August 11, 2003
More on Object-Oriented Design
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McCranie has 30 years' experience in the semiconductor and communications industries. Currently, he serves as Chairman of
the Board for ON Semiconductor and Xicor, and holds a Directorship with ASAT Holdings Ltd. Most recently, McCranie served as
vice president of sales and marketing for Cypress Semiconductor. Previously, McCranie was Chairman, CEO, and President of
SEEQ Technology. Prior to SEEQ, he had positions at Harris Corp., Advanced Micro Devices, American Microsystems, and Philips
Smith currently serves on the Boards of Cirrus Logic, Inc., PLX Technology, and Epicor. Smith started his career at
Honeywell, Inc. and then moved to Memorex Corp., Control Data Corp., R.R. Donnelley & Sons Co., Maxwell Graphics, and
Novellus Systems, Inc. Smith also served on the Board of Directors for Novellus until his retirement as CFO in 2002.
In the category of ...
Venn Diagram or Musical Chairs
Take set theory, your garden variety Venn diagram, and announcements over the last several weeks of new executive
appointments in EDA.
In our Venn diagram, one oval represents Ken Roberts, new CEO at Pulsic Ltd. His oval includes stints at Magma,
Cadence, Daisy, and Marconi. One oval represents Bob Smith, new President and CEO at InTime Software Inc. His oval
stints at Magma, LogicVision, and Synopsys. So Smith's oval overlaps Robert's oval in the Magma region. The third oval
represents Dave Kelf, new Vice President of Marketing at Novas Software, Inc. His oval includes stints at Synopsys,
Co-Design Automation, Cadence, GEC Plessey, and Bell Northern Research. So Kelf's oval overlaps Roberts' oval in the Cadence
region and overlaps Smith's oval in the Synopsys region.
There appear to be over-lapping regions in the resumes/ovals of many (dare I say all?) senior executives in EDA. Are there,
per the whispered rumors, actually only 10 people in all of EDA? Should they just hold onto their existing business cards,
while keeping a bottle of white-out handy for whenever it's time to insert a new corporate logo?
In fact, to the casual observer, it would appear that the "handful" of executives in EDA might just be amusing themselves -
circling around the various companies in the industry like participants in a surrealistic game of corporate musical
chairs. Each time the music stops, they grab the closest chair. Per this model - in this last round, Roberts grabbed the
chair with "Pulsic" written on the back, Smith grabbed the "InTime" chair, and Kelf grabbed the "Novas" chair.
Here's what folks from Pulsic, InTime, and Novas had to say about all of this when I spoke to them this past week. Not
surprisingly, none of them were willing to entertain the musical chairs theory. Instead, they were all quite articulate
about why all of this makes sense.
Bob Smith, CEO at InTime Software
"I think this trend is good for the industry. I think people have different skill sets. In my case, I tend to gravitate
towards start-up situations. I like the chaos, the unpredictability, and the ability to create something new. Alternatively,
there are people who are much better at situations where things have gotten much bigger [in the corporation]."
"The thing with the EDA industry is that it's really an industry that's constantly turning over. The tech problems are
constantly changing and that's why our technology is fertile ground. The technology from 5 years ago doesn't work now at 90
nanometers. That's why there's so much change in EDA."
"We're not missing new blood in EDA, because new blood comes in through entry level positions. We see lots of people that
start on the technical side as developers, or application engineers, then rise through the ranks into sales or business
development or marketing."
"The fact that people do move around is good for the industry. Obviously, if we moved around every 5 or 6 months, that
wouldn't be good. But staying in place for 5 years or so, and then moving, keeps our industry alive."
Dave Kelf, Vice President of Marketing at Novas Software, Inc.
"I don't think there are just 10 people in EDA. I'm not sure how many there are in marketing, but on the tech side, the
trendsetter is the CTO kind of guy. There are only a few of those kinds of characters and it doesn't always get announced
when they've done something big. For example, when Phil Mooreby started Gateway, it wasn't big news at the time. But it grew
into something huge. Those sorts of [technical talents] in EDA attract other people, who attract people like me."
"I was Employee No. 6 at Co-Design and was there until they were bought by Synopsys. Now, I'm happy to be at Novas. I was
looking to be at a start-up again, but with a company further along the path and closer to pre-IPO [than Co-Design]. I feel
that Novas is in a powerful position to provide technology that will change the debug market, so I'm very glad to be part of
"The key to innovation in EDA? Let's face it. Small companies that are still focused on individual products are the ones
that provide the innovation. It takes a small-company focus to do that. Small companies have no choice but to sell one
product. Therefore, their engineering guys are very driven. When you look at the companies in EDA that attract that type of
person, you'll see the companies that actually innovate."
"Our changing around in the industry keeps the executives fresh and doing different things. Some executives stagnate when
they get used to one environment, if they can't focus on new and different problems. Change is good - good for the industry
and good for us as individuals."
Mark Williams, COO at Pulsic Ltd. (formerly CEO)
"The first thing to note is that we're only talking about top executives. When these guys move around, it's for a valid
purpose. For instance, I'm a founder of Pulsic and was CEO until July 1st. We succeeded in growing this compelling
technology, got traction, and quickly got to the point where the technology was in place. We had published X number of
papers and then really needed to build commercial expertise into the company. That when it's time to hand the reigns over to
an experience business manager."
"The innovators are typically not the executives. My moving into the role of COO is not a difficult choreography at all. I'm
one of the technologists and it's a natural progression to get funding to start to ramp up on the business side of
things. So the executives move around, but the innovation still comes out of the R&D [portion of the organization]."
"Back to 1998, it was quite feasible for three executives to go into a VC saying - ' I'll be President, he'll be CTO, and
he'll be the Sales Guy.' - and they'd get funding. Now VCs want products that are already established. You have to have a
story. And once again, you have to have a well-rounded individual to head up the company and to secure rounds of
funding. Each phase [in the growth of a company] needs a different type of individual. You need to have that clear focus at
the outset. You need to know when you've gotten to that next phase - when you've met your initial goals and [it's time to
move one]. We're growing and hope to go all the way, to an IPO. Of course, a huge percentage of exit strategies today are
M&A, but Ken Roberts (newly appointed CEO) will take us to the next level of growth and right now we're holding onto our IPO
"It's a mistake to have ego involved in this process. If I had one of those large egos, we wouldn't have gotten Ken
involved. But I know I speak for the other founders when I say we're delighted to have him on board."
"Of course, you would be too much of an idealist to say I'm giving up my corner office."
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-- Peggy Aycinena, EDACafe.com Contributing Editor.
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