of concern across the industry and airs at 9 am US Eastern Time every Wednesday. Augmented--the industry 4.0 podcast--industrial conversations that matter.

After listening to this episode, check out PTC, Solidworks, as well as Jon Hirschtick's social media profiles:

Trond's takeaway (@trondau): "Digital manufacturing is moving to the cloud and that means a whole lot more than office software moving to the cloud. In fact, establishing a real-time digital thread, through next generation low-code and no-code systems, will reshape industry. The notion of factory production, distributed teams, product development, will all evolve significantly, and will enable personalization across industry and across any and eventually all of manufactured goods. The ramifications will be huge, but they won't automatically happen tomorrow, and the benefits will spread unevenly depending on who--be it corporations, nations, startups, or small- and medium enterprises--grabs the gauntlet first."

Thanks for listening. If you liked the show, subscribe at Augmentedpodcast.co or in your preferred podcast player, and rate us with five stars. If you liked this episode, you might also like episode 43, Digitized Supply Chain, episode 24, Emerging Interfaces for Human Augmentation, or episode 21, The Future of Digital in Manufacturing.

Augmented--industrial conversations that matter to everyone.


#23 Digital Manufacturing in the Cloud _Jon Hirschtick

[00:00:00] Trond Arne Undheim, host: [00:00:00] Augmented, it reveals the stories behind a new era of industrial operations where technology will restore the agility of frontline workers. In episode 23 of the podcast, the topic is digital manufacturing with CAD cam and the cloud. Our guest is John Hirschtick head of SaaS on shape and at this platform at PTC.

[00:00:27] In this conversation, we talk about the story of solid works. Using agile methods, listening to the market, charting the evolution of CAD into SAS and it's emerging and future iterations in the open source cloud and beyond. Augmented is a podcast four industry leaders, and operator's hosted by futurists Trond Arne. Undheim presented by tulip.co. The frontline operations platform and associated with mfg.works. The [00:01:00] industrial upskilling community launched at World Economic before. Each episode dives deep into a contemporary topic of concern across the industry and airs  at 9:00 AM us Eastern time, every Wednesday. Augmented the industry 4.0 podcast, industrial conversations.

[00:01:23] John, how are you today?

[00:01:25] Jon Hirschtick: [00:01:25] Great Trond pleasure to be here.

[00:01:27] Trond Arne Undheim, host: [00:01:27] So I'm so excited. I did, because we're going to go on this very ambitious journey, hopefully from past present to future. And, there's none better than you to describe it in our pre-call Jon, we were talking about this and it really is a disease, a story that deserves to be heard.

[00:01:43] And I think a story that 10 years from now will be told and retold because I do believe that you have been into something that others have been a little slower, getting at. And I wanted you Jon, to explain how it is that you got so deep into [00:02:00] digital, but also manufacturing because not everybody who goes to MIT and majors and mechanical engineering then goes straight into manufacturing.

[00:02:11] Give us a little bit of your sort of early days. I know that one of the fun stories is the MIT blackjack team. Are there other stories?

[00:02:19]Jon Hirschtick: [00:02:19] I I grew up in Chicago. I was born in 1962. I'm going to come back to that later in the story. Cause that was a big year for CAD P. Not that I was born, there was another big event that year and I grew up in Chicago and in I was very interested in electronics and that led me to start programming computers in 1975, by the way, a little trivia sidebar.

[00:02:41] I learned to program a computer. In the same building, the high school, where they filmed the movie, the breakfast club. If you've seen that movie, that high school, that's where I learned to program a computer. I taught myself, there were no classes. There was a terminal in the corner, one 10 bod.

[00:03:00] [00:02:59] And in that same building, it's also where I took another course at the same time in drafting paper-based drafting. And the two seemed to have nothing to do with each other. I got placed into that to an aptitude test. So 1975, I learned paper-based draft handler in computer programming. I go to college thinking I'm going to major in computer science, but I changed my uncle, convinces me to move into mechanical engineering and product design, which looked much more interesting.

[00:03:27] So I go to get an internship. And it reminded me of my drafting background, and anyway, I go to get an internship in college in 19 81, 40 years ago this month. And they placed me at computer vision, a CAD company. They say, oh, you're a mechanical engineer. You know how to program computers.

[00:03:44] And I I have to say that I've worked 40 years now in the same business, the same, not the same company, but the same industry, building software tools for product development, and that are used to design and manufacture products. I've been in [00:04:00] several companies and I view today I'm 40 years into it.

[00:04:04]Probably what I'm best known for is founding and leading solid works for many years. I was the lead founder and then longtime CEO. I spent 18 years there, but today I'm at PTC with Onshape and people say, Trond they'll say, Hey, you've been at it a long time. What was it like in the early . Days or when you were just getting started?

[00:04:26] And I always answer the same. I say today, now these are still the early days and we're still getting started. And that's true for me in my career. It's true for the CAD industry. And it's true for the digital transformation in manufacturing in general, that we're only about half done. If that, with the power of what we could really do for product developers, for manufacturers in the world.

[00:04:49] And so it's still an exciting time to be here. And my work is far from done.

[00:04:56] Trond Arne Undheim, host: [00:04:56] It's so interesting. You say that because the timelines [00:05:00] of technology and of industry sometimes seem to clash and maybe because there's this impression. Yeah. There's popular impression. I guess that technology somehow moves at the speed of light.

[00:05:11] And usually people will say industry is slower and like society, is even slower to catch on. But you have seen a bunch of different technologies throughout these 40 years. What is your best explanation for this impression? People have that technology somehow moves really rapidly.

[00:05:34] When, if I look at the manufacturing industry, it's like the opposite, but on the other hand, when technology does get introduced it obviously and you do it the right way. It has massive consequences. What is your sort of general one-liner on that? And, we are going to go into the details here, but it's just an interesting thing.

[00:05:54] And then lastly, people these days, Vastly underestimate [00:06:00] manufacturing, right? The whole U S actually have, they left it behind and that again is really mysterious.

[00:06:07] Jon Hirschtick: [00:06:07] So I'd say the answer is if I use the language of CAD and design, I would say the answer is most people lack the ability to form a good perspective view okay.

[00:06:19] On over time and change. So you tend to remember things that are happening in the present or a big change that you saw, and you don't remember a lot of other things and people have very poor senses of timescale, and perspective. Anyway and I have seen changes happen that seem a lot of changes also seem really unimaginable when you're looking at them going forward and looking at the rear view mirror after they happen, their most obvious things.

[00:06:47]And so those things, so it's very hard for people. Also, it's hard for people to relate to the different speed at which computing and digital technology evolves [00:07:00] relative to physical technology that you see, like it if if cars had gotten faster at the rate that computers have, since I started programming in 1975, cars go to the, about the same speed that they did then, but computers go, whatever a thousand times faster, you'd have cars going 50,000 miles an hour, it doesn't happen.

[00:07:21] Or a car would cost 10 cents. If they, the pricing had changed the way computers do. So people, a lot of people just can't grasp that and relate to it. Change happens when it happens. It doesn't happen. Be on the schedule of the entrepreneur. It happens because there's a combination like, like a storm of certain conditions come together and it's like magic and then boom.

[00:07:46] It happens.

