The Butterfly Effect Fully Evidenced at Reseller Conference


By Brian Summers

I am still pumped from CNC Software’s International Reseller Conference we held early last month. Over 300 of our Mastercam Resellers and business partners from all over the world attended our three-day event. Some even stayed longer to receive in-depth training on certain aspects of our software. There’s just no substitute for getting everyone in our community literally in one room to provide the latest information about the upcoming Mastercam 2018 release and direction of the product, the global market and other aspects of our business.

Not only is our bi-annual gathering an opportunity to relay fresh information and predict where we’re heading, it’s also evidence as to how far our community has come in the last 34 years. Many of the people in the room have been with us from the beginning – some when we didn’t know we were going to have a beginning. Relevant to that, one of the concepts I spoke about to the group at our Conference was the butterfly effect – the idea that small causes can have big effects. It’s how I view our company and it’s how I view our flagship product Mastercam.

Mark and Dave

Dave Shabby & Mark Summers

For example when my brother Mark was a machinist in his early 20s he worked for a machine shop called Barre Precision in Manchester, Connecticut. Mark was involved in the shop’s very first CNC machine purchase. The shop chose a relatively small knee mill from a new company called Compumachine based in Waltham, Massachusetts at the time. They chose the machine mainly because it had servo motors rather than “stepper” motors that came on the Bridgeport Boss CNC that was also under consideration. Mark became so intrigued with programming the machine that within two years he went to work for Dave Shaby as an applications / installation engineer for Compumachine. Mark was Dave’s second employee. In short order Mark got the idea that there had to be a more efficient way to program these early CNC machines. He and my brother Jack and a few of Mark’s roommates started toying with the CAM concept at home on one of the first Apple computers. A computer purchased, by the way, with $4000 collected from four engineers / roommates living together at the time.. After several iterations, that tinkering ultimately became what’s known today as Mastercam.

The butterfly effect is certainly how I view the fortuitous connection with Mark, Barry and Dave in the early 1980s; when speaking to 300 people in our sales and support community in 2017; and when contemplating the 250,000-plus seats of Mastercam sold worldwide. The effect is mind boggling, especially when you consider the number of working lives and families Mastercam supports, the life-saving products it helps make…and all because a small machine shop in rural Connecticut bought a retrofitted CNC servo motor machine in 1981!

Can you guess what might have happened if the shop bought the stepper motor machine? I welcome your replies, and the funnier the better! Contact Us!

See you on the Pathways!