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 The Breker Trekker

Archive for June, 2013

Raiders of the Lost Article

Tuesday, June 18th, 2013

Back before DAC, I wrote a blog post on the rapid migration of technical information from magazines and catalogs to online-only publication. I addressed the topic from my perspective as a voracious reader of industry news who likes flipping through magazines as a nice break from staring at the screen most of the day. Just for the record, today over lunch I skimmed through the latest hardcopy issues of Information Week, Electronic Design, and MIT’s Spectrum. But my post also addressed a more serious topic: the evanescence of online technical content.

Futurists would have us believe otherwise: online is supposed to be forever. However, many technical sites are hosted by motivated individuals or organizations who may simply decide one day to stop. Other sites are owned by commercial interests, including publishers, who may fold and take their content with them into the void. Yes, there are organizations trying to capture the ongoing history of the Internet but, in my experience, their retention of desired content is inconsistent at best.

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Where, Oh Where Should My Little DAC Be?

Friday, June 14th, 2013

I spent my last few posts previewing and reporting on the 50th Design Automation Conference (DAC) in Austin. As I have mentioned, this was the first time that DAC was held in Austin and so a lot of vendors were nervous about that. I know at least a couple of companies who downsized their DAC crews in anticipation of a smaller show. Well, the numbers are in and DAC did fairly well in Austin. Full-conference passes were 1589, down 16% from 2012 in San Francisco. Exhibits-only passes were 2364, down 15%. The number of both staffers was down 26%, reflecting both consolidation in the EDA industry and smaller crews.

No one really expected Austin to match San Francisco, but the numbers are quite respectable. What was especially interesting was that the number of exhibits-only passes exceeded by 15% those in San Diego in 2011. It seems that the local electronics community really turned out at DAC this year, already clear to us exhibitors since we saw many new faces we had not seen at shows in other locations.

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Looking Back on DAC 2013

Friday, June 7th, 2013

My last post provided some impressions on the first two days of the first-ever Design Automation Conference (DAC) in Austin. It was very personal and perhaps even a bit self-congratulatory since I was so excited about how well the conference had gone for Breker. Well, this post isn’t going to be any less upbeat since the final day of the show was also great fun. For a start, we scanned more badges on Wednesday than on either Monday or Tuesday. That has to be a DAC first.

In addition to the skit and musical entertainment in our DAC booth theater, we also offered a brief product overview and several guest presentations. I’d like to thank Brian Bailey of EDA DesignLine and Brian Bailey Consulting, J.U. Nambi of CMR, and Srini Venkataramanan of CVC. Each of their talks drew a crowd and contributed to the diversity of our theater program. I’d like to expand this even further at future shows, with customers and additional partners offering their thoughts.

I was pleased with the technical panel “Disruptive Verification Technologies: Can They Really Make a Difference?” on Wednesday morning. Moderator Brian Bailey wove together several threads about the state of functional verification and a couple of “non-answers” from the panelists opened up some additional topics. I thought that Breker CEO Adnan Hamid did a nice job of positioning our SoC verification approach as a rare example of a technology that is disruptive yet usable today.

After a very busy six days (two days of booth setup, an all-day company meeting, and three days of exhibits), I finally found an hour or so to wander through the Convention Center and see what other companies had done for the show. I spotted two other booths with professional entertainers, but no musicians. As far as I could tell, in the self-proclaimed Live Music Capital of the World, Breker was the only DAC exhibitor to feature live music in its booth.

Since I did my wandering around wearing the “Breker Man” cape from our skit, I saw lots of double-takes and a few doubling-overs with laughter. My former colleagues at Cadence teased me repeatedly and I’m sure there are incriminating photos somewhere on the Web, but I minded not a bit. The combination of recommendations from Gary Smith and others, Breker’s growing reputation, live music, and a wacky skit that stopped people in their tracks resulted in us gathering more than three times the leads of any previous DAC (or any other show).

Finally, I can’t say enough good things about the decision to hold DAC in Austin. Our lead number speaks for itself and, as I noted in my last post, we saw a lot of local folks who had never attended a DAC before. We had tons of good food, including four of the most famous BBQ joints, and I capped the week off with visits to the Blanton Museum of Art and the incredible Flatbed Press and Gallery before heading to the airport on Thursday. I’m planning a separate post on DAC locations, but for now suffice to say that I hope Austin becomes a regular stop.

Tom A.

The truth is out there … sometimes it’s in a blog.

 

Check-In after Two Days at DAC 2013

Tuesday, June 4th, 2013

I’m very tired and a bit giddy as I write this post, late in the evening after the second day of exhibits at the Design Automation Conference (DAC) in Austin. Frankly, a lot of us EDA vendors were concerned about holding DAC in Austin for the first time. Of course there is a large electronics development community in Austin, but the first time in a new location for any conference is always a bit of a gamble since you never know what kind of response you’ll get.

I haven’t seen any statistics for DAC overall yet but I will say right now that the preliminary results for Breker are just amazing. My first scan of the leads we’ve gathered shows this to be our best conference ever both in terms of both quantity and quality. In addition to seeing some old friends we’ve met many engineers from the Austin development centers we had not met before. Most said that they had never attended DAC in previous years but were glad to be able to do so in their own backyard.

One reason for the larger crowds around the Breker booth was a greatly expanded presentation schedule, including a really fun skit. Austin musician and storyteller Rudy Roberson entertained the crowd as the singing captain of the “USS Ice Breker” while yours truly made a special cameo appearance as “Breker Man.” There’s nothing better than some music and a bit of nerdy humor to get people to stop and check out your booth.

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