Real Rewards program has ended

At the SolidWorks World 2008, there was an announcement of a program that would reward users for bringing in new customers.  Though this program involved more than one facet, the spearhead effort appeared via their Real Rewards website.  Real Rewards gave rewards to individuals who submitted the emails of their colleagues.  These colleagues would then be given the opportunity to receive a free trail of SolidWorks.  If SolidWorks was purchased as a result of the referral, the user would receive one of various rewards.  The first tier was a box full of goodies.  The second tier (for two successful referrals) was a sound system.  The third tier was an all-in-one HP printer/copier/fax/scanner.  I believe the fourth tier was a fancy monitor.  For five successful referrals, the reward was a middle of the road computer.

Due to my previous articles, I submitted over 100 referrals (all of which were requested by commenting on my blog).  Out of those, there was 2 actual sales.  This is actually more than I expected.  Though a modest success for me, the program was not so successful overall.  According to Bill Taylor of SolidWorks Corp., the volume of participation was very low.  Though SolidWorks did conduct market research with promising results before starting this program, they found that participation was no where near expectations.

So the program ended in mid-2009.  Unfortunately, the Real Rewards website was not taken down until December 2009.  This means that I was merrily submitting a few requests for trial copies that never received a response.

There are new offers available from SolidWorks Corp.  There is an education trial version of SolidWorks which is available for students.  Also, a recent discount program was selling SolidWorks Premium practically for half price.  Check out the SolidWorks website for current offers.

SolidWorks is easy to learn

Based on my recent unscientific research, SolidWorks seems like it is an easy application to learn.  In one poll, I asked for preference of educational choices for new employees not familiar with SolidWorks.  A second poll asked how current users actually learned SolidWorks.  The results are a little surprizing.

Of the respondents to the first poll, just slightly over 50% said they would teach SolidWorks to new employees on the job by mentoring them.  Just under 50% said they would send their employee to VAR classes.

In the second poll, the overwhelming majority stated that they are self-taught in the use of SolidWorks.  Some questions comes to mind.  If SolidWorks is so easy to learn, do the VAR classes serve any purpose?  Or, is it that the VAR classes are so ineffective that one is forced to learn on their own?

My own experience in sending new employees to VAR taught introductory SolidWorks classes have yielded mixed results.  They do not seem effective in many cases.  In fact, the VAR classes actually seem to be turning off some individuals to the use of SolidWorks.  It may be that there is just too much information crammed into the short 3 to 5 day courses.

SolidWorks is easy enough to learn without classes.  Classes should simply be used to provide a head start.  Instead, in some cases they seem to have the opposite effect.  Maybe the classes need to be broken down a bit.  Perhaps the introductory class can take a slower pace and focus on core skills over the 3 days.  Then, more complex skills can be taught in an intermediate class over another 3 days.  (The current advanced classes offered by VARs would likely remain the same.)