There once was a golden age for EDA editorial. Seems funny to say nowadays, when we see EDA editorial in a virtual shambles…where one or two publications gamely soldier on as pure play editorial ventures…while others have adopted various sponsorship business models, thereby incurring the snide, not-accurate accusation of being pay-for-play vehicles.
Among the handful of first-tier publications back around the turn of the century, EE Times clearly was the go-to book for EDA. Staffed by a corps of editors who brought their sharp, keen-edged industry knowledge to their reporting, no EDA startup thought they launched themselves successfully without being covered in EE Times. And the formula worked for quite a while. I still remember how those 240 page tomes came to the mailbox each week.
There were two people who figured prominently in the EE Times braintrust.
Brian Fuller, as editor-in-chief, oversaw and created much of what was successful for the various sections that covered all of electronic design. And there was Richard Goering, the longtime EDA editor with his imposing manner, startling industry knowledge and contacts. Richard was perhaps best known for refusing to allow canned presentations during interviews. He’d ask for material before the interview, then start off the interview with those famous words, “I’ve looked over your material and have a few questions,” and run the 30 -45 minute interview. It was a little like Steve Jobs saying, “Oh, and one more thing.”
EDA editorial has changed, needless to say. Fortunately, we have Fuller and Goering here to talk a little about what EDA editorial used to be, what it is today, and what we can look toward in the future. We’ll post their thoughts over the next several weeks, usually on a Monday.
I can’t think of any individuals more qualified to speak cogently on this subject.
ED: Brian, Richard, thanks for taking time to reminisce a little and to analyze and speculate about where we’re at now. So let me kick it off with this question:
What’s happened to electronic design editorial and where is it today?
BRIAN: Ed, to your question what’s happened to electronic design editorial is pretty simple: it’s still there…it’s just in a different place.
ED: I keep referring to a golden age for EDA editorial. There was one, wasn’t there?
BRIAN: Yes, there was! Think back 20 years ago and you had at least three major publications with EDA editors of one type or another: EDN, Electronic Design, EE Times, Electronic News (not to mention overseas publications).
ED: There also was Computer Design, the first publication covering EDA to bite the dust.
BRIAN: That’s right!
ED: But I interrupted you…
BRIAN: EE Times, of which I am most familiar, had 2.5 editors at one point covering the design automation industry from the technology and business standpoint.
ED: So what happened?
BRIAN: Well, we all know the backstory since then: In 2001, the dot-com bubble burst. Semiconductor and EDA companies shifted marketing dollars to their own site development and to those publications they thought could deliver more eyeballs.
ED: What about the notion that EDA vendors never bought sufficient advertising and therefore killed their own editorial?
BRIAN: It wasn’t just with EDA, but I think EDA started the ball rolling, and they were big advertisers so the impact was significant. Electronics publications had to prioritize areas that they were going to cover. Paul Miller, then CEO of UBM Electronics, said pretty bluntly “EDA marketers: If you’re not going to support us, we can’t invest in editors.”
That was the end of Mike Santarini at EE Times; just a few years later it was the end of Richard Goering, now my colleague at Cadence.
RICHARD: Well, not really the “end” of Mike or myself; Mike went to Xilinx, and I’m now at Cadence. But I do agree with Brian that a lack of advertising revenues ended my career at EE Times.
ED: So what do we have today?
RICHARD: Not much is left in print. EE Times, EDN and Electronic Design still exist on-line, but in more of a blog format than traditional journalism. Their EDA coverage is limited.
BRIAN: Richard’s right. There isn’t an EDA “press corps” in the old definition of the term. The electronics publishing industry has restructured itself into smaller, more specialized sites with much lower overhead than the traditional electronics publishing houses, and they are quite healthy. Editors do cover EDA from various angles, but they also cover lithography and foundry and SoC design and so on.
These are outfits like SemiWiki, EE Journal and its sister publications, Semiconductor Engineering, Chip Design Magazineand so on.
Over this same period, those companies that shifted their marketing dollars away from third-party publishers to build out their own sites, realized they needed content experts, because that¹s never been their strength. So, as more editors have been turned out onto the streets from third-party publishing, industry companies have eagerly snapped them up to build content.
Right now, we have a very interesting mixture of editors working together from two sides of the aisle, if you will, to create technology conversations.
So what is the EDA editorial braintrust these days? See what Richard and Brian have to say about it in our next blog.