[00:07:47]Trond Arne Undheim, host: [00:07:47] So we'll get through that in these 40 years because there is indeed, it seems to me there are these moments where things really do change even with physical systems. And we'll get to that.

[00:07:58] Jon Hirschtick: [00:07:58] We can talk about [00:08:00] or point to borrow from Marc Andreessen. One of the investors in Onshape from Andreessen Norwood's, he said, and I might not get the details.

[00:08:08]He said, I arrived in Silicon valley and I think it was 2000 and I felt I had come too late and missed everything. So people always think some generation of tech is done until it gets dramatically expanded like people thought people thought computers were very widely used in the 1970s and eighties.

[00:08:28] And then when the PC came along, people thought, oh, wow. Now computers are really widely used, But then the phone came along and made computers look like specialty devices, and so it's everything's relative, there's been several generations where computers felt they were made widely available and it's because again, it was made widely available compared to what came before.

[00:08:49]Trond Arne Undheim, host: [00:08:49] It's funny, you mentioned this because, as I spend a lot of my time thinking about these things, but sometimes you're a little sad because you meet people who say, w what are you trying to tell me? What do you have [00:09:00] to tell me? I have an iPhone.

[00:09:01]You can't teach me anything. At any given moment, there's a technology where people think this is the pinnacle of technology. Anyways. Jon let's take us back to the beginning of CAD because, computer assisted design, it has changed so much. What was it when you essentially.

[00:09:18] Embraced that the embryos of what it has become. And, let's use that as a lens over these last 40 years. So what was it when you started engaging with so and what is it that you shaped it into?

[00:09:31] Jon Hirschtick: [00:09:31] So when I started and by the way so I came along in 81 to computer vision. If I just go back for just a moment and say in 62, Ivan Sutherland wrote a thesis called sketchpad at MIT, his PhD thesis online.

[00:09:46] You can find it if you Google it, by the way, if you go to YouTube, you can see videos from the 1960s of Sutherland's demo. He's not the guy giving the demo it's not Sutherland, but it's the system he wrote. There seems to be some confusion about that, [00:10:00] but you'll find them there's these really cool black and white videos.

[00:10:03] So 1962, the year I was born, Sutherland's writing his PhD at MIT. And you want to talk about a vision? Yeah. Trond he was a total visionary. It was not only the first CAD system is probably the first computer graphics systems, object oriented programming, interactive use of computer. So that's 62 by 1981.

[00:10:21] When I come into the picture, you have these companies, you have two kinds of cat out there. In-house developed systems like general motors had developed a system Ford Boeing, I believe they had developed their own internal CAD systems running on mainframe computers. And then you had these companies building CAD systems, most notably computer vision and Applicon, and they were making mini computer based systems.

[00:10:48] Now, when I say mini remember perspective, you all things are relative. This was still the size of several Sub-Zero refrigerators. Okay. And went into a special room typically and had maybe [00:11:00] three terminals connected to it with probably one, 1000th of the computing that's in my watch today. Okay. No kidding.

[00:11:06]know, You're talking about machines with maybe, I don't know, 64 K of memory, maybe . Anyway, the company sold the computer system and the software and the furniture you'd get the chair and the table and everything. That's the computer vision I walked into and so that was the nature of the computing.

[00:11:26] Now the nature of the application software was using either doing computerated drafting, meaning taking what I learned in high school to do pencil on paper and doing that on the computer screen. If you can a computer, a draft and in 2d or 3d modeling, but you might think of it as 3d modeling with the digital analog of coat hanger wire, it's called wire frame modeling.

[00:11:50] So if you want to make an object, you'd make it the way you ever seen a sculptor work. There's some famous sculptor I forget who it was, who worked with wire. And they made like shapes [00:12:00] that looked like things. That's what we were doing in 3d in that day and there was a twinkle in the eye to do what was called solid modeling or real 3d modeling, but it didn't really work very well.

[00:12:10] So those were the systems we were selling. They were slow they were a crazy hard to use day one on the job in 81, I'm a college student. It's summer day one on the job they show me how to use the system and I can't figure it out. And I ended up, I'm not used to getting up early in the morning. I had lunch, I fall asleep.

[00:12:29] I'm like, this is so boring. I picked the wrong industry. Good thing it's only for the summer. And yet here I am four years ago, but the systems were hard to use big. Does that most listeners won't really relate to an era where a computer looked like. You have to have been of a certain vintage to have ever seen one, let alone used one the way I did in the, so that's my world of CAD in 81 quarter million dollars for the system, big mini computer wireframe [00:13:00] and 2d drafts.

[00:13:02] Trond Arne Undheim, host: [00:13:02] Those were interesting days. I actually I'm old enough to have worked on this uni vac system. Yeah, I was helping my dad with some stuff doing some quantitative modeling and I was just mostly just picking up punch cards and delivering punch cards to punch cards.

[00:13:18] Oh yeah, exactly.

[00:13:19] Amazing experience because those days hardware was really hardware. There was a room dedicated to this this machine. So it is interesting how, what we now think of as like a software driven reality around computing, has a very physical footprint and started certainly, but the very physical footprint.


[00:13:39] Jon Hirschtick: [00:13:39] You're right. It started in fact, I believe at that time, there was still a lot of a feeling that customers were buying the hardware and the software was thrown.

[00:13:47]Trond Arne Undheim, host: [00:13:47] So then, Jon what happened? Did you immediately, as you were sitting there at MIT, I guess between 79 and 86, you were a CAD lab manager. What went through your head? You were thinking this is [00:14:00] inefficient. I'm going to either leave or change this.

[00:14:02]Jon Hirschtick: [00:14:02] I was last minute I was a student first and then I was the intern. And then I was lab manager under professor David Gosford at MIT who was doing research into the future of CAD and Gosford.

[00:14:12] I was lucky, you get lucky in life and Gosford was my mentor and teacher and he was another true vision. Yeah. He liked took over the mantle, from Sutherland and said, this is what, and there were others who worked alongside Gosford. Dave Anderson at Purdue, the people in the UK Robin hilarity and braid.

[00:14:31] There were a lot of people doing research in CAD, but Gosford had this vision of the future and he would bring people to the lab where we have mini computer and the big terminal set up and everything. You'd say I'm building this whole lab to model what every engineer will have on their desktop in the future.

[00:14:48] Now this is before the IBM PC or Mac, the apple two was around, but people would be like what you're getting me. [00:15:00] And he'd say, every engineer is going to have it so what a visionary, I was lucky to be around. He also said, it's not going to use these weird type commands. It's going to use a mouse. And you know that the work on graphical user interface.

[00:15:11] So he did research and he said on solid modeling on varying shapes by, by changing dimensions, which is one of the key technologies you get so-called parametric or variational design. So I was in that research lab. I actually wrote my thesis on AI is in an expert system to identify problems, manufacturing problems, and shapes.

[00:15:36]That's another story on a list of machine, if you know what that is. So gossip I'm in this Gosford lab and I'm full of visions for the future. And I know what the reality of the CAD system world is like from working at computer vision and so forth. And I'm like, and I just wanted to start a company.

[00:15:51] So off we went and we started our first company based on an idea that we had researched at the CAD lab [00:16:00] that was 87.

[00:16:01]Trond Arne Undheim, host: [00:16:01] So that's 87. And then what happens, things started spiraling from there.  When was it that CAD started to morph into a more I guess industrially useful tool that started to get deployed and used, in, in producing industrial products.

