Entrepreneurs Still Welcome: 700 Blog Posts In Four Years

Written by Sean Murphy. Posted in 3 Early Customer Stage, Blogging, Rules of Thumb

This is my 700th blog post since my first post “Welcome Entrepreneurs!” on October 1, 2006 which opened with:

This blog is dedicated to entrepreneurs at any stage of their journey.  As individuals, in teams, and collectively, we all hope to create a better world for our customers, our employees, our stakeholders, and our children.

Our focus is helping startups find early customers for emerging technologies. This is very different from the traditional sales and marketing at established firms. Correctly identifying early customers who can be references to others is key to introducing emerging technologies.

Although emerging technologies change the rules and often enable far reaching growth most early adopters are focused on near term risks and benefits, and it is to those concerns entrepreneurial teams need to speak to get a foothold. The decision to act as a “beta” software site or early user of new software tools often resembles a hiring decision (does the prospective customer want to “hire the team”) more closely than a technology adoption decision.

Emerging technology marketing is a distinct domain from classical product marketing, most of the traditional market assessment techniques are not effective: focus groups, surveys, etc… Emerging markets require a strong commitment by the founding team to

  • appreciating the prospective customer and customer’s view,
  • rapidly evolving the product specification in response to feedback and customer experience,
  • ongoing refinement and delivery of customer focused solutions.

Not everything I have written since has held up as well as these paragraphs. I believe that they still offer a good high level overview of the new product introduction problem as it applies to new technologies.

DAC 2010 Blog Coverage Roundup

Written by Sean Murphy. Posted in Blogging, EDA

Here is my roundup of blog posts about the 2010 Design Automation Conference. You can also follow the #47DAC hashtag on twitter for breaking announcements during the conference. Last year’s roundup is available a DAC 2009 Blog Coverage Roundup.


Original intro: If you write a blog post that reviews an event, a day, or DAC 2010 as a whole with some substantive commentary before the end of July I will include a link to it. Please leave a comment to let me know if I have overlooked or incorrectly categorized anything.

Preparing For 2010 Design Automation Conference

Sunday Events

Note: I am worried that the default DAC website links will break in less than a year, they are tied to the top level DAC site not a DAC 2010 encoding. If anyone knows the permalinks for the DAC sessions please let me know. If you look at the DAC 2009 Blog Roundup the 2009 DAC sessions had a year encoded in the URL and they all still work.

Update: https://dac.com/content/47th-dac is now the home for the content

Monday Events

Tuesday Events

Wednesday Events

Thursday Events

Recaps

Current count: 81 posts.

How Can I Improve This Blog?

Written by Sean Murphy. Posted in Blogging

Please use my contact form to let me know  “What Should I Do To Improve the SKMurphy Blog?” and enter enter your name and E-mail if you are open to answering my questions about your suggestion.

Update June 28: Dave Concannon really made my day with this tweet

Sean Murphy’s blog is fantastic, check it out if you haven’t already.

But I am still interested in how I can improve this blog for you.

Do You Use a Wiki to Deliver Services or Develop Content?

Written by Sean Murphy. Posted in Blogging, skmurphy

I would be interested in talking with other consulting or professional service firms that are using Central Desktop or other wiki systems to collaborate with clients or deliver services. For example, when we give workshops we also put the text of the relevant workbook into a custom workspace for each attendee. Also, as a part of our ongoing support for their customer development efforts we give each client their own workspace to keep our e-mail inboxes from becoming a default document repository.

I am also interested in talking to anyone who is using Central Desktop or other wiki system to develop / refine content for a book or larger document. I am working on converting a series of blog posts into a book and using a Central Desktop workspace as a refinery to review existing content and add new and linking material.

I would be happy to set up a conference call to compare notes on lessons learned and best practices. This is not a prelude to a solicitation for services or competitive intelligence gathering, it’s a an honest attempt to compare notes with other firms or authors wrestling with the same issues that we are. You can reach me at 408-252-9676 or skmurphy@skmurphy.com if a few folks are interested I will set up a teleconference, happy to compare notes just pairwise as well.

Use Wikis for Team Projects

Written by Sean Murphy. Posted in Blogging, Rules of Thumb, skmurphy

  1. Wikis dissolve voice and authorship. Use them where there are rewards and incentives at a team level, where a team is being held accountable for a result.
  2. Blogs and forums preserve voice and authorship. Use them where knowing who said what is important.
  3. Start with frequently updated information that is also frequently accessed:
    • Meeting agendas and minutes (avoiding the bottleneck of the designated note taker and/or overlapping amendments in different e-mails that then have to be reconciled),
    • Early and still evolving specifications
    • Project status in a dynamic environment
  4. Projects end, products are shipped and end of life, problems get solved. At some point in the business world many wikis must be congealed into a document or document set and either archived, frozen as a static HTML tree, or transferred to a content management system where more formal revision and change control methods are more appropriate. Unlike Internet wikis, older project or product wikis are often better preserved as read only archives.
  5. Wikipedia anchors a lot of expectations in a use case that is rarely appropriate to a team that is not building an encyclopedia. Hope that useful content will be curated in a general purpose wiki is unlikely to be satisfied.
    • Use many small team level wikis, each for a distinct project or purpose, where the team membership is clear and there are shared incentives for cooperation and success.

Sean Murphy – I Don’t Read Him Regularly, But I Hear That I Should

Written by Sean Murphy. Posted in Blogging, Customer Development, skmurphy

In a long and somewhat rambling blog post “Customer Development and the Lean Startup,” that contains a long laundry list of resources for entrepreneurs on Customer Development and Lean Startup resources, Yury Tsukerman lists “the key players” and drops this short comment

Sean Murphy – I don’t read him regularly, but I hear that I should.

Not since Techdirt used me in a promotional picture (see “Born with a Face Made for Podcasting“) have I felt such a sense of warm endorsement. So here is a tip for my 15 readers on how to deal with your 285 nano-centuries of fame: add a nice comment to the bottom of the blog. Which I did:

I think a post that describe how you have applied a subset of these principles and what you have learned would be very useful, it’s clear that you have your own insights on these topics.

There is a good conversation going on in the Lean Startup Circle, it would be great to see you take part.

I have a blog category devoted to Customer Development if you are interested.

If you are having trouble finding time to read my blog here are five posts that I believe represent the range of my writing. Clearly I need to take a page out of the Venture Hacks notebook and create an index for the 550 posts I have written over the last four years.

But it’s been a few weeks and I am not closer to my master index so I would appreciate your help. Let me know which of my blog posts you found especially useful (or an old one now desperately in need of a re-write/update) and any areas or topics you would like to see me address.


Notes

  1. “In the future, everyone will be famous for 15 people” Momus (Nick Currie) in “Pop Stars Neine Danke
  2. One handy conversion factor to remember is Tom Duff’s “Pi seconds is a nanocentury.
  3. “In the future everyone will be famous for 15 minutesAndy Warhol 
  4. Fewer footnotes probably not a bad idea either.

Tips For A Startup’s Early Press Releases

Written by Sean Murphy. Posted in Blogging, Rules of Thumb, skmurphy

We use eReleases which distributes over PR newswire for about half the price ($400). See http://www.ereleases.com/submit.html for details, we have been working with them for more than two years and been very pleased.

