Responsibility: It's Not a Four-Letter Word (Editor's Window)

30 Sep, 2008 By: Nancy Spurling Johnson

In your role as a CAD user or as a human being, step up to the plate and make the world a better place.

Perhaps you've seen them — the Liberty Mutual Insurance advertisements asking, "Responsibility: What's Your Policy?" The ad campaign is a wake-up call in this age of every man for himself.

On our increasingly crowded planet, being responsible for yourself and considerate of others makes the world a better place. You can be proactively responsible by working to ensure your actions don't negatively affect others. When you slip up, you can be responsible by admitting the mistake and repairing any damage. And, my favorite, you can be randomly responsible — by being kind at every opportunity, by giving others the benefit of the doubt, by offering unexpected assistance. Try it!

The need for responsibility is widespread; even CAD users have many responsibilities. One is adhering to CAD standards. If you disregard these basic rules of CAD file decorum, you might finish the job faster and have less to care about — but face up to it, you're ultimately just making life difficult for your CAD manager and any others who use your files downstream. You're also responsible for the integrity of your CAD models. As Mike Hudspeth discusses this month in "Assault with a Deadly CAD File," careless 3D modeling can have dire consequences, from frustrated coworkers to costly rework and development delays. You have the choice every day: Do the minimum amount of work possible to call the job done or step up to the plate and make every reasonable effort to ensure your file isn't a ticking time bomb.

I saw responsibility in action when I visited HP this summer. The company's offices in Fort Collins, Colorado, are Workstation Central, housing the teams that develop and test HP workstations for CAD and other demanding applications. HP dedicates hundreds of employees, thousands of square footage, and millions of dollars to develop quality products and satisfied customers. This is a business decision, no doubt, but I met dozens of employees that day who clearly make it a personal mission. In this case, like every other, being responsible means you can be proud.

Good people are doing good things at other companies as well, such as SolidWorks, which is built on its reputation of putting users first, and CNC Software, which has a corporate policy to be environmentally friendly and socially responsible.

At Cadalyst, I see personal responsibility all around me. I am fortunate to have an amazingly productive staff and incredibly responsive contributing writers. Our success also relies on volunteer effort and participation. For example, members of the Cadalyst Tip Patrol work unpaid to ensure the quality of CAD tips before they are published in our Tips & Tools Weekly e-newsletter. Members of the Cadalyst Discussion Forums routinely bail a fellow CAD user out of a jam. One such person is Len Nemirovsky, who has contributed hundreds of CAD tips, customized code, tidbits of advice, and every other form of old-fashioned support via Cadalyst and his own Web site, Better Than Nothing AutoLISP. Why go so far above and beyond? Len lives by the credo, "Whenever ideas are shared, the result is always greater than the sum of the parts." That generosity of spirit is the essence of responsibility.

On the subject of staff and contributors, I'd like to close by introducing Amanda Burhop, Cadalyst's new assistant editor. Amanda will be responsible for writing Cadalyst's daily news as well as supporting magazine and e-newsletter editing and production. And many of you are already familiar with blogger Melanie (Stone) Perry, AKA "Mistress of the Dorkness." Melanie comes on board as a feature writer for Cadalyst's AEC Tech News e-newsletter. We're so fortunate to have them both on our team.

About the Author: Nancy Spurling Johnson

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