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What is the EDA Editorial Brain Trust Today?

Monday, August 25th, 2014

 

The EDA editorial brain trust today is the topic of our continuing conversation with Richard Goering and Brian Fuller.  

 

Brian Fuller

Brian Fuller

Richard Goering

Richard Goering

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ED:  What is the EDA editorial brain trust these days?

RICHARD: Not sure how you’re defining “brain trust,” but if there is one, it’s with the vendors and the independent on-line publications.

ED:  Who makes up the EDA editorial brain trust?

RICHARD:  If you add it all up, there are still a number of editors with deep EDA and semiconductor experience – they’re just no longer with print publications.

Additionally, there are now a number of writers and bloggers who didn’t start as journalists but who turned in that direction during the transition away from print.

(more…)

RICHARD GOERING: one year later

Monday, February 1st, 2010

(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…)

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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.

– end –

Harry’s Job as a blogger: Harry the ASIC Guy talks about his EDA role

Monday, January 11th, 2010

(Liz Massingill concludes her conversation with Harry “the ASIC Guy” Gries)

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Liz: What do you feel that your job is as a blogger?

Harry: By “job”, do you mean “responsibility”?

Liz: Responsibility or purpose.

Harry: I wanted to make a distinction there because a lot of people view bloggers like the next generation of journalists. That’s not me. I don’t feel I have a responsibility to cover any one issue or to be non-biased.

Liz: Well, no, you aren’t a reporter, but I would call you a commentator or columnist. Would you agree?

Harry: I suppose, if a journalist is supposed to be totally objective and a commentator is allowed to have an opinion, then I’m more of a commentator. There’s been a lot written lately about bloggers vs. journalists and I’d rather stay out of all that argument. We’re different, period.

Liz: So what is your responsibility or purpose or duty?

Harry: I write the blog because I want to write and it gives me a unique connection to my audience. I can have this conversation, debate, commiserate, etc that I could not do otherwise.

Liz: I get that.

Harry: Ron Wilson had an interesting insight at DAC.

Liz: What was Ron’s insight?

Harry: He said that in the past, conferences were the way that engineers socialized and networked. Also, when EE Times or EDN came out, they’d stand around the coffee machine and talk about it. Now, this kind of interaction is happening online. As a blogger, I’m kind of like the instigator for those conversations. In fact, some of my best blogs were where I put out some idea, and the most interesting insights came from the comments.

Liz: Kudos to you that you were able to elicit so many comments. That isn’t too far off from what we have tried to do with our blogfests and what we were trying to do with Jim Hogan’s presentation at ICCAD. We were trying to initiate a discussion. And this brings me to…..What do you want or not want from PR folks?

Harry: I’ll tell you about someone in PR who I think does a good job working with bloggers.

Liz: I’m all ears…

Harry: First off, she follows my blog and follows me on Twitter, so she has an idea of what I write about and what I am interested in.

Second, if there is some news or item she thinks I’d be interested in, she will email me or tweet me, but not a SPAM press release. She’ll say something like “I know you are interested in XYZ. We have an upcoming announcement regarding that, would you be interested in learning more.”

Last, if I am interested, she’ll help me to know more about it, either through material or talking to someone at the company.

Liz: That makes sense. I think it’s pretty clear that bloggers do not want press releases.

Harry: It’s not that I don’t want press releases; it’s that they are 90% out of my area of interest. Hold on, lemme just take a quick look at my Inbox:….Ok, so the last 10 items I got either from PR people or thru EDA company mailing lists, are not my area of interest. That’s why SPAMming press releases doesn’t work.

Liz: So what are your favorite topics in EDA?

Harry: I look for something that will be disruptive because that interests me the most and generates the most interest. When the OVM/VMM battle was going on, that was a hot topic. When Oasys Design Systems claimed to have a Synopsys-killer synthesis tool, then that was interesting.

Harry: Dog is barking at the UPS guy :)

Liz: I’m familiar with that scenario….esp. lately. ;-) So let’s talk about something controversial….

Harry: uh oh

Liz: Jim Hogan insinuated during his ICCAD presentation that EDA is complacent. In your opinion, how complacent is EDA?

Harry: I probably would not choose that word to describe EDA. I’d probably pick the word ‘angst” to describe EDA. In the last year we had a DVCon panel called “EDA: Dead or Alive”, we’ve had several companies go under or get bought, and we’ve had a lot of talk about new business models and where EDA provides value. I think EDA is struggling, like it always has, to find out where it fits in the design chain and the supply chain. So there is a lot of angst in that way.

Liz: What do you think the trend will be for the next 10 years?

Harry: 10 years is a long time, especially the way that technology is accelerating. I think that over such a long time, you need to look at the bigger trends going on overall, not just in EDA, and then see how EDA will need to respond. On the economic side, I think the entire IT and software world will change significantly. Cloud computing is a big buzz now but it is for real and companies are going to continually want to rent IT infrastructure rather than own it.

Liz: EDA is driven by the Intels and AMDs of the world.

Harry: Yes, and even Intel and AMD are embracing cloud computing even though they may stand to lose out in the short run. The economics are such that it is more advantageous to build a large data center somewhere that power and cooling are cheap rather than everyone have their own data centers. Companies, like Amazon, rent computing time for 10 cents per CPU hour; and that allows companies to make their IT costs into a running expense rather than a capital expenditure. I think that EDA will need to embrace cloud computing and eventually a Software-as-a-Service model.

I think the technology trend will be that custom ICs will be too expensive to design. In 10 years you’ll have standard off-the-shelf ICs that have hundreds of processors and 10s of millions of gates of reprogrammable logic, like an FPGA on steroids. Most products will be designed with these, so today’s chip design will become tomorrow’s software development.

– end –

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