Hello, Dear AUGI member!
As we wrap up the first half of 2012, I thought I would try and give a more specific update on being an AUGI member. As you know, we have a lot of different membership benefits, but in many cases members find a niche and just stay there. My hope is to raise your awareness on other benefits you may be missing out on.
Our first and foremost membership benefit is our website. This is the primary source of activities within the organization. You can be off-net and get some benefits, but not many. Such is the nature of a multi-industry, multi-national, and dare I say, virtual organization. During 51 weeks of the year, interaction within AUGI is pretty much locked into the website offerings. It is that one week a year during Autodesk University that many members finally put names to faces and network in person.
So what is on the website? First, our publications. During the last year, both AUGIWorld and AUGI HotNews have been refreshed and refocused, reaping rewards both within AUGI and out in the Autodesk industry. One of the coolest features of these publications is that they offer members like you a chance to gain worldwide exposure through your direct contribution. The AUGI Forums is our “claim to fame”. Autodesk users worldwide find insight and help using their software to the highest level possible by leveraging our million+ posts. That is where many of our authors hone their craft on the way to being published.
Speaking of the forums, in a recent survey, members rated the forums the #1 benefit of membership. We even have some members with +7,000 posts! Personally, I don't have more than 500 posts to my credit, but we each serve in our own way (I'm sure I have cracked 7,000 emails over the years). But certainly, the forums are a prime reason AUGI even exists.
Next is the AUGI Wish List System (WLS). We have been collecting wishes for years, but the new WLS takes this to a higher level. In the past, the wish list process was labor-intensive and sporadic. We would collect, filter, and vote on wishes at single periods of time during the year. Inasmuch as that may be more fun (the intensity can be entertaining), the results were not as good as your AUGI team would have liked.
So the new WLS is doing it differently. We are in collect, filter, rank, and vote mode all year long. Now the mechanics are much more complicated obviously, but the results are that Autodesk now has the wish information the moment they need the information. It may come as a surprise to some that it takes more than one year to take an idea and create a new feature in some application. You first get the idea, then develop a scope (functionality), then prototype the functionality, and finally measure the value to customers and others. If they favor the features, then you start programming and follow that with alpha and beta testing.
The hard fact is that alpha/beta testing happens for six months (or more) before product release. And if Autodesk traditionally releases in April, that means testing began in October the previous year. Working backward, we find that many teams start on the next release the day after a successful product launch.
But these are general trends; not all products follow the same pattern. So, by AUGI making the WLS available to Autodesk when they need it, your ideas are heard (inserted into its product design process) at the best possible point in time. It should be no shock that Autodesk wants to create the best products and with compelling features. If AUGI members do their part, Autodesk will do theirs.
The next great benefit of AUGI membership is volunteerism. YES, that is a benefit. In many organizations you, as a single member, can have trouble actually contributing to the growth and success of your organization. AUGI offers the external opportunities described above, as well as internal leads, such as forum moderator, administrator, membership assistant, and even trade show staff for something like AU. We call these people AUGI DAUG's, a play off the annual “Top Daug” contest.
Finally, there’s networking. Both virtually and in-person, connecting with others who what you do is a huge benefit. At my very first AU (a long time ago), I met a publisher of an AutoCAD book I had recently purchased. It was a conversation with him that led to my doing a book review, technical editing, authoring and the many books that followed. That exposure helped me find others whom I could both help and be helped by over the years. Networking is absolutely priceless.
I could carry on, but this letter is getting a bit long. You, the AUGI member, have a lot to take advantage of. But the onus is on you. You have to come and reap the rewards. I feel very confident that once you taste all that you have available, you will get hooked and be here a while (just like me)!