Gabe Moretti, Senior Editor
Have already covered DAC in a previous blog, but a couple of days ago I received an email from Michelle Clancy, 53rd DAC PR/Marketing Chair, reporting on the conference attendance. I have additional observations on the Austin conference as a result of the release.
As far as I am concerned the structure of the release was poor. Readers were guided to consider the overall attendance numbers which was quite small. The increment in overall badges between the 2013 Austin DAC and this year is an increase of 125 badges. That is an increase of 2.1% significantly less that the increase in the revenue of the EDA industry in the same span of time. And in addition we have witnessed the growth of related industries who have a presence in and around Austin such as embedded systems and IoT.
What should be underlined is the difference between conference attendees badges from 2013 and 2016. There were 719 more conference badge this year, while the free “I LOVE DAC” passes were down 564 for the same comparison. To me this are the important data. It means that there were fewer “tire kickers” who collect souvenirs and more technical program or tutorial attendees than in 2013. These are the numbers that indicate success, but the press release did not dwell on them.
I also find it telling that the quote in the release from Howard Pakosh, managing partner of TEKSTART, which provides interim sales, marketing and business development capital to high-tech entrepreneurs, observes “The people we’ve been talking to in Austin are actually looking for information and solutions; they’re not just here because it’s an easy commute from Silicon Valley.” Obviously Mr. Pakosh finds it a waste of time to exhibit in San Francisco.
My experience on the exhibit floor was different. The fact that Synopsys chose to send fewer PR and marketing persons to Austin was a negative point for me. It was difficult to find the right person to discuss business with. The company also did not have their usual press/analysts dinner and this is unfortunate since their new message “silicon to software” was not well presented on the floor. I left the conference without understanding the message, especially since I was told in my meeting with corporate marketing that their effort was to promote products from Coventry and Codenomicon to markets outside the electronics business. Are those products the “software” they are talking about? What about embedded software for all sort of applications, including those who use their ARC processors?
Cadence and Mentor booths were better staffed, at least I met all the professionals I needed to meet. It is of course time that Cadence realizes that “The Denali Party” does not take the place of a serious dinner with press and analysts. The Heart of Technology party is a better choice if one wants music and drinks and it supports a good cause. I go to DAC to do business, not to drink cheap drinks and fight for food in a crowded buffet line.
It is of course expected that the technical program offered by DAC covers leading edge issues and opportunities. This part of DAC was well organized and run.
If the DAC committee sees the need to defend the choice of Austin as the venue for the conference, then why use the venue next year? Clearly the have determined that Austin is a viable location. I for one, did enjoy Austin as a host city and found the convention hall pleasant and well equipped. Of course the distance between both sessions and exhibits to the press room was not at all convenient, but I do understand that the press room location was chosen because it allowed the building of the necessary temporary meeting rooms.