"Blue Ocean Strategy" + OVP (Open Virtual Platform)

An automatically transcribed interview with Simon Davidmann by Jack Horgan of EDACafe.

Last October I wrote an article entitled “ Can a Firm Prosper or Even Survive, If It Gives Away Its Product? about Ciranova. Recently I found another company, namely Imperas, that just gave away its technology. I was tempted to chalk it up to naiveté but Imperas CEO Simon Davidmann is a successful serial entrepreneur involved with 8 successful EDA startups. He is a believer in “Blue Ocean Strategy” which calls for going after new markets rather than fighting for market share in existing markets. I had an opportunity to interview Simon at DAC.

Would you give us a brief biography?
I have a checkered history in that I have been sort of in and out of EDA several times. I was a researcher in the UK in simulation. I got lured away from research to build something which became known as HILO which was a logic simulator back in the early 80s. It was really the first logic simulator that could handle timing and behavioral modeling. We got acquired by Genrad. They used it for board testing. One of the guys who worked on that was Phil Moorby. Our first customer was in the states. This evolved and turned into Verilog. Phil went and built Verilog. I went off into the music business and built embedded systems for musical instruments, electronic percussion instruments.

I had been in universities (Essex and Brunel) and done simulation research in EDA. I thought that I would like to build things, something practical. I played guitar and got to know guys who played drums. We built this electronic percussion company. It became pretty famous and made several million pounds a year. About $10 million at the peak but in the end it went bust. We spent money on airplanes and racing cars. We had those kinds of things. We had a good time and worked very hard. When I look back at it we had some wild technology. The last product I built had five processors in it. It had a graphics controller and CRT. This was the mid-eighties. It was just like a Macintosh. It had all this DSP audio stuff, a complete synthesizer, an audio recorder, sampler and tracker. It was a drum kit. These guys just hit it with sticks. It was a very interesting experience. I went to a lot of good gigs with a load of world class musicians. We had a lot of fun. But sadly the Japanese came and built better porducts, no not better but cheaper products that were easier to use and more reliable. We could not compete. The English engineering just could not do it. We did not have the scale to do it better.

So I went back into EDA and became the first European employee for Gateway (Design Automation) with Verilog. Gateway was in Boston. I spent a lot of time...

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