Well that’s it, the first four months of 2019 have gone already!
It doesn’t seem like more than a few days ago that I was watching the kids open their Christmas presents. Although I think this has a lot to do with how much I have managed to squeeze into the last four months, both from a personal and business point of view. Time really does fly when you’re having fun!
On top of all the usual activity that a new year brings at FirstEDA, I’ve managed to get quite a few air miles under my belt so far this year (a lot by this desk jockey’s normal standards anyway!). This started with another enjoyable and valuable trip to Norway in February, representing Aldec, Concept Engineering, Onespin Solutions and Sigasi at the annual FPGA-forum in Trondheim. There are not too many FPGA focused events left in our calendar these days, so at FirstEDA we grab FPGA-forum with both hands and make the most of it. Attendance was up again this year (140 registered attendees), and with an increased number of exhibitors too, there was plenty of opportunity to meet new faces and talk about all things FPGA. Alongside the usual popular subjects such as machine learning and AI, RISC-V was the buzzword this year, with Ted Speers (Head of Architecture and Planning at Microchip Technology and a member of the RISC-V Foundation Board of Directors) in attendance and presenting.
I was delighted to be joined at FPGA-forum by Sigasi’s CTO, Hendrik Eeckhaut, who presented on ‘Why fast feedback makes you a better designer and tester’. It’s always great to have someone technical join me at these events, to support at the booth by providing demos and warming up the attendees with some engineer-to-engineer banter. Hendrik did just that, providing many Sigasi Studio demos and as a result we came away from the event having made some good new contacts and with a solid number of leads. We made a great team, even if I do say so myself!
I am responsible for Sigasi at FirstEDA and although I have met Hendrik before, spending three days with him at FPGA-forum allowed me to get to know him better and provided a new perspective on Sigasi in general; proving the value of getting away from the desk every once in a while and hitting the road (or sky!). Hendrik’s passion and enthusiasm for Sigasi and the industry in general is unrivalled. I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone who wears quite so much company branded clothing: Sigasi shirts, t-shirts, fleeces, you name it. Now that’s real dedication!
Only a few weeks later and I was back on a plane again. This time a whirlwind trip to La Palma for Sigasi’s annual company meeting. At first I was dubious about the suitability of the Canary Islands for what is effectively a business meeting but that was soon forgotten when I arrived – wow, what a beautiful place! The team at Sigasi were all very warm and welcoming and this, combined with the amazing location, made for a relaxed and very productive couple of days. It’s quite amazing how productive a company meeting like this can be, but that’s the benefit of taking the whole team out of their usual environments and also having a focused agenda and schedule.
My main takeaway from this meeting is just how rapidly Sigasi is growing. They have spent the last couple of years focused on improving support for Verilog/SystemVerilog and rolling out Sigasi Studio in North America and the Far East. The rate at which the number of worldwide users is increasing is quite incredible. It’s not often you get the opportunity in our business to represent an EDA company that is still in its infancy (comparatively), and as a result is experiencing such a rapid rate of organic growth. FirstEDA also had an exceptional year with Sigasi in 2018, although SystemVerilog improvements played less of a role in our region (VHDL is still king in Europe!). I think it’s more down to the fact that Sigasi Studio is genuinely beneficial for anyone involved in FPGA design. Once a customer takes the opportunity to evaluate Sigasi Studio, it sells itself (but don’t tell my boss it’s that easy!).
I came away from La Palma feeling rightly proud of our achievements over the previous year, fired up for another year working with and representing Sigasi, and with my mind buzzing with ideas for the months ahead. Although I am looking at my calendar now feeling rather deflated, as I don’t have any further overseas trips planned. That said, I will be heading down to Bracknell to meet our training delegates on the next Advanced VHDL Testbenches & Verification course in a couple of weeks and will also be in Reading for Verification Futures in June. However, Bracknell and Reading haven’t got quite the same appeal as La Palma. I’d take sunshine & lizards over drizzle & pigeons any day! Regardless, we will be busy, as the run up to summer is always hectic with customers desperately trying to wrap up on evaluations and make decisions before the whole team ‘disappears’ and the company shuts down for several weeks (Scandinavia, we’re looking at you!). So I imagine in another four months, I’ll be sat here again wondering where the time has gone as the supermarket shelves fill up with Halloween costumes…