Press releases are not appropriate for every startup’s marketing communication: you need to make sure that you have the right message before you broadcast it widely. One of the advantage of doing individual interviews in the customer discovery and validation phases is that you can tweak your message between each conversation.

You will need to experiment and understand what keywords in the title and the first paragraph make them more likely to get picked up by relevant publications. It’s also more compelling to include a quote from a third party (typically a customer) who can validate/substantiate one or more of the statements you are making. You can think of them as larger and more expensive Adword ads.

We have seen excellent results (increased SEO, direct sales inquires) from well written press releases. But, like an adword, the lack of a compelling title or poor first sentence can have them fall flat.

I would not send press releases to bloggers (who have not signed up for press release distribution through one of the services) but work with them on an individual basis. Identify blogs who address an audience you are trying to reach and leave substantial comments: not “look at this link” but one to three sentences of relevant content that responds meaningfully to the blog post you are commenting on. You can also approach bloggers to see if they are interested in a short interview or Q&A with one of your team.

If you are bootstrapping your startup you need to focus on where your efforts will do the most good: analyze what publications or websites are most likely to attract the audience that you want to reach and laser your efforts towards them. Relationships take time to build so plan your efforts for a set of activities you can sustain. If you are in the early customer discovery phase there are almost certainly bloggers who knowledgeable about the market you are targeting and who would be willing to give you ten to twenty minutes on the phone to give you feedback on your product idea.

Good Marketing is Good Content

Written by Theresa Shafer. Posted in 3 Early Customer Stage, 4 Finding your Niche, 5 Scaling Up Stage, Blogging

This week I have been developing content for a client’s website. We are helping them formulate a message that is intended to explain both their knowledge of their customers’ problems and how they are able to help.

Good marketing is really just good content.

It focuses on your customers’ problems and how they will benefit from your offering. It is not about your product features. It answers all of the questions–or at least all of the common questions–a customer will have they have as they consider buying your product or services.

Good marketing material should be useful, interesting, and even funny to your customers. Material should be clear and concise, it should be use the language that your customers normally use to talk about their challenges and their needs.
Here are a couple of examples we have worked with our clients on over the last year:

DAC 2009 Blog Coverage Roundup

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

See DAC 2010 Blog Coverage Roundup for 2010 Roundup.

Sunday Events

Monday Events

Tuesday Events

Wednesday Events

Thursday Events

Recaps


Please leave a comment or contact me to let me know if I have overlooked or incorrectly categorized anything. I will update this list for posts in August that offer substantive coverage of events at Design Automation Conference 2009 (see also “DAC46 in the News” for pre-conference coverage).

Update Mon-Aug-3: As I mentioned in my comments to John McGeHee below:

If you write a blog post that reviews an event, a day, or DAC as a whole with some substantive commentary I will include a link to it. I assume that more reports will come in until the end of August, so go ahead and take the time to write up your impressions and insights.

Update Tue-Aug-4: Continuing to refine structure by adding subcategories to day by day and conference recap organization.

Update Sat-Aug-8: More updates, Mike Demler‘s daily recaps are detailed, he has also made them available upon request as a single PDF. Kevin Morris analyzes attendance and other data from the last half a dozen DAC’s in “Dueling DACs.

Update Sat-Aug-22: More updates, list now covers more than 110 posts by more than 50 authors. Please let me know if I have overlooked any, I will continue to update this list until the end of August.

Update Mon-Dec-29: Richard Goering included this post in his “Notable EDA Blog Posts For 2009” roundup. It’s a good list, and worth reading if you found the list below useful.

A Conversation with Ed Lee on the Changing Media Landscape for EDA

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

Ed Lee and I have been talking about the role that bloggers play in the EDA Industry since we put together the Blogging Birds of a Feather at ICCAD in November 2008. In the last week we decided to formalize some of our conversation and blog about it. We wanted to share our current assessment of a complex and evolving situation and invite both comments and further dialog.

From Ed’s perspective, bloggers are a near-unknown entity to the PR people in EDA. Compared to the traditional journalists and publishers, bloggers are perplexing as to their intentions and motives for blogging. What follows is Ed and I ruminating about bloggers and their role in EDA, in light of the gradual disappearance of the old-line journalists, market researchers, and financial analysts covering the industry.

Ed and I have known one another since our VLSI Technology days together in the mid-1980s. He went on to various public relations firms – and worked for EDA clients such as Valid, Mentor, ECAD – and at Cadence before opening his own shop in the early 1990s. Since opening Lee PR, his firm has worked primarily with EDA and IP clients such as Chronologic, Compass, Cooper & Chyan, Epic, IBM EDA, Nassda.

This conversation was originally published in two parts on Ed’s blog “What’s PR Got To Do With It?” with an introduction from his perspective:

I have added hyperlinks to provide more context. Ed and I first talked about some common questions that we have heard from other PR people:

Sean: What’s your perspective on the role blogger community plays in informing potential users about current and new EDA offerings?

Ed: This is the big question. We’re in a period of tumult and transition. The old-line journalists are disappearing and the ones who survive are blogging themselves. What bloggers bring to the EDA industry is perspective and personal opinion that’s informed by their individual focus, interests, and the span of their information gathering. But it seems to me that bloggers are more like newspaper columnists than reporters. Where will the basic reporting come from? What will provide a basis or a context for these bloggers/columnists to wax prolific?

Sean: I see bloggers as more of a blend of columnists and reporters. They often write about product announcements, report their observations and issues. Usually they have a wide set of resources both on-line and in-person. Good blogs take a lot of reading and gathering information. But you are right, good blogging is also good linking and bloggers will link to other bloggers, perhaps who have either firsthand knowledge of events or deep technical knowledge. Because of the links, bloggers are often more transparent on their sources than traditional news sources sometimes are.

Ed: Who are the bloggers?  I see them as a mix of indies,  those employed by  EDA and IP vendors and editors who write for industry publications. As with the industry press,  we need to know the specific focus of each blogger. But now, we have a second need to know: who signs their paycheck. The bloggers seem to me to be very transparent on that count.  So that helps us  understand how to work with a blogger’s area of interest AND consider that blogger’s perspective.

Sean: Most bloggers are industry evangelists. I was surprised at the BoF how many many bloggers had a customer facing role (e.g. marketing or customer support) in their company. Another large segment of bloggers are independent consultants who are looking for more visibility–trying to get better known and find a job. Often blogs are started to provide pointers to other helpful resources, share perspectives, and to learn from others who share a common interest. Some bloggers use their blog as a repository or chronicle of an issue: these can be useful for a community of interest that can leverage proven approaches or explore new ones to solve common problems or issues. Reading about approaches that others have tried is extremely valuable to the community and usually these types of blogs are not written by marketing folks but evangelists or other experts like independent consultants.

Ed: So the next question is: how to work with the bloggers in EDA and IP?  One thing I wrestle with is when does it make sense in time and money to reach out to bloggers for coverage. And how to do it effectively. Do we separate the old-line press from the bloggers? Consider them all part of one group? So we invite them all to one meeting or hold two? For sure, we don’t want to blast press releases to bloggers.