[00:16:18] Jon Hirschtick: [00:16:18] So it was used again, some people would argue it was used in the sixties if used seventies. It's a question as to what degree, and how so some notable events were. So I would say until the eighties, it was used only by elite corporations and only in fairly narrow use cases. .

[00:16:36] A couple things happen around the time I'm starting my first company in the eighties. Let's just look at the decade of the eighties. So Autodesk was founded  on the west coast and California, and they build a 2d drafting system called AutoCAD for the IBM PC that had just come out that catches on like crazy for drafting. [00:17:00] And that brings CAD to an order of magnitude, more people to D CAD. The other thing that happens is PTC where I work now, by the way, coincidentally, I just happen to be wearing this PTC sweater. I didn't use a wireframe. I wear a lot cause comfy, but anyway PGC is founded in the eighties also and PTC is the first company to take the concept of a 3d solid model. The idea that instead of modeling with code hanger, you're now modeling essentially like with clay. All right. Like with real material digitally, the digital analog of clay or metal where you really have, when you model an object, you really capture all its physical properties.

[00:17:42] PTC is the first company to break through and make a system like that. That really works well. And they do this in the eighties. And they're another rocket ride company industry adopts it's based on Unix, workstations, sun Microsystems, Silicon graphics, no one really knows about these things anymore.

[00:17:59] They're gone [00:18:00] Unix workstation. So that also happens in the eighties. My company, I founded didn't do all that well called premise. We were building a sketcher. We were on Microsoft windows. We were too early on windows had the right idea, but in, in 1989, not a lot of people were using windows compared to today.

[00:18:16]Trond Arne Undheim, host: [00:18:16] So by 1989 you were actually asked somewhat if I may say unsuccessful entrepreneur and they were two companies out there, Autodesk and PTC. Was there anything else going on? Comparatively, were there other companies that we should remember? What else is there to say about the eighties before I'm talked to that fantastic nineties

[00:18:35] Jon Hirschtick: [00:18:35] Eighties and cAD, I could go on and on trying to where a zillion companies I could tell you about.

[00:18:40]Trond Arne Undheim, host: [00:18:40] Why did they fail?

[00:18:42] Jon Hirschtick: [00:18:42] Well because most startups fail. In most companies, people think their comedy is going to last forever. Most of them don't, especially in tech, they get eclipsed by the next generation, they say, and sometimes in the world they say, people say, oh there's always a bigger fish.

[00:18:57]There's always, like you think you're a big fish and some bigger fish [00:19:00] comes along well in the world of tech I have the opposite. Say, I said, there's always a smaller fish. Like you think you're a big fish. And then someone comes along and some small company changes the rules. Anyway, there were a lot of other companies when I talk about Autodesk.

[00:19:15] There were 10 other companies that did PTC cat, a PG based CAD key versa CAD. If you gave me some time, I'd remember them. Many other companies, but Autodesk grows above them. When you look at PTC, there were many other important CAD companies I'm leaving out of the story. DASA system was founded then, and they're a huge, they're a huge company today and very successful.

[00:19:37] And they had this product called Katea. They had CAD M that they acquired Katea was a 3d modeling. They would say the first 3d modeler for surfaces for aircraft. There was a company called SDRC out of Ohio, very successful company. Unigraphics still around today as part of Siemens, very important company.

[00:19:56]And on, I could go control data was in the business. [00:20:00] There was a company called Kalma bought by GE there's just too many dimensions,

[00:20:04]Trond Arne Undheim, host: [00:20:04] but I'm curious, is there Jon away to explain and this is hitting a little close to home. You work at P PDC, is there any way you can explain why Autodesk and PTC were the survivors of the eighties?

[00:20:16]What is it they did either in the eighties or rescuing the pieces in the nineties that made sure that they are still around here today. It's just interesting.

[00:20:23]Jon Hirschtick: [00:20:23] It see usual question of why does one company succeed? Why did apple succeed with PCs? And there were a hundred other PC companies.

[00:20:31] I remember those years. Why apple and not Osborne or something. I think it's a little bit of a combination of really it's about to use modern language, product market, go to market fit and then executional excellence. So product market fit is one thing, but you need to go to market fit to you, need a way to get it to market.

[00:20:51] And so we're Autodesk hit the nail on the head is they had a product that they made to work well enough for drawing. And the market [00:21:00] of people who made drawings was ready. And then the go-to-market of selling through dealers and affiliates and bundling it with the PC. It just came together and worked in this magic formula, so to speak NPTC now PTC in their case had a much more distinctive product.

[00:21:18]You could argue that AutoCAD's product, there were 10 others equivalent that may drawings just as well.  They just out, out they, the other ones didn't have the go-to-market fit PGC had really, for a long time, the only solid model or that really worked. So they would just go in and say, okay, you're looking at three other systems, try making the parts you design in each of them.

[00:21:42] And the other systems would crash or wouldn't give geometry. And PTCs what, so PDC had this unique product, but they also had a great pricing model, a great go to market model, a great platform on the Unix, workstations, it all fit. And they went and then both companies [00:22:00] executed at scale, both companies did what a lot of stars fail.

[00:22:04] Even those that have good product market go to market fit. They don't execute, they don't turn into execution machines. And those two did. It's like making a hit movie. Sometimes it's hard to say exactly why if we knew why. If anyone really knew why they would go into it over and over, and even the greatest entrepreneurs, have, Steve jobs, he built apple.

[00:22:24] He also built next, which wasn't a big success he wanted to be.

[00:22:28] Trond Arne Undheim, host: [00:22:28] So then John we are onto the next, not only the next decade, but for you the next two decades. And this again is I think fairly unique, right? Because if you were talking about sort of two decades as a chunk, but we are now talking about the nineties and the 2009 was your solid works years.

[00:22:44] I wanted to give us a sense of what were those 20 years like what happened? The whole thing exploded and you were incinerated.

[00:22:57] Jon Hirschtick: [00:22:57] Yeah, we were in the right place right time. So what's interesting [00:23:00] is if you go to the, just to finish that eighties, nineties transition the early nineties, when 1990 arrives, it finds me selling my first company back to computer vision.

[00:23:11] Autodesk is growing like crazy PGC is disrupting the crap out of computer vision. Okay. There, and I'm at computer vision. So I'm in the receiving end of PTC, winning all the business and taking our business away. And I'm at computer vision and I see this happening and I've always was, I was still interested to windows cause I had started that first company with windows.

[00:23:36] And interestingly, when I started thinking about doing something new, I didn't like being a computer vision so much. There was some good things, but I wanted to leave. And so I decided to leave. And at first I say to myself and my, one of my co-founders, I said. Let's one thing I learned is let's get out of this CAD business cause it's too hard and let's never build a software product from scratch again.

[00:23:56]A year later I find myself, I can't get away [00:24:00] from the CAD market. I can't get away from building software from scratch. And what happens is I see the customers that we lost to computer vision. I go meet PTC customers and they're really happy with what PTC can do. And I see PDCs 3d modeling, but I think, that's a great way to model.

