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Avid Technology, Inc. Message Board

  • nothing_worthwhile nothing_worthwhile Aug 16, 2001 9:58 AM Flag

    Fingers crossed...

    Looks like maybe we've seen the bottom, eh? The sellers have sold, and the big money seems to be in the buys.

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    • @@.....boy, you have way too much time on your hands. It must be from your having just finished the latest ground breaking 3-D project at some studio where there are 20 animators in a dark room with cubicles.....tell ya what, let's check back in about 9-12 months and see where XSI/Avid is....

      Now you're twisting things. What I've been saying all along is what Avid must do to get back in the game. Softimage has the right approach, Avid corporate does not as they're still in yesteryear. What Siggraph did was open the eyes of a few key people at Avid on how to approach customers as the Softimage booth was very busy despite it's current low (but rising) market share.

      Softimage can do everything right and still get the axe - that's Avid's decision, not SI's. What counts is who makes inroads within their respective markets. Within that context, I bet on Softimage as they have the potential to run the tables and collect major customers with SGI and A|W in trouble.


      @@....as the editing business hits the wall for Avid (thanks Apple),

      I don't think Apple has much to do with the editting business hitting the wall. Consumer line, possibly, but not the editting. I think it has more to do with Avid not changing their ways fast enough to meet current market conditions and trends. Again, you're thinking old Avid.

    • .....boy, you have way too much time on your hands. It must be from your having just finished the latest ground breaking 3-D project at some studio where there are 20 animators in a dark room with cubicles.....tell ya what, let's check back in about 9-12 months and see where XSI/Avid is....as the editing business hits the wall for Avid (thanks Apple), the golden goose won't be laying the same eggs she used to, and that means more cuts......hmm, let me think, Digi or Soft? Place your bets now......

    • No, you've missed the point. You're mind is still stuck on the way things used to be, not how they are now. The whole tech industry has moved (or is moving) downstream regardless of product. Charging 200K for software doesn't cut it anymore - that's why the low cost softwares are making killings these days as not much separates "realtime" high end software from lower end software accelerated apps. In the past, to get a decent decent editting solution you had to pop for it. Today you can choose Adobe, Nothing Real, Silicon Grail, Pirhana, whatever all according to your needs. Customer arent' stupid so they purchase low cost in bundles to employ several people to work on different facets of production rather than put all their eggs in one basket and be stuck with a machine that does one thing at a time.

      Softimage recognized this trend years ago by selling DS for 100K, but Avid jacked up the price to the current 137,500 and hampering it's sales. By reducing price, you increase your volume (to a point). The problem is that Avid hasn't figured this out.

      When Digital Domain made Titanic, did they use Maya for all their 3D work? nope. They did modelling in Lightwave. Why? because it was cheap so they could employ several people and get more work done. When it came to editting, did they only use Discreet Flame/Inferno? nope, they popped for volume of low cost seats of shake, avid, and other products. The only studios still looking for the 200K pop all-in-one-solutions, are the post houses. Everybody else goes for the low cost in volume solution. There's more "everybody else" than post houses. Think about it.

      @@..." have you ever heard of Cost of Sales? Avid can't afford to have guys running around trying to make "lots of small sales."

      Au contraire, they can't afford not to. You're still thinking like an old Avid person. Wake UP!!! Like I said before, you have to sell to the small guy as he's the one that will expand and require more licenses. Why? Because 3D is much more technically involved and you can't just change softwares on the dime like in 2D where all you're really concerned with is your EDL. In 3D, once you start something in one package, you have to keep going - there's no easy way out. In order to make sure your software is used when the company grows, you have to plant the seeds at it's roots.

      3D is a rapidly growing market and Avid has started to realize this. The profit from an individual sale of 3D software may be lower, but the volume will more than make up for it. When you run a 3D animation studio for TV, movies or games, your talking about 20 animators or more. When you sell edit suites, you're talking what? 2 or 3 tops?

      What you don't realize is that selling 3D software isn't just about selling a copy of XSI and only XSI, it's about introducing the customer to the rest of the Avid product line for future needs. Animators need editting, compositing, and networking too, so where do you think they'll look turn when the time comes? That's right, Avid (if sales guy did his job). It's *very* important that sales run streets and get their feet in doors. If they wait until the studios are established, it'll be too late. A studio established on 3DSMax, for example, is more likely to go with Discreet for finishing, not Avid. There's at least 200K lost right there all because somebody couldn't take the time to get a smaller sale in the beginning.

      @@By the way, have you talked to an XSI sales guy lately?

