Mark has been involved in EDA recruiting for over 12 years. He is Founder and President of EDA Careers, but started his career in EDA as executive Vice President at EDA Jobs. Mark was also VP of Marketing and Business Development in the beginning of the Internet revolution and has been a … More »
January 27th, 2015 by Mark Gilbert
2014 was an exceptionally busy year, and it seems 2015 is offering more of the same-and off to a great start. EDA is robust and contrary to the negative prognosticators, we are still around and doing quite well. Hiring is strong but as difficult as ever, as companies are increasingly picky, and it is harder and harder to get good people to leave, even for seemingly much greener pastures. The numbers are out from EDAC and to no one’s surprise, EDA did amazingly well, AGAIN.
Now, on to the myths, the legend: I want to continue discussing my down-to-earth interview with Mentor’s CEO and dare I say, the most recognizable name and face in EDA, Wally Rhines. It seems abundantly clear that the mentality of the founder permeates this company at almost every level. In my 18 years in EDA I have seen many a start-up come and go, each having a flavor distinct to that company. For Mentor the flavor does not vary, nor does the culture. Wally classifies Mentor as a bunch of startups under one roof, and from what I have learned through the years by talking to so many of my Mentor friends, that is seemingly a decent characterization. He feels that way because they allow a lot of independence, sometimes even forcing competing products to develop in two different divisions. As he tells me, this practice can sometimes cause the developing product to be inconsistent in look and feel—but that’s OK, because in the end, the product is measured by its success and not necessarily the look and feel. Sometimes, selling into a Synopsys flow is more important than selling into a Mentor flow for a particular product. The viability of the tool is the metric by how it is ultimately judged and, I would add, probably the bottom line even more so.
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November 20th, 2014 by Mark Gilbert
THE Following is an intriguing and insightful look into an EDA industry icon, Mentor’s CEO, Wally Rhines. Since our talks were so insightful, leaving me so much to write about, I will quickly give you my thoughts on considering a year-end career change first, followed by my interpretation of “The Man From Mentor”.
The cycles for finding a job have changed immensely over the past year, plus it can take months and months just to find the right opportunity, and then more to go through the interview process. Even though it is clear that the advantage is, (for now), on the Candidates side, make no mistake; the process can still be long and arduous. Even knowing how hard it is to find good people, companies today continue to be so picky and take so long to pull the trigger on actually hiring. Starting your search now, and I mean now, is the smartest thing you can do. You should know that almost assuredly, you would start after the first of the year, even if the process goes quickly. The New Year creates a great time to leave your old company and join a new. Starting at the beginning of the year allows you to be part of annual kick-off meetings and everyone getting back to work after the holiday break; it is a simply a perfect time to fit in. Call your favorite recruiter (hopefully ME…is there anyone better?) to discuss the possibilities and your particular situation. I will help walk you through the process. Together we can both develop a strong comprehensive plan on how to best approach the next stage of your career. On to Wally…
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September 19th, 2014 by Mark Gilbert
In my DAC interview with Wally, (a name you can use in EDA like Oprah, Sting, Madonna), one of the things we discussed was how the technologies his tools are giving the power to develop, could ultimately be used in ways that could, well for a lack of a better word, (adding dramatic effect)…destroy the world as we know it. You will hear more of his thoughts when I finish writing my interview, but I thought this would be a good precursor to play with and it’s an issue I think about a lot; I’m betting many of you do as well. I will address Wally’s thoughts when I write the column, but for now here are mine.
Like me, many of you love science fiction, especially when it deals with the future. I cannot help but think, when watching the beautiful Halle Berry in the science fiction series Extant, how many of you out there are in some way embarking on a path that will make parts of that show… a more automated future…a reality. More so, I cannot help but wonder how many development engineers will be visionary enough to see into the future they are helping create, and ensure that the right path is taken, as we move Moore’s Law forward and increase the role of technology in our future. You see, all of you engineers are creating tiny pixels of a much bigger picture and you rarely get to see the end product or even the implications of what you are allowing to be developed. I do suspect however, that a few of you do realize, and I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.