[00:24:18]It's too expensive, too hard to use. And I see what's happening with the windows PC, which I've been watching now for many years, I don't know, five to 10 years at that point. And I say, and I see what I know that on the drawing board, under NDA and stuff, I know about windows 32 windows NT is coming along. Then it may have been public, but windows NT was the 32 bit version. If you don't know what that, if you don't, if people don't know the difference between virtual memory and not virtual memory, they'd be shocked to learn how primitive old operating systems are not going to get into it. Anyway, there's this new 32 bit more capable version of windows coming along.

[00:24:53] So I'm running around at computer vision saying, oh, the PC and 32 bit windows when people are like, no one uses that for [00:25:00] CAD. It's not powerful enough. It's not secure. Our customers don't want it. Why are you spending time on it? And anyway, I ended up leaving computer vision and I said, In the future, it will have PGCs capability, but it will be delivered like Microsoft word on a PC and I'll use windows and I'll, have file new open save as that's the insight.

[00:25:23] And we'll use Autodesk's business model. So people say, Hey are big visionary. I felt it was the most freaking obvious thing in the world. Love PTCs power microsoft's platform Autodesk's business model.

[00:25:37] Well I wanna

[00:25:39] Trond Arne Undheim, host: [00:25:39] make  transition here, which maybe is a little bit psychologizing it.

[00:25:43] But you were on the MIT blackjack team from 1984 to 1994, arguably the hardest years in industry, but you must have learned something there and, publicly the story is that you also made some money there that then went in, went into the company you founded. If you reflect on this [00:26:00] blackjack experience in terms of what it taught you was there some company strategy in there or was there some tactics?

[00:26:08]Is it at all a stretch to say that some of the gamification that has become so popular these days, there's actually something to it. You were one of the first to take a game seriously. And that later then become, an, a big industrialist. You were on this team, which is, written up in various books and you guys were, you had an understanding obviously of math and of systems and you were applying it in a pretty curious sort of context, but then you took all that, the experience, the money, everything, and then you poured it in.

[00:26:45] Solid works. So it goes to public story. What is your version?

[00:26:49]Jon Hirschtick: [00:26:49] By the way, I've read some of the things written on the internet or some, and some of the details are wrong, but the general story arc is correct. So I joined the blackjack team when I was a grad student. I was working at the CAD [00:27:00] lab, by the way, in a perfect storm situation.

[00:27:03] I ran into the people who I first learned to the blackjack team the same month that the CAD lab was closed for a year for renovations. And my professor Gosford went to Japan for a sabbatical. So it's there's very little for me to do around the labs, so to speak. And it's I'm a grad student MIT. Blackjack taught me a lot about that was very useful one entrepreneurship. One of the first things that taught me is that. Just because everyone says something is a bad idea. Doesn't mean it really is a bad idea. So a lot of my friends said blackjack. I told them about it.

[00:27:36] They're like, oh, it's a scam. You can never win money. My brother-in-law's uncle's dentist goes to Vegas all the time and he says that, blah, blah, blah, blah, you'll get kicked out. It can't work. You're going to lose, it's just like all this naysayer stuff, negative.

[00:27:50] There were very few friends of mine who said, oh, I think you'll win money in 30, 40 years from now, you have a great story to tell. Nobody said that, or like it wasn't [00:28:00] seen as really so glamorous. It was like, oh, why are you doing that? And I just was drawn to it. It was very interesting.

[00:28:05] I had a background as a magician before that. And so it was very interesting to me. And so the system works, so it taught me, first of all, a lot of people said no. And then the system work. The other thing it told me is  not to draw too many conclusions from small sample sizes, most people in business and in life, they don't understand how big a sample size you need to really draw a conclusion.

[00:28:28] They see a few data points, and they think that makes, it makes a trend. And with blackjack, it teaches you that yes, we make money. So if you start with a certain amount of money, you end with a lot more. If we played with our system for months, imagine a graph, you start here and you end here, but the journey looks like this.

[00:28:47]You see what I'm doing. If you can't, if you're only hearing me and not seeing it, it's a noisy wa it's imagine a lot of noise, like a stock graph from wall street. If you look at the Dow Jones over the last 20 years, there's some [00:29:00] noise and big depths, but it just generally heads up. That's what happened with blackjack.

[00:29:03] So most in business, people will see a person or a company. Do one or two things and think all those things work. So the person must be brilliant or those things failed and the person must not be. And I know that you can't draw too many conclusions. Someone can be playing the right strategy and still have what seems like a remarkable run of bad luck and vice versa. So that's a very useful lesson when it comes to.

[00:29:29] Trond Arne Undheim, host: [00:29:29] Yeah, it's interesting. I guess blackjack at the end of the day is very much, it's strategy, but it's also statistics. It's very advanced, right?

[00:29:36] Jon Hirschtick: [00:29:36] It's very statistical. Exactly. It's very statistical. And the, probably the third thing I learned is I learned what it felt like to win, and I think that you're not really a complete entrepreneur, unless you've learned what it's like to feel a successful business. One that wins. And also learn what it's like to feel a tougher unsuccessful business. Only those experiences really teach you at both [00:30:00] feel and if you've only felt one or the other, you're not really complete in your entrepreneurial pallet yet, in my opinion,

[00:30:06] Trond Arne Undheim, host: [00:30:06] the fascinating thing for me is that you didn't only feel how it was the win and lose ones like you pointed out, you've got a repeatable pattern and. A system, through it. All right, look, this fascinating stuff. So get me into solid works. Let's spend some time on solid works. It's a good, it's a good story that I would say no one knows there's too much. That's not right. But very few people know about solid works compared to the people that know about an apple or something else.

[00:30:36] And,

[00:30:37]Jon Hirschtick: [00:30:37] Nor should they, because I would argue, solid works is not made the impact on the world that apple has,

[00:30:42] Trond Arne Undheim, host: [00:30:42] True. We're talking about a massive industry and it was a product. What was it when you conceived of it back in 93? What was it that you guys set out to do?

[00:30:53] Jon Hirschtick: [00:30:53] It was really what it came to be. I want to say, sometimes there are real pivots and strategy and as and startups, but that wasn't [00:31:00] the case with solid works, the product. Was pretty much exactly as I had envisioned it, like I just said to you, it was something that had the power of pro engineer of 3d modeling.

[00:31:12] Okay. That ran like word on a PC that had the UI of Microsoft. Now, did we make some changes and improvements in the paradigm? We did. Could I get into a CAD technology discussion and discuss things like, allowing partially constrained sketches versus fully constrained sketches. We innovated in UI with a concept called the feature manager, which we patented, which today as part of all systems, really, you know things like that.

[00:31:38] But fundamentally, this, the simple version of story is it was 3d, the high-end systems, 3d power put into a word like software offering sold like Autodesk thousands of dollars. What we did evolve a lot from day one was the business model, the pricing and how we distribute. So I start my home in Winchester 1993 . I started building this thing [00:32:00] with, and I start recruiting friends of mine to do it with me. No, no payment. I can't pay them. And I'm living on my savings from blackjack and we do that for a year building a prototype and I can't raise venture capital. I try to raise venture capital. I go to the people who invest in my first company.

[00:32:20] Yeah. Not interested. I go to other VCs and they're like, wait a minute. You're competing with PTC. Yeah, we are. PTC is like the most successful company in the U S right now. But let me tell you about the future and, run windows and get out of my office.

[00:32:33]Trond Arne Undheim, host: [00:32:33] It's is there even an industrial tech VC environment to go to?

