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Speaking with Graphisoft CEO

reprinted by permission of Ralph Grabowski, editor

March 24, 2003

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I spoke last week with Graphisoft's not-quite-so-brand-new CEO, Ray Small. After one year on the job, he considers himself still "the new kid on the block," yet a technology skeptic. He lacks CAD experience, being formerly with Oracle and the Gartner Group. Being based in Budapest, Graphisoft was primarily run by Hungarians; Mr Small is the first exception.

Mr Small sees Graphisoft's problem as lacking marketshare potential -- rather than lacking technical expertise in its products. So, he's trying to balance engineering (neat features) with execution (sales). Part of that was to hire new people to head up worldwide sales, marketing, and so on.

While Graphisoft is best known for its ArchiCAD architectural design software, the company is also strong in facilities management and provides links to other software, such as structural steel design and construction documents. The company is very strong on IFCs for data exchange, but admits that IFCs will take 20-25 years to be fully defined, just like STEP. The problem with XML, said Mr Small, is that it's a point-to-point solution [there are so many incompatible flavors of XML]; Graphisoft is, however, supporting gbXML, the green buildings dialect of XML.

Throughout the phone interview, much reference was made to Revit, and how Revit customers are getting frustrated with its constraints. Al Moulton, head of Graphisoft US, joined in to say that the his job is to "knock off Autodesk best I can in the AEC industry."

The company has 100,000+ users in 80 countries. www.graphisoft.com.

About the Author

Ralph Grabowski is an editor at upFront.eZine Publishing, Ltd. (previously known as XYZ Publishing, Ltd.). Ralph is the author of 60 books and several hundred articles for dozens magazines and newsletters about CAD, graphics, and the Internet.

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