Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Great turnout at the Design Automation Conference.

We had a great first day at DAC. All the talk about recession and economic doom were hard to believe. People were enthusiastic and upbeat. Even the guys and gals looking for work were upbeat and were considering it to be a temporary phase.

We started early at 6:00 AM from San Jose. The drive on Route 280 was nice in the morning with almost no traffic. Clouds on top of the hills along the way were very nice.

Reached at 7:00 and got down to setting up the three laptops and a (borrowed) projector. We had already setup the booth on Saturday.

Many interesting people doing cool things dropped by to see the products, many had seen us on Gary Smith and John Cooley’s must see list. Many others simply came with no idea what we were doing and to their surprise, they realized they could use our solutions.

Interestingly a few people thought that we were doing natural language parsing in IDesignSpec. Oh well, some day, at some DAC!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

First sale is always sweet!

I'm thrilled. Finally, we have a customer who sees the value that IDesignSpec brings for his company. We are indeed thankful to them for trusting our technology. I think this is validation of the concepts on which this tool is based upon: that of single information source, simple, easy to use point tools, and focus on company wide benefits.

It is very gratifying to see that even in this troubled economic times we have companies that truly value innovation, not just for the sake of trying out something new, but for the real competitive advantage that it brings. I sure hope we would find more like them in the coming future.

Speaking of innovation, yesterday I was at a relatively small, close-knit conference in Cambridge, called CodeGeneration2009. It was interesting to see the academics and the industry experts arguing about raising the abstraction in software and embedded space, and why is it that UML has failed to deliver. They were talking about DSL (Domain Specific Languages), MDD (Model Driven Development), etc. and why these would change the way software development is done.

I found it interesting that software experts believe that today hardware engineering is more methodical and rigorous than the average software design process. They pointed out that we in the hardware community are already using Domain Specific Languages (HDLs and HVLs). We know very well that that’s not enough and we would like to raise the abstraction even further and make people more productive (that’s what IDesignSpec is all about). We in the Hardware community feel that the software guys have more sophisticated tools/technology like IDEs, Profilers, well established libraries, to make them more productive. I guess it’s the bank on the other side which always looks greener.

Speaking of banks of the river, after the conference, we went for a punting trip and the banks on both sides of the river were green.



(In UK)

Monday, May 25, 2009

Is cheap EDA tool an oxymoron?

Business schools teach us that the way to set the price on a product has nothing to do with the cost. You sell it at a price that the market can afford.

Semiconductor industry was able to afford heavy price tags on EDA tools. However, with the current economic outlook everyone is feeling the pinch. This has left the EDA tool providers with a dilemma of how to re-price the software.

Yet, what image comes to your mind when you hear “Cheap EDA tool”? Crashing tool, minimal support, all-around pain in the behind, more pain than it is worth etc. etc. I am talking about the commercial tools provided by companies and not freeware. With freeware you already know what you are getting into …

President Obama is against outsourcing, but outsourcing is a double-edged sword. Outsourcing becomes a problem when the benefits are not passed on to the public at large. If companies save money by doing development in India why don’t they pass on the saving to their customers. That’s where the first point I made about pricing comes in. Public continues to afford and companies continue to charge their established rates. Company shareholders do benefit but for how long? The teachings at Business schools may not be prudent in the long run.

Coming back to the original question, the answer is, “No” EDA tools can be cheap and espouse quality if companies pass on their savings to their customers. This would help the industry and may even revive it.

We have created our tools with the minimum of investment and a lot of sacrifices which has kept the cost basis low. We are passing on the savings to our customers and the results are astonishing. Customers are amazed at our value proposition. I am hopeful that we can keep it that way.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Why is it difficult to make your first EDA tool sale?

As you know we have created a brand new EDA tool that saves people a lot of time and money. Ok you have heard that before. But this is real :) Ok so you have heard *that* before too! So how do I convince you to take a look at it.

a. I could hire a Sales person to find interesting ways to make inroads into your company.
b. I could hire a consultant who would do the same.
c. I could get a VC to fund us and then we blitz the Internet and other media to convince you to take a look at this new tool.

But, who pays for all this? Ofcourse, you do. Thats why, I believe, EDA tool prices are often out-of-whack.

We have a tool that we created with the minimum of resources, we could now pass all that saving onto you, but only if you would take us seriously without making us spend too much, which we would need to recover later. Won't you look at this new tool?

Friday, April 24, 2009

IDesignSpec: An Engineering tool with a difference.

I'm so excited ... After years of work, my team and I have converted a word processor into an Engineering tool. Its like the Gene in Arabian Nights who says " your wish is my command, my lord" ... except in this case, your word is its command. The tool is called IDesignSpec and currently it can read your functional specification and create register descriptions from it. Some day in the future it would read more of the Text from the specification and generate entire systems from it.

When developing FPGAs and ASICs there is so much effeciency that can be harnessed by automating tasks that typically require manual effort. IDesignSpec automates not just the task of the hardware designer but that of the Verification engineer, the Architect, the Firmware developer, the lab debuger and even the Software developer. Everyone stands to gain from it.

For further details check out http://agnisys.us/product/idesignspec.htm