[00:32:38] Or are you just going to the plate pitching the plane Silicon valley VCs?

[00:32:42] Jon Hirschtick: [00:32:42] No. First of all, we were pitching to Boston VCs, even though my first company, we had raised money from Kleiner Perkins. And by the way, little sidebar, my first company, I went to California. I sat in the round conference room at Kleiner Perkins and presented to [00:33:00] Frank Coffield and Brook Byers and John Doerr.

[00:33:04] As I say, can I use profanity on your podcast? Just I won't, I'll just say I presented to Regis McKenna, who I remember came back and told my friends, Regis, F and McKenna. I mean that out of praise and, respect, not, like you won't F and believe who I often presented to, it was region half in the Canada, Brooke Byers, Frank Coffield of Kleiner P used to be Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield, and Byers, and coastal ventures and John Doerr.

[00:33:34] Who's the babe Ruth of venture capital, so it's just a sidebar. So I call these guys back. They don't want anything to do with me, cause my first company wasn't big success. And when people in Boston, I go all around these Boston VCs, like a dozen of them and some of them don't literally don't let me finish the presentation.

[00:33:50] I'm not going to name names, but, and another one gets really close and is really excited about investing. And then he says, no, we discovered this other company called [00:34:00] CAD key. And I told you can't give us a decent company, but they weren't doing what we were doing. So it's really hard to raise venture, but I stick with it.

[00:34:07] I have my blackjack money. I convinced these co-founders to work and eventually we get venture people to put money in. And we go and build our product and we just start selling a ton of it, like way more so

[00:34:21] Trond Arne Undheim, host: [00:34:21] who did you convince? I'm just curious.

[00:34:23] Jon Hirschtick: [00:34:23] So we ended up getting money from whatever it happened was Atlas ventures, Oxo B Shara, who is today a big time VC and ahead of bolt. Which is a leading venture capitalist in the industrial and physical product space. I shouldn't say industrial. I should say they, they work with a lot of companies involved in physical products and Oxil was a young VC. Who's my co-founder at my first company back at the MIT CAD lab and everything.

[00:34:50] He's this young VC at Atlas, his partner say, he tells me later his partners say, why are you wasting time with that guy her stick? But he spends time with me. He eventually [00:35:00] introduces me to a co-founder of PTC who had left named Mike Payne. And once we get Mike Payne onboard then investors start listening.

[00:35:08] Not because the software is any different. The software's exactly the same. But you have this guy who was a co-founder of PVC says this is a good idea, and I'm working on it. Oh, okay. Very interesting. Now, so we get Atlas Burr, Egan deli, OSH, which turned into Polaris. Okay, John Flint, if you know him and Northbridge, Northbridge big, very successful venture fund.

[00:35:31] Rich Demora at Northbridge, but rich is like founding Northbridge. He doesn't even have an office yet. I like, I remember meeting rich. And so those guys invested in they got what we were doing. One of the three of them finally said, I'm in called me up and said, I remember this meeting we had, if you're, I don't want to spend too much, we went for this one meeting with one of the VCs and we, and I instructed my co-founder Scott Harris.

[00:35:56] Wonderful co-founder he was doing the demo. [00:36:00] And this demo, you had to click in exactly the right places or the thing would crash. Okay. He was, I said, Scott, I want you to keep the demo rolling. No matter what happens, keep the film rolling. Don't stop.  Keep the visuals rolling. So we go into the meeting room with one of the VCs and he's in he comes in 40 minutes late.

[00:36:19] Oh, yeah. You're that deal that my friend said I had to look at all right. What are you, God. And he's I don't know. He, he's just like distracted or reading something or whatever. And we're like yeah. And I know if we're going to show you a demo and and there was this, just this moment where he like looked up and he goes, wait a silent, wait, you're actually running a PC.

[00:36:39] Yeah. It's in windows. Yeah. And he goes, and no one else has anything like this. No. And it's running on a PC and it really is. Yeah, it is. So we have this prototype of the 3d modeling and he looks over at my pingos and you were a founder of PDC. He goes yeah. And you built windows.

[00:36:54] Yeah. He goes, all I'm in like, it just shifted in a moment. Like I said, about the market, [00:37:00] he goes, I like this deal. I'm in, he calls me the next day. And he says to me, I'm at, if you get the other guys, so you need what you need when you raise venture capital. Is you need someone who's in, who gives you a term sheet.

[00:37:13] When I advise people, come to me and say, oh, I'm talking, I get these stories all the time. I'm talking to three investors. And the first one is when you get a lead investor, second, one's like maybe the next round. And the third one is if you had someone with more experience on the team, you know what I tell them?

[00:37:27] I said, You know what that is? That's three versions of no. Okay. There's a lot of ways to say no, that's all. No, if anyone's really interested, get them to give you a term sheet. So if someone says I'm really interested, say, great send me a term sheet, then they're interested. Otherwise it's just no, like VCs have all these ways of giving you pseudo knows, stay interested.

[00:37:47] And I love VCs. So anyway, that's the story. That's a long version. You seem interested. So we raise our venture money. We build our product and boom, the market just it's like the entrepreneurs dream, in my pre like [00:38:00] instead of trying to work really hard to find business to business, finds us and we get all these orders and customers, and then we grow the business.


[00:38:07] Trond Arne Undheim, host: [00:38:07] But you told me that, today, or at least over the last 10 years, this agile methods have been, all the rage, but you were using. It wasn't just by magic that you found this product market fit, you had been using ways to listen to the market that are today called agile.

[00:38:21]How did that work out throughout these 20th? Because it's even if you had an fairly instant product market fit, surely the market was evolving. How did you practice listening, and evolve the product?

[00:38:31]Jon Hirschtick: [00:38:31] I think it goes back to my training in engineering, in MIT.

[00:38:35] Remember I said I was in product design. So one of the, you might say what does product design have to do with listening? I was lucky enough to get into a curriculum. That today, I think is much more the norm. But the curriculum at the time talked about product design starting by listening to the needs of the customer.

[00:38:50] So I was trained that before you build anything, you listen to the needs of the customer. You studied the customer. This was Woody flowers, may rest in peace founders of first very [00:39:00] famous professor. And that listen to the customer training, is still a part of my DNA. And so we listened with solid works and then the story is solid works.

[00:39:09] So if I can, it was really focused on the success of the customer and listening to them. And so as solid works continues, we sold it after four years to Dasso system. Acquired us for $318 million in 1997. And I stayed at DASA system running solid works and then advising for 14 more years.

[00:39:36] So I stay 18 years and solid works grows to be $600 million a year subs business within DASA systems. And we have. Hundreds of thousands of users and cool products being built and really a great ride, but I listened to customers problems. Again, I'm going to use this customer listening to take into the next and I visit customers and they liked the software, [00:40:00] but every time I visit a customer, I get all these nightmare stories about installations and hardware and service packs and license codes and licensed code servers and data management servers, because people are trying to use it in teams, in modern environments with this little thing called the internet, connecting them.

[00:40:18] And we never built it for that, and so I saw those problems. It's solid, right? And at the same time I saw what was happening in cloud web and mobile and, light bulb off again, trying to time to build something. Yeah.

[00:40:31] Trond Arne Undheim, host: [00:40:31] So what happened then? You essentially discovered it was time to move to cloud because, as we were like talking about this digital thread that you've been part of for 40 years, how was it basically customer discussion and discovery that way you said, okay, this is the moment.

