Is the year end really the best time to look??? What I heard during my last trip to the valley... Follow up on Aart de Geus…

As the year comes to a close many of you are asking me if this is the time of year to start checking into what kind of opportunities might be out there. The clear answer is YES!  I will explain why and also discuss who should NOT be looking as well.

Once again I find myself writing my column on the airplane on my way home from one of my long trips to the valley, and yes, like many of you know from columns before, I worked on this in the CHILI’s LAX.

My swing of the west coast, my last for this year, was a particularly good trip. Thankfully most trips have been this year.  I visited clients in both Northern and Southern California as well as stopped by the ARM conference in Santa Clara.  Of the 12 meetings I had, almost all told me they were relatively pleased with the year and while remaining optimistically cautious, expected the trend to continue into next year. The good news is companies are sill hiring and gave me several new positions to fill. The ol’ adage seems true (well my ol’ adage)… make something they want, make it have a strong value proposition, make sure the darn thing does what it’s suppose to do, then you will get the attention you deserve which should hopefully convert to a sale.  (By the way, I have a new bridge for sale in Brooklyn, revolutionary, any investors)?  Seriously though, what I said is basically true.

I also visited the ARM show for the first time and was quite surprised by the attendance.  The place was packed!  Admittedly, it is a small show in a modest size room but nonetheless, well attended.  The feeling there was similar…generally everyone talked positively about the current and future state of EDA. I must say it was quite a refreshing song to hear; one that seems is becoming increasingly more heard I might add.  (Maybe it will make the Billboard Top 10).

So now that we know that the news is (for the most part) positive, the question I am hearing most is… “IS THIS THE RIGHT TIME TO LOOK FOR SOMETHING NEW”?  The answer is absolutely yes, but with some exceptions.  The end of year is always a great time to start looking.  As the year winds down and projects, deadlines, numbers, well everything kinda winds down, it makes this a perfect time.  This is when you want to find out if something exists that offers you more than what you have now.  By more I DO NOT necessarily mean money: money is a factor but position, assignment, responsibility, project, etc are what should dominate your thinking.  If you feel that your career has stalled, or maybe you’re simply not that excited about what you are doing, or perhaps you are not crazy about your boss or team, or even the company in general, then it is easy…get going and LOOK.  You can arrange for start dates after you collect your yearend bonus!


There are significant benefits to starting at the beginning of the year.  Everyone is fresh, less burnt out and ready to get back into the trenches.  New team members FIT RIGHT IN and are a welcome addition to the team.  You also get to partake in the beginning of the year company meetings, messages etc.

On the flip side, if you are really happy with your projects, boss, company, etc but think you can make a little more money, I say DO NOT LOOK!  Money should not be your primary motivator…UNLESS you are significantly underpaid, and if you call me, I can give you some rough guidelines of comp plans.  Sales People ARE clearly the exception; Sales folks should have a completely different perspective on this.  the above should be taken into account for sure but comp plans are your bread and butter.

I promised to talk a bit about your thoughts on my column on Aart de Geus and all I can say is WOW!  So many of you wrote to me thanking me for my insight into this incredible guy.  Many of you told me you have met him briefly or head him speak and could feel that what I wrote fairly represented much of what we discussed, as well as the man himself.  I was shocked that not one, let me repeat, not one Synopsisite (I just trademarked the moniker) wrote to me to defend their chief.  I am just hoping that Aart does not sucker punch me at the next DAC (I even chuckled as I wrote that).

I wish all of you very Happy and Healthy Holidays.

Review Article
  • You are entitled to your opinion November 29, 2011
    Reviewed by 'sashi obilisetty'
    I was reading this article - we have talked briefly when I was with my startup.
    I feel compelled to respond - I have been with Synopsys for two years now - and I do not believe you can conclude what you did about Aart's impressions about startups in your article after a 30 minute talk. It is speculation at best.
    The big three EDA companies have grown significantly in the past through mergers and acquisitions. For Synopsys - there is Nsys, ExtremeDA this year itself. Also Virage in the last year - to count a few.
    So either we are acquiring companies we don't think highly of, or you could be wrong is your assessment. My unabashed vote is for the latter.

      One person of 2 found this review helpful.

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  • Money, That's What I Want? November 23, 2011
    Reviewed by 'Gary Dare'
    Mark, another reason for staying is your feelings on future prospects, where you are. Or at least that the potential is so much greater. That's an important factor for those who work in SME's and especially startups - where you know from the outset that you are underpaid for the typical 60-80 hours per week requirement.
    And talking to people in startups from other fields, it's not just relative to the last corporate job that you had ... but the corporate equivalents to what you are doing now, which have been opened up by your startup opportunity if it's your first real crack at management. Remind yourself that in the latter case, it's a big IF since you have a chance to do stuff that people 2, 3 or even 4 levels up were doing at your old corporate job.
    But if you feel positive about your firm's potential, that is wonderful. I remind myself every day, that the Big 3 EDA companies started with maybe a dozen people in the Bay Area and five more in Portland, Oregon.

      6 of 6 found this review helpful.
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