September 28, 2009
It’s the Customers...
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Jack Horgan - Contributing Editor

by Jack Horgan - Contributing Editor
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It has become an extremely fun solution space in that it is like a chameleon. It adapts itself to what the problems are. Once you have solved a problem the first time for a customer, you can spread it out across your customer space. That has led to tremendous expansion. We have had over 100% growth year-to-year, 200% to 2008. This year we are growing still, not over 100%, but still growing significantly. Most of our revenue this year will come from our existing customer base proliferating more and more throughout their divisions.

Do you have new products in these areas or best practices? How do you leverage these successes in eight different areas?

You are the first person to ask and that is a good question. I have watched how one startup after another took their good technology and then as soon as they have a variation, say “Oh, I have a new product”. In my opinion this dilutes the value of the core product, and you end up with a lot of teeny, tiny low priced products that are very difficult to configure and sell. No! We have used JasperGold, which is our formal property verification platform. In fact, it has an API, so that you can use Tckle or C commands to script new applications on top of this. That is all under the JasperGold umbrella. Our second product has some overlapping functionality in terms of the visualization of what is going on in your design. It is still useful in property verification. We created a new product, called Active Design that has formal algorithms underneath but does not perform formal property verification. It performs behavioral analysis on waveforms with a database attached so that you can explore your RTL, tag it with temporal relationships that are important by simply clicking on what cycles, what signals and states are meaningful. Comment that. Index that. We call it behavioral indexing. Build with that a knowledge base which is extremely useful to the author of the design to create new waveform traces and confirm behaviors as you are developing RTL without having all the RTL complete, without absolute no testbench, be able to say “Get me to that state” It directs, 100% controllability. You do not have to worry about the stimulus any more. Get me to that state, get me that combination of things happening and it will produce waveforms that you can then manipulate. I would like to stretch that out a little bit, I would like a bit more time between these signals. You just declare what you would like the output to look like and it will fill it with the correct trace, deriving it from the RTL. So the behavior indexing lets you abstract some of the temporal functionality and use that as building blocks. You
can now explore more interesting compound behaviors and so forth without having to deal with all the bits, abstracting a level above the RTL with complete and full control on the part of the designer. You use that and then your implication analysis that takes the next version of the RTL and shows you what behaviors were impacted by the changes in RTL, what you might have broken. You can ask if you change this line of code and what else might be impacted. That is a very exciting product.

Getting back to my great question. There are several ways to leverage application success. From a public relations point of view, if one customer says that he has a certain problem, then you can say we have a customer who solved that problem. Another way is to provide services based upon these successful experiences. Another way would be to document in a best practice manual.

How to get the applications delivered. Okay! We view the evolution of the company as what we call the bull’s eye model. I have heard after the fact the Geoffrey Moore describes this very well in one of his books. In the very middle you have you software, the tool itself. You can think of the next ring around the bull’s eye being methodology, where you can document things that are doable with the tool and provide that as a kit for someone else to do it. The most outer ring is service. Service does not necessarily mean paying you to fulfill a contract to do something. It just means when you apply your experience to try to solve a new problem. Over time things that
were in the outer most service ring get documented into methodology. And things that that were methodology, repeatable over and over again get automated into the tool. The tool evolves and grows. The center circle grows much faster than if you are just delivering a shrink wrapped tool saying “Knock yourself out.

The applications we mentioned, the 70 subapplications of these 8 categories, are predominantly methodologies we have documented. We give samples, templates on here is how to do this new application that maybe the first time, we had to figure out with a usually collaborative customer. “Here is what I would like to do. I’ve been thinking of using JasperGold” (because we opened it up for them to do so). They may ask “Do you know a way to do this sort of thing?” We say “Yes, that reminds me of that path analysis application over here for X-propagation. I bet we can use that application over here”. Over time
we find the ones that we think are most common best practices or applications that would be generally useful. We have rank ordered which ones we would be documenting next. Some of these become automated push buttons features in the tool as well. We have stuck to our guns and said that to enhance the value of the tools we already have delivered rather than to fragment what is already a small domain is going to be a winning strategy. We were right about that. There is no doubt.

You can look at other companies that are small and maybe in neighboring domains. You get a lot of press when you can say you have another product, but I do not think that amounts to revenue success or market success because customers are very busy. Whereas if you give them one useful tool across the design cycle that wears many hats. There is only one stage when you do architectural validation on that one architecture. Then you will be doing design exploration and then all that. With a license across their timing horizon they get far more value out of the one thing they are purchasing rather than five or six little things that are going to be negotiated down in price. This is a kind of way to aggregate that value and really get the customer’s recognition of that. It shows up in our booth when people ask “what is new at DAC?” Although we just had a major, major product launch in June, it is not the first thing we mention. If you walk into our booth, two things: one wall has eight customer testimonials. We have those in quotes, the ones that are public. There are quite a few others that we can’t acknowledge. The other big wall has a myriad of applications listed on it. So it is who are some of the customers and what they are using it for. By showing people almost what becomes a menu of here are a bunch of problems solved by this one powerful, flexible product, there is something for almost everyone on this list without having to put them in a Mixmaster, stir and give this piece of collateral or another. That has been the key. That and tying our business model for growth based on investing in the customers. Investing AE resources to go solve the customer’s application and having an account by account reconciliation. “Okay, if we are putting that much of our total AE bandwidth, we better be getting pro rata amount of the company’s operating expenses out of that account” . We are very mindful of where we invest resources and what is the late fee to
growing the dollars. This has made us very successful. I am very pleased with this team.

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-- Jack Horgan, Contributing Editor.


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