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229,325 Views 17 Replies Last post: Apr 8, 2009 4:21 AM by steve_gascoigne RSS
Ed_Goldman jedi 103 posts since
Jun 9, 2008
Currently Being Moderated

Mar 11, 2009 7:11 PM

Trade Shows, live Seminars, or Web?

Just wanted to get an informal discussion going....

 

Where and how should we invest our awareness and education efforts? It seems to me that web is the way to go....In some ways - the EDA industry might be "laggards" in this area - we are too reliant on live interactions rather than making sure we have compelling web-based content. Obviously this community is one attempt to address the need to transform interactions to more web-based rather than a bias toward live or print interaction.

 

- What is the right mix? Should we be 80% web/ 20% live?

- What would be the gates to moving more to web than live?

- Is the need for tradeshows and live seminars diminished?

- Do you regular attend webinars?

- Can we get everything we need from the web?

- What do we compromise if we go more web focused?

 

Just curious - hopefully this will get some discussion going.

 

Thanks.

 

Ed.

strangd Aficionado 125 posts since
Feb 9, 2009
Currently Being Moderated
Mar 12, 2009 5:53 AM in response to: Ed_Goldman
Re: Trade Shows, live Seminars, or Web?

Good day Ed:

I believe that “How to” demo videos and “Step by Step Usage” documents that are available 24 hours a day will generally provide service to the most people.  But my experience is that the face to face training from a teacher or mentor provides a more rewarding experience for the user.  It allows for deviation from the course material to find answers to individual’s questions.  It allows for body language cues that students pick up upon for important point of interest.   It also provides for the course documentation to be smaller and more concise, as a 400 page manual may have all of the available information put into it (Right!??) but in the end is too daunting to the new user. The 200 page document will get used more often; especially if there is someone to bring together the multi-part answers that are almost always involved.

I also believe that WEB vs. live mix is more like 98% vs. 2% for most of us out here in the mid-continent.

What would be the gates to moving more to the WEB?  I am not sure.  Mentor marketing shut down the monthly uses’ conference calls in order to drive more people to this community.  Did it work?  It is not working so well for me.  This takes a lot of time that I don’t have.  Reading and writing is a LOT slower than talking. I spend time helping out on the forums but I really don’t have time for multiple sites.

The WEB based forums have cut into the amount of people that go to conferences.  But the question is more like asking if the Wii bowling has cut into bowling ally usage.  Both bowling leagues and conference attendance were dropping before the electronics substitutes came along.  I continue putting on conferences because I believe that a face to face community shares more information between users.  It is also a mater of community service.

I attend the regional and national conferences for my primary ECAD software.

A seasoned user can probably get everything that they need from the WEB based material.  I have seen very few new users that didn’t need mentoring in order to come up to speed in a reasonable amount of time.

By going to a single WEB based interface you will hear from the new user and the talkative user.  You will cut yourself off from contact from the main body of users.  They may well visit the site but you won’t hear from them.

The biggest ***** from the users now is that we never see anyone from Mentor, we spend in problems, hear back from support and then the problem never get fixed and finally “Mentor only cares about the big name users!”  and never any of us.  Now you are thinking about isolating Mentor even more.

Have fun

Dwain

strangd Aficionado 125 posts since
Feb 9, 2009
Currently Being Moderated
Mar 12, 2009 5:17 PM in response to: Ed_Goldman
Re: Trade Shows, live Seminars, or Web?

Hi Ed:

 

Line items 1, 2 and 4:  No one disagrees that the traffic is higher on the WEB based sites or even the old modem connected bulletin boards. My point is that face to face does a better job and that 98% vs. 2% is the mix point that should not be passed.

 

Line item 3:  I have NEVER been the a presentation that did not have questions at the end.  Most I have attended had to put a hault to them.  Do I publish my papers here?

 

Ed, I have an open position for keynote speaker on May 4, 2009 in Richfield, Ohio.  I would be more than happy to let you fill it.  Day one, the marketing guys can go crazy.  Day two, will be the workshops.

