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Ed Lee
Ed Lee
Ed Lee has been around EDA since before it was called EDA. He cut his teeth doing Public Relations with Valid, Cadence, Mentor, ECAD, VLSI, AMI and a host of others. And he has introduced more than three dozen EDA startups, ranging from the first commercial IP company to the latest statistical … More »

So why comment on blogs?

September 16th, 2010 by Ed Lee

A couple of weeks ago, a client asked, in essence, “why comment on articles or blogs?”

OK, so he didn’t say it exactly like that. But he did say that he’s

…struggling to figure out what really makes sense regarding the growing amount of posting by anybody and everybody….Is all this writing and blogging serving a real purpose? I’m not sure. Some blogs get recognition and response….I think most don’t.

He’s got a point. I think bloggers (indie, company and editorial) all feel, in our gut, that there’s value. But how do we measure that value? What do comments add to a blog or article? Tough one.

So I asked some of the bloggers what they thought. First off, I went to one of the longest running bloggers in EDA – Karen Bartleson. (Is it really three years, Karen? She’s at She shed really insightful light on why EDA blogs get so few comments, if we compare them to consumer blogs like Yelp. And, she has her blog up on what she’s seen in the three years since she started her blog. So do take a look at Karen’s analysis of EDA blogging. I bet she’s got a take on the state of EDA blog comments.

Karen’s, along with a bunch of other bloggers’ comments on EDA blog comments gave me some trends to ponder. Some recurring points:

__the honeymoon infatuation period for EDA blogging has come…and is going. Now there needs to be some sense of longterm value.

My take…just what is “value” in terms of EDA blogs? Different from perspectives of the client, journalist and PR person.

__some indie bloggers say they see their blogs as diaries, written for themselves and interested people.

My take…everyone is aware of a larger cast of potential viewers, however. (By and large, they value comments but don’t use it as a metric of their blog’s value.)

__there are more eyeballs on the blogs than we can ascertain.

My take… however, these numbers are impossible to get for viewers and bloggers hosted by other sites. There’s no SRDS* in the EDA & IP social media world.

*SRDS was (is?) an organization that certified reader numbers for print publications so that they could charge advertising rates based on readership.

__engineers by and large are pretty quiet, shy types who rarely will comment or extend a discussion, even if they do read the blog, article and their accompanying comments.

My take…this came up a lot. I’m not sure…would their shyness prevent them from commenting? Probably. Would the relatively anonymous filter of the comment field encourage them to speak out? Potentially.

__by and large, the number of comments aren’t an accurate measure of eyeballs.

My take…lots of agreement that some sort of metric on value is reasonable, understandable. Less agreement on whether it’s needed now.

(One person compared the dilemma to the old attempt to measure column inches to value, which measures volume but doesn’t take into account perceptual, qualitative value.)

__commenting is a lot like getting a quote into an editorially-written article insofar as creating an authoritative voice that gets recognized, over time, as an industry voice to listen to…or not, depending on the content of the comment).

My take…one especially insightful editorial blogger felt that comments are a dynamic part of a living, breathing article that encompasses new perspectives with new comments and discussion.

One difference that I see is that the editor or author of the article hasn’t vetted the comment or incorporated it into his or her article. The comment is a response to the vetted article, which is the insightful editorial blogger’s point, I now see.

__the blog (and blogger) or article (and author) and its comments, to some degree, form a community onto each of themselves.

My take…this discussion got a bit abstract for me but I hear the notion. Help!

__this is a good time to talk about the expectations of each community (indie bloggers, editorial bloggers, company bloggers) and how to sync up each community so that there is value for everyone.

My take…but it’ll require the different goals and expectations of each community to somehow sync up so that each community’s efforts bring value to one another. How does that sync up with goals and expectations of customers, clients?

Of course, there’s no answer (yet) to the question about value here. The bloggers (indie, company and editorial) feel that there is value in commenting. Many of them agree that no one can measure value right now but that there ought to be some way to do so. Most everyone thinks that there is an existing, intangible value of being a voice of authority, an industry citizen.

And everyone thought we ought to keep talking about this issue.

