Leverage Can Be Your Friend

During these last few weeks of the subprime mortgage crisis in the US, many of us have become all too familiar with the term “leverage” as it applies to those entities that used to be called investment banks.  That kind of leverage is very powerful and is also very dangerous, as we all found out.

There is a 2nd type of leverage that we engineers learned about in basic physics. As Archimedes once said, “Give me a place to stand and with a lever I will move the whole world.”

But there is 3rd type of leverage that is “the power or ability to act or to influence people, events, decisions, etc.” Some people call it ROI. I’d like to share with you three examples that recently came to my attention whereby one small EDA company in our industry is using the principles of leverage to try to “move the world”.

Productive EDA

I came across these guys through my Google Reader when the President, Jeremy Ralph, posted the following new product announcement to the OVM World blogs.  Jeremy cleverly used the power of OVM World to reach hundreds (thousands?) of potential customers.  And what did he invest? Only the time it took to write the blog post and put it up.

That’s leverage!

But wait, there’s more.  Jeremy caught my interest when he called the SpectaReg product a Web2.0 application, so I clicked to view the press release and was pleasantly surprised to see that their “products are available online, at lower cost, as a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS)”. Well, I had been fooled just last week into thinking that Cadence was completely entering the SaaS market, so I wanted to make sure. After all, as President George W. Bush once cautioned, “fool me once, shame on…shame on you…you fool me, you can’t get fooled again.” So I spoke to “President Ralph” on the phone, and indeed, this truly is a Web-based Software-as-a-Service, pay-per-use offering. Using the power of the internet and SaaS, his company is able to deploy its software to virtually any customer of any size anywhere, all from their office in Vancouver, BC.

That’s leverage!

But wait, there’s still more. I pointed Jeremy to xuropa.com, a recently launched online electronic design community and tradeshow platform, that I covered back in June and again three weeks ago. To his credit, Jeremy was already aware of Xuropa. I’m not sure where that will go, but his small EDA company would be able to reach even more potential customers worldwide and provide product training and evaluations through their online labs.

That’s leverage!

Leverage can be your friend. These new media business-to-business (B2B) strategies can enable smaller EDA companies like Productive EDA, which is exactly the type of company that I was considering when I wrote on my blog three weeks ago:

The pieces are coming together for a revolution in EDA. Like most revolutions, it is starting small, hardly noticed by the big guys on the block. In the next 5 years, it will change our industry forever by leveling the playing field, allowing smaller EDA companies to compete with larger ones, giving customers greater flexibility on how and when they access tools and which vendor’s tools they use.

Indeed, leverage can be your friend.

harry the ASIC guy

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One Response to “Leverage Can Be Your Friend”

  1. Sean Murphy says:

    There have been several false starts on SaaS in EDA, the earliest I could find was from http://www.eetonline.com/news/96/hr905.html
    the Monday, June 10, 1996 version of EET on-line

    Pay-per-use EDA tools coming to the Web
    By Peter Clarke LAS VEGAS — The possibility that engineers could use remote tools as part of a complete electronic design flow over the Internet moved closer to reality here last week at the Design Automation Conference.

    A group of graduate students led by professor Richard Newton of the University of California at Berkeley demonstrated a collection of EDA software tools, including Synopsys Inc.’s Design Compiler, that could be used to design ICs over the World Wide Web.

    The tool set is currently limited to realizing finite state machines (FSMs), and the research at this point remains an academic exercise. But the principle is clear: With tools running on powerful hosts — perhaps at vendor sites — and with adequate bandwidth, the World Wide Web could transform design by ushering in an era of pay-per-use EDA tools accessed over the Internet.

    “My vision is that five or seven years from now, somebody in Japan with a Netscape browser could use Synopsys’s tools or Viewlogic’s tools, university research and [format] translation servers on the Web. The challenge is to make the whole thing work.”

    Visit the Berkeley team’s home page at http://www.cad.eecs.berkeley.edu/

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