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 What Would Joe Do?

Posts Tagged ‘Lucio Lanza’

PDF’s Kibarian: Jedi Knight unplugged

Thursday, July 23rd, 2015

 

Luckily this week PDF Solutions announced the acquisition of Syntricity, a “provider of yield-improvement technologies and services for the IC process life cycle. Syntricity’s dataConductor platform is a comprehensive, enterprise-wide yield management system that leverages a thin-client architecture to provide a cloud-based SaaS or distributed enterprise solution, allowing users to access their data anytime, anywhere.”

That news gave me a chance to attend to a long-overdue task: Compose a blog based on a lengthy interview with PDF co-founder and CEO John Kibarian conducted in the lobby of the DoubleTree in San Jose earlier this year. On that day, Kibarian and I sat in the bar at the hotel, although sadly it was mid-afternoon and the bar was not yet open.

Instead, ours was an all-business conversation that gave me a chance to learn far more about the man, the enterprise, and PDF’s newest product release, Exensio, “an enterprise-wide, Big Data platform, which analyzes and reports critical data generated across the semiconductor ecosystem”.

I last interviewed Kibarian in 2005 and labeled him then a Jedi Knight. In the intervening years, little has changed. He’s still singularly focused on the technology, and his incredible obsession with the interminable analysis of manufacturing data. Nowadays there’s also a dollop of Haiku thrown into the narrative, however, which somehow adds additional weight to the whole Jedi discipline thing. It’s a discipline based on deep understanding, patience, intuition, and the ability to learn. Indefinitely.

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Leonardo, Michelangelo, Lucio: A taxonomy of Italian Genius

Thursday, October 16th, 2014

 

There are three types of Italian genius. Leonardo da Vinci characterized one with his brilliant problem solving, creative innovations in the arts and sciences, diverse dabblings that often left completion dates for commissioned projects as sfumato as his oils, and aggressive self-promotion. An apocryphal testimonial to this last: When he finished the Mona Lisa in the early 1500s, he invited friends and foe alike into his studio to show off what he assured them would be the Next Big Thing. Humility was not in Leonardo’s toolkit.

Born in 1475, Michelangelo Buonarroti exemplified a second type of Italian genius. Intense, focused, gifted with extraordinary talents in the visual arts and architecture, and rumored to be so impassioned by his work as to go weeks on end without sleep, his talent was such that monumental commissions were forced upon him by the political and religious powers of the day, although he argued bitterly against the scale of such assignments. He became increasingly cantankerous with age, and in angry response to criticism of one commission in particular, famously painted himself into his vast Last Judgment as a flayed skin victimized by his patrons. Charm and affability were not in Michelangelo’s toolkit.

Fast forward five centuries and find now a completely different type of Italian genius. Shaped by mid-20th century forces in technology, and brought to full fruition in the fertile fields of Silicon Valley, Lucio Lanza exemplifies a third class in the taxonomy, one that encompasses the upsides of those 16th century icons – intelligence, creativity, a passion for innovation and work, a sense of history – without the downsides – egomania, rough irritability, inability to finish a project, or avoid a project too big to handle.

In the wake of two High-Renaissance Florentians, it took one High-Tech Milanese to fill out the taxonomy of Italian genius. Here in the 21st century, Lucio Lanza is in a modern class of his own.

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Swan Song: Kranen bids Adieu to EDA

Wednesday, October 8th, 2014

 

Exhibiting that unique combo of energy, hubris, and eloquence that’s the hallmark of Silicon Valley CEOs everywhere, Kathryn Kranen bid adieu to the EDA industry tonight. Sitting on the Cadence stage in conversation with Vista Ventures’ Jim Hogan – an event billed as part of EDAC’s ongoing Emerging Companies Series – Kranen walked the audience through highlights of her career, with special emphasis on the last 11 years serving as CEO at Jasper, a company she sold to Cadence earlier this year for a reported price of $174 million.

Up until the end of the evening, the exchange between these seasoned veterans of EDA proceeded as advertised – full of pithy advice on starting up startups, as well as enthusiastic endorsements of opportunities in the industry and good-natured banter between two highly successful people who know what it takes to grow and sell a company in high-tech. In the end, however, the evening turned out to be far, far more. It turned out to be Kathryn Kranen’s swan song in EDA.

Toward the end of her 90-minute interview with Hogan, things went historic when Kranen offered not only that she’s leaving Cadence just 4 months after the Jasper acquisition, but she’s leaving EDA completely. According to Kranen, she wants to serve at a company in the size range of Jasper, 100 to 150 employees, but enterprises of that scale are almost impossible to assemble these days in EDA. Since she wants to lead a moderately-sized company, but those options are not available here, she’s looking instead for opportunities outside the industry.

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DAC 2014: Algorithms, Adjacencies, Animosities, World Peace

Thursday, June 5th, 2014

 

The June breezes were intense in San Francisco this week. The fog was swirling out at the Great Highway, and making itself known across town amidst the flags flying sharply over Moscone Center. The Electronic Design Automation and IP communities were out in force in and around South Hall, while thousands of edgy app developers were playing out their own dramas across the street and down the block in and around West Hall where Apple was holding court at the same time. Fourth and Howard was awash all week in hordes and gaggles of the people who are shaping the future of the world.

