1996 – Cadimage Employee (#2)

While I continued my studies during 1996, I was attending ArchiCAD User Group meetings and publishing the User Group Newsletter and also picked up a project along with another student creating a 3d Model for a proposed hospital. As you’ll read in a future post there was no such thing as a Student Version of ArchiCAD so I guess we did this with the licenses at the Uni but can’t remember entirely.

Anyway, throughout the year two things happened that would have a significant bearing on the future:

  1. When I was first accepted into Architecture school it was on the basis of completely a 5 Year B Arch. However, during my third year the programme was changes such that after 3 years (assuming we passed the requirements) we’d be awarded a Bachelor of Architectural Studies and then you could go on and complete the full 5-year degree. 
  2. I was in touch with Murray reasonably frequently and he was constantly mentioning that ArchiCAD (and hardware) sales were growing so well that he needed someone technical to join the team. I didn’t show huge interest but equally Murray felt I wouldn’t have the technical skills as I was studying architecture.

Come the end of the University year I had some time to fill (and money to save) before a planned trip to the UK to visit my sister and brother-in-law who were on their OE. I rang Murray up and said that while I might not be the right person, I had 6 weeks and would be interested in a job and so Murray took me on.

During my 6 weeks I did all sorts of things. I remember at the time the Murray’s daughters’ school were producing a cookbook to raise money, with some of the money being raised by local business placing adverts in the book. I think Sue may have been compiling the recipes, but I do remember designing a large array of adverts for the book. I also did more desktop publishing for some ArchiCAD sales programmes which was my first experience dealing with an offset printing company and was amazed at the quality of the output they produced. We worked extremely hard testing line weights for a high-quality working drawing on one of the promotions.

In amongst all of this I helped Murray install a number of turn-key solutions for new and expanding customers. One of these installations sticks in my mind for a couple of reasons. It was Kay and Keys architects, a new firm established by Alastair Kay and Peter Keys who had worked together at the Ministry of Works for a number of years. We were installing 2 Digital PCs, A2 Canon Printer, HP A1 Plotter, 2 ArchiCAD Licenses and 1 or 2 Artlantis licenses. This was a great but also fairly ‘standard’ sale in those days – especially considering if you bought two ArchiCAD’s at the same time, the second was 50% off – a huge incentive – but one that paid for itself as two people learn better together then one by themselves.

While I was installing things, I started talking to Alastair and Peter about their business and their work. They were very surprised to find out I was an Architecture student – they had simply assumed I was some techy guy.  This in a sense broke down a barrier and meant when I subsequently trained them a few weeks later that they knew I understood what they needed to achieve with the software not simply just how it works. 

To this day I regularly catch up with Peter and while Kay Keys grew well and did outstanding work, eventually Peter and Alastair went their separate ways. Cadimage and I were beside their business through its entire journey – I also remember having a beer one afternoon after a crisis call out where they lost a lot of work – I’m not sure if we recovered it, but our relationship survived.

I also remember another installation in the Mac based office of Deighton Gibbs where I crawled around the floor under the desks installing a peer-to-peer network. Gareth Ross was working at the from and it was great to see that since he had learned ArchiCAD he had built his “house for a watchmaker” in ArchiCAD which was great to see after our original connection a year earlier.

During my time at Cadimage many Friday evenings were spent talking about Architectural Visualisation and the work Cadimage had previously done. As I was now going to have a degree I started thinking more and more about having a break from University. Initially I was pondering setting up my own visualisation firm. However, during the six weeks Murray saw – and I convinced him – that I could do the role he had been mentioning throughout the year and on top we could re-start the currently dormant visualisation work that Cadimage had been founded on. One Friday morning Murray and I went for a coffee and Murray presented a job offer. I committed to at least two years out of university as re-establishing the visualisation would enquire time and money.

Based on my comment in an earlier post where I suggest that Debbie was employee one, with me signing an employee agreement I became Cadimage Employee Number 2.

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