I’ve been in the high-tech electronics field for almost 25 years. During that time, I’ve seen many changes in how we specify, design, simulate and manufacture chips.
But there’s one thing that hasn’t changed…how electrical engineers get their industry-related information. Typically, we’d subscribe to trade magazines such as EETimes or EDN. We’d read IEEE magazine or attend trade shows such as the Design Automation Conference. Well…all until recently.
You see, change is in the air. Our trusty trade magazines are slowly eliminating their specialist writers. Long-time industry vets with names like Gary Smith or Mike Santarini have been riffed by their print-based employers, who are restructuring under the pressures of change.
Seeing the writing on the wall, PR professionals and traditional marketeers around the world are wondering who they’ll pitch their stories to in the future. And on the other side of the building, engineers openly wonder where their content will come from.
Here’s the deal. Just because the print industry is getting smaller, it doesn’t mean that the volume of content will follow suit. Content will prevail; it’s the source that will change. For example, passionate content creators who know more about designing chips than any reporter could ever learn will write articles for us, in the voice of the engineer. And these new sources will emerge from outside of the hallowed halls of journalism — each new source rich with experience and opinion. These sources will include you, me, or recently riffed journalists who use their newfound freedom to write the way that they’ve always wanted to — yet were prevented from doing so by their ruthless editors. And lastly, we’ll get our information directly from the businesses that we patron.
That’s right, companies will become publishers. And it won’t be easy. If businesses are to be successful in their publishing efforts, they’ll need to make some radical changes — essentially shifting from being “content-suggesters” to credible “content-producers.”
The first company in the electronics industry to step into this brave new world is Xilinx. It appears that they’ve decided to bring real-world publishing experience in-house through the hiring of Mike Santarini. I’m very excited to see what this new relationship will bring.
I only have two questions:
- Can Xilinx let Mike write with the transparency required to maintain his credibility?
- Can Mike turn off his journalistic filters and provide us with rich, opinion-based content?
Only time will tell.