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 What Would Joe Do?
Peggy Aycinena
Peggy Aycinena
Peggy Aycinena is a freelance journalist and Editor of EDA Confidential at She can be reached at peggy at aycinena dot com.

#I’mEDAToolUser: Pay or Be Paid

January 15th, 2015 by Peggy Aycinena

Let the games begin. Deep Chip has re-upped its request for tool user experiences — “your most recent EDA/FAB/FPGA/IP user horror/success story” — while at the same time SemiWiki is also asking for “honest reviews directly from the people who use the tools”.

Coincidence? Maybe, but amusing nonetheless and here’s the most amusing part: Both DeepChip and SemiWiki are willing to post tool users’ feedback as anon. That, however, is where the similarities appear to end.

To post a review on DeepChip you have to be prepared to submit your feedback, wait for it to be edited by DeepChip’s own internal “keep me anon” editor, most usually for an obligatory fee, and then you wait some more. Eventually the review will be posted, although chances are you will not recognize it, when compared to the text originally submitted. Instead, it will be sharper, with shorter sentences, and crafted to meet the unwritten style guide that creates the edgy ‘voice’ that characterizes texts posted there. Of course, when a review is signed “keep me anon”, who really cares?

On the other hand, to post a review on SemiWiki, you apparently need only submit your feedback and then wait to see if yours is amongst the most popular. If it is, you may win a prize. Most everybody’s got a chance to participate in the contest, although “to post a review you must be a SemiWiki member with a LinkedIn profile that clearly shows your level of semiconductor design experience (you may not work for an EDA vendor).”

So, if you follow the rules — keep the text under a 1000 words, include a brief note about your background, a description of the project and the problem being addressed by the tool, a screen shot of the tool in use, what’s “not so good about the tool”, and suggestions for further development and/or additional features — you could win $100.

Hmmm. Pay or Be Paid. These are the rules that now govern the crowdsourcing of tool reviews, at least in EDA. It’s your choice.

Of course, there’s also a third choice, one which will most definitely keep you anon. Instead of spending time composing stuff for SemiWiki and/or DeepChip, you could call your AE. If they don’t offer satisfaction, resort to Yelp and see if anybody’s listening.


Call me #EDAToolUser …

Obviously, both SemiWiki and DeepChip will know who you are, or who your PR counsel is, when you submit your review. It then falls to the respective organizations to protect your privacy if you ask to be kept anon. Trust plays a big role here, as with everything in life.


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2 Responses to “#I’mEDAToolUser: Pay or Be Paid”

  1. Bryan says:

    Remind me again why we can’t just review tools forthright and non-anonymously? It’s the onerous license agreements of the tools, right? Seems like the first EDA company to lift that restriction and allow honest forthright reviews of their tools from their users would suddenly have a huge advantage over their competitors. Sure the reviews could have some negative things in them but the EDA vendors that disallow reviews aren’t fooling anyone, we know those tools aren’t perfect either. If I’m buying tools I’d much rather go with the devil that I know, if you know what I mean.

  2. Titi says:

    Well… but why don’t you say that all blogs under Semiwiki are paid by EDA vendors? Why don’t you tell that any vendor who want to be listed in Semiwiki has to pay a minimum subsription fee of $5000 for 6 month…
    While Cooley’s Deepchip is about sensational, at least it’s not all paid marketing, hidden under false independant bloggers.
    That’s also the reason Deepchip will discuss the most obscure start-up and not Semiki because all vendors can…
    That said, are you sure Semiwiki will indeed post All posts without any editing in favor of specific vendors?

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