Rest in Peace – Autodesk Buzzsaw
Back in early 2000
I had a job interview with a now defunct Autodesk Reseller in Pittsburgh, PA. That Reseller (VAR) was CAD Research. During the interview, Frank Lochner, the company’s founder mentioned this new product named “Buzzsaw”. I had no idea what it was. In 2000, nobody talked about “The Cloud” or “Project Collaboration”. Fortunately, we moved on to other topics that I was more comfortable with. I came away from that interview knowing that Buzzsaw was a new product from Autodesk and, should I get the job I was interviewing for, I’d be expected to learn it. I got the job.
Little did I know that later, this product named Buzzsaw would lead me down a path to start and grow this little consulting firm. Along the way, I was getting to work with some really talented people since 2006. I’m forever grateful to Frank and David Lochner for hiring me back at CAD Research, I got lucky with the opportunity they gave me. They saved me from what could have been a much less fulfilling career.
The Buzzsaw product touched, and presumably launched the careers of many. Just go to LinkedIn and search for “Autodesk Buzzsaw”. The list includes Carl Bass, former CEO of Autodesk and many other current and former Autodesk Executives.
Fast forward to the mid-2000’s
By the mid-2000’s Buzzsaw had made a name for itself as the “must-have” tool for Production Homebuilders in the US and Canada as well as some of the larger Architecture and Engineering firms. By the time the Great Recession hit in December 2007, most Production Homebuilders in the US and Canada were already using Buzzsaw to reduce paper usage, collaborate on project data, and distribute plans the their subcontractors/trade partners. It had become the de-facto industry standard.
In early 2006, Orange Blade Consultants had secured a coveted 3rd party Independent Contract Agreement with Autodesk. This was not an easy task by any stretch. It could have very easily NOT happened, and there were times that I thought that it wouldn’t. Orange Blade Consultants had existed for a matter of weeks…….how in the world was Autodesk going to name us a certified 3rd party consultant? Sandeep Hardas and Jason Pratt, two former Autodesk employees had a huge hand in the birth of Orange Blade Consultants. Without their involvement, encouragement, and trust, OBC would have never started. We wouldn’t have gotten off the ground and the idea would have died. Isn’t that the definition of “vaporware”?
From 2006 to 2010 we would be conduct training and deployment sessions with Autodesk’s customers on the Buzzsaw Platform. Many of these clients were production homebuilders in the United States. The work was steady and demanding. Lots of travel, prep work, and administrative paperwork.
Even today, coming up on our 13th year we still get asked, “Where did the name Orange Blade come from”. We love getting this question as it gives us a chance to let others know that the Orange Blade Consultants Logo was inspired by the old Autodesk Buzzsaw Logo (an orange blade). That’s right, Buzzsaw logo inspired the Orange Blade Consultants Name and Logo.
And now, 2018 (The Buzzsaw End of Life message was dated October 7, 2016). The product is no longer for sale, presumably to the favor of the BIM 360 tools from Autodesk.
To this day, we still conduct an occasional Autodesk Buzzsaw training session. That’s right, we’ve already done one this year (2017)……which is unbelievable considering how many other players there are in the the Project Collaboration space and that you can no longer purchase a New Buzzsaw Site.
Our roots run deep in the project collaboration space. It’s how we came to exist…….and how we got our name.