      Do you know Bill Hite? He had the right idea when DS debuted a few years ago. He went to Softimage clients and made a lot of quick sales because they know what it means to have a seamless end-to-end solution. Today he still goes after 3D clients because they'll need editting sooner or later. By visiting now, he makes the sale before the sale so to speak. This is how he's become the most successful DS salesman and what Avid, and you, s

    • ....way to go SI-man, you've missed the point again. How in the world do you expect Avid to continue growing when, as you say, "...It's not about making one
      killer sale, it's about making lots of small sales, which in turn,
      grow over time..." have you ever heard of Cost of Sales? Avid can't afford to have guys running around trying to make "lots of small sales." The company is built on the big killer sales (if you understood what a $200+MM quota feels like, you'd know where their VP of Sales is coming from.) So, love the product, love the market, but face it - there is no real money left in selling these tools. They need to go to very low end sales channels - not Avid's strength. By the way, have you talked to an XSI sales guy lately?

    • You really don't know the 3D business - that much is very obvious.

      @@Just talk to any of the major effects houses who are using Maya now and ask if they plan on changing over to XSI any time soon.

      With SGI on it's deathbed, you better believe they're thinking of a switch. Even if Alias|Wavefront is sold off, they'll be tied up in red tape for at least 6 months while the lawyers sort things out. Softimage went through it twice as the customers know it all too well and aren't going to stick around. Many Maya animators are former Softimage animators in Maya clothing just yearning for a reason to switch back. If Alias|Wavefront is sold off they'll definitely switch as nobody likes using the same version of a software for 2 years in a row when competitors are raking in bucks with the new stuff from somebody else. Remember, Softimage used to much own the market, people won't have any qualms coming back to a familiar face on the rise again - like old time when things were good.


      The 3D business isn't DEAD. It's evolving like almost everything else on this planet. Instead of being an exclusive market for the big studios with money, it's now a lower cost market spread across a much larger user base where a lot of the new 3D buyers are animators, not businessmen. 3D is a common thing these days, not a novelty like it was for much of the 80's/90's. Therefore the prices can come down for products as support can be more easily be obtained for R+D.

      In the current business model, the new customers are small shops of versatile animators, not niche craftsman. These people need workflow features as they don't have an available channel to offload tasks - they have to do everything themselves. 5 minutes to run a tape to a studio, converting geometry between softwares, renaming files for video output, quantizing video, remodelling scenes from corruption, etc - all turn profits into loss very quickly for these people. The 3D industry is no longer about selling 300 licenses to ILM or Pixar (they still count however). It's about growing the user base through the small guy. Why? Because the successful small guy is the fastest growing business and those people will need more licenses as their business grows. If he's using 3DSMax now, chances are he'll expand with 3DSMax when the studio grows. It's often impossible to make a switch as doing so would derail the business. That's why it's important for Softimage/Avid/whoever, to sell to the small guy before the competitor gets there first. The first sale may only be a few thousand dollars, but for a good product and savvy saleman who stays on top of things, those few thousand very quickly turn into 100K+ revenue generators when the studios expand. This same pattern holds true for everything else that business will need - editting/compositing, networking, storage, etc.. If Softimage grows, then so does Avid as customers will need products to interface with Softimage XSI for these tasks. In essence, Softimage becomes the front door into the rest of Avid. If Avid screws Softimage, then they're screwing themselves. That much became obvious during Siggraph with the overwhelming turnout at the Softimage booth. Avid people scratched their heads wondering what all the buzz was about until somebody explained it to them. It's not about making one killer sale, it's about making lots of small sales, which in turn, grow over time. It's a much more dependable and stable business model as sales are spread over time. Loyalty to the small guy makes the big guy grow. Loyalty only to the big guy makes the big guy very small, very fast.

      Finally, my maintenance has always been current. I'm a professional with many years experience in studios big and small. I don't need to steal my way to nickels and dimes, I manke dollars on the quality and reputation of my services and talents. Again, this not based on "enthusiasm" for a product - it's based on "many years

    • stick_avid_up_your_ass stick_avid_up_your_ass Aug 28, 2001 12:48 PM Flag

      Maybe someone could tell me if im wrong, but I thought XSI didnt go through the Avid sales channel ? I know Softimage has their own sales people for XSI but am not sure if this is worldwide.

      I hope they dont use Avid people as those guys are complete idiots and are hated by most people, Particularly theie own customers :).

      I think you are underestimating the power of workflow in the marketing and selling of a product. Effects houses will use the best tools for the job and if they decide that XSI can make their pipeline quicker or easier as well as maintaining quality then they will go with it.

      As I think someone mentioned in a earlier post most houses exclusivity contracts with Alias are coming to a close so they are free to shop around, and what with SGI's trouble maybe they will consider looking elsewhere. Also remember it will only take one major house to switch to XSI to make the others sit up and take notice.


      As always do your own research

    • ...you have mistaken your enthusiasm for the product as some reason for Avid to maintain enthusiasm for this business. My point has nothing to do with the tool (I have no doubt it has worked out significant workflow isues.) My point is that the BUSINESS is dead. Just talk to any of the major effects houses who are using Maya now and ask if they plan on changing over to XSI any time soon.....do you think the typical Avid sales guy (with a $XX million dollar quota) has the time to even say "XSI"? and if he did, who is going to do the heavy lifting to do lengthy evaluations (Avid animators RIP, or, better yet, resellers) so that big effects houses can, at the end, say "sure, i'll buy, at 75% discount of the list price."....Please, I love your enthusiasm for the product, but if you're a user, I bet you haven't even paid for maintenence in the past 3 years!! Now how the hell is anyone supposed to make a business on customers like you??.......or, you're probably some engineer in montreal who lived Sumatra to it's natural and unfortunate conclusion.....so get on with it and get your "3DMax for Idiots" book while Borders still has them in stock.....but everyone should do their own research

    • You missed my point completely.