 

Dwain Strang

Pres. - Ohio Michigan Indiana Area Special Local Users' Group

 

dastrang@aol.com

(330) 869-0792

Jack Active 41 posts since
Sep 3, 2008
Currently Being Moderated
Mar 17, 2009 9:22 AM in response to: strangd
Re: Trade Shows, live Seminars, or Web?

I don't want to feed the flames of a potential argument,

but

How many people are in those presentations?

How many people hear the answers to those questions?

30? 50?

 

On the subject of presentations, it seems like there are two kinds:

1) those that are brief but rely on the speaker to fill in the gaps

2) fairly complete, but the speaker kind of "reads" it to you.

 

When I'm at a presentation, I don't like to be read to (so I prefer

type 1), but a year later, have you ever tried to make sense of some

of these conference presentations just by looking at the slides?

Many of them are impossible to decipher unless you have the kind

of mind that can remember all the speech that went along with it.

(I don't)

 

I'm an avid collector of "conference proceedings", but many of them

are virtually useless without the support of the speaker.

How much better is it to take the time to prepare a REALLY GOOD

tutorial on a subject, and store it somewhere accessible to all?

 

(and if Mentor is willing to FINANCE those efforts to create good

materials? hooray!!!)

 

onward thru the fog,

Jack

jeremy.ralph Contributor 12 posts since
Aug 6, 2008
Currently Being Moderated
Mar 12, 2009 9:01 PM in response to: Ed_Goldman
Re: Trade Shows, live Seminars, or Web?

I believe a company like Mentor can do a lot more using the web then they already do.  The first place to look is the sales channel and how SaaS can reduce the cost structure of that.  In today's economy budgets are tight and the web can reduce travel budgets so lower costs can be passed along to customers.  Online meetings using things like Skype, WebEx and/or DimDim are very effective and can significantly reduce costs.  The cost structure of EDA is out of whack and needs some introspection.

jeremy.ralph Contributor 12 posts since
Aug 6, 2008
Currently Being Moderated
Mar 16, 2009 6:05 PM in response to: Ed_Goldman
Re: Trade Shows, live Seminars, or Web?

Yes, I think blogs, LinkedIn and Twitter are a good way to do it.  Checkout http://theasicguy.com.  Looks like Synopsys used Harry's blog to get the word out on the launch of their new Lynx product.  Forming a mentor users' group on LinkedIn is a good option, if there isn't aready such a thing.  Another idea might be to have small micro-conference series so users can attend who wouldn't otherwise attend a distant conference due to the travel budget -- Xilinx does this well with their XTech conference.  Also, there is http://Xuropa.co, a social network that Cadence seems to be embracing (like an online trade show).

 

Face-to-face is all about converstations... conversations can happend over the internet too.  Seems to me the key is to get people conversing online.

harry Lurker 2 posts since
Feb 25, 2009
Currently Being Moderated
Mar 18, 2009 1:08 PM in response to: jeremy.ralph
Re: Trade Shows, live Seminars, or Web?

>> Looks like Synopsys used Harry's blog to get the word out on the launch of their new Lynx product.

 

Actually, they never approached me. I approached them. I think it's only because I knew a lot of the people and was previously involved with Lynx (Pilot) that they felt comfortable briefing me beforehand.

 

In fact, Synopsys had not to date engaged bloggers in this way, but hopefully that will change. I think the traditional marketing folks over there are beginning to see the light.

Jack Active 41 posts since
Sep 3, 2008
Currently Being Moderated
Mar 17, 2009 9:02 AM in response to: Ed_Goldman
Re: Trade Shows, live Seminars, or Web?

I respect Dwain's views and would never belittle his contributions, but here I have to disagree.

 

I believe user groups are virtually dead, and although I love going to conferences,  can only

attend one per year, and for the last ten years it has been either the PCB Design Conference

or the IPC conference.

Why?

Because it's my personal belief that its more important to learn good design techniques

than software, and I should be able to learn software in other ways. I absolutely cannot

personally attend everything I want to, so I have to make decisions.

 

but that's not my real point.... more important to me is that user groups and conferences

are only available for a couple hours a month (or quarter) or a couple days per year.

