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In mid-September, Jim Hogan's children organized A Celebration of Life at his house. Almost everyone in EDA, at least anyone over about 40, knew Jim and many of us have stories. He was usually referred to as "Hogan" since Jim is a common name, and I think especially during the period after Jim Solomon founded SDA and Hogan signed on almost immediately. Jim used to live in Los Gatos very close to me, but then he bought a vineyard and a big house in Scott's Valley. A Who's Who of EDA trooped over the hill on Saturday afternoon to celebrate his life.
Jim died in February, and I wrote briefly about him in my post Update: Hogan, Mars, Australia, Solarwinds. In normal times, there would probably have been some sort of memorial service a few weeks later, but in the Covid era that was simply impossible. We were all told to save the date of last weekend in the hope that the world would be open enough for us all to get together by then. And so it was.
Jim played all sorts of roles in EDA at SDA/Cadence/Telos (Telos was Cadence's venture investing subsidiary for a time). Then at Artisan/Arm. And then becoming an angel investor with his own company Vista Ventures. But one of his first loves was music (not to mention a collection of guitars). As I said in February, he was the soundtrack of the EDA industry too, along with his other band members, playing at various EDA and charity events, many organized by Heart of Technology (HOT), which he created to leverage the organizational skills of EDA industry volunteers when he realized that charities were mostly clueless compared to us.
I think I first met Jim when Cadence acquired Ambit in the fall of 1998. I moved from engineering to marketing, and one of the first things I did was go on a worldwide tour presenting the Cadence product line. I gave the opening keynote since I was (and still am!) one of the relatively few people who can talk knowledgeably about the entire portfolio, not just one business unit. Jim was on that tour too. He called it a "death march" since we would present each day, then get on a plane to the next place, often arriving too late for dinner, then have to be up ready to present the following morning. But I spent quite a bit of time talking to him since once our presentations were over, we had little to do until it was time to leave for the airport.
Later, I would be the VP running Custom IC. From his days at National and SDA, Jim seemed to know everyone who was anyone in analog and custom IC and he would recruit people for me...sometimes without keeping me in the loop. I remember Tom Quan, now at TSMC, showing up one day working for me, but I had no idea who he was. We were kicking off a project called "Superchip" that Tom ran for me to integrate the analog and digital tools. Optimistically, we thought it would take a year. Actually, it took more like a decade and arguably is still not complete.
I moved on to other companies and eventually was doing the consulting thing. Jim introduced me to the CEO of a company called Envision Technology where he was on the board. The company was doing power reduction tools. I started working for them two days per week doing their marketing. But some financial irregularities came to light and during a board meeting the CEO lost the support of the board. Jim told the rest of the board that I'd been CEO before (Compass Design Automation) and a couple of hours later I was acting CEO and at the following board meeting that was made permanent. It was great having Jim on the board since he'd seen so much in the dozens of board seats he had since he had started Vista Vision.
Envision Technology's technology was not good enough (I renamed the company Envis because I could get envis.com to replace envision-tech.net which nobody could ever find) and at the bottom of the 2008 downturn I was out of a job. Jim set me up in a meeting with with Ron Wilson at EDN and I became a writer. EDAgraffiti started as a blog on the EDN website. EDN laid off a lot of journalists so eventually I moved EDAgraffiti to my own site.
From then onwards, until the end of last year, I would have lunch or dinner with Jim every few months to both keep my ear to the ground, get advice, and find consulting opportunities. When I wrote the book version of EDAgraffiti, Jim wrote the foreword. When I wrote the first book version of Breakfast Bytes, Jim wrote the blog on the back cover.
I told my story above, not because it was special, but because it wasn't. Jim treated all of us like that and took us all under his wing.
It was a shock when he died in February. He is not that much older than me so it also feels like a hint of all of our mortality. A couple of months ago I had something I was mulling over, and I though "I'll ask Jim". It is still so hard to believe that I'll never have lunch and get advice from him again. I lost a great friend and a great mentor. And not just to me, but to what seems like the whole EDA industry.
Watch the video taken at the Celebration of Life event, including speeches by Joe Costello and others (8 minutes). The video was created by Sean O'Kane's Big Cahuna Productions. He used to shoot most of the video versions of Sunday Brunch when he was still working half-time at Cadence.
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