(As we all know, Richard Goering is a longtime EDA editor who went to work for Cadence in March 2009, where he writes the Industry Insights blog and works on various writing projects. I recently had a chance to talk with Richard about his year on the corporate side of editorial writing and the state of EDA editorial: where it’s going and what it’ll look like, if it continue to exist. It will, but…BTW, something’s different about Richard’s photo…)
ED: It’s been about a year since you moved from editorial over to Cadence. What differences, if any, do you see?
RICHARD: First, there’s a difference between blogging and news reporting. A blog is shorter and more personal, and is written in a different style. After many years of conventional news reporting, blogging has taken some adjustment.
Also, writing a corporate-sponsored blog is different from writing for an independent publication that covers news from all vendors. With the Cadence Industry Insights blog , I’m writing about most of the same issues I would have covered for EE Times, but where appropriate I’ll include a Cadence perspective or product mention. I don’t generally write about developments from other companies, unless some sort of Cadence partnership is involved. I should note, however, that since I’m focusing on issues rather than products, I don’t often write blogs about new Cadence products.
ED: So it’s been a change to come over to the dark side…not that there’s much of a “light side” any more, huh? What did you perceive as the dark side and what does it look like now, to you?
RICHARD: I don’t really think of it in terms of a “dark side” and a “light side.” Independent publishers are not doing charity work – they’re in business to make money like everyone else, even if they don’t succeed!
For me, working for a major EDA company has certainly been an educational experience. I now have a much better idea of how EDA companies function. Before EDA companies were mysterious monolithic entities that spit out press releases and products. Now I see the “people” side of the industry – lots of creative and diverse people who have many different ideas, and somehow come together with a consistent message.
ED: You’ve covered EDA for over 20 years. Clearly the publication world has changed, is collapsing as we speak. What lies ahead for EDA publications and coverage?
RICHARD: A lot less coverage, as we’ve seen already. Still, publications like EE Times, EDN, Chip Design Magazine and Electronic Design do have some EDA coverage. But a lot of the coverage going forward will come from blogs, forums, and various social media outlets.
ED: Where EE Times is concerned, it seems that there has to be some connection with a chip design issue for there to be EDA coverage. Otherwise, it goes to EDA Design Line. I think that’s fine, but it sure says something about how that once-mighty publication has changed, huh? Well, don’t let me put words into your mouth. How is the change in EE Times emblematic of what’s happened to EDA editorial?
RICHARD: It’s not just EDA editorial – EE Times has a lot less editorial, period. There is still some EDA reporting once in a while, but there seems to be more of a semiconductor focus. That probably makes sense given the lack of EDA advertising and the greatly-reduced editorial resources.
ED: What role will the new era bloggers (indie, corporate, editorial, PR) play? How will those roles evolve?
RICHARD: Blogging provides a new information channel that’s hopefully written in an engaging style, by someone with expertise in a given area. Given that some EDA bloggers are chip designers or consultants, it can be a “peer to peer” communications channel. It can also be a two-way channel if a conversation develops.
Independent bloggers, I suppose, are those who are not paid by a company to blog, although many do have employers. While every blogger has her or his own biases and points of view – a point of view, after all, is what blogging is all about – independent bloggers have the potential to be on neutral ground with respect to EDA vendors.
Corporate bloggers will reflect the positioning of their companies, but they can also provide a good deal of useful, in-depth information that you won’t find elsewhere. With Industry Insights, I have been able to write some “inside look” kinds of blogs that it would have been difficult to write from the outside. For example, I wrote a series of blogs about what it takes to port EDA software to multicore platforms, drawing upon Cadence’s experiences in this area.
Due to the lack of editors, there are very few EDA editorial blogs. Those that exist are picking up some of the coverage that’s missing from the electronics trade press. An example is Ron Wilson’s Practical Chip Design. I haven’t seen much in the way of blogs from PR people, although yours is an exception.
ED: OK, since you bring it up, what role do EDA PR bloggers have in EDA blogging?
RICHARD: I think PR bloggers would do best to focus on issues like social media, PR, and advertising, as opposed to technology. With all the changes in the media, there’s plenty to write about.
ED: But blogging seems more opinionated than EDA editorial, which you covered for so long and so rigorously. I mean, clients were intimidated by the perceived “wrath of Goering” and would oftentimes minimize their hype when being interviewed by you. Thus, we got a comprehensive and objective overview of the technology area from you, even when you covered new products. Will we see objective reporting disappear?
RICHARD: No. As I noted, there is still some EDA reporting in the traditional media, and some bloggers do objective evaluations of major new products and announcements. But the days when every EDA announcement would receive coverage are long gone.
ED: So what role will traditional press play?
RICHARD: I think there will be some continuing coverage of really big announcements or developments. But there will be a lot less product coverage and new company coverage than there used to be. Unfortunately, there are a lot of press release rewrites in the press these days. That doesn’t provide much useful information for the readers.
ED: How possible is it that an EDA press disappear? Why?
RICHARD: Very simple – lack of advertising. It’s part of the meltdown we’re seeing across the publishing world. Also, EDA stories don’t get tens of thousands of readers. There’s a very small, specialized audience, although they have big wallets.
ED: What’s there to keep EDA honest if there’s no longer an “industry press?”
RICHARD: There is an industry press – there’s just less of it. There are also a growing number of bloggers watching EDA developments. But more and more it will be up to the users to help keep EDA vendors on the right track. With the ability to start a blog or comment on blogs, join on-line forums, speak at user group conferences, and participate in Twitter groups like #EDA, EDA users now have a voice – and they will hopefully use it for the betterment of the industry.
ED: What’s your sense of pay for play in editorial? Good, bad or necessary?
RICHARD: I’m not going to say it’s bad, but if a company pays to have an article written, I think that should be made clear to the reader.
ED: Well, EDA’s benefited from your historic participation in the industry. Witness your DAC award a few years back. It’s been, what, over 20 years, starting at Computer Design? I’m not sure anyone can see an EDA industry without Richard Goering in place. Thanks for taking the time to catch up.
RICHARD: And thank you for the opportunity! After interviewing your clients for years, it’s an interesting turn of events to have you interview me.
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