      I agree, 3D is not Avid's main business, but integrating production from end-to-end is, and that's where Softimage comes in. Softimage started the whole integration thing with Digital studio back in the early 90's and now continue it with XSI. It wasn't easy to develop as evidenced by the long road to recovery, but it's paying off as others are starting to do the same, but with less flexible architectures to do so as they've only recently begun the process. It'll be a while before it becomes even more obvious, but Avid|Softimage is in very good position to move in and take this market. XSI has to mature a bit before the market bites, but I anticipate XSI v3.0 being the moment that the market does indeed accept XSI as the new leader in 3D. And once the 3D market is bought, who do you think the customers are going to turn to for editting and other related stuff?....that's right, to a degree, Avid because they already have the hooks in place to connect. Think of XSI as the door into the rest of Avid and not some bottom feeder that collects scraps on a side business.

      I don't base my comments/outlooks on enthusiasm, I base it on past and present experience. When I said the Softimage of the 90's is coming back, I wasn't referring to the physical people, I was referring to the foresight and credibility they carry with the name - some of those folks are still in Montreal in the places that count. The past few years weren't good to Softimage because they delivered late on a promise for whatever reason and didn't put much effort into existing products, but now the promise is becoming reality and people are starting to notice. Softimage had one of the busiest booths as Siggraph this year.

      Today's biggest hurdles in production are workflow roadblocks - not individual features such as particles, hair, what else you can think of. At present, Maya and 3DSmax may have more features because they've been around a bit longer, but XSI has the workflow over both of them. When the other features trickle into XSI, it'll be a hands down winner because you will be able to go from A to Z without having to traverse through file formats, conversion softwares, and other obstacles which have long been the biggest headaches and *costs* in production. If XSI's compositor can allow you to dump your seat of Shake, then 12K for 3D is a very appealing price. XSI will gain revenue on volume as it did years ago. The web is now maturing as are games - two arenas Softimage already has their foot in the door. With Avid's collection of code (Matador, Elastic Reality, Illusion, etc..) even if they're collecting dust now, who knows, perhaps they can be inserted into XSI where they'll become instant hits. Again, the reason these dusty code bases are collecting dust is not because of lack of quality, but instead, lack of implementation. Artists don't like difficult products no matter how good they are, but give them a high quality easy to use product, and they'll be all over it like ants on a picnic. If Matador somehow made it into XSI as 3D paint, that would be a major statement by Softimage as Matador is probably the best paint package on the market. That combined with a compositor and all the other bells and whistles makes XSI an appealing purchase even if you're not in 3D simply because you can get the best of breed for a low price. Think about it, 12K for a compositor, best of breed paint, and best of breed 3D - heck dump the 3D and keep the paint and compositing and it's still a steal. You'd have to pay 25K (or more) to get the equivalent from Alias|Wavefront, and discreet doesn't even offer quality paint or integrated compositing (combustion is not "integrated").

      Think about it, XSI is *a* door into the rest of Avid, not the other way around.

    • "The BIG Picture"? I thought that the person that came up with that term was recently let go? The SoftImage of the early 90's is dead and anyone that was connected with that success is long gone - burnt by Avid. You're right, SoftImage didn't go to the scrapheap, only the people that created it and knew about the product did! If they thought outside the box, then they would have been successful selling into new markets - that hasn't happenned either. You should be an insider based on your viewpoints! Go Woowieman!!!

    • I don't necessarily disagree with your comments (except the part about me being an idiot, shame on you, this isn't personal).....but the problem is that Avid's business model is based on an Average Selling Price of above $25k, and any products that don't hit that number or above (a) don't get any attention from the sales people, (b) get lost in the shuffle of product development priorities (face it, storage is a better business for Avid than 3-D), and (c) face the wrath of the hatchet when a bad quarter arises. Oh yes, not to mention the utter collapse of the 3-d market (and I mean "market, i.e. place to sell with customers buying). Yes, i'm sure you're in love with the technology, along with every other XSI user, but you and your enthusiasm unfortunately do not constitute a business model that makes sense for a struggling monolithic behemoth like Avid. If it comes down to a choice between Digi and Soft, who do you think will get the nod? And if the previous Softies couldn't pull off an insider buyout (undoubtedly supported by Langois) than what makes you think that any of the current management in montreal (if you can call them that) have the nerve and brains to pull it off?? ......No my friend, all the enthusaism and love for a product in the world can not save the XSI-tanic when the whole industry is in the shape it's in....but of course, judge for yourself.

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