The times when I feel the most need for education rarely happens at those pre-defined time

slots. I may be casually interested in Mr. Pfeil's BGA fanout experiments, and would cheerfully

sit in a conference room to hear about them, but when I'm ACTUALLY faced with routing MY

OWN .6mm BGA and get stuck, suddenly I'm INTENSELY interested and hit the internet

looking for anything that might help my predicament.

From watching discussions on various forums I think this holds true for most people, you

start looking around when you are suddenly immersed in something, not during a specific

time slot. So, if Mentor can provide novel ways to help designers when THEY need it, which

means making it available 24 hours a day, just sitting there waiting for you when you suddenly

realize that you desparately need it (whether that's tomorrow or 3 years from now) then what

value is a user group other than as a social club?

 

Also, I can't help but remark on the fact that when Dwain attends a conference with his old

buddies, he is surrounded by peers who may have fascinating conversations OUTSIDE of

the regular scheduled activities. But how many NEW designers wriggle into those "guru"

discussions? Many newbies feel slightly out-of-place in these gatherings and may not

benefit from the rich material shared by the Mentor "in-crowd", but the communities are open

to all and provide the same benefit regardless of location or time schedule.

 

More "on demand" webinars,

with matching community discussion areas for permanent Q&A.

 

Jbro 

strangd Aficionado 125 posts since
Feb 9, 2009
Currently Being Moderated
Mar 18, 2009 6:29 AM in response to: Jack
Re: Trade Shows, live Seminars, or Web?

Hello Jack:

I have a co-worker that goes to PCB West almost every year but, alas, I have never made the pilgrimage. The conferences that I attend are the Intergraph, VeriBest, MUG and U2U users’ groups.  There are very interesting sessions at PCB West and historically I don’t have to wait every long to use that information. (Over twenty years in the aerospace industry, RF fields and some more time in the industrial controls manufacture.)

But let’s move on.  I like meeting up with my old buddies when we are at the conferences.  We get together and talk shop and families and then we move on to the subject of how the conference is being received by the attendees.  Was it useful? What can be done to make it worth the investment it takes for someone to attend?  What kind of questions can be answered that costs a company the $3,000 it takes to get someone there?  The good old buddies that I hang with then do something about it.  One year we setup an entire track where we stepped a new user through CAD configuration to board layout and CAM output.  I done the Trips and Tricks sessions that you get at a product based conference.  I have also done what actually happens when a signal moves down a trace.  Which sounds a little high end for layout people but we are past the point of using the slow moving electron model and need to envision photons and fields. (It makes SI make more sense.) I’ve also done presentations on documentation, log term archival and retrieval, conductive ink PCBs, translations, CAD setups, high speed design.  Now I ask you, is Mentor going to create webinars on all of those subjects?  The 98% vs. 2% on-line vs. live interface that we have around here is a point that should not be closed.

There is no way for me to know how many newbie’s would like to contact me but are too shy to do so.  I am contacted by newbie’s at the conferences, after the conferences and from the forums.  My buddy gurus put ourselves out there to be helpful and accessible.  Mentoring.  Now maybe that is why that they are my conference buddies but I am not going to do any soul searching to find out.

The documentation that I prepare for my presentations are 7 page papers to 60 page Word files.  They are that way so that when people get home the documents are useful to them months after the conference.  I will admit at when one of my PowerPoint presentations was placed on the U2U WEB site and all of the videos were stripped out of it; that made it seem less than useful.  But that was not the documentations fault.  If you are paying big bucks to go to conferences and the handouts are poor, complain to the conference sponsors.

Jack, since you taken the time to isolate the problems, maybe you should get more deeply involved in putting on pertinent user train events?

Have fun

Dwain

Jack Active 41 posts since
Sep 3, 2008
Currently Being Moderated
Mar 18, 2009 8:12 AM in response to: strangd
Re: Trade Shows, live Seminars, or Web?

Well, I have been thinking about what I said yesterday,

(why do I always do the thinking AFTER I've spewed in public? Ha...)

and one thing I'm embarrassed about is the fact that I've never even ATTENDED

a U2U, so I don't have much basis for comparison.

 

After I left here, I logged on to MUG and found the U2U materials that are available

online, and I'm astounded at the amount of material I have been missing!

How could I have not stumbled onto these works before?

(except I can't seem to find U2U2007 or U2U2006)

For the record, I wasn't intending any kind of comparison between

the various conferences that are available.