Sean: I think it definitely makes sense to reach out to bloggers who are providing a valuable service to a community you are interested in reaching. This doesn’t necessarily mean the blogs with the highest traffic, especially when you have a niche product; it’s blogs that are read by your prospects. One effective way to reach out to bloggers is to leave well written, informative, and germane comments on their blog. You can include a one or two line signature that links back to your website if people are interested in more information. I agree with you: one of the least effective ways to reach bloggers is to send them press releases.

Ed: So how do these independent bloggers monetize their blogs? What are the incentives and potential conflicts?

Sean: I think most bloggers are building social capital and don’t really have a plan to monetize their blog directly. I do think independent bloggers are often promoting their expertise and want to build influence within their network. Employers or current clients are going to bias the blogger at least as far as self-censorship.

Ed: Clearly, the bloggers will play – if they’re not already – an increasingly influential role. But are they a separate and new community onto themselves? After all, they’ve got their own room at DAC this year. So either DAC isn’t giving them press badges or they want to be seen as a separate and distinct community.

Sean: Brian Bailey has an interesting perspective on what the bloggers may become. He wrote an interesting blog post at the end of March on “Unintended Consequences.

“Will the independent EDA consultants, like myself, be the only source of impartial information about what the EDA companies are up to, and if the claims they make are true? But even consultants rely on the trade press to bring things to our attention. It could also mean a lot more work now for us to keep up with the tool introductions and developments.”

By the way, our first conversation got picked up on Twitter. Take a look at what Paul Lindemann wrote on http://twitter.com/plindemann/statuses/2230457756 — “Promising Ed Lee blog on #pr/#eda – post with @skmurphy on “Bloggers in EDA

Ed: No, I didn’t see that tweet, but thanks for pointing it out. Yeah, that’s my concern. There needs to be basic reporting being done by someone. From that basic reporting, the opinion makers can analyze, comment, criticize, vent. Who’s going to do that basic reporting now? The bloggers? Of course, this dilemma isn’t limited to us. The New York Times is the only newspaper that staffs a full bureau in Iraq. If or when it shuts down, then how do we or any commentators – say on the Huffington Post – get our basic news?

Sean: It may be a matter of function. I agree with you that the basic reporting function may not be the role of the bloggers. However, I agree with Brian Bailey that many good blogs are written by independent consultants. Many of these bloggers blog to promote their expertise. So bloggers don’t blog to provide news, so to speak. For bloggers, their blog content is a way for them to demonstrate their expertise and draw visitors to their site. Just looking at the website traffic for one client, over 30% of the visitors entered on the main blog page, and then more than 80% of blog visitors clicked deeper into the blog or the website pages.

Ed: All well and good, but the question remains: who’s going to report the news, give us context and insight? The vendors can easily distribute all manner of announcements. Will the bloggers pick up the role that Richard Goering used to play at EE Times, and fitfully, at SCDSource? I suspect not. We seem to agree that bloggers are basically columnists, opinion makers for their specific audiences. So they do demonstrate their expertise…but what’s their role in molding industry wide pubic opinion…beyond their specific target audiences?

Sean: So your question may be, are we heading into an era where bloggers will have an increasing role in molding industry opinion? I think Karen Bartleson’s “Standards Game” blog on EDA standards has changed perception of Accellera, and standards efforts in general, as a vital part of our ability to make progress. With her “Ten Commandments of Standards” series I think she has offered some excellent suggestions for how to take part effectively in standards efforts–and how to interpret, by comparison, other developments in the standards arena.

So that’s an anecdote, one data point, I am not sure what it looks like in another two to four years. In the last year we’ve transitioned from about 60 bloggers writing on EDA-related topics to what looks like perhaps 200. A year ago I thought we would get to 500 in three years (2011). Now that may be there next year if this trend continues.

Ed: But of those 200, perhaps a dozen or so are frequent.

Sean: To be honest we are still crunching the numbers. Out of approximately 100 that we have analyzed in some detail, we found at least 50 that posted on average once every two weeks between March and May of this year, and of those 27 who posted once a week on average, and of those about a dozen who posted at least twice a week on average. The final counts may perhaps double in each category. There are about a half dozen “press release aggregation blogs” that merely re-post EDA press releases as blog post, I didn’t include those in my frequency statistics.

Ed: How do we quantify the bloggers’ audience and influence?

Sean: That’s a hard question to answer, the size of audience and influence of each blogger. Most have traffic levels that are in the noise level for tools/websites designed to track mainstream consumer websites.

Ed: Exactly! Example, I was shocked when you said some bloggers got only three comments a month. I simply did not believe you! Until I looked myself. So, any blogger who got three comments a month…Would I be able to sell as an influential opinion maker to client? It’s tough enough to sell the bloggers conceptually right now.

Sean: One calculation that would be useful for your clients would be the posting frequency and amount of original material. Quality of writing is certainly important, as well as expertise. Another model you see in other industries that I don’t yet see in EDA are “link logs” where someone takes the time to find relevant material on other blogs or cites and point it out. Instapundit is certainly one popular example, where probably 75-90% of his content are links and quotes from other blogs but from a very large spectrum of blogs.

Ed: Well, re: frequency, I do see these folks as more or less 1) weekly or more (Bartleson, Goering, McLellan); twice monthly (a lot of them); monthly (Aycinena and several others) and some who haven’t blogged since January.

Sean: But without a “publishing schedule” it’s still useful to assign a frequency.

Ed: I agree re: frequency…but how do we determine eyeballs that see their blogs? I was just saying that that is how I categorize seriousness of blogging intent, since I don’t see statistics on eyeballs. Bartleson is obviously serious. The twice per month folks are also as are the once monthly folks. After that, it gets tough to justify spending client cycles on cultivating them. Having said that, I think its important, maybe imperative that we do so.

Sean: This is a good question. I think it’s complex but doable. The complexity comes from a calculation of incentives. Bloggers don’t have a “news hole” to file in the way that print publication does. Also, I think in the same way that an EDA firm uses application engineers (or technical marketing folks) to support and interact with customers it may make sense to encourage many of them to also start blogging to interact with other “independent” bloggers. That seems to be what Cadence and Mentor have done in the last six months or so, there are dozens of new bloggers at each of those firms posting in their public forums. I also wouldn’t underestimate the impact of open forums like the Verification Guild, where a number of serious technical issues get raised and addressed.

Ed: What’s your take on EDA and IP vendors’ acceptance of bloggers? I think vendors are starting to take note, but there’s still a need to justify the cultivation.

Sean: What’s to justify? Or what’s the alternative?

Ed: I have to justify the influence of each blogger to the client. A blogger with three comments in a month wouldn’t fly because the client would say, not worth my time. Shortsighted? yes. Even the good editors or reporters at second or third tier publications…we tell clients, “ya never know when he or she ends up at Business Week.” Witness Sarah Lacy.

Sean: I think some bloggers with few monthly comments may become more popular…those who have a very serious approach. Comments are not always a proxy for influence. But I do think we will see certain bloggers essentially initiate ad hoc forums with their posts. One of the things that have been holding that back I think has been that the high traffic blogs associated with publications, or what I am assuming are high traffic blogs, have poor comment entry and management systems. McClellan is posting several times a week–I counted more than 60 posts in March, April, and May which works out to daily if you let him take Saturdays and Sundays off–and he normally gets a few comments on many of his entries. But the comment system EDN has is wretched and not designed to encourage participation but to filter spam out. If they would supply his readers with the right infrastructure I think there would be a much larger community there already.

