Posts Tagged ‘Football’

Upon Further Review and W.W.S.D

Sunday, September 21st, 2008

At the end of last Sunday’s Chargers-Bronco’s game, Referee Ed Hochuli blew a call that cost the San Diego Charger’s the football game.  Here’s a somewhat comical look at what happened:

Probably not so comical if you’re a Charger’s fan :-(

Well, last week I got a chance to do some more “research” into the Cadence announcement of a SaaS offering. Although I got the substance of the call correct, in haste I also got one important detail incorrect.  (As, Mark Twain once said, “a lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.” Today, a lie can travel around the world several hundred times while you put on your shoes).

I had inferred from the use of the term “Software-as-a-Service“, that the Hosted Design offering would include a “pay per use … pay as you go” or similar on-demand licensing model. Upon further review … this is not the case.  Here are some of the things I found out:

  1. No on-demand licensing, no eDACard … only monthly granularity for licensing. If you want to scale the size of the hosted environment, several weeks lead time may be needed to obtain and configure the additional CPUs unless they are otherwise available.
  2. The “flows” that are offered are the Cadence reference flows (e.g. Low-Power Design Flow), not a production flow that Cadence may or may not be developing.
  3. Cadence says that it can host any third party EDA software … just license it to Cadence’s hostid.

Despite some limitations, this is still a big step. Small companies can now obtain the necessary hardware, software, and IT support to do chip design at a lower initial cost than building their own infrastructure. The VCs should like that.

But there are some limitations.  First, although the Cadence VCAD chamber provides security, it lacks the instant scalability and on-demand pricing that cloud computing would provide. Second, although reference flows are provided, it lacks a real production design environment that designers can just pick up and use.  Third, despite Cadence’s assurances that they will allow other EDA tools to be hosted, competitive tools likely will be discouraged since the ultimate objective is to further lock customers into an all Cadence tool flow.

So, the question now is … What Will Synopsys Do (W.W.S.D)?

Before that, we have to ask What “Has” Synopsys Done?  You see, Synopsys tried and then abandoned a similar idea about 7 years ago. At the time, companies were not “comfortable with the idea that their computers and data were in a remote building operated by a third party”.  But they are now (at least more than before).  At that time, Synopsys had no production design environment available to offer. They do now.

Synopsys could probably go one better and offer a superior solution if it wanted to, combining their DesignSphere infrastructure and Pilot Design Environment.  If fact, they have done this for select customers already, but not as a standard offering. There is some legwork that they’d need to do, but the real barrier is Synopsys itself. They’ve got to decide to go after this market and put together a standard offering like Cadence has.

And while they are at it, if they host it on a secure cloud to make it universally accessible and scalable, and if they offer on-demand licensing, and if they make it truly open by allowing third party tools to plug into their flow, they can own the high ground in the upcoming revolution.

What do you think?

harry the ASIC guy

Email Penalty #2 - Delay of Game

Monday, July 21st, 2008

The prime directive drummed into me as a freshman AE (Applications Engineer) was to ALWAYS get back to the customer in a timely fashion.

Even if I did not have the answer…

Even if I was already working on the problem…

Even if I was not the person who could help him…

It’s practically no effort to return an email or a voice mail and just let your customer know what’s going on, so he’s not sitting in the dark.  A matter of fact, I’ll write the email for you and you can just fill in the blanks:

Hi <customer name here>,

I got your email regarding <problem, issue, question>. I’m going to <look at it tomorrow, send this on to R&D, ask my boss to handle it, etc>. I expect to have an update for you <in an hour, tomorrow, next week, etc.>. If you need an update sooner, please feel free to contact me directly.


<your name here>

Simple, right?

I’m sure I’ll get little argument that this is the right way to treat real customers.  But, what about our internal customers?

In my job, I’m amazed at how long some people will “Delay the Game” without responding to an email, without a simple 1-minute acknowledgment that they would get back to me. Instead, I’m often left wondering what is going on, sometimes sending follow-up emails, voice mails, dropping by the office…all just to find out what is going on.

Look. I know you’re busy and you have more important people and issues to deal with than my little request. But, just realize that everybody that sends you an email asking for something (a question, a file, a meeting notice) is your customer. If you keep them in the dark by not responding, and you do this enough, you’ve lost your customer.

harry the ASIC guy

Email Penalties

Friday, July 11th, 2008

There’s no debate that email has become at once a valuable tool and a misused and overused communications medium. Seth Godin recently posted an extensive email checklist of do’s and don’ts for marketing email. I’d like to do something similar for corporate and business email, the kind of day to day email we use at work.

I’m also big football fan.

(The American kind … my apologies to the international folks).

I won’t tell you which college and pro teams I root for, but their initials are USC and NYG ;-)

So, with the football season coming up, I thought I’d address the corporate email issue by suggesting some new penalties that need to be added to the game of “email”.

Starting Monday, I’ll be posting one each week, up until the football season begins. And I welcome your contributions as well, especially good stories and anecdotes that help to illustrate the new penalties.  Feel free to email them to me (harry at theASICguy dot com) or post them as comments.  And let me know if it’s OK to use your first name, full name, or no name.

harry the ASIC guy