Tomorrow marks the 25th anniversary of my joining Autodesk. The years have literally flown by. To bathe in the nostalgia of the event, I decided to go up into the loft and dig through my old photos, to see what I could find.
Here’s one of me that was probably taken around the time I joined Autodesk (at a guess, anyway). Yes, I had long hair, although it was usually tied back: it was only this curly just after it had just been washed (so not very often, ahem).
If you could travel back in time and tell my 22-year-old self that he’d be spending 25 years (perhaps more!) with the same company, I suspect he’d have pretty much exactly that expression on his face. Maybe someone did, and I’ve just forgotten?
After joining Autodesk on a Tuesday, the following Sunday I headed across on my first “business trip” to Amsterdam for Autodesk’s first European Developers Conference.
I managed to find the brochure, and it’s a real nostalgia trip to see the agenda and speaker list. You’ll find my name way at the bottom – frankly I’m surprised I was included at all, considering it was literally day 5 on the job, and I didn’t have anything meaningful to communicate to anyone.
This photo was taken on a different trip to Amsterdam – my hair is shorter, by this point – but it’s also to show that there was fun to be had on work trips, too. And I’ve travelled a lot for Autodesk, over the years.
Life in the Guildford office – back before the UK’s main office moved to Farnborough and then other UK offices opened up through acquisition, etc. – was pretty darn cool. Here are some photos from that time.
The photo in the bottom left was taken at the “Employee Leadership Program” I attended in Switzerland soon after joining, with the people I was placed in a team with. I’m happy to say I’m still in touch with a few of them. The photo in the bottom right is of my old friend Pete “Kev” Heald, who had joined sometime before me and so had an impressive collection of Autodesk product boxes. (Pete was the go-to guy for any OS, product CD or manual.)
One of the presentations I used to give, back in the day, was a comparative API presentation for AutoCAD. This is the oldest presentation I could find: I had to jump through some hoops to get PowerPoint 365 to read a file from PowerPoint 95. Interestingly the 92-slide deck was only a megabyte in size. The screenshot is bigger!
While I don’t have a decent “Kean at his desk in Guildford” photo, I did find this photo of me that was taken during an extended trip to Bangalore, back when Autodesk had a much smaller presence there. Rotary-dial phones were also archaic in India, at the time, so this photo was really just taken for a bit of fun – I don’t remember whether the phone actually worked.
While on that trip, I delivered the largest ObjectARX training I’ve probably ever given (in terms of the number of attendees).
I remember it as being tiring but a lot of fun: I donned a kurta pajama for the evening reception, where I had more of a chance to talk with attendees.
I won’t bore you with any more stories from the early years… I’m amazed you’ve read this far, to be honest.
While it’s been 25 years, I’ve never been bored at this company: I’m genuinely grateful to have been given the opportunities that I’ve had, over the years, whether working for the Autodesk Developer Network team (in its various incarnations), Autodesk Consulting, AutoCAD Engineering or Autodesk Research.
I’ve stayed this long because I’ve always had challenges come along exactly when I’ve wanted them, which has meant we working for various Autodesk teams in Europe, the Americas and Asia. With regular changes in roles and responsibilities, it honestly still seems fresh (and, above all, fun!).
Autodesk has been my family for longer than I’ve had a family of my own. In fact it’s through Autodesk that I’ve ended up having my own family: I met my wife when we were both working at Autodesk, and two of our kids have current or former Autodeskers as godparents. Autodesk will always be a part of my life, whether I continue working here or not.
So, thank you for all the good times: it’s been a whole lot of fun working with such passionate, talented people both inside Autodesk and amongst our partners and customers. Wherever things go from here, I can only be happy for these fantastic years!