[00:40:47] This is the year. This is the, these are the few years where the CAD systems have to move to the cloud. And how was that transition? It must have been a little painful for the software.

[00:40:57] Jon Hirschtick: [00:40:57] Oh yeah. It really was seeing two [00:41:00] things come together. Okay. One was seeing all the problems the customers had and seeing them face to face visiting customers.

[00:41:08] Okay. That I just outlined and the other was seeing new technologies. Look using things like Google docs and I was using it when it, when the word processor was called rightly and Google acquired OBS rightly user and using, I was really fascinated with the potential cloud computing, because not only it was going to solve customer problems, didn't sound my problems.

[00:41:30]I hate extra work and it just seems so clean and elegant that I could use cloud solutions. And I saw what was happening with Google docs and Salesforce and things like, I don't remember Zendesk and Workday around yet NetSuite, basically everything was going this way and it wasn't just taking the old applications saying, oh we'll move the workload into the cloud or something.

[00:41:51]No, it wasn't doing that. It was saying we're going to rethink the whole app and the data and the tools live in one place in the cloud and everyone [00:42:00] accesses it and you get you, you eliminate all this hardware, crap and license codes and service packs. You eliminate all the problems they have by design.

[00:42:09] You don't have different people on different versions of software. Cause we all use the same instance. People don't have to worry about which hardware they have and then the collaboration benefits are amazing. And that suits the needs of modern teams to be more agile and more innovative. And so all these, so what I said was, Hey, we could solve all these problems, but we have to build a completely new system.

[00:42:33] Yeah. And that's what we did. And only we're the only ones who have done that by the way. There's no one else in our industry who has built a completely new system from scratch. Based on cloud web and mobile, a SAS system, they do partial stuff like, oh, we've got a cloud system to just download four gigabytes of software and copy files to, and from our cloud servers.

[00:42:53] And that's not what we're doing, we think.

[00:42:55] Trond Arne Undheim, host: [00:42:55] But at this point you were an experienced entrepreneur. This was your third company you were [00:43:00] talking about. You were about to build Onshape. What? At this point it's getting easier, right? Did you bring some of the old team along? We really had your scars?

[00:43:07]It was easier.

[00:43:08] Jon Hirschtick: [00:43:08] Like they say, in the blues brothers were, we're putting the band back together. So we got John McEleney, Dave Corcoran, Scott Harris, Tommy Lee was a co-founder of Onshape. He was my supervisor in 81. When I did my first internship. He's a co-founder solid rock of Amman shape. Excuse me.

[00:43:25] And of solid works. And then Dr. Michael Lauer, one of the smartest people I ever met, he is from the premise days, so these are people we know each other 30 years. We're the only startup. I know where the average age of the founders was 50. Solar, by the way, everything interesting.

[00:43:40] I've done in my life. People told me I was either too young or too old to do. I've never been the right age for anything. Okay.

[00:43:46] Trond Arne Undheim, host: [00:43:46] So what is the right age for anything?

[00:43:48]Jon Hirschtick: [00:43:48] And then people, when I said, oh, we're going to build this cloud-based CAD thing. People are like, it's all the same stuff I heard with solid rigs 30 years ago.

[00:43:56] It's oh nobody uses that and it's not [00:44:00] secure and it's going to be too

[00:44:01] Trond Arne Undheim, host: [00:44:01] You still I heard that this is your third company you're successful. They're like, yeah.

[00:44:05]Jon Hirschtick: [00:44:05] Yeah. You got to realize how backwards people are in the CAD manufacturing community. Sometimes when it comes to computing again, this is a multi-billion dollar segment with zero other true cloud systems. Now, again, my competitors will all say they have cloud, I'll leave it to you to judge. They're not really cloud they're they'll say, oh, we just have a thick client. Your thick client is four gigabyte app. I don't really consider that a cloud app, but they do. We differ on that.

[00:44:33] But anyway we raise money very easily. We get the founding team together. It was a really hard product to build and the industry thought we couldn't do it, but sorry, industry. We did it. We built a good system and we raised venture capital. Northbridge and Commonwealth Capitol and NEA Harry Wells, or may he rest in peace, fantastic investor, Andreessen Horowitz.

[00:44:55] And we go build this system and we go to market and sell it. [00:45:00] And today, and then PTC comes along. So good. Old PTC, the same coming from Hayes and Jim Heppelmann the CEO. He sits down on this one day and says, look, I believe that in the future of cloud and SAS, I believe you're doing it right.

[00:45:14] Come join us. And we'll make a bigger, better success, much like what happened with solid works and Dasso system. So PTC acquires us that we're now at PTC and we have. Thousands of companies using Onshape to design everything. You'd imagine a lot of things you wouldn't. We just, our sales growth by with commercial sales growth PTC, I can only refer to PTC, public financial statements.

[00:45:35] And the most recent quarter, they announced that our sales growth was over 70% year to year, which we believe is quite strong and probably the highest growth rate in the industry by a mile. And we have we have over a million students and teachers using this in education, almost all of that is free usage, but we're super, super proud of it that we were able to help students and teachers teach CAD.

[00:46:00] [00:46:00] And that market just flipped overnight to our way, with hundreds of thousands of people moving to us from, the other systems because in education. Obvious. I don't even think I have to say all the reasons why we're the right system. And I'm still working on it. I'm still working higher, on the future.

[00:46:18]Trond Arne Undheim, host: [00:46:18] So the future, because, you've taken us from the eighties, which was a, a tricky decade, a lot of foundational work and then it came the next two decades and you found a significant company that, was transformative for the manufacturing and industrial space and design space.

[00:46:34] And then now with solid works, we're into, that was 2012. And till 2019, with the acquisition.

[00:46:41]Jon Hirschtick: [00:46:41] No, it was solid works was 93. Trond I started almost three, not solid books on shape.

[00:46:48] I'm sorry, this was 93. I'm sorry, 2011. And then Onshape 2012 till now. But 2012 was a conference room with nothing with a notion.

[00:46:57] So we didn't really, we didn't really get going [00:47:00] until 2013 and so far,

[00:47:02] Trond Arne Undheim, host: [00:47:02] but yeah, but that's not that long ago, but where are we now? We're 20, 21, right? Where is the future? Where's the next step? Because first of all not every software in this space has moved from on-prem yet.

[00:47:16]So we're still in this hybrid reality where cloud, which to many seems oh, those were the days where that was new. It's still new in Industry.

[00:47:26] It's

[00:47:26] Jon Hirschtick: [00:47:26] sad actually, but yeah, it is. Yeah.

[00:47:29] Trond Arne Undheim, host: [00:47:29] So one, how do you explain that it's still new and number two, what is the next spin on cloud or something else that's going to really transform what you could do.

[00:47:37] Jon Hirschtick: [00:47:37] So I think that, it's the story in our marketplace is one of. I call it like to Sumo wrestlers, battling it out, as the analogy I use for those of, what Sumo wrestling are, you guys, two giant wrestlers battling in one corner, you have the obviousness and inevitability of the benefits of cloud and web and mobile, which in [00:48:00] any other industry is old news.

