I love San Diego as a venue for DAC though I know many say that travel anywhere but SF precludes many from attending. The numbers tell a substantially different story, as did the many people I talked to and all say that clearly, DAC attendance was up this year.
So as I walked back and forth through the Exhibit hall on Monday, I could not help but notice that the crowds were pretty substantial. Yet as I was talking to one of the many people I talk to through the day, he gave me the oft used phrase, (when talking about DAC) I have heard so many times before, you know the one…the “DAC seems kind of empty” comment, which completely baffled me. As I looked right and then left, I said to him with some frustration, “look to your right” and to his astonishment the area was packed. “Now” I said, “look to your left” and again same thing, the area was packed. He hemmed and hawed (looking somewhat embarrassed) and said resoundingly “WOW”! (Yes DAC engineers come out with brilliant phrases like WOW). Now I understand that this on its own, is boring at best. But there is a point to make by the telling of this brief encounter. For as long as I can remember, even in the earlier years when DAC was considerably larger and more attended; people were talking even then about how few people were attending DAC.
Friends, DAC is not a consumer show, or a show catering to a giant consumables industry! DAC is a show that will never be “packed” (though I can tell you that Monday and Tuesday were quite busy), but the real bottom line is that who you wanted to see at DAC, was at DAC, with very few exceptions. That is a FACT corroborated by almost everyone I talked to, and trust me there were many (lets not forget the actual published attendance numbers that were up considerably as well). Nevertheless, over and over, I heard how DAC was just what they expected: new customer engagements, new showings of demos, new leads, and new and improved relationships. That sounds to me to be exactly what a Trade conference is suppose to provide! EDA is an industry that has products that sell at a significant cost. Just a few of the right meetings and/or connections can pay for DAC many many many times over. And let us never forget the social implications of all the varied talks that go on over the entire DAC floor, all day long. Each of these talks are both relevant and important to our industry in their own individual way.
Everyone that was at DAC was there because they have a vested interest in being there. San Francisco might be busier because more PEOPLE will make the trek, but that does not mean more CUSTOMERS will be there. DAC is a destination show with a reason that people attend, and location for the most part, should not matter.
As for the major (DAC) party... even though Denali is no longer, Cadence kept the party going! Thank you Cadence for not killing the Denali party! (Who thought I would be saying that). I cannot over-state how important it is for the industry to have an informal get together and simply have a little fun. That is exactly what the Cadence/Denali party brings to the table every year. I hope Cadence keeps that tradition going as I know I had a blast as did so many other that I talked to, at the party. It was just what the doctor ordered, and just what this industry needs to show a little cool, while facing all the allure of the really COOL alternatives out there.
Last but certainly no less important to me, I could not believe how many people stopped me because of my now branded White Sports Coat. One of the smartest marketing ideas I have ever come up with, and one that I will absolutely continue. If not for the White Sports Coat, who could have possibly spotted me in those oh so crowded isles? It makes me a standout, which is exactly how I position myself anyway!
Next column… My amazing off the cuff 30 minutes with Aart de Geus at DAC!