Five Minute Interview: Shaan Hurley

Originially published in [acronym] magazine, Issue 10 Shaan Hurley is a passionate and public Autodesk figure. His blog, “Between the Lines,” was the first recognized CAD industry blog back in 2003. Despite working for Autodesk for more than 10 years, Shaan considers himself to be a product user and customer evangelist first and an Autodesk employee second. Q: If I weren’t talking to you right now, I’d be… A: Working and catching up after five weeks of international travel and one week of Autodesk University. OK, really I would prefer to be hiking in the middle of the Mojave or Sonoran desert far away from the Blackberry phone and email. Q: A phrase I use too often is… A: No problem. Q: I wish people would take more notice of… A: The world and people around them. Also, I wish people would recognize the amount of passion Autodesk employees have for what they do and that many of them actually sat in a design seat before coming to Autodesk. Q: The most surprising thing in my career was… A: That I went from designing large steel structures to working at a software company. As far as a career projects that really stick out in my memory, it would have to be working as an active member of a team doing the mechanical design for a commercial self-powered submarine, as well as the weldment design for the Golden Gate Bridge seismic retrofit project. The submarine has not sunk and is still in operation, as is the bridge. Q: A common misperception of me is… A: That I don’t have a pocket protector or speak binary or that I am only an “AutoCAD guy.” Actually, some have the misperception that I only know and use Autodesk design products, when I have used and still look at other design products. Q: Five famous people I would love to have dinner with… A: Many of the people that inspired me in engineering and design are no longer around or might not make the most exciting dinner guest. How about I answer with – anyone who has a firm grip on reality, design experience, a healthy appetite, loves adventure and has a sense of humor would make a great dinner guest to me. Q: I’m good at… A: Taking on too many things, being passionate about what I do, digesting technology and communicating with others. I am also good at collecting Autodesk and design memorabilia and have the most extensive Autodesk and AutoCAD collection going back 26 years, including the 002 manual for AutoCAD 86. I still run AutoCAD 2.18 on my laptop. Q: I’m bad at… A: Taking things too personally, delegation and sometimes writing in a way that can be misinterpreted. Q: In moments of weakness I… A: Agree to do everything but don’t allow time for sleep. Q: I am a technology geek and design professional, but in a truer life I’d have been… A: Believe it or not, I always wanted to be a marine biologist or rock guitarist. I was always attracted to the ocean and marine life and even had my own salt water fish and invertebrate business to support my hobby. I was also a pretty good guitarist with industry connections, but an accident with an ice auger ended that dream. In the end I am happy with where I am and have the pleasure of working with cool and interesting people. Q: The most interesting digital design-related project I have worked on: A: It is hard to pick just one. I have worked with some of the world’s greatest designers and visited customers around the world. I have seen complex solutions created to address problems that most would have given up on. Q: In a nutshell, my philosophy is this: A: Connect with customers, and listen to and understand what they want. And when I can no longer make a difference, look for another place to go. Read Shaan’s blog – Between the Lines. If you are on Twitter you can follow Shaan: @mrcadman http:/