Today is Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The words in this YouTube video about Autodesk employees using a Raspberry Pi computer to read to the blind may sound familiar. I have the day off. Let's have some fun.
There are various parts of Autodesk that reach out into the world — each catering to a specific community. In looking at the Autodesk Beta program versus Autodesk Labs, I created the diagram above. The parts of the company included:
- Autodesk Education students.autodesk.com — part of our Reputation, Consumer, and Education division
- Autodesk Research www.autodesk.com/research — part of our Office of the CTO
- Autodesk Labs labs.autodesk.com — part of our Office of the CTO
- Autodesk Beta beta.autodesk.com — distributed among the various product development teams
- Autodesk Subscription Center subscription.autodesk.com — part of Global Customer Support and Operations
- Autodesk Dealer Network partners
- Autodesk Developer Network adn.autodesk.com — part of our Worldwide Sales and Service division
The communities that these teams reach out to include:
- research community
- early adopters (consumers and professionals willing to experiment with technology previews)
- testers (customers who help prepare products for release)
- subscription holders
- customers (superset of previous 3 listed above; not all customers are on subscription)
As turns out Autodesk Labs is very similar to Autodesk Beta. Both are based on software that is not a product yet. Both are driven by feedback. There are two key differences.
- TIMING: One is that technology previews happen much earlier in the life cycle than betas.
- PARTICIPATION: The second is that betas are conducted under non-disclosure agreements, but technology previews are wide open to the general public. Participation on betas is by invitation from the product managers.
Each Autodesk community has its own purpose and value. At Autodesk, we have different teams that address the needs of each community. Some are more alike than others, but we don't have a one size fits all approach.
Comparison is alive in the lab.