Autodesk Labs is all about feedback. We share our ideas as technology previews early in the process. Based on your feedback, the technologies go on to make it into shipping products or die an early death. Your experience shapes the future of our technology. We're not kidding.
To make it easy for you to share your experience with us, we have a variety of mechanisms available:
email - Each technology preview has an associated email alias. The basic form is email@example.com. In Outlook terms, the alias is a distribution list. The distribution list includes a product champion from the team that delivered the technology to Labs, developers, testers, and marketing people. I am on all of the lists to make sure no emails go unanswered. Sometimes I respond personally if I know how to answer a question. Most often someone from the team with specific insight does that.
discussion forum - Some technologies have discussion forums. These are groups on http://discussion.autodesk.com. Unlike when you send us an email, when you post your feedback there, it can be seen by everyone using the technology - not just the employees on the email distribution list. Using the discussion forum creates a community feel in that your questions may be answered by other users instead of just employees.
blog comments - Each technology preview has a category on this blog. This allows you to bypass all of those non-technical posts about "what I had for breakfast" and get right to the technology you are interested in. You can leave comments on my blog post. I get an email when you do so nothing goes unnoticed. I make sure to respond to each comment. If I don't know the answer, I look around the company for someone who does - often one of the employees on the email alias. Project Butterfly also has its own blog where you can comment.
facebook - I have a Facebook account where I post items of interest. I have sharing lists based on Personal and Professional friends so most of you will only see technology related posts. This way you are spared the "what I had for breakfast" posts. Inventor Fusion, Project Bluestreak, Project Butterfly and Project Dragonfly also have product specific Facebook accounts. As technology preview accounts instead of people, these only have competitor technologies for breakfast.
So given these 3 types of feedback, how did we do last year?
You can see that email is wildly popular. Perhaps Autodesk fiscal year FY11 is the year of social media (i.e., discussion forums and facebook) where we make the shift to being more of a community. We would welcome this change. Towards that end, I will try to create a discussion forum for each new technology that we preview on Labs. The facebook decision is up to each team.
Thinking about a big group hug is alive in the lab.