CONFIRMED – I really got an email from Jack Dangermond

In my last post I wrote about how I received an email from “Jack Dangermond”, the president and founder of Esri.  I was skeptical that he would actually email me based on my response to the Esri User Conference pre-conference survey. I thought the email came from a marketing intern or perhaps a sales rep who was reading through the surveys.

Needless to say I was impressed (as I stated in my last post) that someone from Esri responded to my survey.  They are a big company with thousands of clients and for someone to take the time to respond to me was appreciated.

Then yesterday happened.  When I got home from work I checked my website stats for the day and I noticed that I had a number of hits from Esri (thanks Google Analytics), mostly visiting this post, this post, and then this post(!).  Then this morning I checked my blog and there was this comment on yesterday’s post from Jack Dangermond:

Thanks. While I don’t regularly read your blog, one of my colleagues sent me your comment so I wanted to make sure you understood that I did respond to you personally. I usually spend the month before the UC going through the questionnaire feedback and comments. This is a very valuable process and helps me and my colleagues here as it provides a good understanding of what users are thinking, needing and wanting regarding our technology and services.
Its not always so nice to hear about where we screw up or are behind in some way but at the same time this process gives tons of valuable guidance and many quite specific ideas. Most of our managers review this as well and I can tell you frankly that we make many small and sometimes big course corrections as a result of listening and responding.
We have limited resources. The user feedback gets us quite clear quite quickly on what our priorities should be and while we make mistakes, this mechanism as well as our other user events help us a lot.
Occasionally I personally respond directly as I did with you but mostly we try to aggregate the comments into more generic Q & A’s that are shared before the conference. Writing out the responses is also quite a good process because it often forces us to be clear and respond openly.
This is probably more than you wanted to hear about esri but I know it is one of the reasons why we are successful and perhaps it can help you understand us better….
Lunch at the UC??? maybe if you are buying.

WHAT! I like how he said that he doesn’t regularly read my blog.  Don’t worry Jack, no one else does either!

Would Bill Gates email a user directly?  Would Larry Ellison leave a comment on a blog?  Would that guy who stole the facebook idea from those twins post to a user’s wall? Probably not.  I am very impressed that Jack Dangermond took the time out of his busy schedule to send me an email and post to my blog.  I think it shows that his company really cares about what users like me think.

However, at this point I am 75% convinced that he actually emailed me and then posted on my blog.  Why not 100%?  Well, I still have to leave some room for error in case I am actually being duped.  It is the skeptic in me.

Now, Mr. Dangermond, about lunch at the UC. My people will be contacting your people to set that up.  And don’t worry, I will pay.

One last note, I still think ArcGIS Desktop should be fully 64 bit.

Until next time, GIScientists!

*And another side note.  Now that someone who is a member of the GIS Hall of Fame has read my blog I now have to go back through all of my blog posts and edit them for clarity and grammar 🙁


Is this email really from Jack Dangermond?

I am very fortunate to be attending the Esri User conference in mid-July.  At my job I use Esri software in a significant portion of my everyday workflow.  At the conference I am looking forward to meeting up with 10,000 other geo-geeks to talk GIScience, spatial database optimization, and the future of the “GIS guy” .

Like every other conference I have ever been to I received a pre-conference survey from Esri, asking a number of standard questions about how I use the software, what I would like to get out of the conference, and a number of other topics.  One of my favorite parts of the survey was where they asked for general comments.  I commented that ArcGIS (all products) should have been fully 64 bit with v10.  If you didn’t know, ArcGIS 10 works on a 64 bit machine but will only use two cores and up to four gigabytes of RAM for certain operations.  Now, those specs, are…so 2002.

Due to this amazing limitation I use Spatial SQL in Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 for a number of large and complex geo-processes.  Why so? Well, SQL Server 2008 R2 is fully 64 bit, supports geo-datatypes, has a growing number of spatial applications, and will use all of the processing power of a multi-core, 64 bit machine.

Esri followed-up my pre-conference survey with a nice email to let me know that ArcGIS Server 10.1 will be fully 64 bit, but the email I got was sent to me from no other than “Jack Dangermond“.  Check it out:

Now, I totally don’t believe that Jack Dangermond would have the time to  email me a response to a pre-conference survey.  But it was nice that someone at Esri took the time to read my response to the pre-conference survey and send me a follow-up email.  Now, Mr. Dangermond, if you really did email me (and wouldn’t it be a trip if he were reading my blog, too?) email me again and let’s set up a lunch at the user conference.  Have your people call my people…