An Interview with Roopinder Tara, CEO of TenLinks

Roopinder Tara is the President, CEO, editor and founder of TenLinks.com, the popular website that is a reference for the online CAD, CAM and CAE community. In the ever changing Internet world TenLinks has been a reliable source of information for many years. Roopinder is the man behind TenLinks. If you are curious to know more about Roopinder and how he provides such an important service to all of us, enjoy the interview below.

Roopinder, can you tell us a bit about yourself and your company?

TenLinks is an online media company specializing in CAD, CAM and CAE. I am the editor and founder. I have been somehow involved in CAD since I graduated with an engineering degree, having worked as an engineer, FEA analyst, CAD manager, CAD professor, editor of CAD magazine, CAD software manager (TurboCAD) and my latest adventure as CAD editor for TenLinks.

TenLinks has grown from a simple collection of links to becoming the reference website for the online CAD/CAM community. What are the key features that keep attracting thousands of visitors every day?

no search engine can determine the best AutoCAD shareware sites

TenLinks.com is based on the simple principle that ten links found by a subject expert are more valuable than ten thousand found by a search engine. No search engine can determine the best AutoCAD shareware sites, for example. It takes someone who is interested in CAD to do that. Also, our news service (including our newsletter TenLinks Daily) has been the most popular and reliable source of information – which refers thousands of viewers to our sites.

TenLinks is the most visible of your CAD/CAM connected websites. What is the role of each website in the TenLinks constellation, and what are the relationships among them?

we started a CAD service called Innovate3D to make 3D parts and online catalogs

TenLinks.com was our first site and is our cornerstone. TenLinks, Inc. went on to buy CADdepot.com, which is about AutoCAD shareware. We created CADdigest.com to find and organize tutorials, tips and reviews for almost every CAD, CAM and CAE software. I have a personal blog called CAD Insider. Most recently we started a CAD service called Innovate3D to make 3D parts and online catalogs.

You wrote several interesting reports about user conventions and other events that gather CAD users and experts. In a time where everything seems to happen online, some traditional live events are still very popular. What do you bring home with you from attending those events that you can’t get online?

less than 1% of CAD users ever attend these (traditional live) events

I get most of my information online as do our readers. However, when a major software product is being introduced or updated, I like to take a more active role, ask questions, discuss it with users, or use it myself. I can’t do that from the office. Less than 1% of CAD users ever attend these events, so I can go and bring back that information for them.

You are a blogger yourself, and you witness the growth of blogs in the CAD community. In your opinion, are blogs and bloggers merely spectators of the game or are they starting to have some influence on CAD users and companies?

CAD companies are definitely paying attention (to blogs)

< p>The ease of blogging and the accessibility of blogs (many are free and are easy to set up) have created an information revolution. All the rules are changing. Now everybody can publish — not just a few authors or editors. CAD companies are definitely paying attention. Every CAD company I know has people who read CAD blogs – I think some are even addicted to them. I’ve had CAD executives remark upon a blog entry in a meeting which I had posted only minutes before in my hotel room. Of course, the quality of blogs varies – even day to day. Some are set up and abandoned. It’s created a challenge for us at TenLinks – we now have hundreds more places to look every day for news and information.

The way Internet users access and consume content (news, comments, tutorials, reviews, etc.) is rapidly changing. How does TenLinks adapt to these changes?

we now have a team of editors that actively monitor hundreds of sites

From the start, TenLinks was built around the Internet and how information flows on it. We have always tried to find and sort that information and then present it in a clear and concise way. Our ongoing challenge is that the amount of information is growing rapidly. Blogs, mentioned above, are just one area of expansion. In the beginning, we had one person (me) who scanned a few dozen sites for news and information. We now have a team of editors that actively monitor hundreds of sites as well as receive news from a variety of sources. And those resources are likely to grow. Still, I like to think nothing about CAD, CAM and CAE escapes our notice.

You witness the evolution of CAD systems from a privileged position as a journalist and editor. What do you see as the more interesting trends in the CAD/CAM world that are more likely to affect CAD users?

I think I have the best job in the world

I think I have the best job in the world — I get to see the latest greatest technologies and meet the people who create them. As far as CAD, CAM and CAE software, the most important trend has been the migration to 3D, an idea that has finally gained traction.

How does your writing style and approach change when you write as a blogger compared to when you write as a journalist or an editor?

the most readable blogs are more casual and conversational in style

I think the most readable blogs are more casual and conversational in style so I try to pattern CAD Insider that way. I’m less likely to agonize about a typo in blog, for example, as often my goal is to post something quickly, get it out of my head and onto the Internet. A news or feature article that would appear in a magazine may be better researched and more considered, and there is certainly a place for that, but with blogs the advantage is speed at which information can be made available.

I would like to thank Roopinder Tara for the interview today. If you have any questions for Roopinder or for Novedge, please leave a comment below and we will be glad to answer.

Franco Folini

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