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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.

Gary Smith EDA: The Remarkable Journey Continues

January 27th, 2016 by Peggy Aycinena

Gary Smith EDA has set the gold standard for EDA analysis
for longer than GSEDA has actually existed. That’s because the core of the team has been together since way back in the 1990’s when the group was internal to Gartner Dataquest and had only one charter: Track the fortunes of the companies that then constituted the EDA industry.

Profound developments have unfolded since that time: Gartner saw fit to divest itself of an internal EDA analysis team in 2006, Gary Smith EDA was founded to embrace the market opportunity left to them by the Gartner decision, and the IP industry came out of left field and became as important a part of the chip design equation as the design tools themselves.

EDAC’s membership expanded to include companies like MIPS and ARM, the abstraction levels for design moved in fits and starts up and up, and Gary Smith’s affable expertise and relentless push for an ESL state of mind became one in the same in the minds of many in the industry. Then tragically last summer, Gary Smith succumbed to illness and a singular voice intimately associated with EDA industry was silenced. However, that was not the final chapter for GSEDA.

Per a phone call this week with GSEDA analyst Laurie Balch, the organization continues to operate and continues to “offer the same product and services we have always brought to the EDA industry, and now EDA and IP.”

I asked Laurie if it was a difficult decision for the team to continue working together after Gary’s death last summer.

She said, “It’s always a little scary to move forward under such circumstances, but Gary had an enormous impact on all of us. He shared so much wisdom and offered such great mentoring, we feel fully prepared to continue on in his absence.

“In fact, it was an easy decision for all of us. We have all worked together since way back in the Gartner days and it is our desire to continue to serve the industry that Gary felt so strongly about.

“We have developed a deep knowledge base over the years with regards to both the technology and the players. We are confident that as we move ahead we will continue to operate in the way Gary would have desired.”

Market forces being what they are, I asked Laurie if she sees other organizations beginning to move into a perceived void left by Gary’s passing.

She responded, “Yes, we know there is some competition, several other organizations providing market analysis, but everyone comes at things from a different angle. Our mix of data and consulting is unique. More importantly, our relationship with the companies in the industry is unique.”

Any chance for partnering with some of the other analysis organizations, I asked.

Laurie said, “There are no plans currently to develop partnerships. Of course, there have been ‘partnerships’ in the past, but they were informal. We are always talking to people in EDA, there is so much sense of community in EDA.

“It’s true the companies in the industry compete, and sometimes even bash on each other, but in the end there is such a sense of community. That’s something that’s truly great about our industry and something we all benefit from.”

Speaking of camaraderie, I asked Laurie about the upcoming DAC in Austin. How does she see things playing themselves out on Sunday evening, the traditional venue for Gary Smith’s annual kick-off of DAC.

She said, “We will be there, making our traditional Sunday night presentation. Nothing has changed there.”

But what about Gary’s bass and his group of assorted musical miscreants, I asked. Who is going to take over their iconic musical role in opening the DAC show floor on Monday morning?

Laurie laughed heartily: “Now you’ve touched on our main weakness. That musical interlude continues to be a difficult and gaping hole we have yet to fill. Perhaps you have some suggestions?”

I responded instantly: “Heck, Aart de Geus is practically a professional musician. It seems the least that he and his groupies could do to honor Gary would be to show up in Austin prepared to offer some Cajun tune-smithing.”

Laurie laughed again: “If you’re willing to reach out and get that rolling, let us know how your efforts pan out!”

Lest we end on an irreverent note, I asked Laurie how she is feeling about the unexpected turn of events that unfolded with Gary’s passing last summer.

She said, “I feel extraordinarily lucky to have worked with Gary, and to be able to continue to work with such a dedicated group of like-minded individuals. We have a profound and fundamental understanding of how to work together, and we each have our own particular market focus with a mix of technology and business analysis. That work has not changed since our days at Gartner.

“It’s been a remarkable journey for all of us and, with Gary having set the tone, the future continues to be bright for our group.”


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