Comments anyone?


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9 Responses to “So why comment on blogs?”

  1. What is the value of commenting on blogs? Give YOUR comments. #EDA #EDA360 #47DAC

  2. OK, Ed, I’ll bite…

    Why comment on blogs? It turns a blog into a two-way (or multi-way) conversation. It’s more interesting to join the conversation than to just watch from the sidelines. Comment and you will probably learn something you didn’t already know.

    Why don’t engineers comment on EDA blogs? A few thoughts:
    –Not as many readers as for consumer blogs
    –Readers may work for companies that don’t encourage, or restrict, posting comments externally
    –Engineers don’t have time

    My perception is that product-oriented or “how to” blogs are more likely to attract comments than issue-oriented blogs. An engineer is more likely to comment on a specific, immediate problem he/she needs to solve than to speculate on the future of ESL.

  3. Ed Sperling says:

    In addition to all that’s been written here, the median age for the EDA community is 40-plus. This isn’t a group that has grown up with social media and sharing ideas in public, so this is all relatively new. What I’ve seen is more comments sent via private e-mail exchange rather than via public forums.

    Nevertheless, the industry could benefit greatly from a big dose of public idea exchanges. The sheer complexity of semiconductor design and the loosely disaggregated structure of the supply chain make communication across narrow design sectors extremely valuable–particularly when it comes to global issues such as power and verification. If you can get verification gurus talking to software engineers talking to analog engineers talking to digital chip architects, then the barriers begin to break down.

    The biggest problem for most companies–not including a dozen or so large IDMs–is the silo effect. The only way to overcome that is multi-disciplinary communication. Conferences certainly help, but more public interaction would go a long way toward filling in the dead spots between conferences.

  4. Ed Lee ed says:

    Thanks Richard and Ed,

    so if I extrapolate form your comments,, we’ll get more comments if we talk about products to those who are under 40.

    That would mean that the C-level folks, effectively, won’t comment. That means (gasp!) no management insight via blogs?

    Of course, John B at Cadence might be an exception, no?

    Thanks again!


  5. Ed Lee ed says:


    Should be “so if I extrapolate FROM…” Sorry!

  6. Nancy Garcia says:

    One way to look at it is that the addition of blogging to outreach creates a more interactive discussion where it is possible to listen to comments and demonstrate a culture of sharing advice and expertise as a seasoned industry leader. You could say that participation is a “meta” communication in which by showing up and being present, unexpected connections may occur. Just as the microelectronics industry has accelerated the ability to have online conversations, business networking, in a sense, is automated through those discussions. The comments are searchable and accessible over time, so the presence is less transitory. Participating does require changing habits and adding new tasks to the existing aspects of running a business and marketing. The landscape may evolve to seem more effective over time, but it does take adjustment to a new structure for how information is exchanged.

  7. Nancy Garcia says:

    Also, advice from a colleague who added this function in her outreach role at a university includes:

    Look at others’ successes
    Experiment in spare time to learn the advantages of reaching people directly through social media channels
    Include input from outside experts in your process
    Have a plan — decide at the outset WHAT you want to accomplish, then, how best to do that
    Know that in blogging, usually the voice of experience works best, so having a subject-matter expert sharing advice or comments can be most effective (I’ll add that for guidelines or a company social media policy, check IBM’s:

    (See her whole online interview at:

  8. I think that it’s a critical mass problem, not anything related to engineers’ personality. For example, look at the 16+ year old si-list.

    It predates blogs and eventeh term social media but it is social media, more of a forum-style of social media. It happens to use email reflector technology.

    The key thing about si-list is that 4,000+ people subscribe and a bunch of people join the conversation.

  9. Brad Griffin says:

    I’m with Colin – the si-list gets a response to just about anything an engineer puts out there. So, it is not clear to me what holds back engineers from commenting on blogs.

    One suggestion is to put the comments (or at least a link to the comments) up front or on the side of the blog. Having to scroll down to the end to read the comments probably makes wanting to enter a comment less desirable.

    The most recent response to a thread on the si-list is always at the top – just as it is in an email thread. I think that makes it more conversational.

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