I am delighted to be able to return to EE Times as a regular columnist/blogger after a sixteen year absence. Richard Wallace, now blogging at “The Next Silicon Valley“, asked me to write “Nickel Tours of the ‘Net” which cataloged the impact of the Internet on Electronic Design as websites first started to become common in 1994. And now Junko Yoshida has asked me to look at innovation and entrepreneurship in the broader electronic systems design ecosystem.
Here are the kinds of insights that I hope my “Entrepreneurial Engineer” blog on EETimes will provide:
- Perspective on technology innovation.
- Analysis of business strategy for emerging markets.
- New models for global teams and multi-firm collaboration that are predicated on incessant collaboration among experts.
- Perspective on the impact of communication and pervasive connectivity in creating new business models.
- Insights from pioneering engineers on how new computing paradigms are enabling new models for how they invent.
- Interviews with entrepreneurs sharing lessons learned from their successes and their setbacks.
My first post, “An Interview with Paul van Besouw, CEO of Oasys Design Systems” is now up. Here are some excerpts:
I recently had the opportunity to sit down with Paul van Besouw, CEO of Oasys Design Systems, and interview him on lessons learned from his entrepreneurial efforts at Ambit and Oasys. I have added hyperlinks where I felt they would provide context. [...]
Q: What are the two or three things that you have been able to accomplish that you take the most pride in or satisfaction from?
We created a new technology with a small team, and little funding. At first, we were completely self-funded. We rented a small apartment where we spent about a year just coding everything from scratch. Later, we received some seed funding from several EDA-savvy angel investors, which allowed us to move into a “real” office.
We had a working prototype by 18 months to show other angel investors, which allowed us to secure a bit more funding. I was able to attract the attention of some of the best people in the industry. It took some convincing, but I was also able to attract Joe Costello‘s attention. He is now a member of our board of directors. [...]
Q: What development, event, or new understanding since you started has had the most impact on your original plan? How has your plan changed in response?
Venture capital for EDA is pretty much non-existent. This was a new reality and we were forced to do things differently. We are working with less money and fewer engineers on a longer development time-line than we would have if we had started Oasys 10 years ago.
Q: Any other remarks or suggestions for entrepreneurs?
[...] What makes EDA both interesting and challenging is that it is not only about the software. In the end, you are building software to build hardware. You have to start with insights into both and learn a lot more along the way. In many cases it is the experience of what does not work that really allows you to focus on the things that do work. EDA software is built on a technology foundation surrounded by algorithms. Starting out, a lot of time is spent on finding out what does not work. There are many details that need to be incorporated to enable your technology to work in an actual production flow.
Starting with a great technology is not sufficient.
Oasys has announced deals with Renasys, Xilinx, and Juniper this year and is poised to have a significant impact on the EDA industry. Go ahead and read the entire “Interview with Paul van Besouw, CEO of Oasys Design Systems“
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