 

Here's where my enthusiasm comes from:

I just recently studied Charles Pfeil's BGA Breakout stuff (book&webinars)

and I just recently downloaded Happy Holden's HDI Handbook.

These efforts are SO valuable,

and FREE for all,

that I see another wave of the future beginning.

Ray's 007 publishing model

(that so far has released Felstad's Flexible Technology and Holden's HDI books)

lets authors get paid by sponsers instead of readers, so EVERYONE BENEFITS.

(here's an example http://hdihandbook.com/ )

 

I would rather have Charles and Happy sitting in some quiet cave

churning out more good material instead of flying around the world

giving seminars, but that's just my cold selfish logic at work.

 



In addition, since those works are digital, it would be easy to

embed supplemental material, whether it be just a link for more info,

or embedded video, demos, etc.

Accurate and expandable, what more do you need?

 

I love this new idea, and am eagerly anticipating future releases.

I might even write "How to be a Circuit Board Designer" some day.

(and since you asked, I DO enjoying writing. Have some free stuff:

http://frontdoor.biz/PCBportal/TheArtofQuestioning.pdf

http://frontdoor.biz/PCBportal/ResolvingComponentPolarityProblems.pdf

http://frontdoor.biz/PCBportal/CAD2CAM.pdf

http://frontdoor.biz/PCBportal/ThouShaltDocument.pdf )

  

Anyway, I didn't intend anything negative about "live" events

but  when Mentor asks about creating more material,

I can only say yes, Yes, YES!

 

One thing is certain... one of these years I'm going to have to sacrifice

my trip to PCB or IPC and see what U2U is all about.

(The last one like that I attended was Veribest in Colorado, a LONG time ago.)

 

Thanks for writing back,

Jack

Jack Active 41 posts since
Sep 3, 2008
Currently Being Moderated
Mar 18, 2009 8:24 AM in response to: strangd
Re: Trade Shows, live Seminars, or Web?

By the way, the natural "librarian" in me is feeling anxious....

 

Where can I get the proceedings files for U2U 2006?

 

Where can I get the proceedings files for U2U 2007?

 

Jack (aka "the collector")

harry Lurker 2 posts since
Feb 25, 2009
Currently Being Moderated
Mar 18, 2009 1:12 PM in response to: Jack
Re: Trade Shows, live Seminars, or Web?

Hi Jack,

 

If you are interested in IEEE and ACM Journals, I have a friend trying to give these away.  See http://theasicguy.com/2009/03/17/a-lot-of-paper/

 

Harry

Guy jedi 289 posts since
Apr 1, 2008
Currently Being Moderated
Mar 18, 2009 3:16 PM in response to: Jack
Re: Trade Shows, live Seminars, or Web?

Jack wrote:

 

By the way, the natural "librarian" in me is feeling anxious....

 

Where can I get the proceedings files for U2U 2006?

 

Where can I get the proceedings files for U2U 2007?

 

Jack (aka "the collector")

I thought they would be on SupportNet with the 2008 files, http://supportnet.mentor.com/member/u2u/2008, but I didn't have any luck when I checked "http://supportnet.mentor.com/member/u2u/2007" or "http://supportnet.mentor.com/member/u2u/2006".

steve_gascoigne Contributor 4 posts since
Aug 26, 2008
Currently Being Moderated
Apr 8, 2009 2:43 AM in response to: Ed_Goldman
Re: Trade Shows, live Seminars, or Web?

Que compromettons-nous si nous allons plus de Web focalisé ? Les premières personnes que nous commençons à aliéner sont ces personnes qui ne parlent pas anglais. Mentor Graphics devez être sûr que le matériel qu'ils créent convient aux pays non-anglophones. Certaines des vidéos courantes sont sans signification à millier d'engneers

steve_gascoigne Contributor 4 posts since
Aug 26, 2008
Currently Being Moderated
Apr 8, 2009 4:21 AM in response to: Ed_Goldman
Re: Trade Shows, live Seminars, or Web?

The language thing is so subtle.. Maybe I don't fully "get it". But I know that if a prospect cannot easily access information from us he will go somewhere else to find it.

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