Ed: I know that. But my problem is how to prove that.

Sean: Fair enough. I think it may be something that’s hard to get good numbers on. One of the reasons that you have been able to get good numbers that were independently verified for the publications was that it was at the root of their business model: they used those same numbers to sell advertising. I don’t think we will see that model work except for a handful of bloggers.

Ed: So how do the bloggers get a higher profile among the corporate executives, the ones who authorize marketing cultivation efforts?

Sean: Presence on industry forums and portals such as DAC’s. I can’t figure out how DAC picked the bloggers they highlight on their home page. I think the publications still have huge traffic compared to independent bloggers.

Ed: So how do we get numbers, any numbers? Karen Bartleson’s possibly got the highest number of eyeballs based on her topic and longevity, don’t you think?

Sean: I don’t know what Karen Bartleson’s numbers are. My sense is that Paul McClellan, at least on the “business of EDA” side, may be getting a lot of interest just because he is posting frequently. But when I asked him at the EDP workshop in April in Monterey, he said that EDN doesn’t share any statistics with him. That would be an interesting session, comparing google analytics results.

Ed: So somehow, we need numbers of some sort to figure out influence, and then to justify blogger coverage, right?

Sean: It’s closer to columnist coverage than journalist coverage. I think it’s more important to assess the particular “micro-audience” that a blogger delivers. It could be that group or multi-author blogs will emerge for EDA in the same that they have in other industries. A brand gets established that’s larger than the individual author, in the same way that it matters more that an article appears in EDN than who in particular authors it.

Ed: Agree, more like columnists than reporters. Clients are just now acknowledging that they need to pay attention to bloggers. But they have no problem pitching to a Ron Wilson or a Richard Goering (in his reporter days). Funny thing…the output is often the same. In truth, isn’t the act of blogging just another distribution mechanism? Reporters and editors, analysts and researchers all “blog” now.

Sean: I do think there might be ways to make for more “blogger friendly” interviews/engagements. Maybe it’s somewhat intimidating to vendors because bloggers are part of the unknown right now. However, at some level it’s useful just to point to the independent opinion/evaluation that these blogger bring to the table.

Ed: Still, there’s some legitimacy to figuring out the dynamics of the old-line journalists and the, for lack of a better term, the new line bloggers. It’s like the VHF TV channels..they’ve lost huge numbers. They’re still bigger but the UHF channels have just eaten away at those numbers by the sheer number of new channels out there.

Sean: VHF vs. UHF is a very good analogy.

Ed: So in a way, we have more new choices on UHF but we still watch VHF channels.

Notes

  • Ed and I plan to continue this dialog after DAC and include some assessments of what we saw and what we think learned.
  • It was energizing to compose a blog as a conversation and I am interested in doing this with other folks, please let me know if you would like to take part in a conversational blog post.
  • After we did this I ran across the “Absolute Power” blog that Cary Chin and Darin Hauer also write as a conversation.
  • Richard Fernandez wrote in “Left Brain, Right Brain
    “The major drivers of the democratization of the Internet have not been content providing sites like the Huffington Post, nor extensions of traditional PR activities like “accrediting” bloggers, but architecture; architecture which enables content provision. In this year of the Iranian demonstrations the Nobel Peace prize should be awarded to Twitter, Facebook and Blogger. Time magazine should consider them candidates for the Virtual Men of the Year, and put Time Magazine itself on its obituary pages.”
  • In a July 10 post entitled “Blogging” Paul McLellan wrote:
    “The biggest frustration with blogging like this is that I don’t get much feedback. All sorts of people tell me that they read EDA Graffiti when they meet me. Very few people think to email me or to leave a comment on the blog. Reed has the policy of not letting page-view data outside of the company, and since I’m not an employee I don’t get to see (maybe it’s the same for the internal people outside management, I don’t know). So I don’t know how many people read EDA Graffiti, and I don’t know what type of people read EDA Graffiti. I don’t know which entries get read the most and which get nearly ignored.”

Update July 22: There have been several blog posts about the changing media landscape.

  • Paul McClellan’s July 22 “Who are the EDA Press”  reinforces the value of press/journalists as a sense making mechanism (e.g. what’s really happening, what are the trends and the deeper significance of an event) for an industry in addition to helping its members maintain a shared situational awareness (i.e. “what’s new”)
    • “I’ve been approached by several PR agencies and marketing folk about product announcements, interviews and so on. Individual product announcements are not interesting to me, and I’m assuming you readers wouldn’t want to wade through them all anyway. There are other places for that. But product announcements in aggregate are interesting: What are the new trends? Which new areas are hot? Which new startups are interesting in those areas? What hard problems are getting cracked?
    • “Remember Bill Joy’s law: no matter where you are, the smartest people are somewhere else. You just don’t know what is going to turn out to be important, so you need to look at it all. But it is increasingly difficult to immerse yourself in the stream of raw information that might allow you to spot something. In it’s heyday, when both Richard Goering and Mike Santarini and more were there, not much happened in EDA that you’d miss if you read EEtimes each week. Now, not so much. That’s one reason that, for the time being, I think DAC remains strong. It’s the only place for that kind of serendipity.”
  • Paul’s post also pointed to a September 2007 article by Peggy Aycinena “The Future of EDA Media
  • John Blyler put out two back to back posts

I think Clay Shirky’s July 13 “It’s not An Upgrade It’s an Upheaval”  offers a useful context. He opens with

“The hard truth about the future of journalism is that nobody knows for sure what will happen; the current system is so brittle, and the alternatives are so speculative, that there’s no hope for a simple and orderly transition from State A to State B. Chaos is our lot; the best we can do is identify the various forces at work shaping various possible futures.”

The reason why I am engaged by this topic is that I believe that the fundamental challenge is an entrepreneurial one: we need new business models to support our shared awareness and sense making at both an industry and societal level. I think until you frame the problem in that context, a nostalgic discussion of what’s been lost is really just reminiscing. Shirky’s conclusions are equally pointed:

“Journalism is not a profession — no degree or certification is required to practice it, and training often comes after hiring — and it is increasingly being transformed into an activity, open to all, sometimes done well, sometimes badly, but at a volume that simply cannot be supported by a small group of full-time workers. The journalistic models that will excel in the next few years will rely on new forms of creation, some of which will be done by professionals, some by amateurs, some by crowds, and some by machines.

This will not replace the older forms journalism, but then nothing else will either; both preservation and simple replacement are off the table. The change we’re living through isn’t an upgrade, it’s a upheaval, and it will be decades before anyone can really sort out the value of what’s been lost versus what’s been gained. In the meantime, the changes in self-assembling publics and new models of subsidy will drive journalistic experimentation in ways that surprise us all.”

EDA Bloggers 2009

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

This is an update of my May 28, 2008 post “Bloggers Covering Design Automation” which I have subsequently updated in place approximately every two weeks for the last 13 months. The list was originally about 60 and has grown since then. At the time I started tracking blogs, neither Cadence nor Mentor had started their blogging communities. On July 22, 2008 I added the Cadence blogging community to the list and blogged about “What Happens When 70 EDA Blogs Become 500 in 2011.“There have been enough posts by individual bloggers in these community that it makes sense to break them out.