Engineering jobs, especially for computer and electrical engineers, have so many faces and complexities. So often many of you are partaking in a limited role of a much bigger project, which you know little about. Analogous to a good script with a far off plot, the actors read their lines never knowing what the writer’s, developers are actually planning. I cannot help but wonder how that similarity might play into the world we live in, how what we are developing today will be played out in tomorrow’s scripts.
The subject of jobs is at play here, as all of you are for hire and many of you may one day be faced with a decision that makes you ponder your future or the implications of your development. Money is a powerful tool that convinces people to do things that might not always be on the up-and-up…after all, what is a hacker but someone who took a different programming career path than most of you. How many of you would change your path if the money were right? How many would stand up to something they thought could spell trouble one day, especially if the money was right?
We know that the vast majority of development is done with good and right intentions, but money is a very powerful motivator and makes it easy to justify what might otherwise be questionable. If you think about it, so much of what we read in a book or watch on a screen eventually does come to life. My mom looks at the highways being built today and says that she saw those types of interchange structures in books when she was a kid; she’s 93. She said Ralph Belemey wrote a book in the late 1800s about how one day we would turn on a light by touching a wall. The future is built on creative imagination. Creative imagination and brilliant programming are a powerful combination. Which of you will see the possibilities of your brilliance being used for measures that might not be in the best interest of our futureand stand up and say “No”? How do we maintain an ethical use so that HAL (2001: A Space Odyssey) does not take control of this ship? How do we prevent a Darth Vader-esque future, and is that idea so radically crazy? Can we not see a future world of good and bad automated machines? After all, look at how things are shaping up around the world. How might those factions look in the future as technology further permeates our existence? Are some of you working right now on what might very well lead the way to those possibilities? Will money lead you to do things you can see having negative future potential?
Sorry for the tangent, but I think about where we are going and how the good will be used by the bad. It has me thinking, and dare I say, mildly concerned about where this might all lead, and what control we have to shape it and secure it for good. Just look at the hackers stealing… that is all technology that we are developing right now. Is controlling power grids, air traffic, banks, defense, etc. not a real possibility? I wonder, which of you will be the ones that protect us and ensure it is not…Wally?????
As for what to expect for Q3…I feel like it will be another robust quarter and hiring will remain strong. Here is what I do know. It continues to get harder and harder to find the right fit for the overly-exact specifications that exist today. People are not leaving quite as fast as in years past and that makes it harder to recruit them out; harder but not impossible. Comps seem to have gone up, though I cannot say by how much, but that shows the market is strong. Now back to my very long interview with Wally that I must finish before he writes a program to destroy me. See you at ARM, end of October.
July 31st, 2014 by Mark Gilbert
The answer to the first question might surprise you: both sides benefit equally. A good recruiter does all the follow-up for both sides splitting his/her loyalty down the middle so both sides are represented fairly and everyone feels that they got a fair shake…something that’s so important in a small start-up environment and the best way to start the relationship.
The clear value proposition for the company comes from eliminating the mountains of bad resumes a company deals with, since a good recruiter only submits appropriate qualified resumes (which incidentally, should not be many). For the candidate, it means finding appropriate fits to their background, getting their resume into the right hands, and then those hands having the relationship to follow-up and discuss the candidate. VALUE PROPOSITION-CASE IN POINT…I just placed a candidate at a company that initially did not want to look at him. In fact, they looked at the three other resumes (and interviewed the candidates) before proceeding on to him. The CEO told me he did not seem to have the right background…I disputed his thinking, as he had 80% of what the company wanted, and further had the right type of personality so necessary to be a successful AE. So I pressed him to at least talk to him, and talk to him he did. He was in for a technical interview two days later and a job offer a few days after that. Had the candidate sent his resume directly, he would have never been given the time of day…what made the difference was the belief that the company had in my knowledge of EDA (as it should be with any good recruiter), and the faith the candidate had in me to get him into the right hands. That is VALUE PROPOSITION AT ITS BEST!!!!