Algorithms – Perhaps as never before, algorithms were the number one topic at DAC this year, and in so many different shapes and sizes. Algorithms for high-level synthesis, algorithms for creating models, algorithms for translating physical data into guidelines for design, algorithms for translating assertions into verification metrics for more orderly validations, algorithms for encrypting and decoding, algorithms for compression and decompression, algorithms for converting approximate computational output into exactitude, algorithms for hearing, seeing, and even believing. In San Francisco this week at DAC, it was algorithms all the way down, everywhere you looked.

Adjacencies – The Design Automation Conference is all about ideas, and this year the principle idea was change. The Executive Committee re-shuffled the long-standing deck of cards that’s represented the most important topics at DAC over the last 50 years and came up instead with a whole new set of talking points.

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Auld Lang Syne: Forte Design moves on …

Thursday, February 6th, 2014

 

When it comes to talking about Forte Design, only one word comes to mind: Classy. There’s always been a consistency of messaging, spirit and optimism comprising the public face of Forte, and no small part of that has been the spirit and personable styling of the VP of Marketing & Sales, that ultimate ESL Evangelist, Brett Cline.

Late yesterday afternoon, when I saw in an email blast from Semiconductor Engineering that Forte had been sold to Cadence, I was astonished [oh no, not another company sucked into the EDA Consolidation Vortex !?!], so I shot an email off to Brett and asked if he could make time for a phone call. True to form, he called me at 6 pm California time, which was 9 pm in snowy Massachusetts where Brett lives and works.

For the next 20 minutes, I listened to what has become the new normal in EDA: A great, albeit smallish company was made a “very fair offer” and although it may not have been the exit I myself would have predicted some years ago for Forte, Brett said that selling the company to a large EDA player is, today, the right and true decision for good leadership of good smallish companies in the industry.

All that being said, I noted an undercurrent of wistfulness in Brett’s voice. He wanted me to know how very much Forte Design has been run like a family company, that he felt about his co-workers at Forte as if they were family, and the fact that not all of them will be moving over to Cadence with the acquisition was making him profoundly sad last night. Profoundly sad.

Nonetheless, Brett and his co-execs at Forte will be moving to Cadence and the opportunities there, per Brett, are marvelous. He admires Cadence and is glad, given that Forte was going to be sold, that Cadence is where they’re landing. He admires the corporate culture at Cadence, thinks the management there respects the skills and technology being acquired with Forte, and thinks that not only is it a win for Cadence, but it’s a total win for Forte’s legions of loyal customers around the world.

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Jasper DA: What the Future Holds

Thursday, December 12th, 2013

 

At a recent tech conference in Silicon Valley, I had a chat with a long-time EDA player; let’s call him Elmer. The conversation came around to Jasper Design Automation and conjectures as to what’s ahead for the company. I recounted a small compare and contrast.

At the 2008 February EDAC CEO Forecast Panel, Jasper CEO Kathryn Kranen was on stage along with Synopsys CEO Aart de Geus, Mentor CEO Wally Rhines, and then-Cadence CEO Mike Fister. During the panel discussion, Kranen criticized the Big EDA companies on the panel for their ‘all you can eat’ business strategies – the big companies providing less-than-best-in-class point tools for free to customers who purchased their anchor products, which Kranen said made it nearly impossible for the smaller companies to compete.

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Joe Costello: Orb, Oasys, Epicenter

Wednesday, May 16th, 2012

 

On May 1st, Joe Costello was standing in his office at Orb Networks on the 6th floor of a building in downtown Oakland. When we started our phone call, he said, “I’m looking down on Broadway and there’s a massive march out there. It’s crazy — wish I could send you the video!”

It was, of course, the May Day Occupy Oakland march, which seemed just about right for this long-planned interview.

Twenty years ago, Joe Costello was CEO at Cadence; today he’s President & CEO at Orb Networks, a company that’s “cranking away at cool stuff in the media space.” Twenty years ago, Joe Costello was the epicenter of EDA; today he’s roiling things up elsewhere in the technology ecosystem.

So first we talked about Joe’s present and future, and then we got around to EDA’s present and future and What Would Joe Do if he was back in the epicenter today.

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DAC 2012: Wicked Wednesday in San Francisco

Sunday, May 13th, 2012

 

DAC looms!

If you do nothing else on Wednesday, June 6th, at the Design Automation Conference be sure to attend the second of the two keynotes.

Intel’s Brad Heaney will be talking about “designing a 22nm Intel Architecture Multi-CPU and CPU.” It’s got well over a billion transistors and would have only been the stuff of Sci-Fi dreams a brief 15 or 20 years ago.

After that, just like on Terrible Tuesday, you’ve got a wicked wheelbarrow full of different ways you could go, starting with the User Track. The Wednesday line-up in this well-received recent addition to the DAC schedule includes:

* Packaging & Automatic P&R, with speakers from Mentor Graphics, Samsung, and Intel
* Keynoter Q&A, with the morning’s IBM & Intel speakers fielding questions from the crowd
* Practical Formal Methods, with speakers from IBM, Oski, and Intel

If your interests, however, reside with the young more than the mega-organizations in the EDA ecosystem, Wednesday is your day to visit the ACM Sigda University Booth in the Exhibition Hall, where the “new EDA tools, EDA tools applications, design projects, and instructional materials” will be your guide to the future minds of this industry.

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