Getting Back to “Growing the Pie” in EDA

Written by Sean Murphy. Posted in EDA, skmurphy

From the EDAC website “EDA Consortium News” page the last six quarters of EDA Industry Revenue announcements (all numbers in millions):

  • Jul-3-08: Q1/08 declined 1.2% to 1350.7 vs. $1366.8 in Q1/07.
  • Oct-9-08: Q2/08 declined 3.7% to $1357.4 vs. $1408.8 in Q2/07
  • Jan-12-09: Q3/08 declined 10.9% to $1258.6 vs. $1412.1 in Q3/07.
  • Apr-7-09: Q4/08 declined 17.7% to $1318.7 vs. $1602.7 in Q4/07.
  • Jul-15-09:  Q1/09 declined 10.7% to $1192.1 vs. $1334.2 in Q1/08
  • Sep-30-09: Q2/09 declined 15.8% to $1,125.5 vs. $1,335.9 in Q2/08.

Note that restatements mean that numbers announced for earlier quarters don’t match those in newer announcements and understate the amount of decline in Q1 & Q2 of 2008.

So where does this leave startups in EDA? In February of 2007 Rick Carlson, VP of Sales at Verific, wrote an Editorial in Electronic Business entitled “EDA Industry Needs Revitalizing.” Here are some excerpts:

It wasn’t long ago that the electronic design automation (EDA) industry was filled with boundless enthusiasm and excitement; the possibilities seemed endless. We were at the top of the world, attracting the best of the best and enabling great things, because EDA was—and continues to be—where electronics begins. Many, if not all, of the electronics industry breakthroughs over the last several decades would not have been possible without the software and hardware developed by EDA vendors.

Sadly, somewhere along the way, the EDA community lost its optimism and sense of mission, and it’s shocking. The poor reputation and industry-wide low self-esteem are totally undeserved, and it’s time that we climb back to the top. [...]

Let’s cull some nuggets of wisdom from [Einstein] for inspiration.

  • “We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.”
  • “Imagination is more important than knowledge.”

[...] Let’s use our collective imagination to revitalize EDA and move the industry into the next phase of its success. After all, it wasn’t all that long ago that we thought we were changing the world … and we did!

Mr. Carlson’s words, written in 2007, are even more urgent almost three years later with the last six quarters showing revenue declines in the EDA industry as a whole. Who is Rick Carlson? On the Wikipedia page for Daisy Systems you can learn that

Dave Millman and Rick Carlson founded EDAC, the industry organization for Electronic Design Automation vendors.

But if you read to the bottom of the “EDA Consortium Background” Page you see this:

1989: Electronic Design Automation Consortium (EDAC) is formed. First officers are elected.

with neither Rick Carlson nor Dave Millman‘s name mentioned anywhere on the site. I think it’s a good time to recognize their contribution and take some of Rick’s advice to start growing the pie again in EDA.


Update Oct-9: This series continues in “Growing the Pie in EDA Part 2: As Revenue Shrinks So Does Analyst Interest.

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