If you are an EDA blogger there is also an edabloggers Yahoo Group you can sign up for if you want to be notified of events and other developments, it’s been used in the last year to arrange the Bloggers’ BoF at ICCAD. There are a number of activities at DAC for bloggers, many are related to the Synopsys Conversation Central.

Some notes on how this list is organized:

  • An alphabetical list was somewhat useful at 60, it’s not very useful now and will be useless at 500, which is where I think we will be in another two years. I am open to suggestions and offers to collaborate.
  • For bloggers using their name (e.g. members of Cadence Blogging Community) I alphabetize by last name (which is at variance with their practice of alphabetizing by first name but generally accepted almost everywhere else). I have also gone back and alphabetized blogs that are a person’s name by last name as well to be consistent
  • For blogs beginning with “The” I sort by next word
  • I will update this entry in place at leas through the end of the year
  • I will leave a blog on the list for up to a year after the last post if there is good content in the archives.

I have not included about half a dozen blogs are are simply press release aggregators. Five companies have blogging communities now: Cadence, Mathworks, Mentor, Synopsys, and Verilab. I have identified bloggers who are a member of each.

  1. David Abercrombie (Mentor Community Blogger)
  2. Absolute Power (Synopsys Blogging Community)
  3. Achilles Test
  4. Adventures in ASIC Digital Design
  5. All About EDA
  6. Tom Anderson (Cadence Community Blogger)
  7. Amdahl’s Law
  8. Anablog
  9. Analog Insights (Synopsys Blogging Community)
  10. Analog Rails News
  11. Jason Andrews (Cadence Community Blogger)
  12. ASIC Digital Arithmetic
  13. ASIC-System On Chip (SoC)-VLSI Design
  14. Ran Avinun (Cadence Community Blogger)
  15. Nigel Bleasdale (Cadence Community Blogger)
  16. Thomas Bollaert (Mentor Community Blogger)
  17. Robin Bornoff (Mentor Community Blogger)
  18. Dave Brady (Mentor Community Blogger)
  19. Matthew Bromley (Cadence Community Blogger)
  20. Steven Brown (Cadence Community Blogger)
  21. Bugs Are Easy
  22. Kiran Bulusu’s Blog
  23. CAD and VLSI
  24. Steven Carlson (Cadence Community Blogger)
  25. Michael Carrell (Cadence Community Blogger)
  26. Manoj Chacko (Cadence Community Blogger)
  27. Kenneth Chang (Cadence Community Blogger)
  28. Chip101
  29. Chips and BS
  30. Chipworks Blog
  31. Karen Chow (Mentor Community Blogger)
  32. Nora Chu (Cadence Community Blogger)
  33. Christopher Clee (Cadence Community Blogger)
  34. Coaching Excellence in IC Design Teams
  35. Cool Verification (Verilab Community Blog)
  36. Kelly Cordell-Morris (Mentor Community Blogger)
  37. Thomas Costas (Cadence Community Blogger)
  38. Oliver Coudert’s Blog
  39. CriticalBlue’s Common Thread
  40. CynCity (Forte Design)
  41. DAC Fan Club
  42. Abhishek Datta (Cadence Community Blogger)
  43. Joe Davis (Mentor Community Blogger)
  44. Amit Dua (Cadence Community Blogger)
  45. Denali Memory Report
  46. Denali News
  47. Rahul Deokar (Cadence Community Blogger)
  48. David Desharnais (Cadence Community Blogger)
  49. Device Native
  50. DFT Digest
  51. Digital Electronics Blog
  52. Digital IC Design
  53. Dominion of Design
  54. Doug’s MATLAB Video Tutorials (Mathworks Community Blogger)
  55. DVClub Verification Blog
  56. Robert Dwyer (Cadence Community Blogger)
  57. EDA Blog
  58. EDA Confidential 2.0
  59. EDA DesignLine
  60. EDA Geek
  61. EDA Graffiti (see also Green Folder)
  62. EDA Tools on Fedora
  63. EDA Thoughts
  64. EDA Weekly
  65. Ed Sperling
  66. Electronic System Virtualization
  67. Eric Bogatin
  68. Jack Erickson (Cadence Community Blogger)
  69. ESL Edge
  70. The Eyes Have It (Synopsys Blogging Community)
  71. Fahrvergnügen (Synopsys Blogging Community)
  72. Simon Favre (Mentor Community Blogger)
  73. Keith Felton (Cadence Community Blogger)
  74. John Ferguson (Mentor Community Blogger)
  75. Five Computers (Verilab Community Blog)
  76. FPGA and DSP from Scratch
  77. FPGA and Structured ASIC Journal
  78. FPGA Blog
  79. FPGA Central
  80. FPGA Gurus
  81. FPGA Simulation
  82. FPGA World (in particular forums)
  83. George Frazier (Cadence Community Blogger)
  84. Jeffrey Flieder (Cadence Community Blogger)
  85. Future of Design (Synopsys Blogging Community)
  86. Gabe on EDA
  87. Dan Gardner (Mentor Community Blogger)
  88. Gary Smith EDA
  89. Ed Goldman (Mentor Community Blogger)
  90. Brad Griffin (Cadence Community Blogger)
  91. Gerald “Jerry” Grzenia Cadence Community Blogger)
  92. Hany El Hak (Cadence Community Blogger)
  93. Diego Hammerschlag (Cadence Community Blogger)
  94. Neil Hand (Cadence Community Blogger)
  95. Harnessing the Electron
  96. harry… the ASIC guy
  97. Bob Hilker (Cadence Community Blogger)
  98. Matthew Hogan (Mentor Community Blogger)
  99. Happy Holden (Mentor Community Blogger)
  100. Chi-Ping Hsu (Cadence Community Blogger)
  101. Joseph Hupcey III (Cadence Community Blogger)
  102. Industry Insights (Richard Goering / Cadence Community Blogger)
  103. IC Design and Verification Journal
  104. IDesignSpec
  105. Inside Protocol Verification
  106. IntelligentDV
  107. John Isaac (Mentor Community Blogger)
  108. Hiroshi Ishikawa (Cadence Community Blogger)
  109. Michael Jacobs (Cadence Community Blogger)
  110. Samir Jafferali (Cadence Community Blogger)
  111. JB’s Circuit
  112. John’s Semi-Blog
  113. Paul Johnston (Mentor Community Blogger)
  114. JTAG
  115. Sutirtha Kabir (Cadence Community Blogger)
  116. Michael Kelly (Cadence Community Blogger)
  117. Ken and Mike on the MATLAB Desktop (Mathworks Community Blogger)
  118. Neyaz Khan (Cadence Community Blogger)
  119. Koby’s Kaos
  120. Trisha Kristof (Cadence Community Blogger)
  121. Don Kurelich (Mentor Community Blogger)
  122. Leibson’s Law
  123. Bambuda Leung (Cadence Community Blogger)
  124. Steven Lewis (Cadence Community Blogger)
  125. Listening Post (Synopsys Blogging Community)
  126. Loren on the Art of MATLAB (Mathworks Community Blogger)
  127. Wilbur Luo (Cadence Community Blogger)
  128. Magic Blue Smoke (Synopsys Blogging Community)
  129. Edward Malloy (Cadence Community Blogger)
  130. Mannerisms
  131. Boris Marovic (Mentor Community Blogger)
  132. Jim Martens (Mentor Community Blogger)
  133. Peter McCrorie (Cadence Community Blogger)
  134. John McGeHee’s Blog
  135. Michael McNamara (Cadence Community Blogger)
  136. Soheil Modirzadeh (Cadence Community Blogger)
  137. Thomas Moore (Cadence Community Blogger)
  138. Nadav’s Tech Adventures (see also C-to-Verilog )
  139. Arvind Narayanan (Mentor Community Blogger)
  140. Daniel Nenni’s Blog
  141. David Neilson (Cadence Community Blogger)
  142. NextGenLog
  143. Ninja ASIC Verification
  144. Numetrics Insights
  145. Oasys Blog
  146. Oh, One More Thing (Verilab Community Blog)
  147. On Cores
  148. On Verification: a Software to Silicon Verification Blog (Synopsys Blogging Community)
  149. Open Electrons
  150. Richard Owen (Cadence Community Blogger)
  151. Pallab’s Place
  152. John Parry (Mentor Community Blogger)
  153. Will Partain Work Blog (Verilab Community Blog)
  154. Bassilios Petrakis (Cadence Community Blogger)
  155. Charles Pfeil (Mentor Community Blogger)
  156. Brad Pierce’s Blog (EDA Category)
  157. John Pierce (Cadence Community Blogger)
  158. PLD DesignLine
  159. Practical Chip design
  160. Pradeep Chakraborty’s Blog
  161. Power to the Masses
  162. Matthew Rardon (Cadence Community Blogger)
  163. Reconfigurable Computing
  164. Reconfigurable, Reconshmigurable (see also Impulse Accelerated Technology)
  165. RocketBlog
  166. John “Mickey” Rodriguez (Cadence Community Blogger)
  167. Sharon Rosenberg (Cadence Community Blogger)
  168. Susan Runowicz-Smith (Cadence Community Blogger)
  169. The Sandbox
  170. Michael Sanie
  171. Sanjay Srivastava’s Conversation on Innovation
  172. Robin Sarma (Cadence Community Blogger)
  173. Nazita Saye (Mentor Community Blogger)
  174. Scalable Atomicity
  175. SCDSource
  176. Screaming Circuits
  177. Seth on Simulink (Mathworks Community Blogger)
  178. Arthur Schaldenbrand (Cadence Community Blogger)
  179. Hemant Shah (Cadence Community Blogger)
  180. Adam Sherer (Cadence Community Blogger)
  181. Shrinking Violence
  182. Sigasi’s Blog
  183. Signal Integrity Tips
  184. SKMurphy
  185. The Solar Cell Corner (Synopsys Blogging Community)
  186. Sonics Blog
  187. Specman Verification
  188. Deana Spencer (Cadence Community Blogger)
  189. Sramana Mitra on Strategy
  190. Standards Game (Synopsys Blogging Community)
  191. State of EDA
  192. State of the Media
  193. Michael Stellfox (Cadence Community Blogger)
  194. Steve on Image Processing (Mathworks Community Blogger)
  195. Kari Summers (Cadence Community Blogger)
  196. Esteban Svoboda (Cadence Community Blogger)
  197. System Verification Blog
  198. Taken for Granted
  199. Wei Tan (Cadence Community Blogger)
  200. The Tao of ASICs
  201. Techdoer Times
  202. Team ESL (Cadence Community Blog)
  203. Team FED (Cadence Community Blog)
  204. Team genIES (Cadence Community Blog)
  205. Team Specman (Cadence Community Blog)
  206. Tensilica News
  207. Testbench.in
  208. Helene Thibieroz (Cadence Community Blogger)
  209. Think Verification
  210. Craig Thompson (Cadence Community Blogger)
  211. Thursday’s Child
  212. To USB or Not to USB (Synopsys Blogging Community)
  213. Tommy’s Veriblog (Verilab Community Blogger)
  214. Travelling on the Silicon Road
  215. Trusster
  216. Turning Into Jim
  217. Verification Blog
  218. Verification Guild
  219. Verification is No Simulation
  220. Verification Martial Arts (Synopsys Blogging Community)
  221. Verification Vertigo
  222. Verilab Blog
  223. View From the Top (Synopsys Blogging Community)
  224. VC Corner
  225. VLSI Home Page
  226. Colin Walls (Mentor Community Blogger)
  227. Jason Ware (Cadence Community Blogger)
  228. What’s PR Got To Do With It?
  229. Stacy Whiteman (Cadence Community Blogger)
  230. Alan Whittaker (Cadence Community Blogger)
  231. David Wiens (Mentor Community Blogger)
  232. John Wilkosz (Cadence Community Blogger)
  233. Tawna Wilsey (Cadence Community Blogger)
  234. John Wilson (Mentor Community Blogger)
  235. The Wiretap
  236. Wizards of Electromagnetism
  237. The World is Analog
  238. The Xuropean