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June 16th, 2014 by Mark Gilbert
As I was walking the aisles of DAC this year (as I have done so many times over the past 17 years), I could not help but wonder: how long will it be before DAC is but a single-aisle exhibit? After all, as we all know, one-by-one, start-ups are disappearing and new ones are not rushing in to take their place. (Check back soon to see how the CEO of Mentor, Wally Rhines, responded to that issue in my interview). After the recent plethora of acquisition announcements, one cannot help but wonder if the tide is irreversible. Like the recent announcements about the icebergs melting in Antarctica that claim we are past reversing the effects of global warming, I cannot help but wonder: is that also the case for EDA? Are EDA start-ups simply melting away, leaving behind only the more rock-solid icebergs? (Not that any of the big-3 icebergs will be melting away anytime soon).
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May 13th, 2014 by Mark Gilbert
Well, “BYE-BYE BDA” (sung to “Bye Bye Birdie”) and “Jasper”, (sung to “Casper the friendly ghost’) because of how they too have disappeared) and HELLO to “how long before there are no more Start-ups in EDA” sung to (you better not laugh, you better not cry).
So, how does the smaller guy compete or even more importantly, how does EDA build a more sustainable mid-tier bridge to offer reasonable alternatives to the Goliaths. By “alternatives”, I do not only mean as an exit strategy, but as a reasonable competitive alternative to just going to WALMART, (yes I said WALMART). Let’s face it folks, the world has shifted and we are in this ever-evolving big- company world environment in virtually every segment of business. Somehow, small companies need to learn how to better compete with the Big-Boys…in our case the Big 3, no names needed. Indeed it is difficult, because the current exit strategy (for most start-ups) is to sell out to these Big-Boys and so it happens, the big gobble the small, thus making it very difficult for all the rest to compete. Using the WALMART analogy…they come to a town and slowly cannibalize most of the businesses in the town. They do this by offering a really good price (quality does not always matter, nor does service) and making it easier to choose them for a variety of reasons, like one-stop shopping, more things that fit in your cart at one time, etc. Slowly the smaller mom and pops (now called Start-Ups) have a decision to make. Either join forces with someone a little bigger or close the doors. The “little bigger” is our answer. Read the rest of this entry »
March 10th, 2014 by Mark Gilbert
My column is a little late this month because I decided that with DVCON just days away, DVCON should be front and center in my column. So, I am writing this as I fly back from DVCON in San Jose, to Miami. Yes for those of you that do not know, I am from Miami and have been doing recruiting for EDA remotely for a lot of years and while that might be the perfect segue for discussing working remotely, you will have to read on to read that.
DVCON keeps getting better and better each year, they actually added a short Monday evening working reception, which was a lot of fun and a great idea. This is probably my (more or less) 10th visit to the conference and I must say that more and more folks are attending and the exhibitor list grows each year. DVCON is a small but well attended conference and exhibitor showcase that serves as both a social center and a business opportunity for the VERIFICATION industry. Rarely have I heard a complaint about the traffic and to boot, it even has a nice happy hour…you know how crazy those EDA goers can get!
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January 22nd, 2014 by Mark Gilbert
I talk to many of you often about the challenges facing our start-ups. From CEO’s and top management, to those considering joining a Start-up, the chorus of concerns and frustrations about the complexities of dealing with Start-Ups is not uncommon, rather, it is something so many of you voice frequently. Be it growing a Start-Up, to going to a Start-Up, the recurring theme it seems is, “how do we compete with the Goliaths” (my word not yours, writers get to choose their words) that make it so difficult for smaller companies to succeed.
Start-ups start with a dream…for EDA it is slightly different as the product is a more industry-focused tool or IP or such, with a specific solution that, for the most part, has a very exacting targeted usage. Granted, things can change as development progresses but in EDA, we know where it should fit, how it will be used and who must be brought on as a partner for it to work. This is what differentiates us from most of the other Silicon Valley Start-Ups…they get an idea and they are out to change the world. So many kids (by kids, I mean big kids) today have these somewhat crazy ideas, and start a new company with the belief that they will significantly change how something is done, or change the convention if you will, from old to new with amazing implications on the future, making them a overnight million or even billionaire.
This is what differentiates us from them…While I am getting slightly off track, this is a problem our community faces…the ability for an amazingly successful exit strategy. I do think that those that have chosen the field of EDA have a different outlook than most other tech businesses, as we see the success of the “concept” as the glory and are not quite as motivated by the money. We seem to see the broader range implications of the actual development, and marvel at what we create.
