April 24, 2006
Thought Leaders -3 men, 3 minds, 1 industry
Please note that contributed articles, blog entries, and comments posted on EDACafe.com are the views and opinion of the author and do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of the management and staff of Internet Business Systems and its subsidiary web-sites.
Peggy Aycinena - Contributing Editor

by Peggy Aycinena - Contributing Editor
Posted anew every four weeks or so, the EDA WEEKLY delivers to its readers information concerning the latest happenings in the EDA industry, covering vendors, products, finances and new developments. Frequently, feature articles on selected public or private EDA companies are presented. Brought to you by EDACafe.com. If we miss a story or subject that you feel deserves to be included, or you just want to suggest a future topic, please contact us! Questions? Feedback? Click here. Thank you!

At least for now, this is one reason we have segmented our product lines. The product lines and their associated prices are segmented commensurate with the skill and costs associated with the particular workforce using them. And hopefully, we are able to add real value to the use of those tools with our support.

I'm a very pragmatic person. It's important that we look at how to make people more productive, and we're doing that by building user experience into our design kits. It's not about reinventing the wheel, it's about making our customers more productive.

That doesn't mean that there aren't people, however, who won't degenerate into piracy, but hopefully our tactic of staging the products to the appropriate markets will help to curb that.

Q - How do you foster innovation within a company?

Mike Fister - I'm an old developer and you gain a lot of experience as you do these things for a long time. I sincerely love people and believe they're the most valuable assets in a company. Sometimes, I believe management can treat people like automata. It's true nobody is indispensable, but some are irreplaceable.

I want to build a culture where people really feel that they're engaged. You can do it with some elements of money, but employees do it more to see their dreams realized. They do it because there's a customer and the employee wants to enjoy the give and take with the customer.

I'll give you a simple example. In a company, when a peer gives you a sandwich or a movie ticket, it means a lot because we all love peer recognition. It's the most flattering form of recognition, because who knows you better than your peers. So, we extend a lot of genuine appreciation in the company. It's about the pride of taking on goals and doing them together.

We have specialty programs where we allow people to incubate ideas, to develop ideas. Some of those ideas are successful and some are not. But we covet those who aren't successful just as much as those who are. That's what leadership companies do. That's how they get the best out of their employees-to have employees who are extremely engaged.

Q - Is that a philosophy you bring from Intel?

Mike Fister - It's not so much about Intel, as it's Fister. You could ask almost anybody there, and they would say they learned something from me. We all learn together. The most successful things in a company, in fact, happen within a team.

Of course, it's not an accident that some teams work better together than others, are better at setting goals and measuring results. And that's not just something I'm thinking about going into my third year here. It's something we thought about all along.

You need to celebrate the milestones along the way. You don't wait until you're 70 years old to determine if your life has been successful.

What we do here in EDA is complicated and oftentimes, seems ambiguous. My mother still, after all these years, doesn't understand what I do. But the ones who have a real master plan, and celebrate their accomplishments along the way-they achieve the most.

Q - Who sets the goals at Cadence?

Mike Fister - What we try to do is to set goals that are based on things that we can try to control. To engage and realize value. It allows us to be realistic and measured about some of the results we have.

We're proud of our results, and every one of us wants it that way. We don't want to hope to help our customers, we want to drive our customers to reward us for the contributions we make. If we demonstrate more value to our customers, we'll help the industry grow, we'll help our customers, and our shareholders. It's about being a responsible publicly traded company.

Q - How do you position the company for Wall Street versus for your customers?

Mike Fister - To the Street, it's mostly about growth, about demonstrating positive growth. We set objective goals on growing the company that are consistent with controlling the costs. And it's also about generating cash. We've had some great results over this last year, and we see ourselves as a very respected public software company.

And after looking at our goals, and our operating margins, we're getting into that class of software companies that's among the best in the world. We feel it allows for a clear comparison between Cadence and other software companies in our industry.

Our customers take solace in our financial results. From my previous history, I can tell you it would have been very hard to bet my existence on a tool vendor that couldn't be financially responsible. Our customers take satisfaction in knowing that we're a growing, thriving concern. We're continuing to invest in our technology, which is what our customers expect of us.

The financial analysts on the Street have a long history with this industry, and they're very thoughtful and analytical about it. Some have been more open to the changes that we have demonstrated and wonder if it's a one-trick pony. But we're doing our best to go out and prove them wrong. We're concentrating on the customer, the technology, and the financial goals. That's the best way to position the company for both the Street and our customers.

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-- Peggy Aycinena, EDACafe.com Contributing Editor.


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