I agree with your assessment of the SolidWorks situation. Mr. McEleney is to be credited for making a real contribution to mechanical engineering practice (by making the other CAD programs try to innovate again). And, I can't help but agree that a main reason for SolidWorks' success is that he is a product guy. And, it is no surprise whatsoever that the other CAD "vendors" have leaders that don't want to mess with the product. CAD and its cousins (such as CAM and CAE) are cool stuff. If someone is a manager at one of these vendors, and they don't sit right down and learn how to run the programs, then they are just beancounters. They will NEVER make the right decisions for the users (sometimes referred to as customers). And all those vendors will ever sell is software like Pro/Beans or UniBeans or CATbeans (Wall Street will get their beans, and the users will get the vapors that follow). I can't help thinking it is an end of an era.
Come to think of it, are there any businesses left in America that are still in the hands of "product guys"? Maybe you can do an article on that...