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Cadence Design Systems Inc. Message Board

  • smathews999 smathews999 Oct 23, 2008 11:58 PM Flag

    It's darkest before sunrise. Cadence needs an EDA insider at the helm, now.

    Things look real bad right now but I think that the worst is now behind Cadence. It can only get better from here.

    What Cadence's BOD however cannot do is to once again bring in an outsider who will surround him/herself with yes-men who neither have any track-record of achievement nor the humility/curiosity/confidence to listen to the multiple points of view on important decisions. A person/team who will announce/install the Intel strategy just so that are perceived to be doing something rather than they have understood the strategic context of EDA/Cadence before carefully arriving at a strategy

    If we reflect back to 2004, Cadence had transplanted Intel's strategy without first understanding the business or the strategic context: Vertical Kits, segmented pricing, the infamous hourglass with core and adjacencies, CDN Live…What I found at Cadence was that people who attempted to bring critical thinking and counter points of view were sidelined. People who rose through the ranks were two types of people: 1. soldiers who follow/execute the marching orders, 2. people who would stand up and paint a glorious story. A story that even a junior VP or a first time GM would have been able to see through with very few questions. I remember people would come into annual planning meetings to ask for a couple of million $$s in incremental investment and promise 30% - 50% market share shift, worth 100s of $$Ms in a segment where the competition is the dominant supplier. Only one VP had the courage to ask the probing questions. The rest of the room with over 20 VPs, Sr. VPs, E-VPS and the CEO would just nod heads and cheer the person on.

    Assuming everyone in the room was well intended, the only explanation that I can come up with is that the people in the room did not have sufficient market/strategic context in a market as complex as EDA to ask the probing questions. Couple that with the political structure where some of the veteran, politically savvy EDA Sr. VPs / VPs were perceived to be indispensable had parochial agendas and last but not least Mike Fister’s gate-keeper who was more interested in getting along with the indispensable ones than providing Mike/E-staff with multiple points of view on important topics, led to an environment where the new management was easily manipulated.

    Do not under-estimate the complexity of EDA. My message to the BOD, look within EDA for a Joe Costello, a Tony Zingale or a large BU ($500M+) GM within or outside of Cadence with a solid track-record of failure and success. There are only a handful of them around. I bet the Cadence BOD know who they are.

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