Anyway, back to my initial point. An EDA start-up faces quite different obstacles than most others in that whatever you do, for the most part, must work within the Big Boys (or as I previously called them, the Goliaths) existing flows, for the most part. This forced cooperation presents very specialized challenges as some start-ups are building totally new dimensions in flows, others are trying to build a better way of doing something someone else sort of does, but no matter the project, all of them need to work with the Goliaths. The exit strategies have been (for the most part) a sell-out to these Goliaths, either because it was the best option available or the legal challenge made it -shall we say- simpler.
So where am I going with all this set-up. In my discussions, many a talk has been had to building stronger partnerships within the smaller company communities by coming together and sharing, joining forces, and cooperating more. The result is to make each company’s flow more important and allow it to cover more ground by working in tandem. Even stronger mid range companies benefit from this as they can better compete for their little piece of the pie and keep the Goliaths more at bay. Some start-ups find other Start-Ups to compliment what they are building by helping each other gain traction in their area…we have seen this done successfully over and over. This type of partnership, collaboration must continue and even escalate. The logical next step is similar to what Ansys did with Apache; find other companies that can acquire or join forces to better compete with the Goliaths. More companies need to find common ground to merge, and while I know that VC’s are throwing up reading this, we must not ignore the bigger picture, which is to grow and build a better infrastructure around the Start Up EDA community. This should ultimately net better results when selling. We have the companies, the brain power, the technologies and long term, this can prove to be the best and most profitable solution for these small companies, allowing for an even stronger value proposition on exit than if they relinquish separately.
On another good note, EDA industry rose by 6.8% for Q3 2013 when compared to the same quarter the year before. Q3 was 4.2% ahead of the previous quarter while comparing the last 4 quarters to the same previous 4 quarters and showed a nice increase of 5.8%. Stable, steady, and I think reassuring…no records broken…just nice clean and hopefully sustainable growth. Now may it only continue for my /our 401k’s.
December 11th, 2013 by Mark Gilbert
NO question about it…NOW, is THE BEST TIME TO LOOK!
As the Holiday season fast approaches, it is a mixed time for all of us trying to scramble to get as much done by years end as possible. Year-end pressures only add to it. At the same time some of you are saying, “I am ready for a new opportunity and now is the time I should be seeing what is out there”. (A gold coin to any of you thinking that, because you are correct…Call me for the coin, hopefully you will accept copper).
Right now, is far and away the most perfect time to look, before everyone gets back to full cycles again. Never change if you’re happy, never change for a little more money, change because you know it is time and you are ready for either a change of project or of team. You owe it to yourself, to your career, to learn what types of opportunities are available. You have all to gain and nothing to lose to feel things out and learn if there is something more right for you out there, something that will excite or challenge you more than you are currently. If there is, you investigate…if it is, right (and only if it is) you can then decide to make the move. A New Year (or early in the year) is the perfect time to start anew. Call your favorite recruiter (which should be anyone that wears a white jacket) and have a heart to heart talk. Everything is always private and sometime (when you talk to a reputable honest recruiter) you just mind find that what you have currently is better than what you might think awaits you.
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November 7th, 2013 by Mark Gilbert
Yes, Silicon Valley is full of shows. It seemingly has one every other week for something TECH and certainly a lot of them are in our domain. Clearly some are better or more relevant than others; I would argue that the ARM show is one of the better, smaller regional shows for our business. The roster of exhibitors is impressive and I have talked to quite a few decision makers who said they are going, even if they are not exhibiting. For me, it is a chance to catch up and hear the latest goings–on in the biz as well as hopefully find a few new job requisitions. While webinars are picking up steam and are proving to be a cost effective method to deliver a company’s message or to accomplish various cost saving information disseminating goals, it simply cannot take the place of a good old fashion meet and greet that trade shows provide. Perhaps trade shows are analogous to a texting relationship…texting can do what it is suppose to: communicate easily and quickly, saving time and effort. Clearly, texting is not even close to a face-to-face engagement. Meetings or communication in person will always excel over the new forms of less personal communication and for this reason, almost by itself, trade shows are central to a companies ability to present by making it personal. In addition, they also give me the chance to wear my trademark WHITE sport coat, which translates so much better at a tradeshow than it does on line.
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