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Peggy Aycinena
Peggy Aycinena
Peggy Aycinena is a freelance journalist and Editor of EDA Confidential at She can be reached at peggy at aycinena dot com.

Shopping for IP: Making a list, checking it twice

November 21st, 2013 by Peggy Aycinena

If you were designing a new bathroom, you’d have to become a minor subject expert across a fairly wide range of critical products: plumbing, fixtures, drains, toilets, sinks, tubs, mirrors, cabinets, fans, windows, doors, lighting, tile and paint. And that’s on top of mastering local building codes, which are often complex and difficult to interpret.

But that’s the exercise I’m been involved in lately, and now that the design is complete and construction about to begin, the list of vendors from whom bits and pieces of the project have been procured is quite astonishing: Delta, Moen, Hansgrohe, Grohe, Infinity, Toto, Geberit, Kohler, American Standard, Afina, Panasonic, Pella, Baldwin, Progress, Ashbury and Kelly Moore.

All of these suppliers have been chosen after lengthy evaluation of their individual offerings, price points, quality – often determined through reading endless online user reviews – availability and serviceability, not to mention feedback from the general contractor who’s got strong opinions of his own based on years of experience.

Nonetheless, the bulk of the design has been home-grown. Had it been outsourced, perhaps the list of vendors would have been shorter, more products procured from fewer vendors, but would the design have been as good? Perhaps it would have gone more quickly, but would my control over budget and quality have been as complete?

This is a blog about silicon IP, not bathroom IP, but clearly many of the issues here are the same.

If you were designing a chip, you’d have to become a minor major subject expert across a wide range of different IP offerings, all of which promise to be best-in-class, appropriately priced, easily available and fully supported by the IP vendor who wants you as a customer – not just for your current project, but for the one that comes after that as well.

And if you had one or more contract designers on your project, you would also have to listen to their feedback. They undoubtedly would have experience with certain types of IP, some of which they would insist on using instead of others, no matter the cost. And then there are the endless interface standards that need to be taken into account, which seem to be constantly changing and subject to interpretation.

In light of that, and now that the bathroom construction is underway, I hope to spend the next several weeks turning my now-advanced project IP evaluation skills to the job of designing a chip.

I’m going spend some time making a list and checking it twice to see who’s providing what, how much it costs to buy what they’re selling, whether it’s available and serviceable, and if there are easily accessible reviews out there that can help guide the selection.

It’s going to be interesting, so stay tuned and I’ll let you know how it turns out.

Ho Ho Ho …


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One Response to “Shopping for IP: Making a list, checking it twice”

  1. Harold Barbour says:

    I always like good analogies and this one is excellent! Having gone through the bathroom design process myself twice in the last 3 or 4 years, your comparison really resonates with me!

    Wishing you the very best for the holiday period. If we can be of help in your next project of “making a list and checking it twice”, let us know.

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