What Would Joe Do?

Peggy Aycinena
Peggy Aycinena
Peggy Aycinena is a freelance journalist and Editor of EDA Confidential at www.aycinena.com. She can be reached at peggy at aycinena dot com.

Coverity’s Kuehlmann: Success means Crossing the Chasm

 
March 27th, 2014 by Peggy Aycinena

 

The last time I had a lengthy conversation with Dr. Andreas Kuehlmann, he was director of Cadence Research Labs, housed in an off-campus office building just across the street from U.C. Berkeley. I spent an hour touring the lab, located on several floors there, with Kuehlmann as my tour guide.

First launched in 1993, by 2007 the Cadence lab was enjoying incredible new facilities when I visited, heavily kitted out with shiny work stations, high-end desks, fancy seating, gleaming conference rooms, and the usual array of tech-toys one expected to be on-site to entertain the young fanciful ones whose creativity apparently relied on having their work stations and their play stations positioned in close proximity

At the time, Mike Fister was King at Cadence. His reign, although now thoroughly besmirched by history, included in the plus column the company’s ongoing funding and encouragement of their Berkeley-based BlueSky TechLab/PlayPen.

During my visit in December 2007, my tour guide explained in great detail how Fister had been there several days before and had again reassured Kuehlmann that he had at his disposal all of Cadence’s resources: Kuehlmann’s job was not to worry about funding, only to worry about the rate at which his feisty group of wunderkinds were turning out innovative ideas that could be embraced by the mainline Cadence organization and brought to market.

Wow, what a gig, I probably said at the time, and Kuehlmann probably agreed: Cool digs just a few quick steps away from Cal’s engineering brain-trust, cool young folks soldiering away all around him, and a way cool corner office for the lab’s director that looked straight out to the Golden Gate Bridge. What wasn’t to like about that set-up?

Of course, that was in 2007, and the future could not have been foretold. Less than a year later, in October 2008, Fister fell from grace.

By early 2009, Cadence board member Lip-Bu Tan had himself named CEO. In April 2010, Cadence announced their “new” EDA360 initiative at a glittering event at the San Jose Tech Museum with Kuehlmann on stage for the rock concert-style launch – along with CEO Tan and the charismatic John Bruggeman. Yet by September 2010, Kuehlmann was out of Cadence and by October 2010, he was in as VP of R&D at Coverity.

Oh, to be a fly on the wall to hear how the conversations went, how the factions formed and re-formed within Cadence in the tumultuous years between December 2007 and September 2010. The only thing we can know, for the purposes of this blog, is that after 10 years at the Cadence Research Labs, Andreas Kuehlmann emerged at Coverity – situated in a completely different commercial space, tools for code quality analysis, and associated with a completely different university, Stanford.

And that brings us up to 2014. In February of this year, Synopsys announced it was buying Coverity for $375 million, less $25 million in cash. Then on March 25th, at SNUG Silicon Valley, the acquisition was declared complete and the CEO of Synopsys could brag about the deal in front of his user community.

I spoke to CEO de Geus briefly this week about the Coverity deal and found him ecstatic over the possibilities.

“Coverity’s the real thing!” he enthused. He said the folks at Synopsys have a lot of learning to do around the technologies associated with embedded and/or enterprise software, but this acquisition opens up opportunities for exploration and growth that are potentially limitless.

So, there you go. Kuehlmann was in at Cadence. Then he was out of Cadence. Then he was in at Coverity. And now he’s in at Synopsys – not only the biggest EDA vendor on the planet, but the mortal enemy [in EDA terms] of the folks that used to fund his lab, pay his salary, and make available to him a Room with a View. How cool is that?

I didn’t hear it from Kuehlmann himself – he was not interviewed for this blog – but I just gotta believe that in his case, Success means Crossing the Chasm, Cadence to Synopsys, with a bridge of code analysis spanning the gulf between them.

Actually, is that cool? Or simply ironic?

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One Response to “Coverity’s Kuehlmann: Success means Crossing the Chasm”

  1. Anand Iyer Anand says:

    Well said Peggy! In fact, a number of companies still loll in the chasm quite happily. The only way to make it big is to have a strong will to cross it.

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