Sketchup Blog - News and Notes from the Sketchup folks

Super Modelers visit Boulder, Colorado

Nearly two weeks have passed since we held our first Super Modeler Conference in Boulder, Colorado, but we’re still talking about it as if it happened yesterday.

I’ll admit that we were initially a bit apprehensive about the idea. The thought of bringing together more than twenty modelers with nothing in common apart from their efforts to publish 3D buildings in Google Earth was, well, a little unnerving. Would the anticipated language barriers result in blank stares? Would they be a happy, enthusiastic group of SketchUp fanatics, or an angry mob of people eager to criticize our ideas, products or process? Adding to the pre-event uncertainty was the fact that the only information we had about any of them was their chosen nickname and their email address. Who were “Sittingduck” and “ArtExplorer” anyway?

As they began to trickle through our front door and find a seat in the conference room a picture began to emerge. The first surprise was that our so-called "super modelers" were all men! Are there no women modelers? Ages varied from school-aged “kids” to those well into their retirement.

We kicked-off the day with a group exercise designed to help folks learn more about each other. One of the questions that we asked in this session was, “What motivated you to start modeling buildings for Google Earth”? We consider ourselves 3D fanatics, but what drives these folks? The answers ranged from “It’s just plain fun” to “I model buildings for my work”, with lots of variation in-between. It was fascinating hear these modelers share their stories and demo their favorite work.

We structured the two-day event such that there was equal amounts of time for the super modelers to tell us what they were thinking, and for us to share product ideas that we’ve been kicking around. Throughout the event, the room was packed with Googlers who were eager to listen to what our invited guests had to say. Google Software Engineers and Product Managers soaked-up ideas and listened to pain-points that would help guide our product development in the future. We took copious notes!

By the end of the second day I found myself wishing we had more time together. We were just getting to know our new friends when it was time to say goodbye.

In the end, I think this was a great learning experience for everyone. Even the highly proficient super modelers were scribbling notes during our modeling “tips & tricks” sessions led by our internal product experts. While the outcomes are still being discussed, one thing was certain – we plan to repeat the event again next year. Time and venue TBD, but we’re already looking forward to it.

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Unknown said...

I think this was an awesome idea! I am also obsessed with geo modeling ( I have 71 models accepted so far) and it also made me wonder why so many were men??? by the way, I am a not male, I'm of the female gender, but just as obsessed with the fun of geo modeling. With the names that we all go by, it's hard to tell I guess.
Great idea for a conference!

tomcioZG said...

Thank you for the invitation once again. Be in Boulder is an incredible experience. Best from Poland.

Pablo Oneto said...

im looking forward to the "Why I model" video on youtube! ;)

John said...
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Eloi Raiol said...

I loved it! I learned a lot and I was surprised, I also believe it could
one more day would be perfect.
thank you for the opportunity!


John said...
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John said...

As an attendee, I can say it was a very informative and rewarding experience. An extra day of conference could no doubt have been as equally full as the first two day-long sessions.
New friendships were established with Google staff members as well as the international delegates.
If any ladies are invited to the next conference of this type, they can rest assured of at least meeting some very friendly and intelligent lady staff members who occupy key roles in the Google management.

Ron Hall76 said...

Great time was had by all. Still pinching myself. Google folks are the best!

lkligge said...

Thanks once again for the special experience.

Unknown said...

Thank you for something so truly unforgettable! I'll be holding on to a tiny kernel of hope for any similar events in the future. :)

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