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Mark Gilbert
Mark Gilbert
Mark has been involved in EDA recruiting for over 18 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 »

My Post-DAC Report: How Long Before a ONE-AISLE DAC? Is Being in Senior Management Really What You Want? Coming…My Amazing Interview with “Wally”

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).

Last year, when DAC was in Austin, it was three aisles, and not very long aisles at that.  This year, DAC was in San Francisco and the hall was considerably larger, but it was also very cleverly floor-planned to look bigger than it actually was–or as Billy Crystal’s Fernando Lamas might say, “it’s better to look big than be big”.  (OK, so I took a little liberty with the quote).  Booths were still present for all the recently-acquired companies, sans Forte, but they will not be part of the next DAC, as they will be absorbed into the Big Boys’ booths next DAC, leaving even more empty space to cover.  Add a few more acquisitions and I think you can see that it might not be long before DAC is down to (perhaps more metaphorically) a one-aisle exhibit.  Next year it will be in San Francisco again, but the following year the plan is for Las Vegas–though I did hear rumors of Austin. Hopefully by then not just in the lobby…

How many of you aspire to be managers?  Well, I wish I had a hundred bucks for every time someone said, “I want a management position”.  I would be rich, well richer than I am now anyway, which is why I said a hundred bucks. As a professional, I get it; I understand that most of us want to advance in our careers and want to try something different and more challenging…I get it.  In some cases, this is a realistic and rational expectation; however deciding if you fit that criterion is the real challenge.

Now, let’s be honest in your own personal assessment: some of you think you know more than your manager, heck maybe more than the CEO (come on, you know who you are), and a few of you just might. But heck, in fact reality dictates that most people are most likely not being realistic in their assessment.  Let’s pause for a second and do a reality check on the remaining vast majority of you who perhaps are not judging your attributes or qualifications realistically…meaning that you might not be the best management material. Now understand, I am not trying to be rude or demeaning to any of you, just honest, which is my job.  Truly understanding your abilities and/or limitations is necessary to evaluate how you compare to others.  This can be quite difficult, but being honest to yourself is required when it comes to this type of self-evaluation.

Good managers that end up being truly happy are not all that common.  Longer hours, more responsibility, and layers of management litter the landscape and can add considerable stress and pressure.  There are questions you must ask yourself and what is key here is that you must answer yourself honestly.  Once you honestly believe (after a very careful and truthful assessment) that you are qualified, have decided you’ve got what it takes to be part of management, understand clearly what is involved in that type of position, and have carefully thought about this type of career change, then you’ll know if you are ready to proceed.  Only then should you start down that path to find the right opportunity.

Remember, Management is not all it’s cracked up to be and I think a lot of managers long for the days when they could do what they loved, build or work on product and not have the pressures that come with management hierarchy.  Yes, as your responsibilities grow so might your worth with the company; just make sure you know the price you are paying.   Management can take you from your passion or it can enhance your career by applying that knowledge base in new ways , leading to rewarding opportunities as well.

It is always smart to really think this through before embarking down that road.  Discuss this with a qualified knowledgeable recruiter who will hopefully give you unbiased answers and help you with some unique perspectives as well. If you have really thought it through, are sure you have what it takes, and understand the pluses or minuses, you can then make the move with confidence.  That is when you can clearly look forward to enhancing the next leg of your career and be confident that you have met your career choices and objectives.

I had a really nice long sit-down with Wally Rhines during DAC.  Our lengthy discussion covered topics you will never hear or read about elsewhere.  We discussed the future of EDA, the recent rash of acquisitions especially by Mentor, and even took a glimpse into the future, all of which will be in my special Wally column soon to come…as long as EDA does not shrink any faster than it is now.

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