October 11, 2010
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| by Russ Henke - Contributing Editor
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Before this current location, the company had its headquarters near Freedom Circle in Santa Clara, CA.
There are also Real Intent Branch Offices today in Washington, Oregon, Texas, Massachusetts and Brazil. Counting everyone, today Real Intent has about forty (40) full time employees worldwide.
Offshore reps are based in Germany, Japan, South Korea, and Israel.
Products of Real Intent, Inc.
The following is a graphical portrayal of Real Intent’s product line:
Real Intent product details are not the focus of this EDA WEEKLY; for more information please go to:
Selected Topics from the Group Interview
The discussion on August 24, 2010 covered many topics. Since the details of Real Intent’s
product line have been covered elsewhere, and since Real Intent’s recent revenue performance has been discussed in the foregoing paragraphs, the focus of the
Group Interview was on how the company culture among the founders, subsequent employees, advisors and funding sources materialized to produce the current positive dynamics within the Company and among customers.
While this topic was discussed between Prakash and the writer in dialogues separate from the August 24, 2010 meeting, it may serve us well as we attempt to explain the unmistakable feeling of equanimity and assurance that seems to pervade every employee the writer has met at Real Intent. The writer asked Prakash if he recalled the significant experiences in his life by the time he received his Ph.D. in 1992, and the extent to which those experiences have characterized his approach to business and management since then. Not surprisingly, Prakash was able to answer immediately. He spoke of
the value of self-discovery. The importance of family. Dealing with extreme adversity. The importance of (other) people. The (development of and) importance of a leadership philosophy. The sense of responsibility (when it comes to dealing fairly with other people and the resources from others). In the writer’s experience, it is unusual for most individuals, let alone a technical business manager, to have thoughts about such topics, let alone to have the effortless ability to recall and to express them fluently.
One of the early topics discussed at the August 24 meeting was the multiple conversations between Prakash and Rajiv that occurred in 1997 and early 1998. Prakash had identified Rajiv as a potential co-founder of Real Intent. Rajiv became very interested in Prakash’s future vision for the company, but Rajiv felt strong loyalty toward HP which was after all sponsoring Rajiv’s then-underway leave-of-absence and studies at Stanford. Once Rajiv had finally succumbed to Prakash’s entreaties, Rajiv made certain to re-pay to HP the entirety of HP’s investment in Rajiv’s year at
Stanford, to maintain the integrity of the fellowship program within HP. Such was the ethical basis of both Rajiv and Prakash.
Another characteristic of Real Intent that emerged during the meeting, was the realization that the Company has been so successful to date with such a relatively small staff size (even now only 40). Prakash and the other employees present all chimed in, that Real Intent people across the company are self-driven and highly productive individuals, carefully selected to handle multiple assignments and responsibilities simultaneously. This philosophy applies to everyone, including and perhaps especially the management team, whose members each have multiple obligations (that seem to require
separate functional managers at many other companies), yet at Real Intent the multi-functional team members remain both effective and highly-motivated, keeping the overhead expense very low. Separate 1:1 interviews with several key Real Intent people confirmed this diagnosis.
Not only was this attitude pervasive during the August 24 Meeting, but also the selfless cooperation associated with the CEO, VP’s and other employees on the Real Intent DAC 47 team in June 2010 was evident for all to see:
Pictured here are some of the members of the Real Intent DAC 47 Team June 2010, celebrating the end of the first day at DAC and the gathering of the world wide team. Standing at the back from left to right: Katsuhiko Sakano, Satoru Minamimura. Seated, from left to right: Rajiv Kumar; Carol Hallett; Avinash Palepu; Prakash Narain; Jin Zhang; Ralph Marczynski.
It’s very possible that this m.o. got its start at the beginning of the company in the late 90’s, when the core group consisted of the founders and employee #2 Chris Morrison (now Chief Architect) and employee #3 Rajeev Ranjan. Finding good people was difficult in those “dot.com” days, and Real Intent adopted a build-the-team-slowly mentality by necessity then. This philosophy has served the company well over the years, as no downsizing has ever been needed. The founders also resisted any notion of “offshoring”, a philosophy of farming out work overseas (e.g. to India). The writer has also long opposed “offshoring” as well, in both his corporate and in his subsequent
consulting roles, except in very specific clerical functions.
It is apparent that the people involved at the Company today are highly motivated and enjoying their work efforts, so that neither management nor rank and file personnel are consumed with the need of a near-term exit strategy – e.g. to go public or to be acquired. This attitude among the people is both subtle and persuasive.
