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 What Would Joe Do?
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.

Bob Smith: Confidence drives ESD Alliance

April 7th, 2016 by Peggy Aycinena

Several weeks ago, before the EDA Consortium was re-branded as the ESD Alliance
, I had a chance to speak by phone with Bob Smith, Executive Director of the organization. I started by asking what concerned him the most about the re-launch. Bob was too optimistic to pick up on that negative note.

Instead he said, “It looks like we’re going to have a really good turnout for our event next week on March 30th, with well over 100 people expected. We are billing the evening as 90-percent social and only 10-percent business. I’ll speak for about 5 minutes and no longer, introducing the new name for EDAC.

“Mostly we want to have a get-together where people who haven’t seen each for a long time can enjoy catching up. We honestly hope that people will just have a good time. Also, it’s great that a number of the board members will be there.”

“Can I play the devil’s advocate for a moment?” I asked. “Is renaming the organization an exciting way to push EDAC forward, or simply an acknowledgment of a reality that’s been in place for several years? IP has been important for a long time, ARM has been  on the board for a long time, and MIPS before that.”

Bob replied, “Well, I’m certainly excited about this re-launch. It was a challenge to settle on the new name and perhaps there was a concern about how the board would react.

“After all, three of the board members – the CEOs of Synopsys, Mentor, and Cadence, are dyed-in-the-wool veterans of EDA. There could have been push back along the lines of: Gee. We’ve been an organization for EDA since the beginning, so why change it now?

“To their great credit, however, that is not what they said. Instead it was: We’re now part of something much bigger.

“The entire board is completely in agreement with the premise that, although EDAC’s been just about EDA for over twenty years, today design requires an entire ecosystem. One that includes advanced packaging, embedded software, and IP, as well as EDA.

“The board recognizes that the new name should reflect that reality, we are all part of something bigger today. Our new name reflects a very different way of looking at the world.

“Now we are the ESD Alliance – Electronic System Design Alliance – with a much broader mission than the former group. Hopefully over time, the board will evolve to include members from all of the different facets of the ecosystem. I’m confident that will happen.

“Meanwhile, it is very exciting to see the ongoing efforts of our established working groups. The Export Committee continues to do good work, as does License Management and Emerging Companies. New groups are also forming to work in the areas of IP Fingerprinting and 3D/Advanced Packaging for better cooperation between manufacturing and design.

“There will be a lot more news out of all of these committees over the next year, I am quite sure.

“This is why, rather than have concerns about the change we’re announcing, I’m out talking with lots of people about joining in with us. What I’m hearing in the process is that many people are as energized about the opportunities here as I am.

“We are all looking at things with a much bigger field of view. There are big and interesting opportunities ahead for all of us in an atmosphere of collaboration.”


Confidence drives ESD Alliance …

ESDA Launch

Photo courtesy of Paul Cohen, ESD Alliance, 30 March 2016


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