3DEXPERIENCE World 2023: A Celebration of a Passionate Community

Normally the third day of 3DEXPERIENCE World is lightly attended. The vendor pavilion has packed up and the vendors are starting their journey home. Many users want to save the cost of an extra hotel room, so they try to catch an early flight out. That way, they can be back at work on Thursday morning.

This year, the third general session was scheduled for mid-afternoon on Wednesday, which meant that many attendees decided to stick around.

“The closing general session is your opportunity to up level your skills,” said emcee, Tracy B. Wilson in her opening welcome remarks. “It is also a celebration of a passionate community.”

SOLIDWORKS users are a passionate bunch. They love what they do. They love learning about new ways to improve their work. They love the software they use – whether it is SOLIDWORKS or 3DEXPERIENCEWorks. The people who attend 3DEXPERIENCE World prove their passion simply by being willing to take time off from their regular work and immerse themselves in this conference.

The first presenter of the day was Suchit Jain, VP of strategy and community at SOLIDWORKS. He played the role of host, introducing the guests to the stage and asking them questions.

There appeared to be a serious effort by SOLIDWORKS and Dassault Systèmes to diversify who they invited on-stage at the general sessions. There was a real mix of genders, ages and nationalities.

First up: Erin Winick Anthony, Senior Science Communications Specialist for the International Space Station for Barrios Technology, who uses SOLIDWORKS to create training curriculum for kids, has a TikTok space where she demonstrates maker projects. She has about 45,000 followers.

Vicki Wu Davis, YCities, entrepreneur and angel investor, runs an entrepreneurial boot camp. She uses the 3DEXPERIENCE platform to provide remote training. yCITIES (Creating Impact Through Innovation, Entrepreneurship, and Sustainability) focuses on creating a strong and diverse pipeline of tomorrow’s founders and investors, while also creating spaces for today’s entrepreneurs who natively understand the problems they’re addressing. The curriculum is geared towards middle and high school students. They host regular bootcamps in the Boston area.

Three of her students were invited onto the stage. They had participated in one of her challenges and came up with the winning products. It would have been nice to learn what the winning designs were and what each student learned during the program but they didn’t even get their names on the big screen.

Fab In a Box was created through a partnership between Fabfoundation, Dassault Systèmes and the Center for Bits & Atoms at MIT. The Fab In a Box product contains an entire Fab Lab for teachers to unpack and set up, so their students can get right to work. A 3D printer, CNC machine and Chromebook loaded with 3DEXPERIENCE access are included. The packaging serves double duty to build the stools, desks, and lab carts. 

The idea is intriguing, but the actual website (hosted by MIT) appears to be under construction and it doesn’t look like they are quite ready for shipping to schools yet. As more and more schools look to install their own Fab Labs, this might be an excellent option for schools with limited budgets and not a lot of space.

In past conferences, Richard Doyle would present the stats on the SOLIDWORKS User Group community during one of the general sessions, and pass out awards. This was cut out of the general sessions a few conferences ago; understandable, since with limited time not everybody can get a turn on stage. However, the user groups continue to be an excellent resource for users to learn and network.

For this year’s conference, Dassault Systèmes came up with a worthy compromise. The majority of the awards were handed out during the SOLIDWORKS User Group Network (SWUGN) meeting that was held on Monday afternoon during the class periods. Three awards were held back to be announced during Wednesday’s general session.

Dan Wagner, who has replaced Richard Doyle as SOLIDWORKS User Group Liaison, and Matthew Clegg, SOLIDWORKS Community and User Advocacy Manager, were brought up on the stage to discuss SWUGN and SOLIDWORKS Champions.

The Wayne Tiffany User Group Leader of the Year award went to Mohammed Ezadeen in Sudan, an engineering student at Sudan University of Science and Technology. Ezadeen held over 40 virtual user group meetings in 2022. Most user group leaders put in a substantial amount of unpaid time organizing and managing their user group, with the majority of user group leaders being volunteers who work with SOLIDWORKS and simply want to share their passion and enthusiasm with other users.

The Michelle Pillers Community Award went to Jose Saldana from Fresno, California. Saldana meets the historical criteria for this award. He has been an active user group leader for many years, and he is an educator and a volunteer.

The 2022 SOLIDWORKS Champion of the Year Award went to Danute Nikolova from Germany. SOLIDWORKS Champions is a relatively new program within SOLIDWORKS. SOLIDWORKS wanted to recognize the users who are active in the user forums, answering questions, moderating content and essentially adding value to the forum community. Nikolova is a freelance designer who uses SOLIDWORKS and is quite active on the user forums. Her volunteer work helps make the user forums a valuable resource.

