The EDA industry is in the throes of managing through some heavy duty inflection points:
- Complexities, challenges and opportunities associated with the design, process, tools, and resource limitations of chip manufacturing
- Social networking and media tools for getting closer to customers in new ways
- Talent engagement and resource management driven by shifting demographics, disruptive innovation, and cost constraints
Yes, change is definitely in the air.
But change and innovation has always been the industry's mantra--in the seventies when I was working in semiconductor manufacturing, playing a part in the early pioneering
days of the industry, to experiencing the start-up intensity of manufacturing the world's first 6-inch wafer fab at Intel's New Mexico facility in the early eighties (rebuilding the NM facility for 10-inch wafers now).
And I'm not even an engineer (although I have lots of friends and business clients who are).
So, it was with curiosity that I wandered around the cavernous Moscone exhibit halls on "freebie Monday" where I was able to wear different hats: connector, networker, learner, and observer.
What Stood Out for Me
- Telle Whitney's one-on-one conversation with EDA Confidential's Peggy Aycinena. CEO of the Anita Borg Institute and this year's recipient of the 2009 Marie R. Pistilli Award, Whitney provided candid remarks about her own career path and shared key points of the ABI and Stanford University landmark study Climbing the Technical Ladder: Obstacles and Solutions for Mid-Level Women in Technology in respect to the attitudes of technology companies and the women technologists they employ.
Biggest takeaway? The 1800 women interviewed for this study were in various decision stages of whether to exit their field of choice. Why? So that they could start-up their own technology companies? Not according to Whitney, where a greater percentage were looking for the flexibility associated with starting their own micropreneur business and, perhaps, giving up their technology focus (and original passion) altogether.
Technology companies looking for innovation as a key differentiator (and who isn't!) should be concerned about why women technologists are voluntarily silencing themselves, choosing to become invisible in the workplace, and transitioning to the fringes of the workforce.
Companies doing a good job? Whitney highlighted companies such as IBM and AT&T which have remade their Fellow and distinguished engineer programs (not lowering the bar for women, but overhauling their programs) and now have greater percentages of female representation.
- Synopsys' Twitter Tower (#snps, #46DAC) and Conversation Central
What's not to like about the Twitter Tower? You can tweet and track 'em as you stroll by or stop in to check out the Snopsys demos.
Conversation Central: You gather industry insiders for "unscripted, unrehearsed" 30-minute drop-in sessions and you have the makings for lively, straight-from-the-hip discussions. I caught Harry Gries' (harry...the ASIC guy): "Job Search: How Social Media Can Help Job Seekers & Employers" and EDN Executive Editor Ron Wilson's: "The Changing Media Landscape" (Building community for engineers? It needs to be Safe, Authoritative, and Moderated). Thanks to the moderating efforts and community-building of Karen Bartleson the sessions were fast-paced and informative.
- Connecting with new folks in the industry and reconnecting with people like the talented Michael Brito who continues to reinvent himself since I first met him at Sony almost a decade ago. His Conversation Central session "10 Twitter Best Practices for Brands" was packed. It was also fun meeting up again with Gayane Markosyan from Synopsys Armenia after two years.
Photos (l to r): Harry Gries, Karen Bartleson & Michael Brito, Ron Wilson, Telle Whitney & Peggy Aycinena, Gayane Markosyan