Freesteel Blog » World changing at a fast pace

World changing at a fast pace

Saturday, April 13th, 2013 at 10:57 am Written by:

In two entirely different places this week I have seen the world change. With the invention of a new machine tool architecture not based on the floppy cubical structure of all current machine tools that therefore need to be over-engineered to keep them together; and with the witnessing of a hand-held 50kHz distance measuring laser scanning device that renders obsolete the last 25 years of cave surveying I have participated in.

And I got a nice flight on my glider last Sunday. To be honest, I’d like a few more of those, and a little less of this world-changing nonsense, but that’s how it goes. It’s one reason I have never been very career ambitious, to the extent of locking in my advancement with positions of power or appointment. At all times I literally know what I’d rather be doing with my time.

Speaking of which, I notice that the CEO, about whom [I should steer clear of any references to –ed], has been sent to Coventry.

He’s giving a keynote at the Develop3D Live conference next Tuesday that happens to be in Coventry.

I’m half wondering about hopping over there next week and heckling from the audience. There’s this phone app I want to pioneer known as The Question From Hell. Originally I had targeted this idea at politicians, but it is actually CEOs who would be more entertaining.

I don’t have a Question From Hell for Carl right now, and even if I did I would probably try not to disclose it here, because you got to make it feel like it’s coming from Hell, and not from some guy you can possibly do something about when things have quietened down. The promise of revenge is a consolation at the time, however no one feels they can make revenge against Hell.

The App works in the following way:

Suppose I happen to be in the audience of some keynote presentation or panel discussion, where questions are taken from the floor, and Mr Bernard Charles, CEO of Dassault is speaking. So I text the name “Bernard Charles” to the Question From Hell phone number, and back it comes with the message:

Last May you told an audience that you were dropping Parasolid from SolidWorks. What’s the schedule for this development, and what are the technical issues that are stopping you from carrying this out?

My heart starts thundering like crazy for the next 20 minutes, which it does when I think I’ve got a good question for someone powerful and the opportunity to deliver it. If I haven’t passed out, or my feet haven’t gone cold, I stand up right away for the first question.

Mr Charles knows how to dodge the question, as one should expect, and the chairman knows how to move on and pick someone else in the audience for a second question to avoid the session being monopolized by this weirdo. Anyway, I can’t formulate a follow-up question, because I probably don’t even know what the hell Parasolid is, because I’m just someone reading the Question from Hell off their phone, so I can’t do a follow up question.

However, the text message goes out to anyone else in the audience who has done the same thing, advising them of the follow up questions, depending on the known dodges he’s going to do.

All of this has been crowd-sourced from insiders and experts close to the industry, even though today he thought he was simply giving a talk to a room full of school students.

When the Question From Hell system is going really well, there will be a whole industry of consultants able to take over the system and seed it with softballs, or those special non-melting snowballs that seem to last a long time in Hell.

Why don’t they just give us the list of questions worth asking on a sheet of paper at the door when we come in? The audience gets to pick the subject of the talk, so that’s fine. This would be in the spirit of total disclosure, like when you engage a legal representative and they explain to you in no uncertain terms that they expect you to tell them everything they should know about your involvement in the case, and that they will be extremely angry if they later find out something that you deliberately kept hidden from them.

This leads on to a slight improvement on the whole talk, presentation, speech, Q&A session tradition that we’ve got going here — which maybe I will try to put into action next time I am on the delivering end of one of these ceremonies. Take the last two minutes of your presentation to outline the range of interesting and difficult questions the audience could think about and ask you during the Q&A. Help them out a bit, and don’t leave them floundering.

It helps the poor chairman as well do their duty, because they are the ones left with thinking up a question to fill in the space in the event that everyone in the audience is sitting on their hands.


  • 1. Jean replies at 19th April 2013, 4:35 pm :

    Nice idea. I wonder what effect such a mechanism would have on the future willingness of speakers to conduct free Q&A sessions? About dropping parasolid from SWX – really?

  • 2. Robert replies at 19th April 2013, 5:04 pm :

    Have you got links for those two world changing technologies. (New machine tool architecture and Handheld laser scanner)

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