Why Mentor Graphics? It’s a question I’ve been asked more than once since joining the company last year to head up automotive marketing efforts. LinkedIn has the basics. I’m a proud Scot happily based in Texas which hasn’t seemed to affect my brogue. Likely this is because I’m in Austin, maybe not all different from the big cities back home, at least in terms of culture. (South by Southwest vs the Edinburgh Festival Fringe anyone?)
For the last several years, first at Freescale and now here at Mentor, I’ve been focused exclusively on the automotive industry, the state of which is perhaps best summed up a subhead to this January 9 article in The Economist: “Car makers increasingly fret that their industry is on the brink of huge disruption.” (Those bold italics my own; I can’t resist the idea of tweaking some buttoned-up English headline writer.)
Unlike previous disruptions, this one is due almost exclusively to advanced automotive electronics engineering and ICT, leading to staggering amounts of innovation. And of course any technologist worth his salt wants to be around innovation. Check out Boston Consulting Group’s 2015 list of the world’s most innovative companies. Four are automotive OEMs and most of the rest have serious and well-publicized transportation-related ambitions.
Across board these and other companies are looking for help boosting R&D and design productivity, long a specialty of Mentor, which has been working with the automotive industry at least since the early 1990’s. Indeed the more I looked, the more I realized there were few companies better positioned than Mentor to help navigate the shift from component design to systems engineering, the technical challenge at the heart all the industry change. So when Mentor offered me a new set of wheels, professionally speaking, I couldn’t resist grabbing the keys.
If you missed it, that’s an attempt at metaphor. Here’s something that’s concrete: the chance to influence one of the most exciting technology transformations in the world today, the software- and systems-driven overhaul of the automobile, is clearly a can’t-miss move.