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I love attending ASIC and EDA related conferences (even if it's just for a short time with a free exhibit pass) to check out what's happening (like the latest EDA start-ups, hot IP cores, and keep them in mind in case I jump ship for the greener pastures ... just kidding ... I think :) ) and mingle a little with old friends and new. Over the past few years, I noticed less and less people at each one ... one question that has been popping up in my mind more frequently is:
What is happening with our industry? WHERE ARE ALL THE PEOPLE?
In an earlier blog, I mentioned the challenges that we faced at CDNLive in San Jose this year, luckily maintaining good attendance (but not mind blowing) despite the economic downturn and aggressive cost-cutting by our customers, albeit we do always still dream of and strive for bigger and better.
At two recent conferences in the last week, I was shocked. It actually gave me confidence that the industry may have hope.
At the Common Platform Technology Forum in San Jose this week (here's a link if you've never heard of it), the attendance blew me away - there were actually quite a lot of people. If you don't know much about this organization, it's an awesome collaborative effort by major industry players, worth checking out, if anything to at least be aware it exists and its working model.
Also this week, at a second conference, I got my double shock treatment. At the Power Forward Initiative Forum (click here for a link to their site to check them out), attendance again was out-of-this world. I heard that registration was over capacity, overloaded by over 75%. Where did all the people come from? Now, that's more like it! :) Actually, it made me wonder why so many people and companies care about power, I always thought of it as a smaller segment of the total market. (I heard going 'green' was a big theme-of-the-day, it's the 'in' thing apparently with lots of companies now)
So, my view of the industry has changed a bit. I have a bit more faith now.
P.S. As a side note, for one of the PFI presentations presented by Thad McCracken (one of my fav AEs because he tells it like it is, even if it hurts), I heard from several customers that he was so out of control and energetic that they were afraid that he'd 'jump off the stage'. Rave reviews! Very impressive. :)
I've only attended 2 conferences in the 15 years since I started in the industry. My experience in the companies I've worked for has been that they are always trying to figure out ways to save money. And spending money on what most managers seem to regard as a vacation disguised as a business trip is not a high priority.
I guess those customers haven't had the full on "Thad Experience" before. Thad brings passion for products to a whole new level.
Don't get me wrong - I love the guy. He's passionate, vocal, and not afraid to challenge, well, anyone. And he is very very passionate about estimating chips early and often.
I'd recommend everyone get a chance to talk to Thad - you might be a bit overwhelmed, but you'll come away impressed.