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).
Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category
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”Monday, June 16th, 2014
Two More Long Timers Gone, We Must Build A Stronger Mid-Tier Base, Think WALMART Competition? …DAC Is Back In SF…Tuesday, May 13th, 2014
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. (more…)
DVCON, How Was It? …Interviewing Smartly Makes A Significant Difference! …My Thoughts On Working Remotely…Monday, March 10th, 2014
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!
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.
Why is it so Darn Hard to Find Good People in Certain Sectors???…Why is NOW the BEST Time To Look???Wednesday, December 11th, 2013
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.
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.
The Most Important Column You Will Ever Read About KEYWORDS STRUCTURING In Your Resume…Hiring is Strong, Finding the Right Match is Incredibly Difficult…Thursday, September 19th, 2013
My headline says that finding the right match is incredibly difficult and I assure you it is for both sides. Having a properly structured resume with the right KEYWORDS will make a significant difference in whether or not your resume is even ever looked at. You must have the right elements in your resume for it to show up in a structured search for specific skill-sets. Let’s start with what is important in a resume and yes I know this is a continuation of my last column but there are points that must be pounded home and a few I did not address previously.
The EDA Consortium released 1st quarter results for 2013 and the news continues to be not only encouraging but also significant. EDA revenues increased 8.1 percent from the first quarter of last year to $1.67 billion. The four-quarter moving average increased by 7 percent with total revenue for the last four quarters at $6.66 billion, not bad at all.
When you see strong growth in the Services sector, this suggests business is strong and companies need to look elsewhere because internal needs cannot meet the demand timely and hiring outside is the fastest, and in many cases, the most reasonable solution. This also suggests that hiring is still robust (as I can certainly attest to) and that the hiring pool continues to diminish, making it harder and harder for companies to find good people. Either way this is great for EDA as the more people working, the more tools needed to get the job done.
Austin Was An Amazing DAC…EDA Is Heading Toward Another Strong Year & So Is Hiring…Our NEW EDA Recruiting Software Is Up And Running…Thursday, June 27th, 2013
My moniker White Jacket and I spent three days, morning to night, working DAC. (Check out my new DAC video… http://www10.edacafe.com/video/EDA-Careers-Mark-Gilbert-President/39972/media.html). The show was enjoyably close to my hotel (a few scant steps…closest I have ever stayed to a center) and the show itself was remarkably easy to navigate. I was pleasantly gratified that how I reported DAC would be, was pretty much how DAC was. Overall, I would say the conference was not bad in the least and I dare say for most, pretty spectacular. DAC is a sort-of stomping ground for adult engineers and Austin (a “weird” stomping ground on its own) allowed a lot of us to do some serious stomping after the engineering talk stopped.
New Company/Candidate Recruiting Software Changes Everything…Seems Like More Parties @ DAC @ Everybody’s Coming…Thursday, May 30th, 2013
This is a story about exactly why EDA changes everything (albeit down the line) and how software continues to permeate every corner of our business and professional life. I remember when I was first drafted into EDA as a recruiter. The infamous and back then well known Bob Gold said enough with deciding, debating what your next venture is going to be…it is time for you to get back in the game and I have the perfect opportunity for you. Famous last words they were.
I had just left a considerable web development company in 96-97 where I was the VP of Marketing. This thing called the Internet was exploding and we were waiting on 150 million dollars in funding, as we were one of the hottest development companies in the country. Problem was, we waited and waited and grew and grew in anticipation and when the money did not come, well that ended that. Fortunately I had a few successes in Sales and Marketing in my life and wanted the next opportunity to be the right one. When Bob said let’s do this, I will make you a partner, I decided to give it a shot as I knew I could make a significant contribution. I understood IT and had developed software before, so I thought this could work. I had no clue how complex EDA was and how much learning was awaiting me. Never did I think I would be the “go to recruiter” for EDA, one of the most complex areas of recruiting.