(Sean Murphy, Liz Massingill and I FINALLY get together to talk about DAC’09. Sean was instrumental in the highly-successful programming at Conversation Central, the bloggers room. Liz attended, participated and jawboned with the bloggers with a view toward them being a new group of individual opinion makers who, as a collective, form a cadre of influencers that take on a permanent role in the EDA world.)
Liz: So what stood out for you two at DAC?
Ed: Not so much technology but the rise of social media in EDA, and especially the role of bloggers in EDA…whatever that role might be.
Sean: For me it was conversations at the Birds-of-a-Feather session on Project Health and Conversation Central. Both venues had CEOs – admittedly CEOs of small firms – wrestling with new issues: managing global teams, social collaboration, SaaS, and cloud computing. These events allowed them and others to compare notes, explore scenarios for what future companies and design teams will look like and how they will interact. Current tools, design flows, and methodologies are not going to scale. And in both the BoF and Conversation Central, we could explore the changing landscape together. CEOs met, exchanged information and will continue the dialogue after DAC.
Ed: Sean, interesting insight. What needs to be tossed and who needs to do the tossing?
Sean: The conference needs to return to its roots. DAC was formed as a community of practice among EDA practitioners, comparing notes face to face on design automation issues that they faced. I think the conference should organize around fostering face to face conversations, between practitioners, with vendors, with researchers, at both a management and engineering level. The second thing that used to be true was that key aspects of DAC’s output were persistent. Too much of the important content–like Doug Fairbairn’s Pavilion panel–is completely ephemeral. When I look back at earlier panels often all I can find is the description, no slides, no transcript.
Liz: What stood out at DAC for me was Conversation Central. I thought it brought a lot of people from various ranks together talking about what blogging meant to EDA……….and not just about blogging but also focusing on the other forms of new social media like Twitter and LinkedIn.
Sean: Why was Conversation Central significant?
Ed: For me, it was the first time the bloggers appeared as a force. And compared to the press room, it was alive – educational, on the cusp of a new constituency in EDA.
Sean: Accentuated by the disappearance of regular press. Karen Bartleson contacted me earlier this year and said “I want to run a press room for bloggers.” We talked about it and I suggested that Synopsys instead focus on fostering conversations between a variety of stakeholders: customers, competitors, partners, new media, legacy media.
Liz: I think the press room is in the midst of being re-defined. The question is…will the press and bloggers co-mingle and be a big happy family? And will others outside the media be welcome?
Sean: Clay Shirky wrote a great piece on ” Newspapers and Thinking the Unthinkable < http://www.shirky.com/weblog/2009/03/newspapers-and-thinking-the-unthinkable/ > ” which concluded “That is what real revolutions are like. The old stuff gets broken faster than the new stuff is put in its place.” I don’t think we know what is going to take the traditional publishing model’s place.
Ed: Conversation Central gave us a valuable program, invited all interested parties to attend and participate. The twitter feed made it seem like Times Square in buzz and activity.
Liz: There was a certain energy at Conversation Central. The room was alive with enthusiasm and the sharing of ideas.
Sean : And the tweeting was viral. Karen Bartleson worked diligently to let people know about the #46DAC hashtag, and it created a common channel: that’s what gave Conversation Central its buzz, the formation of a community.
Ed: Almost like creating a town on the old west frontier, where only isolated homesteads existed before.
Liz: I tweeted for one client’s event and was pleased by the reception.
Sean: Liz, you can only say so much in twitter and it can be hard to be succinct, so kudos to you.
Liz: Twitter has its place. And the EDA bloggers know how to make good use of it. And Karen did a marvelous job in Twitter for Beginners of showcasing the various features of Twitter. I think maybe the point is that there are various forms of media that one can make use of and that it’s probably a good idea to try to tap into as many avenues as possible.
Ed: So it sounds like we’re all saying that social media will somehow, some way fundamentally affect many aspects of how EDA operates. Clearly in customer service, inevitably in marketing and PR. Now the question is, “how?”
Liz: Yes, how? Anyone have any ideas?
Sean: Maybe your readers could chime in on that.