Saturday, February 24, 2018

Exclusive – Talking with Jamie Roche, CEO of Flux Data Inc, About Their Changes

By Tim Grimm
February 24, 2018

On Thursday, I read a Tweet indicating that was ceasing operations.

Flux, a graduate of Google X, the semi-secret research-and-development facility, is an online service for connecting building data, and they've built many innovative apps, including interoperability apps for Revit, 3ds Max, AutoCAD, Rhino, SketchUp, Dynamo, Grasshopper, Excel, and Google Sheets. They also offer a free SDK so people can develop their own apps around Flux's cloud service.

Flux's suite of apps

Initially, I thought the tweet a mistake. Surely a professional, progressive, inexpensive, useful service such as Flux wouldn't simply blink out. I also couldn't find an announcement on Flux's Twitter account or on their website. But, later, tweets from others in the community affirmed the news.

Yesterday I read a tweet indicating that Flux wasn't ceasing operations after all, but would be shuttering their current platform and apps on March 31. At that point, I set out to get more information from the source.

Yesterday evening I had the pleasure of talking with Jamie Roche, CEO of Flux Data Inc. Jamie was gracious enough to clarify that Flux indeed is not folding, that they're still in the fight but are narrowing their focus, and that they will be shuttering their current offerings on March 31.

Jamie explained that Flux's supposition was that if they provided a valuable service to designers and captured that market, that the demand for their offerings would spread throughout the CAD community, including to contractors, owners and even investors. Unfortunately, things haven't developed along these lines. While they've drawn welcome praise from expert users in top design firms, many contractors and others in the broader market remain behind the technology curve.

The leadership at Flux had to ask themselves if they wanted to continue to try to lead many where they were not inclined to go, or to refocus their efforts for a willing audience. They decided, rather than trying to solve problems for the entire AEC industry, for the time being, to focus on solving those for one market sector. While Jamie was reluctant to share too much information about their plans, he did indicate that they will continue to build on the work they've done, their new offering or offerings will be in the real estate space, and they will continue to focus on making data generally not available to a wide audience more readily available.

Predictably, Flux will be downsizing their staff to match their refocused mission.

Jamie admitted that the transition is a little sad, as he and his workforce have a strong affinity for architecture and engineering. Unfortunately, owing to frequent changes in the products they were developed around, it was very expensive to maintain their suite of interoperability apps. However, Flux is not giving up on their long-term goals, they've only recognized that those goals will take longer to achieve.

Jamie used the analogy of how numerous changes had to happen during the transition from the brick-like corded car phones of the 1980s to the light, powerful and ubiquitous smart phones of today to draw a parallel to what he thinks needs to happen in the AEC space: hardware, software and infrastructure need to continue to evolve so that processes become much lighter, faster, easier and more accessible.

Ultimately, Flux's goal remains the same as it is for much of the AEC industry, to build better buildings, and to stop doing things for the first time every time.

While this change is sad for us too, we at Revit Add-ons wish Flux and their employees all the best in their future endeavors, and we'll continue to keep an eye on their work.

If you'd like a snapshot of some what you may have been missing with Flux, check out this excellent Tweet storm from Brian Ringley.

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