If I have overlooked your blog or an EDA related blog that you like, please let me know. I can appreciate that this format is no longer particularly useful (not that it was really useful for only 60 blogs). I am working on some other ways to organize this information but I am also open to suggestions and offers of collaboration.

We’ve Been Recognized by EE Times as a Trusted Sources Blog

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

We have been invited to join the “EE Times Trusted Sources” list of blogs. At the discretion of EE Times editors a blog post may be selected from one recently published and a capsule summary placed in their “Trusted Sources” area. EET has characterized the section as follows.

This section features posts from around the Web by authors with passion, integrity, authority, and community support in our industry. Our Trusted Sources are not only prominent industry bloggers specifically identified by EE Times — but also influencers who have earned the trust of our community. With Trusted Sources our goal is to provide the platform to activate and engage in dialogue, and nurture conversations for all participants–beyond just our own voices

A link to the full blog post will be appended. They have selected the recent “Interview With John Sanguinetti” post for our first appearance there.

Trusted Sources Blog logo from EET

If following the link from EE Times is what has brought you here please take a look at other interviews with entrepreneurs in our Founder Story posts.

Three Most Popular Posts So Far

Written by Sean Murphy. Posted in Blogging, skmurphy

We have a little over 400 posts up on the blog since we started with “Welcome Entrepreneurs” on October 1, 2006. I thought I would offer some guidance to newer readers on which have been the most popular. I have looked at popularity through three lenses: feed clickthroughs, unique page views, and total page views.

Based on feed clickthroughs (in theory selected by regular readers, perhaps influenced by the title):

  1. Nov-26-2007: Planning Will Save a Software Startup Money
  2. Aug-25-2008: Three Tests for Negotiating a Software Deal
  3. Sep-10-2008: Good Blogging is Good Linking

Based on Unique Page Views (in theory the most popular among all readers)

  1. Dec-4-2008 We Don’t Encourage Individuals to Form a Startup
  2. May-28-2008 Bloggers Covering Electronic Design Automation
  3. Oct-4-2007 Benefits of SaaS Model

And one more based on total Page Views (some folks must have read this more than once).

