When you meet someone for the first time, what do you first notice?
Me? I notice hands...and shoes. Okay, I look at faces and all the rest, too, but hands and shoes stay with me because they "say" a lot about a person. I blame my mother for this. When I was a kid, we'd play "Sherlock Holmes" and try to deduce all we could about perfect strangers by how they were dressed and what they were carrying or doing.
Sometimes I notice hands and shoes when I'm bored-for example, during yet another interminable Powerpoint presentation. Particularly in business, people work to project what I like to call "the inscrutability factor." Some crouch behind it; others wear it like a superhero's cape. No matter. Hands and feet are telling.
Boots, basic lace-ups...or loafers with little tassles? High heels or flats? Style or comfort? Professional or personal manicure? Chewed or trimmed? The contrasts are fun and nearly endless, and you can interpret them any way you like. In fact, we meet people every day and make assumptions about them based on how they look when filtered through our personal "world view."
Like it or not, image does matter.
Once a year, the image showcase for the EDA industry-from big league hardware and software vendors to start ups and in between-is the Design Automation Conference (DAC). This year, DAC is suitably being held in a city that's all about image-Las Vegas, NV. Everyone will be watching to see who exhibits, who attends, who makes new product announcements and more. The journalists will be there...the VCs, the analysts and the economists, too. You can bet there will be more networking and business card-swapping going on than baby-kissing at a presidential campaign stop. (Maybe even more so than at past shows, if the economy hasn't shown signs of recovery by then.)
At DAC 2000 in Los Angeles, I chatted with an exhibitor who revealed that his company had coolly dropped well over $1 million to see, be seen, put on a big party, and hopefully sign up some new customers. DAC 1999 was in New Orleans. Fabulous exhibitor parties were held in the French Quarter and featured well-known Zydeco, Cajun or Jazz bands. The weather was hot and sticky, and the atmosphere was decadent. (It was a blast.)
As DAC 2001 invites begin to pour in, I'm hoping for a chance to see Wayne Newton, Siegfried & Roy, Circ du Soleil...or even a slew of Elvis impersonators. (Hey, there's always one exhibitor who goes all out, so you never know.) With all that sun, sand and neon, I'd better be sure to keep my sunglasses handy-even at night.
DAC isn't just about image. There are plenty of press announcements, paper sessions, panels, keynotes and more to feed both attendees' and journalists' minds. In fact, a cadre of CMP Media editors will be writing and filing stories daily from the floor of the 38th annual DAC to keep you informed. (Be sure to visit your favorite CMP news Web sites regularly during the week of June 18.)
As the conference chair for the PCB Design Conferences, I feel compelled to point out that our conferences are must-attend events for in-depth PCB engineering and design-related training and exhibits. But for sure spectacle, big-league spending and exhibits across the entire EDA spectrum, DAC 2001 will no doubt put on a pretty good show in a town that is famous for its shows.
See you there!
© 2001 CMP Media Inc.
6/1/01, Issue # 1806, page 5.