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Don’t go it alone – My Advice to new EDA/IC publications

Several new e-newsletter style publications have rushed in to fill the void created by the departure of CMP (and others) from the field of meaningful EDA/IC coverage. The latest such venture into the fray (or is it “the fraying world”) of EDA/IC coverage is Kevin Morris’s “IC Journal.”

Kevin – a fellow Portlander and editorial colleague – is well known for his witty and insightful blogging-style coverage of the FPGA world in “FPGA Journal.” It would be my guess that the new IC e-newsletter will rely heavily on his FPGA background and experience. This certainly makes sense as over 60% of ASIC designs require some sort of FPGA prototyping for verification.

Kevin’s e-letter joins several other recent editorial/analyst vehicles, including Richard Goering’s SCDsource and Gary Smith EDA. Though competitors of varying degrees, I’m personally glad to see that the EDA/IC world hasn’t lost the significant intellectual property represented by these experts.

But I would offer my colleagues this advice; be careful about going it alone. Collaboration is becoming crucial to success, as readership and the message means continue to change. That is one of the reasons why Chip Design will be partnering with both start-up media firms as well as long established print-online publications to expand our readership and coverage areas. More news soon.

Good luck to all of us in this brave new era of publishing…we’ll need it. — JB

2 Responses to “Don’t go it alone – My Advice to new EDA/IC publications”

  1. Chris Ciufo Says:

    John:

    I too noted Kevin’s latest start-up IC Journal and have mixed feelings – both about your comment, and about Kevin’s success.

    (Full Disclosure: Kevin, John and I are all Oregon Portlanders, we occasionally socialize, but all work for competing publications that have no financial or partnership interest in each other.)

    On the one hand, Tech Focus Media (Kevin’s company) has done a stellar job covering the niches, establishing an edgy writing style not unlike my own smart-ass tone, and catching the Web 2.0 wave of balancing editorial content with glizty webinars. His writers are always compelling.

    On the other hand – he is building his own empire (quite successfully, it would seem) – from the ground up. Like your Chip Design magazine, our books at OpenSystems Publishing rely on staff editorial and extensive partnerships with companies like Will Strauss at Forward Concepts, Jerry Krasner at Embedded Market Forecasters, and even competitors such as COTS Journal and Military and Aerospace Electronics. My view is that we need to be careful how we “co-opetete” (cooperate and compete), but increasing the size of the pie floats everyone’s boat. Hence: collaboration is important, and our readers give us credit for so doing.

    In this EDA space, my magazine DSP-FPGA.com maintains scattered links to all kinds of online sources – including some from your own company (Extension Media).

    It’ll be interesting to see if Kevin can continue to grow his island by bulldozing fresh fill dirt into the bay, or whether the construction of a few bridges to the mainland is in order.

    Still: I like Kevin, and wish him all the success warranted. Next time, he’s buying the beer.

    Chris Ciufo
    Group Editorial Director
    Military and Aerospace Group
    OpenSystems Publishing

  2. Kevin Morris Says:

    It looks like I should weigh in here as well, as a few clarifications are probably in order. Our company, Techfocus Media, Inc., has been in business just shy of five years now. We’ve been very successful in reaching audiences of electronic engineers and embedded software developers through our FPGA Journal, Embedded Technology Journal, and now IC Design and Verification Journal publications – as well as with our Journal Webcasts, Journal Forums, and Journal Jobs supplemental websites.

    I would definitely not say that we’ve “gone it alone.” Although we’re fairly independent in our style and our operating mode, we partner significantly with a large number of leading technology companies, and we regularly publish contributed articles from dozens of vendors like Actel, Aldec, Altera, Altium, Ambric, AMD, AMI, Avnet… (just to go through some of the As.) as well as industry authorities like Jeff Bier (BDTI) and academic authorities like Jason Cong of UCLA. We have hired and contracted with a number of talented editors/writers such as Amy Malagamba, Jim Turley, Dick Selwood, and Bryon Moyer for original editorial content. Operationally, we outsource almost everything possible as we’re still a relatively lean company trying to maximize our efficiency and focus where we can add value and differentiate. (Do I sound like a marketing consultant yet?)

    One of the ways we’ve managed to survive and even flourish in these difficult and changing times in the technology publishing business that we maintain a tight focus on the things we do well – our original content, our operational efficiency, and our audience-specific scope. We’re always open to partnering more, but I honestly don’t know of that many ways publications can partner. Content sharing is of minimal value when the audience can easily skip from one place to another with the click of a mouse or a quick Google search. If people are interested in your content or our content, it is unbelievably easy for them to zip back and forth. On the business side, you’ll generally see advertising from the same companies in all of our publications. Where the audience goes, the advertising revenue will follow.

    I think the challenge for all of us is to maintain our unique perspectives on the trends and technologies, and to offer those to our common audience to the best of our abilities. The trend that disturbs me most is the move away from original editorial analysis and toward heavy reliance on contributed content. With that, our audience gets primarily the vendor perspective and it removes their objective advocates (us, as editors) from the picture.

    Finally, yes Chris, I’ll buy the beer next time.

    Kevin Morris
    President, Techfocus Media, Inc.

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