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Robin @ N3IX Engineering
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Altium "returns" to San DIego (sort of)
Robin @ N3IX Engineering   4/30/2014 6:17:10 PM
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Also in the history of Protel/Altium was the 2000 acquisition of San Diego based EDA company Accel.  So I guess at least a part of the company is coming home?

Max The Magnificent
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Re: Altium "returns" to San DIego (sort of)
Max The Magnificent   5/1/2014 10:04:55 AM
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@Robin: ...the 2000 acquisition of San Diego based EDA company Accel...

That's a really good point -- I did wonder whether to mention the various acquisitions (like Altium buying Morfik, which was interesting because the founder of Morfik, now CEO of Altium, was one of the original guys in Protel).

My problem is that I can easily wander off into the weeds, so I tried to restrain myself to the main story.

SandorD
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Altium: the ADHD kid of EDA
SandorD   4/30/2014 8:17:18 PM
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"...although Altium had a great team of developers in Sydney, it was finding it difficult to find more programmers who were familiar with electronics design."

So it had nothing to do with the cost of a programmer in Sydney compared to Shanghai, right? ;-)

They may have some very good reasons but as an Altium user, unfortunately all this jumping around does not inspire confidence in the company. On the other hand, I see the last move as positive.

Max The Magnificent
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Re: Altium: the ADHD kid of EDA
Max The Magnificent   5/1/2014 10:29:55 AM
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@SandorD: So it had nothing to do with the cost of a programmer in Sydney compared to Shanghai, right? ;-)

If it had just been that, they could have moved only the R&D team or set up a sub-team -- the fact that they moved the entire executive team tells me they had something else in mind.

 

SandorD
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Re: Altium: the ADHD kid of EDA
SandorD   5/1/2014 6:37:03 PM
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Of course, you are right @Max but such long distance relocations can be extremely disruptive so I hope it's worth it. I break out in a cold sweat just thinking about moving our lab to a different floor! ;-)

On the other hand, Altium has had plenty of practice!!

Max The Magnificent
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Re: Altium: the ADHD kid of EDA
Max The Magnificent   5/2/2014 9:41:59 AM
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@SandorD: I break out in a cold sweat just thinking about moving our lab to a different floor! ;-)

I know what you mean -- some time ago the owners of the building in which I have my office asked me to move from one bay to another on the same floor. There's just me and the stuff I have in my office, but it seemed to take "forever" to get 100% up and running again.

I always day-dreamed that Altium would decide they wanted to pay for mne to go out to Shanghai to cover a big story ... I guess I missed that boat (sad face)

kfield
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Re: Altium: the ADHD kid of EDA
kfield   5/8/2014 7:43:59 PM
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@sandorD One of my first engineering jobs was at Texas Instruments in Dallas, and--I kid you not--our group move four times in one year. All within the same zip code in Texas, but I finally stop unpacking my stuff.

SandorD
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Re: Altium: the ADHD kid of EDA
SandorD   5/8/2014 8:42:43 PM
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"I kid you not--our group move four times in one year."

Four times, @kfield? Mon Dieu!

If you work in hardware development, after a few years, you end up with a lot of... stuff. But, as every cloud has a silver lining, a move is a de facto clean up. I remember working in a long established lab which was an Aladdin's cave of items with the definion of: "What on earth is this??!" :-)

Etmax
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Re: Altium: the ADHD kid of EDA
Etmax   5/1/2014 11:04:20 PM
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I hope this improves the quality of the product, I've used at least a 1/2 dozen different PCB design packages in my working life and Altium has to be the worst for half baked features. They introduce a whole lot of wizz bang features (half baked) but then don't get the basics working properly.

Features that everyone uses frequently are hidden 20 steps deep and obscure things that you might never use (or at least infrequently) are 1 keystroke away.

Still otherthings work in a totally obscure and disfunctional way. Some of the disfunctional features have setup switches but they don't work all the time.


More to the comments on why, I would imagine they expected the Chinese/Indian layout market to take off like a rocket and they wanted to be close by. They forgot that most Chinese companies don't want to pay anything for SW and so use lower cost tools (not that I think Altium is expensive) like Eagle etc. Also there seems to be a trend to move engineering back west so they want to be there.

I personally think that where the executives of a global company reside is almost irrelevant, where as the developers should be where there is a good pool of talent and support should be where the customer base is. This means perhaps one location for execs (cheap brothels :-() another for development (UK, Australia & USA for best LARGE pool of programming talent) and each major market for support.

Max The Magnificent
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Re: Altium: the ADHD kid of EDA
Max The Magnificent   5/2/2014 9:44:39 AM
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@Etmax: This means perhaps one location for execs (cheap brothels :-() ...

I've never donned the undergarments of authority or strode the corridors of power, so I really can't comment on this -- I bow to your superior knowledge of these matters.

Etmax
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Re: Altium: the ADHD kid of EDA
Etmax   5/2/2014 10:32:54 AM
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It's a cynical view formed by too many news reports in support of the view that it is why they get the big bucks. :-)/:-(

labnet
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Altium the Confused Company
labnet   4/30/2014 8:23:54 PM
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I have been using Altium/Protel for 26 years (wow that feels scary). Good on Nick for taking a tiny Tasmanian company to the global stage, but boy have there been missteps along the way. The constant non-sensical renaming of the product. The continual crashes which have only really gotten better the last few years. The features that seem to have been created by the marketing department and the folly or FPGA, when they really should have been making bugs go away and core layout routing features better. Still, it is a great product but I glad I don’t work for them! Dave has an interesting rant here http://www.eevblog.com/2013/09/27/eevblog-527-altium-entry-level-pcb-tool-rant/

Max The Magnificent
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Re: Altium the Confused Company
Max The Magnificent   5/1/2014 10:31:15 AM
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@labnet: I have been using Altium/Protel for 26 years (wow that feels scary).

Tell me about it -- I pre-date EDA as we know it (sad face)

Max The Magnificent
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Re: Altium the Confused Company
Max The Magnificent   5/1/2014 10:33:23 AM
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@labnet: Good on Nick for taking a tiny Tasmanian company to the global stage, but boy have there been missteps along the way.

I met Nick several years ago at an ESC conference in Silicon Valley -- he's a real nice guy -- we wended up chatting for an hour or so abdout "stuff" -- it turns out we are both around trhe same age, and we both used to watch Dr Who from behind our respective sofa's when we were 6 years old LOL

Phillydan
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Altium
Phillydan   5/1/2014 5:59:12 PM
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Nick is no longer with Altium.  The people at Altium's U.S. Location have known about the move for a few weeks now.  Max is right that one of the reasons for the move is to continue developing business in the Defense and Government industry that is a growth sector for Altium, but continuuing to have Corporate Headquarters located in China would be problematic.

Max The Magnificent
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Re: Altium
Max The Magnificent   5/1/2014 6:08:45 PM
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@Phillydan: Nick is no longer with Altium. 

I know -- I was blown away when he was forced out (click here to see my blog at that time).

It must be terrible to be forced out of a company you founded -- but I also know that the folks who start up new companies and grow them often aren't the best when it comes to taking them to the next level (click here to read my evolving thoughts on this topic with special regard to Altium)

James.Burrell_#1
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Move
James.Burrell_#1   5/3/2014 9:57:21 PM
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So they moved from a communist country to a socialist state?

Max The Magnificent
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Re: Move
Max The Magnificent   5/5/2014 9:49:54 AM
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@James: So they moved from a communist country to a socialist state?

And the home of Bud Lite and the Big Mac -- I hope they have the stomach for this LOL



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