Monthly Archives: March 2010

What’s sizzle got to do with it?


On LinkedIn, Ed Lee, referring to this, wrote

Liz Massingill poses some questions about what Jim Hogan and Paul Mclellan call “sizzle” in EDA. Who has it? Does any EDA vendor?

I responded

Do you have historical examples of EDA sizzle? And, of the big EDA success stories, how many were sizzling in their first few years? (That’s a real question, not a rhetorical question.) The answers to these questions would help me to determine whether “as we all know, many engineering driven startups (even some engineering driven mature companies) undervalue or don’t understand the importance of sizzle – a big mistake.”

and Sean Murphy responded

The “sizzle” comment sounds like it came from a PR or marketing consultant (and I say that as a member of the tribe). I haven’t ever heard a prospect for an EDA tool who was an engineer or engineering manager/director/VP ask:

“Does your tool have sizzle? That’s one of our checklist items.”
“Do you have patents on your tool?”
“Is this tool based on PhD level work?”

Most EDA tools that were later popular (e.g. Design Compiler, Tegas, Verilog, Chronologic, Chrysalis,…) were initially not credible or viewed as a waste of time.
Design Compiler only got traction when it was positioned as “Gates to Gates.” Tegas and Verilog were each viewed as inferior to Spice for accuracy. Chronologic had severe limitations (e.g. no PLI), and Chrysalis could find a discrepancy but you couldn’t understand what it was telling you.

Nothing new ever works and trying to use “sizzle” with a new tool instead of focusing on real customer problems with a promise of real results in a given time frame is probably a recipe for spending a lot of money on marketing/PR consultants.

Best chicken chain

Round table format and industry conferences


According to Sean Murphy, discussing the drawbacks of the round table format,

I think the roundtable format works better when the attendees are still wrestling with emerging problems where collaboration trumps competitive pressures […] Everyone is more focused on learning than “getting the word out” about their product or service.

And I think that points up another problem with the format for conferences. Sponsors pay and take part to get the word out about their product. They don’t want to be in a setting where competitors and others can attend in what is effectively a peer position. If you are on a panel, up on a raised platform or stage, there is an unconscious presumption that you must be smarter than the audience. If everyone is sitting around in a circle, then everyone’s opinions matter more or less equally.

“I paid for this microphone!” If someone is selling you something from the stage, isn’t the normal presumption that you’re going to get spin? According to sales expert Graham Bunting, good salesmen do a lot more listening than talking, for example,

Well it’s like all relationship building, you have to talk sparingly and listen intently

“If everyone is sitting around in a circle, then everyone’s opinions matter more or less equally.” In the long run, unless you’re hawking snake oil, you might just sell more that way.

Is China 2010 a bubble economy?


According to Andy Kroll

Is China, soon to surpass Japan as the world’s second-largest economy, a massive, dangerous bubble? According to one man who’s witnessed financial calamity at close range, the answer is an unabashed Yes. “As I see it, it is the greatest bubble in history with the most massive misallocation of wealth,” said James Rickards … “Chinese central bank’s balance sheet resembles that of a hedge fund buying dollars and short-selling the yuan.”

Is there a sound investment vehicle for betting against the Chinese economy, especially the Chinese real estate market?

See also “How to profit safely from economic bubbles“.

The levee is always broken


According to Brian Tracy

No matter how many personal productivity techniques you master, there will always be more to do than you can ever accomplish in the time you have available to you, no matter how much it is.

You can get control of your time and your life only by changing the way you think, work, and deal with the never-ending river of responsibilities that flows over you each day. You can get control of your tasks and activities only to the degree that you stop doing some things and start spending more time on the few activities that can really make a difference in your life.

When the levee breaks, you’ve got to run for higher ground. And the levee is always broken.