Autodesk goes augmented, er, automated

You might not know Autodesk well, but nearly everything in your world, from movies to cars to skyscrapers to even the shoes you wear have been designed in Autodesk’s software.

Right now I’m on Twitter’s Periscope watching Autodesk’s CEO speaking at its big conference live right now. (Separate stream on Facebook is here).

And already he is talking about automation and augmented reality.

I’ve been talking a lot with employees and execs at Autodesk (recently gave a presentation on same to its executives) and it is working with all the augmented reality glasses manufacturers, from Microsoft HoloLens to Magic Leap. So watching what it’s doing is very interesting, even if most of its customers won’t be using it in augmented reality for years.

Watching live there were few announcements about augmented reality, rather it focused on automation as a trend in building new things. Even announced a fund aimed at helping retrain workers as more jobs become automated. Hint: how will that be done? Augmented reality.

Its customers showed how it was using AI and robots to augment jobs, er, automate them. Interesting that most of the things I’ve been talking to execs about weren’t shown. It’s almost as if Autodesk realizes that augmented reality’s year isn’t coming in 2018, so it didn’t need to force new AR functions out right now. Smart move, I think, because I’m seeing the same.


If this passes Silicon Valley’s wealth generation engine will die

I’ve met with government officials all over the world and one of their first questions often is “how can we build a Silicon Valley here?” My first answer is “figure out how to keep your geeks in your country and let them get rewarded for building companies.”

Today Fred Wilson (VC who invested in Twitter amongst many others) warned us about a new bill.

In lots of places, like Australia, they have been fighting anti-stock-option laws for years. Why do they get passed? Big companies love these kinds of laws because it keeps the cost of labor down.

Remember at Microsoft how even the secretaries became millionaires? That was due to stock option rewards. I’ve seen just how these create billionaires but when a company goes big like it has for Google or Facebook or Microsoft then thousands of others see sizable rewards.

But that’s all on the back end. If you tax workers to participate in such a system most will be forced to turn it down (be honest, how many new engineeers or marketers can afford to pay even $5,000 more in taxes to cover what these might bring? I know several in that situation and they couldn’t afford it so probably would turn it down).

If this passes Silicon Valley’s wealth generation engine will die and we’ll all be harmed.

Cleaning up social media accounts …

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Lately I’ve been cleaning up my social media accounts.

I’ve been chewing through a few tasks on Twitter lately and thought I’d share what I’m doing and see if you have any other advice.

1. I’ve been unfollowing accounts that haven’t posted in the past three months with¬† Why? Because the fewer accounts you follow on Twitter the easier it all is to manage into lists, which is my next task. Also, some people look at the ratio between accounts you are following and who is following you as if that implies something deeper like true popularity. I don’t care about that, but I’m a list fanatic and I am about to build some new ones on artificial intelligence so wanted to start with just accounts that are active. So far I’ve removed about 5,000 accounts — all by hand clicking one-by-one because Twitter doesn’t let third-party apps have a “delete all” button anymore.

2. I’m blocking fake followers. These are followers that don’t do anything. They never tweet. They rarely have a profile photo. They rarely have any followers of their own. Why block? Because they mess up stats that you might show advertisers about how engaged your audience is. Also, potential advertisers look at these to see how “real” your follower numbers are and if you have too high a percentage of fake ones they hold it against you. I’m using¬† to do that work. So far I’ve blocked 13,500 fake accounts from following me (out of about 500,000 people following me). By the way, I’ve never bought followers. These are often bots designed to follow lots of people, which can be used for nefarious purposes (IE, marketing or electing people like Trump).

3. On Facebook I got rid of a bunch of groups that people had subscribed me to (I find that the fewer groups I belong to, the better my feed gets).

4. On Facebook I am going through 1,000 friend requests one-by-one to either add as friend or delete the request (which requires me to actually open their profile up and see if there’s anything on their last 20 posts that I care about).

One thing I really appreciate about Twitter is that Twitter makes it a lot easier to do these chores than, say, Facebook or LinkedIn do. I wish I had these tools on Facebook as well (I’d love to delete all friends who haven’t posted for three months, for instance).

Anyway, this is the kind of work influencers have to do behind the scenes to keep their businesses and social media accounts healthy.

Do you do anything along these lines to keep your accounts clean? Let me know at and I’ll publish any great tips.