[00:48:01] And if you go to the west coast, it would be like asking if is color television better than black and white television or something, it's like, what, why are people we're the last industry still talking about it? And then it, so it's like this inevitable shift to cloud and the benefits it brings in cost, savings, collaboration, agility, innovation, performance, and stuff.

[00:48:22] And then in the other corner, you have this giant entrenchment in inertia of manufacturing. And it's no joke that, manufacturers are really tough business. Hardware is hard. And so you have very high functionality requirements, that in order to make real products, you have. Large amounts of data and processes invested in a set of tools like solid works.

[00:48:44] And so to get that market to tip to move is very hard and justifiably hard. And if you're a customer it's not easy to say, oh, I'm going to rip out my CAD system, by the way, all those attributes I just gave you about the entrenchment. It makes it very hard to get [00:49:00] into that market very hard to win it.

[00:49:02] But once you win it, you build a very durable growing profitable business, which is why there it's interesting businesses. And so we're trying to, it's the battle of the Sumo wrestlers is how I put it, entrenchment versus cloud. And so what's going to happen in industry, in my world.

[00:49:21] A few things are happening. One is we're going to be moving more and more to SAS solutions. I think I've covered that, but more importantly, We're moving. What does that mean for industry? For I'm going to give a broader technical and a broader industry trend technically. We're moving more to a digital thread.

[00:49:37] And so I've been telling a story of CAD, but that's the only part of the digital journey for manufacturing. So we're going to see when I think of digital thread, the best way to summarize it is a digital systems that encompass sort of three everybody's. Every person is connected. Every asset physically is connected, manufacturing, [00:50:00] equipment products, themselves connected every piece of data about them.

[00:50:05] All. Those are the three Aries all in real time. Real-time updating that to me is digital thread. And what it does is it takes you beyond the generation of digital systems. A lot of people have now are emulating paperwork flows digitally. If you think about it, files and folders and email forwarding, Inboxes.

[00:50:26] Those are all concepts borrowed from paper like we took the paper world and we comfort with comfort food gave us digital tools that emulate it. So we ended up with these ideas of copying stuff around and putting your inbox even the icon for email is typically a paper envelope. So we're automating paper in the first digital generation of CAD and other tools.

[00:50:52] Trond Arne Undheim, host: [00:50:52] It's fascinating that you bring up this this story because I, and this idea that we finally can [00:51:00] move beyond paper. If this is really going to happen The shifts could be much more drastic than they were in the last 30 years. So of like productivity software for sort of desk workers.

[00:51:09]If you really are now saying that the physical space physical industry, is close to some products and innovations that are going to move beyond just paperwork flow. So tell me about what some of those systems look like. Which ones matter, in other circles, right? They use terms like industry for technologies, Manufacturing.

[00:51:32]This is part of that complex.

[00:51:33] Jon Hirschtick: [00:51:33] Yeah. And so what we're going to see is, and we're seeing it today with a lot of other companies we're talking about this, it's not just CAD, it's connected the factory floor. So a number of companies and technologies that are connecting the equipment on the factory floor.

[00:51:47] So instead of getting out of date, copies of spreadsheets, which again is saying we'll just do what we did on paper, but we'll do it electronically big deal. Instead, what they're doing is connecting in real time. So you have a two way digital connection [00:52:00] between the equipment on the factory floor and not just the equipment, but the worker.

[00:52:05] Okay. The work on the factory for the equipment on the factory floor, and then everyone who has a stake in it management peers and other factory locations, new factories coming online, and we give people data insights, training that they could never get otherwise. And this is where some other technologies come in IOT at the, as a sense connecting that kind of flow at the lowest level.

[00:52:29] And augmented reality becomes very important. And there's a lot of definitions of augmented reality. But to me, if we're going to give the frontline manufacturing worker, if we're going to connect them, every one of them came back to my every Sierra digital thread. If every worker's going to be connected, they're not going to be connected the way you and I are now at desktop computers with big monitors, seated in chairs, we need to give them information.

[00:52:56] That they can work with. So  a VR [00:53:00] headset can put digital information superimposed into their world of assembly or of service. And that's super exciting in terms of how they,

[00:53:09] Trond Arne Undheim, host: [00:53:09] I'm interested in the form factors that this is going to take for you, because you have seen so many transitions, foreign factors really important.

[00:53:16]When you're dealing with the physical workspace.

[00:53:18] Jon Hirschtick: [00:53:18] We haven't seen the real tipping point devices of AR, but we're seeing a lot of AR and I consider augmented reality to not just be your traditional headsets. And by the way, I don't mean virtual reality because virtual reality, I don't think has much to do with the frontline worker, virtual you're in a full virtual environment.

[00:53:36] That's the last thing you want a factory to take someone away from. So in a factory, people need to be alert to what's happening around them, or in a service situation. You go out to service a diesel. Generator for electricity and it's costs a lot of money in downtime. The worker can come out and have a headset and the headset that they're wearing, and it could be glasses.

[00:53:59] It could be a [00:54:00] headset. It could be maybe a tablet, computer that augments, it could be physical. I would include in this physical hardware that goes on the devices that might give them information. Like for instance, they might walk up and an led might light up near a valve that led could be in their heads.

[00:54:17] You know that they see it virtually augmented reality style, or it could be physical and it lights up because it there's an IOT system that says, okay, unit number 31 72 a is being serviced by this technician I know he's an entry-level technician. I'm going to walk them through the steps very carefully.

[00:54:34]We had an expert record, a series of steps on how to do this service operation. We can replay that with Augmented instructional aids, but those instructional aids, aren't a PDF file on a Mac book, they're instructional aids and situated in a physical world that show them where to go and what to do.

[00:54:52] There's also a social dimension to this because the frontline workers are a more diverse population. And if we're going to bring them into the digital thread [00:55:00] reality, we can't wait for the next generation to get the benefits of education so forth we have to bring them in now. And this is a way.

[00:55:09] Trond Arne Undheim, host: [00:55:09] Yeah, there's a major skills challenge there for sure.

[00:55:11] Can you comment on how to lip sort of front line operations platform fits into this picture from where you see it, because you you've seen as we have traced both the past present and into the future where does a product like a Tulip, which, started out being conceptualized  more like a manufacturing execution system, but clearly has some elements of no code and a little bit of the elements you're talking about here, which doesn't assume so much expertise, on the part of the workers.

[00:55:42] Jon Hirschtick: [00:55:42] I think I'm excited about Tulip because it's an example of exactly the type of system I'm talking about, where it's a digital thread thought, a piece of a digital thread that, that connects it's basically empowering. I see it as empowering the worker with digital augmentation to their work. [00:56:00] And empowering all the other people connect who have an interest who have a stake in how that manufacturing line is running with the data they need connected really in real time. So the manager, this is how I see it. I'm no expert, but yes, my opinion. So I see it as totally consistent with a industry for a digital thread kind of strategy that would allow it to, to it's one of those kinds of systems that there's looking forward to helping looking forward.

[00:56:30] That is forward-looking, I should say, in helping use digital technology to really improve how manufacturing works for the worker and all the other stakeholders through a digital platform.

[00:56:42] Trond Arne Undheim, host: [00:56:42] I wanted to close just by asking you a super simple question. If you look another decade, Yeah, so we have been talking in decades.

