Thought Leadership

Plus ça change …

By Colin Walls

Not so much of a long, profound blog story today – more of a Thought for the Day.

There is a Chinese curse, a variation of which is “May you live in interesting times.” Looking at the events of the past few weeks, it seems to me that we all are truly cursed …

Looking back through this year, through the months, weeks, even days, there seem to have been a countless number of celebrity deaths, for example – Prince, Bowie, Leonard Cohen … I am not going to discuss politics here, but the changes in that domain are going to be resounding for many years to come. At this moment, I have some events much closer to home on my mind.

Last month, I wrote about the history of Mentor Graphics being involved with embedded software and my own 30-year tenure with the company. I mentioned the various transformations that I had seen over the years. I was unaware that more change was on the way. Early on Monday morning came the surprise [for me] announcement that Mentor Graphics had been acquired by Siemens. We are assured that this is nothing but a positive event and I certainly have no information to the contrary. I hold no knowledge beyond that which has been reported in the press in recent days, so I have no analysis to offer. I guess that it will all become apparent as 2017 unfolds. We surely do live in interesting times.

A good friend advised me a few days ago. He said that change inevitably happens and you either shun it or embrace it; he favored the latter. I reflected that, in my 30 years tenure, I have seen a lot of change, but I am still here. I guess that I must have embraced change. I realized that I could put an interesting number on it. I joined a company with about 30 people. I now find myself working for a company with 350,000 staff – that’s an increase of 10,000X!

Instead of the Chinese curse, I rather prefer the French phrase plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose. This means – more or less – the more things change, the more they stay the same. Or, perhaps, as Kurt Vonnegut might have put it, so it goes.

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This article first appeared on the Siemens Digital Industries Software blog at