Interview with Lynn Allen, Autodesk blogger and evangelist

Lynn Allen is one the most popular bloggers in the CAD world (Lynn blogLynn on Pulse). She is also a sort of ambassador for AutoCAD, promoting this CAD system in every context. In a world of stodgy CAD executives and unexciting CAD geeks, she brings a sparkling touch, feminine charm, and a solid technical knowledge. Lynn Allen loves AutoCAD users, and AutoCAD users love Lynn Allen, and everywhere she appears she is received with the same excitement of a movie star. Here is my interview with Lynn.

Lynn, can you tell us a bit about yourself?

I am currently the Autodesk Technical Evangelist and have been in the CAD industry for about 25 years. I present to about 30,000 users each year and enjoy keeping our customers updated on the latest products (as well as sharing tips and tricks). I have had a monthly column in Cadalyst magazine for about 16 years and am the author of several books on AutoCAD. I am very passionate about all things Autodesk. When I am not traveling for Autodesk I enjoy time spent at home with my husband and our very spoiled dog.

You are one of the most (if not the most) popular bloggers for the AutoCAD users’ community. Can you share with us your approach to blogging?

I aim to share Autodesk software tips and techniques that will help the reader be more productive immediately as well as keep them updated on Autodesk news they might find valuable. I also try to balance a bit of a personal side to my blog so the readers can identify with me as a real person (which I am). Where possible I try to inject some humor, since, let’s face it, technical blogs can get pretty dry.

You recently started posting on Twitter. How has your experience been so far and how is it different from blogging?

I will be the first to admit that while I enjoy twittering…I am not exactly sure why I twitter! It is a very low stress means of sharing information that I can do just about anywhere – which works out perfectly for me because I often have an intense travel schedule. I liken it to virtual stalking and for some reason we want to gather as many virtual stalkers as possible.

With release 2010 Autodesk puts AutoCAD under the spotlight not only as a standalone application but also as a complement to other design applications. What is the role of AutoCAD when other CAD systems are used in a design environment?

More often than not I find that were there is one of Autodesk’s higher end products such as Revit Architecture or Autodesk Inventor, there is also an AutoCAD. While the high end design challenges are tackled in the modeling software, AutoCAD is still often used for the detailing or the construction docs. The 3D models are intelligent and extremely valuable – but let’s face it – we still get paid to churn out 2D documents. Often that is where AutoCAD comes into play.

Autodesk competitors dismissed AutoCAD long ago as obsolete. Despite their expectations AutoCAD is still the most popular CAD software and is even seeming to enjoy a renewed vitality. Can you help us understand why?

Our customers love AutoCAD, plain and simple. Autodesk has worked hard to continue to innovate the product and keep it current. This year Autodesk added in some more powerful 3D features as well as parametrics. These types of features really kick up the power of the software and keep our customers coming back for more! It certainly isn’t your grandfather’s AutoCAD if you know what I mean.

What type of feedback do you receive from end users and how do you share that feedback with the people inside your company?

I am fortunate because I get a chance to share the newest features in AutoCAD with a live audience. I get instant positive feedback when I share the latest features that are going to make their everyday drawing life even better. I also get the occasional negative feedback and want to make sure any issues or disappointment is addressed with those who can do something about it. I have a few go-to resources in the company who can usually point me in the right direction to provide such feedback to those who can make changes within Autodesk.

I would like to thank Lynn for taking the time to answer my questions. If you have any questions for Lynn or for Novedge, please leave a comment below and we will be glad to answer.

Franco Folini

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