[00:56:50] So now we're in, I arguably, in, in one decade and that's perhaps the decade of these digital threads spreading out fully into SaaS maybe and, [00:57:00] some amount of argumentation going on and hopefully spreading a little bit of across this diverse worker population that you say, to really get the benefits to percolate, but what is next after that has been done, which obviously could take more than 10 years. I do not know, but what's next after that?

[00:57:17] Jon Hirschtick: [00:57:17] So I think 10 years from now, the idea of digital thread will be the norm. And if someone says I'm going to copy some data and forward it to, they literally won't know what you mean by that.

[00:57:29]They literally won't know by the way, one of you watched the next generation, one of my teenagers when they were about 14, 15, I had said to them, oh, you got that message just forward it to your teacher with the information. They're like, what's forwarding. They lived their life in text messages.

[00:57:45] They've used emails. So little it's like asking them to, to buy postage stamps. They just don't quite understand it. Serious. I know for us, it seems odd. So I think a decade from now we'll we won't be, we won't be dealing with [00:58:00] installed software and files and stuff so much. We'll be expecting real-time digital connections, whether it's with each other like this, or with data in a system like an Onshape or an IOT system or a tulip or something.

[00:58:14] I think what will happen as a result, a few other things that are going on one is we're going to see processes evolve because with those tools, people can be much more agile and innovative than they could be in the old world. So agile design is going to come to Manufacturing the way it's come to software in a big way.

[00:58:33] And you're going to see, you're going to see teams working in a much tighter cycles and more of them, because that makes a higher performing system, by the way, just like if you want to control a high performance missile or aircraft you sample frequently and adjust course frequently. It brings you to a target and the same will happen with product development.

[00:58:52] Another thing we'll start to see, excuse me, is more and more of course, computer assistance based on all that data. [00:59:00] So we're starting to see that with generative design, we'll see the computer saying, Hey, I've got a way to look at your manufacturing line and reorganize it. I've got a way to redesign that part to save a little weight.

[00:59:11] . And that will come in. And because we're when we have a digital thread, the computer is connected in real time too. And not just a computer idea of easing a computer would be, will be in the future. Ridiculous idea, because it'll all be cloud-based no one leaves and understand that in the future, people say people will be asking, oh, you have software that runs on one computer.

[00:59:35] How could that be fast enough. Anyway, the other thing, so we'll see a lot more. A lot more computing power brought to bear on these problems through AI or machine learning, whatever you want to call it. We'll see more hardware devices coming in because once you're on a digital threat or a SAS based system, new hardware can enter more easily.

[00:59:54] And so we'll see, as we're seeing now, look, I'm using my watch and I get notifications on here [01:00:00] and that's cool. And I do believe we'll see more people building things that you'd call AR devices. I also think we'll see things in geometric modeling change. We'll see, because of the emergence of more 3d printing and generative design.

[01:00:15] We're going to see geometric representations, the scale of the technical, my field that are more are more Are of a different variety. Let's just say without getting into the details so much, and we may see new systems, I got to say, at some point we may see systems that I can't dream of and I hope we do well.

[01:00:33] Trond Arne Undheim, host: [01:00:33] No, I was going to give you an unfair, last question to answer, which is next time you come on a podcast, whether it is, if just a few months from now a few years from now, or indeed a decade from now will you have grown a beard and look back at the industry? Or will you have been in another boardroom and in another VC meeting to pitch the next time?


[01:00:52]Jon Hirschtick: [01:00:52] I don't think I'll be doing either. I have no plans to regrow my beard. And right now I have to say I'm very happy where I am. PTC has been a great [01:01:00] place for us to, take on shape to the next level. We also have introduced something called the Atlas platform that I'm also responsible for an array of digital manufacturing.

[01:01:10] In augmented reality applications that we'll be building and product life cycle management on top of it, which is really cool. And I'm really happy doing that. And so I'm hoping that this is my last career step, to me I've been married before twice in my personal life.

[01:01:27] I'm married now, very happily married, but it was my second marriage. I don't want to have a third marriage. I don't want to have a third company. I like, our fourth company or whatever. I like where I am business-wise and so I hope to stay here, but you never know in the future, you never know, but I'm pretty happy.

[01:01:42] And I feel I have a lot more good work to do for my customers right here.

[01:01:46] Trond Arne Undheim, host: [01:01:46] So well that's wonderful. It certainly, I thank you for painting or describing. I don't know what the metaphor is, this digital thread throughout these decades for us. And I wanted to say that, whatever you do, you're welcome back here.

[01:01:59]I [01:02:00] certainly think it would be another hour. Maybe we can have you on to discuss innovation inside of a big corporation, because specifically in manufacturing, that must be, it is a completely different animal, and you have experienced both because you have sold to these corporations.

[01:02:14]So I'd love if you would come back, maybe we will have a broader panel and I'd love to come and discuss this sort of like back and forth, between startup innovation and large company innovation, and you need both to propel the industry.

[01:02:27]Jon Hirschtick: [01:02:27] I'd be honored. Trond I'm honored to be here.

[01:02:29] Thank you for inviting me and thanks for the content you're getting out to the audience. I think it's great. It's a great topic and I'm delighted to be part of it now. And maybe again in the future.

[01:02:39]Trond Arne Undheim, host: [01:02:39] Thank you so much, John. It's been a pleasure speaking with such a legend. You had just listened to episode 23 of the Augmented podcast with hosts Trond Arne Undheim.

[01:02:50] The topic was digital manufacturing with CAD CAM and the flat, our guest was Jon Hirschtick, head of SaaS, Onshape and Atlas platform at [01:03:00] PTC. In this conversation, we talked about the story of solid works, using agile methods, listening to the market, charting the evolution of CAD to size and it's emerging and future iterations and the open source cloud and beyond.

[01:03:16] My takeaway is that digital manufacturing is moving to the cloud. And that means a whole lot more than office software. In fact, establishing a real time, digital threat through next generation, low code, and no coach systems will reshape industry. The notion of factory production, distributed teams, product development will all evolve significantly and will enable personalization across industry and across any, and eventually all of manufactured goods.

[01:03:48] The ramifications will be huge, but they won't automatically happen tomorrow. And the benefits will spread unevenly depending on who the it's corporations, nations, [01:04:00] startups, or small and medium enterprises grabs the gauntlet first. Thanks for listening. If you liked the show, subscribe at Augmented podcast.co or your preferred podcast player and rate with five stars.

[01:04:14] If you like this episode, you might also like episode 43 digitized supply chain, episode 24, emerging interfaces for human augmentation or episode 21, the future of digital in manufacturing, Augmented industrial conversations that matter to everyone.


Jon Hirschtick Profile Photo

Jon Hirschtick

Head of SaaS, Onshape and Atlas Platform, PTC

President SaaS Business at PTC. Former Co-founder and CEO at Onshape Inc. PTC acquired Onshape Inc. in Nov 2019. Onshape makes the world's first and only full-cloud/full-SaaS product development platform which includes 3D CAD, release management, collaboration, workflow, analytics, and many other tools.

Previously founded SolidWorks in 1993 and served as CEO, Group Executive and Board Member until 2011 watching SolidWorks grow to 2 million users and over $500 million / year in revenue. SolidWorks was sold to Dassault Systemes (DS) in 1997, and has since operated successfully as a DS subsidiary.

Specialties: Mechanical Computer Aided Design (CAD), 3D Printing