April 29, 2011

Swimming Upstream

FPGA Startups and Mentor v. Icahn (Again)

by Amelia Dalton

In my Fish Fry this week, I swim in the pond o' FPGAs and attempt to fish out fact from fiction when it comes to new startups in this industry. I also investigate Carl Icahn's three new Mentor Graphics Board appointees and try to figure out why in the world he picked these three guys.

Also this week, I crown the winner of last week's nerdy giveaway and offer up another chance to win an Avnet Spartan-6 LX9 MicroBoard.  All you have to do to win is....oh right...you'll just have to listen to find out!

If you like the idea of this new series, be sure to drop a comment in the box below. I appreciate all of your comments so far, and we will be working to enhance the Fish Fry each week - as long as you're watching.


Watch Previous Fish Frys

Fish Fry Links - April 29, 2011

Kevin Morris’s Article: Piles of Cash - and Other Stories - How to Succeed as an FPGA Startup

Kevin Morris's Editorial Blog: Par For The Course

Kevin Morris's Editorial Blog: Selling What?

Mentor v. Icahn (Again) - Icahn's Open Letter To Mentor Graphics

Mentor v. Icahn (Again) - Wally Rhines's Open Letter To Shareholders

Avnet Spartan-6 LX9 MicroBoard



Total Posts: 4
Joined: Jul 2010

Posted on May 01, 2011 at 12:59 PM

I have been to a few of the virtual conferences, and frankly I didn't get nearly as much from them as from a live event. In the virtual show, you see only and exactly what the vendor wants you to see. You can't hold it and see what is god/bad for yourself. You also don't get a chance to see it work right then and there like you do at a live event.

With the exception of being able to submit questions to be answered later, you get about as much from the virtusl show as you do from reading the datasheet.


Total Posts: 13
Joined: Dec 2010

Posted on May 02, 2011 at 10:08 AM

Re: Carl Icahn and his pals

As I understand Management Theory, high-level executives are like op amps: just plug any one of them in and they work (usually). So the guy from Federal-Mogul dealt with auto parts. Car parts, electronic parts. Hey, parts is parts, right?

Part two:

I really like the Fish Fry. Keep it up.


Total Posts: 10
Joined: Dec 2010

Posted on May 02, 2011 at 12:31 PM

I would say that the virtual conferences are better than just reading the data sheet because there is interaction with the vendors and with other attendees through the booth chat functions. I think the big advantage of the virtual conference is the savings on travel costs. Personally, conferences are the only time I travel for work and are kind of a treat but I can definitely see how my managers would like this idea better. The dense number of presentations are good - better than normal webinars. If you were unable to attend a portion of the conference, you can always hit the archives later. The networking aspects of a real conference cant be matched by the virtual ones yet. It will take people a while to get used to this format but I see the number of these conferences increasing.


Total Posts: 16
Joined: Oct 2010

Posted on May 02, 2011 at 5:10 PM

Keep up the good work. Interesting and fun stuff.
Maybe Icahn is offering a choice of one. Give the board three candidates, only one is anything close to qualified. They feel they got a choice, and he gets the person he wants on the board. Everyone gets to save face.

I did an EETimes virtual conference on multiprocessors. Some points I took away.
1. Making the virtual conference look like a real conference is really pointless. Plus it makes the web interface/app slower and busy.
2. Yes, the presentations are a little canned. I asked some difficult questions, they were ignored. (Yes, I put them in the box three times, and they kept asking for more questions at the end. Maybe a technical snafu, but maybe not.)
2.a. A voting system to get the best questions to the top would be cool.
3. POWER POINT POISONING, arrrggg. Do a demo, show some video of the tool, something. No more "12 bullet points only our CEO cares about", please, please!
4. There were good, lively discussions in the after the presentation chat rooms. A multithreaded chat or way to turn off or highlight conversations, super idea.
5. No travel, super duper great for me.
6. You get out what you put in, just like a real conference. I asked questions, started discussions, and got real information. Just go to the vendor booths and you miss 90%.
7. Make the vendors attend. In one sponsored session, no one from the company showed up. Seriously, there were 25-30 engineers in the chat wanting to ask questions and no one showed! Very pissed off people. Don't waste even 15 minutes of our time.

Last thing, I did an IEEE future of the smart grid online game. (http://spectrum.ieee.org/podcast/at-work/innovation/the-smart-grid-of-2025/) A game, or social comment contest sort of thing gets a lot more responses. (Could also get valuable customer data.) Listening to marketing repeat the slide deck does not take advantage of the virtual conference potential.
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