Backtype is a Useful Tool for Bloggers

Written by Sean Murphy. Posted in Blogging, skmurphy

One of the things I like to do is re-work and improve comments I have left in forums or on other blogs into posts on this blog. I have been using Backtype for a few weeks now and have found it useful for keeping track of other places I have commented. You need to register and claim comments under various aliases that comment systems require you to use (e.g. my skmurphy e-mail, my Gmail account, Hacker News ID, etc..).

For a list of my recovered comments see http://www.backtype.com/skmurphy

Update Sat-Apr-24-2010: Useful while it lasted, it looks like Backtype has changed direction to focus on real time search and is no longer archiving comments older than three months. If you are aware of a tool that offers Backtype’s old comment tracking and archive capability I am happy to pay $10-25/month for this capability, depending upon the functionality set. I offered to pay Backtype $100-$200 a year to preserve this functionality but there are apparently too few folks like myself.

Paul Lippe on an Entrepreneur’s Accountability

Written by Sean Murphy. Posted in Blogging, Founder Story, Legal Issues, skmurphy

Paul Lippe is CEO of Legal OnRamp, a community of practice website for lawyers. He did a guest post on the AmLaw Daily Blog “Welcome to the Future: Leadership, Accountability, and Swimwear” that I enjoyed, in particular his observations on the entrepreneur’s accountability were worth bearing in mind in 2009.

Paul Lippe on an Entrepreneur’s Accountability

Legal OnRamp strives to simplify innovation and value delivery, primarily for in=house lawyers but also for law firms, both by providing tools to innovate and by sharing examples of success.

We have 7,000 members, probably 3,000 of whom have contributed content or otherwise added value. Perhaps 1,000 have contributed ideas on how to make our service better. Ninety nine percent of the good ideas and 99.9 percent of the work have come from someone other than me. More than 400 law firms and more than 700 companies are participating.

There are at least 100 things that need to go right; there are 200 things that could go wrong. When we started, 80 percent of lawyers thought we were nuts; 14 months later, 80 percent of lawyers think we’re the future. I “control,” in a formal sense, very little of this.

Still, if Legal OnRamp fails, it’s my fault.

There are no words we love to hear more than “it’s not your fault.” Whether from our mother, our friend, our cleric, or our consultant, when something goes wrong, we cherish absolution.

So let’s be clear: if you are running a law firm and it fails, it’s your fault.”
Paul Lippe in “Welcome to the Future: Leadership, Accountability, and Swimwear

The balance of the article is worth reading, he addresses the need to plan for a more competitive environment in 2009. Although his intended audience is managing partners at law firms it’s very applicable to software and consulting firms as well.

Related Blog Posts

Late Night Comments and E-Mail

Written by Sean Murphy. Posted in Blogging, Rules of Thumb, skmurphy

too true alas
See www.xkcd.com/ for more comics.
This scene plays out in one form or another several times a year.I have learned to:

  • send the E-Mail just to myself and read it again in the morning.
  • save the forum comment in a separate text file.
  • save the blog post for review in the morning.

Update Tue-Nov-5: Jim Treacher offers “I need to get some sleep. People on the Internet will still be wrong tomorrow.”

EDA Bloggers’ BoF at ICCAD 2008 Wed-Nov-12 4-6pm in Fir Room

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

As I mentioned last month, there is an EDA Bloggers Birds of a Feather at the 2008 ICCAD Conference.

It will be this Wednesday November 12, 4-6pm in the Fir Ballroom. It’s listed in the ICCAD program as an additional meeting: EDA Bloggers’ Birds-of-a-Feather

If you are interested in learning more about blogging or how it’s affecting the evolution of the EDA industry, please attend and lend your ears and your perspective. There will be plenty of time for a serious conversation with a number of bloggers from different points on the EDA compass–users, vendors, journalists, consultants…

Please contact me if you are interested in attending and want to put some questions or topics on the list for the open discussion forum.

Purpose

  1. Promote blogging in EDA / ASIC Design Industry
  2. Allow bloggers to meet and get to know one another in a community of practice setting.
  3. Educate interested parties, readers and others interested in blogging.

Agenda

  1. Opening remarks Juan-Antonio Carballo (our sponsor for the event at ICCAD)
  2. One Minute intro by each attendee: Name, Company/Affiliation, Blog; Can Suggest Issues or Discussion Topics.
  3. Three minute Lightning Talks
  4. Open Discussion

Confirmed presenters (in alphabetical order by last name)

Cost: Free (since this a related event at ICCAD , it will not require ICCAD registration to attend).

There is a mailing list for EDA bloggers at http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/edabloggers/ It’s is a very low traffic (1-2 messages a month) moderated E-mail distribution list for announcements and other notices of general interest to EDA Blogging community. It’s intended to help coordinate Birds of a Feather and other events for bloggers at EDA related conferences and other venues.

Most folks are choosing to talk about different aspects of what they have learned from blogging. This is a good cross section of folks and their talks should jumpstart a variety of interesting discussions in the two hours that we have.
Related links on this blog

Other Blog coverage:

EDA Bloggers’ BoF at ICCAD 2008

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

Ed Lee and I have been pulling together another EDA Bloggers’ Birds of a Feather, this one at the 2008 ICCAD Conference. It will be on Wednesday November 12, 4-6pm in the Fir Ballroom. It’s listed in the ICCAD program as an additional meeting: EDA Bloggers’ Birds-of-a-Feather sponsored by IEEE CEDA and organized by Juan-Antonio Carballo of the IBM Venture Capital Group in San Mateo, CA.

Purpose

  1. Promote blogging in EDA / ASIC Design Industry
  2. Allow bloggers to meet and get to know one another in a community of practice setting.
  3. Educate interested parties, readers and others interested in blogging.

Agenda

  1. Opening remarks Juan-Antonio Carballo (our sponsor for the event at ICCAD)
  2. One Minute intro by each attendee: Name, Company/Affiliation, Blog; Can Suggest Issues or Discussion Topics.
  3. Three minute Lightning Talks (targeting 8-12 depending upon who volunteers)
  4. Open Discussion

If you are interested in giving a Lightning Talk (3 slides in 3 minutes) please contact me.

Possible Topics for Lightning Talks (many of these came from prep for DAC BoF)

  • Why I started a blog…and what I’ve learned since I started.
  • Blogging on topics that are not covered enough (e.g. DFT)
  • Online magazines, vendor communities, “DeepChip”, and blogs: what each is good for.
  • Blogging Standards Efforts
  • Tips for blogging Conferences
  • Good Topics that I really want to write about, but am afraid to.
  • How to build and track audience.
  • Pros and cons of comments.
  • Team blogging. (multiple authors contributing to one blog)
  • Micro-blogging: Twitter, Tumblr and others
  • Lessons Learned from Blogging
  • For readers: how to find and follow blogs.

Confirmed presenters (in alphabetical order by last name, this list will be updated as speakers are added)

You are also welcome to attend without giving a lightning talk, this will be an related event at ICCAD but will not require ICCAD registration to attend. I think we can support about eight to twelve lightning talks and still have time both for attendees to introduce themselves and plenty of discussion.