Magic Wheelchair has been a favorite charity of SOLIDWORKS for several years. This year, $30,000 was presented to the organization by Dassault Systèmes on the main stage.

The idea behind Magic Wheelchair is fairly simple. Many children feel self-conscious when they are out and about in their wheelchair. Other kids, and even adults, might stare at them. The foundation works with local build teams to create and build custom wheelchairs. Each wheelchair is a special request based on that child’s needs and interests. None of the children’s families are charged for the wheelchairs; the materials are paid for with donations and they are designed, fabricated and built by volunteers.

The foundation has opened a Magic Wheelchair maker space in Portland, Oregon in the past year.

Wednesday’s keynote speaker was Liv Boeree, a self-confessed nerd with a degree in astrophysics who is ranked the #1 poker player in the United States. She has won over 4 million dollars on the world poker circuit. She has created a foundation called “Raising for Effective Giving” which encourages poker players to donate a portion of their winnings to the foundation. The foundation then provides grants to several charities.

Boeree wanted to share some of her life lessons. She competed on game shows trying to earn money to pursue her graduate studies. One of the game shows required her to learn poker and she decided to postpone her studies and see if she could earn a living playing poker.

 “Poker is about navigating uncertainty,” she says.

Boeree noted that great poker players need to use both the left and right sides of their brains, as represented above.

Another thing poker and real life have in common is that there is a lot of randomness. There is a lot of luck in decision-making.

“Beware of the luck delusion,” says Boeree. “The decisions that we make only roughly result in the results we want due to luck.”

After winning big – a six-day tournament that garnered her $1.7 million she went on a losing streak.

“Our egos tend to want us to take credit for all our successes, so when we win, it’s because of our skill. But when we lose, it’s because of bad luck.”

After her big win and a series of losses, she started playing online poker and that gave her the ability to leverage data analysis tools to increase the odds of winning. Most of the current top-ranking players use these tools to better understand the game. Her lesson here is that in order to succeed, you need to be willing to use the latest tools at your disposal.

Poker players apply probability to everything—not just the game, but also how to make choices in their personal lives. You can use probability as a way to motivate yourself to achieve your goals.

“Poker is a zero-sum game. There can only be one winner. So, in order to create some balance in your life look for ways to achieve win-wins.”

She has retired from playing poker, and is now focused on her YouTube channel, making videos on how to have healthy competition.

In summary:

  • Beware of the “luck delusion” – assess your wins and losses honestly.
  • Quantify your beliefs – use probabilities to make your life choices.
  • Look for the win-wins in life.

Following Boeree’s keynote speech, we finally got to see the final installment of “Platform Jones and The Lost Features.” Platform Jones manages to hack into his dad’s 3DEXPERIENCE account using a hexadecimal code. Is this yet another reference to boomers?

This allows the cast to preview some of the new features in SOLIDWORKS 2024. The demo went extremely quickly, and I doubt most attendees were able to process more than a couple of the new features. It would have been nice if they had slowed things down a bit and let you actually see what was happening. It also would have allowed the audience an opportunity to clap for their favorite improvements.

A few of the highlights include:

  • One new feature allows you to save your model in different configurations to de-feature the model prior to sending it to a vendor.
  • In 2024, you will be able to apply the width constraint without worrying about order of selection.
  • You can fix all under-constrained assemblies with a simple right click and still have flexible sub-assemblies.
  • You can now insert an assembly into a part. This allows you to easily create a jig or mold for the assembly.

Following the demo, the story resumes with the cast of Platform Jones standing before a selection of data storage devices.

The cast is asked to choose the device that contains “the well of new features.” The villain chooses wrong and is sent to a different plane. Platform Jones states that for there to be an unlimited number of new features they cannot be constrained to a single device – they would have to be hosted on the cloud.

Their guide intones, “The well of features spans many global data centers.”

The cast concludes, “We had access to the well of features all along in the 3DEXPERIENCE platform.”

“The cloud enables more capabilities than ever,” exclaims Tracy B. Wells.

Gian Paolo Bassi, Executive VP of Experience Works, returned to the stage to close out the conference. He announced that the next 3DEXPERIENCE World will be held in Dallas, Texas February 11-14, 2024.

About the Author

Elise Moss has been a SOLIDWORKS user and instructor since 1998. She is a Certified SOLIDWORKS Professional (CSWP) and Certified SOLIDWORKS Educator (CSWE). She is one or two exams away from becoming a Certified SOLIDWORKS Expert (CSWE), but like most things has to figure out when she can make the time to sit for any exams. Elise is currently traveling through the United States on horseback.

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