Impressions From DAC09 Panel on “Tweet, Blog, or News: How Do I Stay Current?”

Written by Sean Murphy. Posted in EDA, Events, skmurphy

I was on the “Tweet, Blog, or News: How Do I Stay Current?” panel at the 2009 Design Automation Conference. The panel was moderated by Michael Sanie of Maestro International and my fellow panelists were Ron Wilson, Executive Editor EDN Magazine, and John Busco, CAD Design Implementation Manager at NVIDIA. What follows is my notes and impressions:

New media in a variety of forms–on-line, user-generated, social–are affecting more than EDA and Semiconductors. I brought three magazines as props with the following stories on their cover:

This is a wave sweeping into the EDA tide pool. See these blog posts for some background

Michael Sanie asked the audience about their use of various social media tools, asking “how many….”

  • Read Blogs – most
  • Write Blogs – most
  • Use Twitter – about half
  • Use Facebook for business – about 1/4
  • Use LinkedIn – almost everyone

So it was an early adopter audience. Michael also suggested that they consider using http://search.twitter.com to track recent information on hot topics and trends.

Ron Wilson characterized himself as the representative for “legacy media” who started out in the industry when the two primary vehicles for engineers to get information were print publications and technical conferences. Print media was viewed as a reference resource, with engineers allocating two to three meters of shelf space to technical publications. He felt that they had a “synthetic sense of community from consuming a common set of media.”

John Busco talked about the “fire hose of information” that engineers wanted to sip from as needed. He relies on the traditional print publications as his primary information source, he reads about 25 blogs using the Bloglines RSS reader and he also blogs at John’s Semi-Blog “sharing high quality news and opinions about semiconductors and Electronic Design Automation (EDA).”

I made three opening points

  1. My use of twitter is non-standard, I borrow brilliance from others by twittering quotes that I believe are relevant to entrepreneurs.
  2. In preparation for the Blogging Birds of a Feather at last year’s DAC, we counted 60 blogs, which surprised a number of people. After the conference I predicted that we would see 500 by 2011. Which seemed really preposterous to some folks who contacted me. This July we are already at about 220 and on track for 500 by 2011.
  3. I think individuals in the industry are going to maintain three professional profiles:
    • LinkedIn: seems almost mandatory now.
    • Blog: for many people who are customer facing.
    • Twitter: given it’s rapid adoption in EDA in the last month it seems like micro-blogging will also be popular.

Ron Wilson observed that EDN uses blogs as a rapid publishing tool, to complement print output. He observed that increasing circulation, or what they now call “audience development” requires a brand focus and continuous investment. If you want folks to read your blog you are going to have to have a marketing plan.

John Busco liked to read blogs that have a clear focus and deep domain expertise, citing John Ford’s DFT Digest and Harry Gries’ “Harry the ASIC Guy” as two that were EDA focused. He noted that he really wants a firewall between personal and professional life, using Facebook for personal connections and LinkedIn for professional relationships.”

Michael Sanie enjoyed following Karen Bartleson’s twitter feed, calling her the “Guy Kawasaki of EDA.”

Everyone liked Paul McClellan’s “EDA Graffiti” blog.

I am impressed by the Hacker News model–which is similar to Reddit or Digg-as a way to share, promote, and markup common article and blog links to create a socially constructed news site. It’s a mechanism for shared surveillance on a topic area, in this case entrepreneurship (and other things of interest to hackers). It hasn’t made it’s way to EDA yet but it will.

There was an interesting question from the audience: “How useful is Wikipedia?”

  • Ron Wilson: at EDN we decided we couldn’t site it as an authoritative source, but could use it to find authoritative sources.
  • John Busco: Wiki model is a great approach to collaboration for project info, FAQ’s, best practices. It’s nice that you don’t have to know HTML to publish.

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