There is a mailing list for EDA bloggers at http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/edabloggers/ It’s is a very low traffic (1-2 messages a month) moderated E-mail distribution list for announcements and other notices of general interest to EDA Blogging community. It’s intended to help coordinate Birds of a Feather and other events for bloggers at EDA related conferences and other venues.

Please contact me if you are interested in attending and/or giving a talk. If you want to use slides (max 3) I will need them by November 5 (a week in advance) so that we can stage them on one computer for easy changes between speakers.

Related links on this blog

Other Blog coverage:

Update Wed-Oct-14: John Blyler has been added as a speaker, addressing “Blogging, a Publisher’s Dilemma” which will be a lightning talk on Staffer vs Guest bloggers, group bloggers to cover functional topics, ROI schemes, community building.

Update Wed-Oct-27: Rick Munden has been added as a speaker.

Good Blogging is Good Linking

Written by Sean Murphy. Posted in Blogging, skmurphy

I have been reading too many blog entries lately where the authors don’t seem to realize that they are writing hypertext and can link to their referenced content, or do a poor job of using links. A good blog entry leverages the fact that it’s HTML and can link to the sources or material. Here are some guidelines I follow in trying to craft a useful blog entry:

  • Try and combine three sources (one or two can be personal experience) don’t just recapitulate and annotate (what’s been call “cross-examining”) a story or blog entry.
  • Incorporate key summary material as a quote.
  • Add a link if it will add useful context or provide a good reference for readers unfamiliar with the topic.

Here are some other guidelines for good linking to bear in mind as well.

John Barger wrote about “adding value to your links” on May 16, 1999. His advice is still excellent. Here is an excerpt, read the whole thing:

  • Extract some pull quotes that capture the best the page has to offer. Nothing ‘sells’ an article better than a sample of how good it is.
  • Don’t just link to the top page of a site– pick the best page. Readers in a hurry will be grateful, readers at leisure can find the rest on their own.
  • Have you checked for similar pages that do the same job even better? Look at them all and link only the best.
  • If a version-for-printing is offered, link to that. It will load faster and is usually easier to read, without all the distracting side-columns.
  • Warn about formatting oddities. Does it take a long time to load? Does it require Java or RealPlayer? Are there annoying interstitial pop-ups?
  • Choose the most descriptive word (or three) within your long description to highlight as anchor-text. Lots of underlined-blue is hard to read, so limit it to a word or two that describes what the page is: “essay”, “hotlist”; or what it’s about: “tutorial on animation”.

Phillip Lenssen (author of the “How Linkable is Your Blog” tool, reviewed back in 2006 by us with “Philipp Lenssen’s Tips For Crafting a Linkable Blog Post” ) wrote “11 Link Usability Tips” in October of 2007, here are my picks–retaining his original numbering scheme–for the top 4:

1. Make sure there’s enough space to click on for a given link. Do you know those A-Z link lists? They’re a common navigation element on top of some directory-style pages, going like this: “A | B | C | D | …” etc., where each letter is linked. In this case, some letters – especially the “I” – become much too small to comfortably click on. Use a non-breaking space around each letter (”… I …”) to increase the clickable area, allowing for easier navigation. You might also want to use this approach for link text like numbers (e.g. “1”) or symbols (e.g. “#”).

2. The first link should be the most important. As a rule of thumb – and there may be exceptions – the first link in a blog post or article will gain the most attention, and the highest click rates. So make sure it’s also the most relevant one for your article. If you are discussing new website XYZ, then make a link to XYZ the first link in your article – not necessarily within the first sentence, but just the first link – and put links to related material over subsequent words. This allows visitors to be guided best.

3. Select which links are important, and don’t link to everything. If you write an article you are often filtering for your audience. One such filter is to only link to pages that are truly relevant to get your point across (or to allow readers to cross-check it for validation). If you include a link in every second word of a sentence, then it will hurt readability as people don’t always know which links are worth to follow. (One noteworthy exception are those “train links” which, on purpose, link e.g. half a dozen words to different reference sites. It can be a style element to indicate for instance “a lot of people discussed this issue before.”)

8. Make link text flexible enough so that it “survives” even the removal of the link. This is more an issue of readability than usability, actually. In some cases, people may read your content in places where they can’t follow up through to your link. For instance, they may have printed out your article. Or they may have saved your article on their laptop but they don’t have an internet connection at the time. Or they may click on your link but the page in question has been removed, or is down, or has been changed dramatically.

In these cases, a good link will a) contain enough information on its own so that the article doesn’t fully depend on the external source, and b) is phrased in such a way that its link can be ignored.

Link text like e.g. “click here” both disturbs the reading flow – no one would write “click here” on paper, yet your article may be printed out (or be navigated without a mouse, e.g. the keyboard) – and also may lack crucial information to continue reading your article.

90-day Plan for Blogging from “Getting More Customers” Workshop

Written by Theresa Shafer. Posted in Blogging, Customer Development

One of the strategies we cover in our Getting More Customers workshops is blogging.

Below is a 90-plan developed by a workshop attendee last year, anonymized and presented with permission. Actual implementation took more than 90 days but he has been blogging for a little less than a year and has 60 blog posts that have been gathering readers. He also uses the blog to answer questions that keep coming up, treating it like a FAQ in progress.

Any good action plan builds on your existing strengths and successes. If you are comfortable with writing, a blog is a good way to gently remind your prospects that you are out there and are available to help them when they have a problem.

Here is the blank worksheet he filled out, answers in italic

One Page Customer Development Plan

Chose the techniques you are going to implement and have a plan! Figure out how you are going to measure it and track the outcome.

Objectives:

  • Who are the NEW customers you want to attract?
    want to target customers in financial space
  • How will you develop NEW business?
    use blog as a way to reach and influence prospects
  • How will you grow EXISTING business?
    same

90-day Plan

2 weeks: Identify blogs where I can guest blog or comment on

4 weeks:

  • Select blog software and domain name
  • Check out at TypePad, WordPress, Blogger
  • Does my hosting service have one?
  • Comment on other blogs – 3 times/week (Can I keep this up?)

8 weeks:

  • Develop a plan for one/week blogging topics
  • Start writing one blog per week

13 weeks:

  • Start my blog
  • Write one blog a week on my blog
  • once a week comment on someone else blog (linking to my)

We checked in with him briefly at each of the milestone dates (basic follow-up is included in the workshop fee) and recently spoke with him now that he has been blogging for about 10 months to get his assessment of the results achieved.

I got busy so it took about 5 or 6 months to do. It takes a lot more planning, reading and thought than I anticipated that it would and readership is smaller than I would like (at least compared to our newsletter). I need to get better at commenting on other blogs. When I am busy this is the first thing to fall off, yet it is critical to building my readers. I have seen it boost my website traffic but I have not seen it generate sales leads directly yet. It was been useful to answer inquiries we get by writing a blog post, and doing this has made them easier to re-use. It’s also been helpful when we wanted to respond quickly to an event (e.g. an acquisition) that our customers and prospects are looking for a quick take on. But it’s a different writing style from a forum post or a newsletter article that requires practice to master.

Quick Links

Bootstrappers Breakfast Link Startup Stages Clients In the News Upcoming Events Office Hours Button Newsletter SignUp