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Posts Tagged ‘Harry the ASIC Guy’

So why comment on blogs?

Thursday, September 16th, 2010

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?


– end –

Yet another 2010 EDA Trends write up?

Monday, January 18th, 2010

2009 was a rough year for an already stagnant EDA world. Looking to 2010, Liz Massingill and I asked industry colleagues, opinion makers and friends what each of them saw as the BIG trend for 2010.

Here’s what they said.

Karen Bartleson, Blogger, The Standards Game, Synopsys

The big trend in EDA for 2010 will be the acceptance of social media as an additional means for communicating with customers, partners, and competitors.

Now that blogging is settling in as a viable source of information from media people, company experts, and independent publishers, more new media tools will come into play. Not all tools are right for everyone or every situation, so the EDA industry will explore the options and experiment with a variety of community-development activities.

LinkedIn and Facebook will offer special interest groups a place to congregate. Twitter will be tested by more people – who today are curious or skeptical – as a means of immediate, brief interaction. EDA suppliers will offer new communication channels and those that are truly value-add will thrive.

The EDA world won’t change overnight, but the trends in social media will be noticeable.

Graham Bell, Director of Sales and Marketing, EDACafe

The BIG trend will be that designers need ALL of the technology that EDA companies have been working on and introduced in the last 18 months.

There is a lot of design work being done at 45nm and all the established tools are running at the edge of their capabilities.

New generations of parasitic extraction, static and statistical timing analysis, and automated property verification are just some of the important technologies that will be needed by design teams.

Mike Gianfagna, Vice President, Marketing, Atrenta, Inc.

In 2010, we’ll see an accelerated move to doing more design at higher levels of abstraction.

Chip complexity and the skyrocketing cost of physical design, along with the advent of 3D stacks is forcing this. Designers just won’t be able to iterate in the back end in 2010 and beyond. It’ll take too long and cost too much.

Power management, design verification, design for test and timing closure will all be “close to done” before handoff to synthesis and place & route. The traditional backend flow of IC design will become a more predictable, routine process, which will accelerate its trend toward commoditization and consolidation.

This move to higher levels of abstraction will also have implications for IP selection and chip assembly. This will compel a new genre of tools to emerge. Standards like IP-XACT will help this process to take hold. Perhaps this is what ESL will become.

Richard Goering, longtime EDA editor and currently manager of the Cadence Industry Insights blog

I think the Big EDA Trend for 2010 will be SoC integration.

There will be a renewed focus on the challenges of integrating existing IP, providing breakthrough technology for design teams to quickly and reliably
assemble complex SoCs from integration-ready IP blocks, and then run
full-chip verification including both analog and digital components.

ESL is part of this story because there’s a need to move to
transaction-level IP creation, verification and integration. Hardware/ software integration and verification and will also become part of
the drive towards SoC integration.

Harry Gries, the ASIC Guy, EDA blogger

As for the EDA trend in 2010, I think that EDA companies, when they recover, will choose not to hire more sales and marketing people but will invest more in other marketing tools on the Web or using social networking strategies.

A good example is a company like Xuropa, which is actually a client of mine, under full disclosure. They help EDA companies put their tools on the Web in order to help them reduce their costs for demos, product evaluations, etc.

I think that will see a lot of interest in the upcoming year as companies look for ways to do “more with less”. User group events may also move online, just like this year’s CDNLive was a virtual event rather than a real live event. Xilinx and Avnet sponsored an X-Fest this year that was also an online event. Things are moving online fast and economics will drive that.

Grant Martin, EDA blogger

In 2010, we’ll see the steady progress towards usable ESL tool and methodology adoption by design groups.

The areas of greatest real ESL use are the high level synthesis of data crunching blocks used in various DSP-type applications (signal and media processing), the increasing adoption of processor/SW-centric design methods, and the increased creation and use of virtual prototype models.

(Brian Bailey and I have a new book from Springer coming out in the new year on practical ESL use methods: “ESL Models and their Application: Electronic System Level Design and Verification in Practice”. See for a summary. )

Dan Nenni, EDA blogger

For EDA, 2010 will be the year of the foundry. Foundries will drive new EDA flows and business models.

The TSMC Open Initiative Platform
is but the tip of the iceberg. If EDA and IP companies do NOT join forces with the foundries and take arms against the sea of semiconductor troubles – they will continue to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous economic misfortune.

Coby Zelnik, CEO, Sagantec North America, Inc.

In 2010, we will see more designs taping out in 40nm.

In an effort to minimize risk, cost and time to market, design reuse will be
maximized; many of them will be migrations of existing 90nm and 65nm products or derivative products with minor updates and tweaks.

– end –

Harry the ASIC Guy on what blogging about EDA has done for him

Wednesday, December 30th, 2009

(Liz Massingill was fortunate enough to snag Harry Gries … the ASIC Guy for an interview on a rainy Friday morning. Here’s what they had to say.)

Liz: Harry, why do you blog?

Harry: There’s really 2 parts to that … why did I start and why do I keep doing it. I was having lunch with a good friend a few years ago, who is also a blogger, and I was sharing my opinions about some subject when he said “you should have a blog.”

I always liked to write and always had an opinion, so I said, “what the heck.” It was right before SNUG (Synopsys Users Group) so I also thought it would be a good way to do some personal marketing since I’m an independent consultant. So I got the blog up just in time for SNUG.

Liz: Was your first blog successful?

Harry: When I first started writing the blog, I told a few friends and colleagues about it and they subscribed and commented. Then, one day, I got a comment from someone I did not know at all. That was the first time I knew that people were reading this other than my friends.

Liz: That first comment must have gotten the adrenaline going. So why do you continue to blog?

Harry: As for why I keep going, I think I actually get a lot out of writing it. It keeps me plugged into what is going on in the industry. Also, I’ve met people through the blog that I never would have had a chance to know.
One example: There was a press release related to something one of the big 3 EDA companies was doing for training for their consultants. I wanted to write something about it on my blog so I emailed the VP of Consulting, who I did not know, and he answered back and did the interview. I never would have been able to do that without the blog.

Also, I’ve found that the people who read my blog are pretty influential, so it’s good to know them as well.

Liz: It never ceases to amaze me how small the internet has made our world. Who is your audience?

Harry: That’s a good question. With RSS, you never really know exactly who is reading. However, from the comments I get, from the people that follow me on Twitter, and from the analytics, I can tell that there are a lot of people in EDA companies, especially sales and marketing types.

Liz: Do you have Google analytics to find out how many hits you get?

Harry: Analytics helps, but not in the way you might think. I’m more interested in learning how people find my blog rather than who they are. I can tell what keywords they might have used in Google or what links they came from and that helps me to understand what they are looking for as valuable content.

Liz: Can you give me an example?

Harry: Well, lemme pull up my analytics right now: I just did a quick scan and noticed that “verification” and “FPGA” were used as search terms several times to find me. So I might write my next blog post on “FPGA verification.”

Liz: Then it is very useful.

(End of Part One.)

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