“I’ve had three different jobs at Forte and watched about 30 competitors come and go,” affirmed Brett. He started out in marketing at CynApps and was sidetracked in 2005 to work in an operations role for Forte. His task was to set up a post-sales support organization to make sure that Forte serviced its customers to ensure their success. That meant an explicit focus in post-sales support rather than an implicit one. “I’ve always tried to dive into whatever needed to be done and deliver to the best of my ability and, at the time, this was extremely important,” he reported. “Small companies must work closely with every customer to make sure each design project is a success.”
With that mission accomplished, Brett went back to marketing and took over sales in 2006. “We have grown each year since 2006 and we are proud of it,” he said. He also takes pride in having done a lot of things to merge new companies into Forte.
At this point, Johnuinetti interjected: “It’s gotten a lot easier than it was before. I take a step back and see the market coming around to understand the need for high-level synthesis.” From there, he described a more mature product and a codified sales process that helps identify and better qualify opportunities, something Brett’s done over the past four years.
Sean concurred. Forte’s doing well and, from his perspective, keeping the momentum going is all important. His goal and one shared by Brett and John is to keep the team executing. “Our charter should be to create relationships with customers to get paid fairly for our products. The real trick is to deliver enough value and to be paid fairly for what we do.”
The EDA Industry
As the interview came to a close, Sean was asked for his perspective on EDA. He paused for a moment and answered: “Often the goals of the large (EDA) companies are different from those of the small (EDA) companies. Disrupting the status quo isn’t such a bad thing,” he added and believes that the need for continued innovation comes from small companies. “EDA is a small industry, but an important one. What would happen if everyone in EDA quit to build web pages? It would stop the world economy. We do have an important place in the ecosystem and should be recognized. We need to foster small EDA companies.”
John Sanguinetti, of course, agreed and had one final comment about Forte: “Patience and fortitude really do characterize Forte. We’ve kept at it and appreciate our success.”
So ends our current profile of Forte Design Systems. If personalities are the foundation of a successful company, Forte has them in spades. Forte’s people clearly exhibit the qualities from the names of the two lions in front of the New York Public Library: Patience and Fortitude!
Note: Forte has been the sponsor of a live bagpipers’ performance at DAC since 2001. EDACafe’s Peggy Aycinena captured this year’s performance. Her video is posted on her blog, “49DAC Unplugged:
ACM: Association for Computing Machinery
CEO: Chief Executive Officer
CTO: Chief Technical Officer
DAC: Design Automation Conference
EDA: Electronic Design Automation
ESDA: Electronic Systems Design Automation
ESL: Electronic System Level
GE: General Electric
IP: Intellectual Property
RTL: Register Transfer Level
SoC: System on Chip
STC: Standards Telephones & Cables
VAX: Virtual Address eXtension, an early mainframe computer from Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC)
VCs: Venture Capitalists
VCS: Verilog Compiled Simulator
EDN: “Sage words of advice from Forte Design Systems founder John Sanguinetti” by Brian Bailey
EDN: “Time to rethink EDA flows and tool infrastructure” by Brian Bailey
EDACafe’s What Would Joe Do: Forte: “Anchor Tenant in the ESL Mall” by Peggy Aycinena
EETimes: “2012 will be the year of power, again” by Brett Cline
EETimes’ EDA DesignLine: “Control dominated design” by Mike Meredith
EETimes’ EDA DesignLine: “Gearing Up for DAC – Above RTL” by Brian Bailey
Electronic Design: “Implement Abstraction By Encapsulation In SystemC” by Mike Meredith and John Sanguinetti
GABEonEDA: “Bagpipers a DAC Tradition” by Brett Cline
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About the Contributing Editor:
Since 1996, Dr. Russ Henke has been active full time as president of HENKE ASSOCIATES, a San Francisco Bay Area
high-tech business & management consulting firm. The number of client companies served by HENKE ASSOCIATES during those years now numbers close to fifty. Engagement lengths have varied from a few weeks up to ten years and beyond.
During his previous corporate career, Henke operated sequentially on "both sides" of MCAE/MCAD and EDA, as a user and as a vendor. He's a veteran corporate executive from Cincinnati Milacron (Research Scientist), SDRC (President & COO), Schlumberger Applicon (Executive VP), Gould Electronics (President & General Manager), ATP (Chairman and CEO), and Mentor Graphics (VP & General Manager).
Henke is a Fellow of the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME) and served on the SME International Board of Directors. Henke was also a board member of SDRC, PDA, ATP, and the MacNeal Schwendler Corporation, and he currently serves on the board of Stottler Henke Associates, Inc.