Prakash and his team went to special lengths to ensure that the writer knew that the “force” behind Real Intent was and is
Andy Bechtolsheim. Andy is of course a world-renown technology leader, industry visionary and one of the best computer architects in the world. He was a co-founder of Sun Microsystems in the early 80’s and has had dozens of positive technology investments ever since. Bechtolsheim earned a master's degree in computer engineering from Carnegie Mellon University in 1976. He was a doctoral student in computer science and electrical engineering at Stanford University from 1977 to 1982. He has been honored with a Fulbright scholarship, a German National Merit Foundation scholarship, the Stanford Entrepreneur Company of the year
award, the Smithsonian Leadership Award for Innovation and is a member of the National Academy of Engineering. See
Footnote  for more details.
Prakash Narain was introduced to Andy Bechtolsheim by
Anant Agrawal , who was then VP Engineering at SUN. Prakash had sought guidance from Anant when Prakash was contemplating the start up of Real Intent and long before Prakash began seeking funding for his enterprise. By then, Andy had long since left SUN.
Prakash and Rajiv had originally incorporated their start up company with the name “Validity Design Automation,” but Andy favored a name change prior to initial funding. Both Andy and Anant are Real Intent Board Members today.
Prakash and Real Intent have been fortunate to have
Andy Bechtolsheim’s support since almost the beginning. Andy joined
Dr. Prabhu Goel and
Peter Odryna in the Company’s first $1 million tranche of financing in November 1999, and Andy also led a follow on tranche of $3 million more soon thereafter. In recognizing this $4 million support of Real Intent’s progress, Prakash said, "From day one, our focus (at Real Intent) has been on developing a designer-friendly way to exploit the “intent-gap” and to use that to drive the verification process. We set out to design an environment for managing and verifying the design intent and we are
very excited to report that beta results to date indicate that we are meeting these goals. Our approach to functional verification promises to revolutionize the design verification industry."
In assessing the state of his company after its first 20 months of work, Prakash continued, "We have assembled a very talented team which includes five PhDs with a wealth of experience in chip design and EDA technologies. Today (late April 2000) we have a strong and active board of directors that that is chaired by industry visionary Dr. Prabhu Goel, the founder and CEO of Gateway Design Automation, whose Verilog simulator has become a worldwide standard."
"When we created the Verilog language, all of the verification aspects that we wanted to create have never been fully addressed,” stated Real Intent’s Board chairman at the time, Dr. Goel. “Real Intent is carrying on that work and using it to address the verification challenge in a very promising way.”
Subsequent to the first round mentioned above, Real Intent has had one more round of financing (in 2007) led by Andy Bechtolsheim operating as an individual private investor. More importantly, since 1999, Andy has been Prakash’s guide and mentor, sorting through the most complex issues and providing amazing insight. Prakash readily acknowledges that Andy and Prakash’s father have been the two most important influences on his life. Prakash talks to Andy at least once a month
these days, and meets with him in person at Real Intent Board Meetings which are held at least once a quarter.
While Prakash also went out of his way to praise the technical contributions from
CTO Pranav Ashar , Prakash is genuinely proud of his whole team. Said Prakash, “ We are very fortunate to have so many talented individuals working here. After 12 years, the cooperation of our R&D, Technical Marketing and Customer Support teams is our winning combination.”
During the August 24, 2010 group conversation, the writer referred to the PARTNERS page of the Real Intent website, which listed the following companies and contained this caption : “Real Intent is committed to EDA tool interoperability and to standardization. Real Intent has active relationships with the following EDA companies and standardization efforts.”
Most of these partnerships listed here are to ensure interoperability of Real Intent products. With perhaps an occasional exception, Real Intent itself licenses its software directly to end users, usually a time based license. With SpringSoft, Real Intent OEM’s Springsoft Verdi debugging code to offer the best experience to end users. Real Intent’s Meridian CDC has been integrated with Altera’s Quartus flow, with Real Intent licensing its Meridian CDC portion directly to
It became clear during this delightful session with the Real Intent management on August 24, that there is a lot more to discuss with the people of the Company. It is very possible that a future EDA WEEKLY article will be devoted by this writer to Real Intent.
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-- Russ Henke, EDACafe.com Contributing Editor.
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- Great Writer October 22, 2010
Reviewed by 'S.Lee Ryan'
After reading through Russ's latest story on Real Intent, I just wish I could work for that
company. I first was exposed to Russ's writing when I worked in Michigan at a company that
was a SDRC customer and got the monthly newsletters from SDRC by mail. But when I
attended one of their seminars, I found out it was SDRC's president (Russ) that wrote
every one of those newsletters for years. By the way, I also liked going to Riverfront Stadium
with the seminar people to see the Cincinnati Reds play baseball.
Here it is 30 or so years later, and Russ's writing style is even better than before. He displays
the understanding that business success comes from motivated people and not just from
hot technology. How many business stories have you read that have pictures of the
families of employees? I look forward to every one of Russ's contributions. Keep up the
good work, Russ!
4 of 6 found this review helpful.