For those of us involved in the EDA industry, we’re all familiar with user group meetings. It’s a time to get together with fellow users of specific vendors tools, network, and learn from one another.
Being a product marketing manager at Mentor Graphics, I present at several of these a year. A common theme I have seen at these the past couple of years is the decline in attendance. When I ask users about this, I hear similar reasons: they are too busy to attend a one day meeting, their company has gone through downsizing, and they are the only (designer/engineer) left, they can only do one event/conference a year (and they need to choose between this, an IPC conference, a trade show, etc.).
I propose that you are too busy not to attend a user group meeting. If you attend, you may learn things that will make your job easier, and free up some of your valuable time. You may see a user’s presentation that has similar issues that you have, and show you a solution that you had not thought of. If the vendor gives a product roadmap presentation, there may be an enhancement released, or soon to be released that may affect your process that you need to know about. I’ve see incredible amounts of information shared over lunch, or a beer, at these events!
Please make an effort to attend a user group meeting in your area this year. Mentor Graphics has taken its User2User conference on the road this year (http://user2user.mentor.com/). Many of our resellers worldwide have local user group meetings. Keep an eye on the Events section of Mentor’s website for dates and locations (http://www.mentor.com/products/pcb-system-design/events/), and your resellers website.
And, by all means, get involved! Mentor and the resellers sponsoring these events are always looking for users to present. I guarantee you – you have something other users would love to hear about: how you address a certain design challenge, some customization you have done, some “process optimization” in your organization. This is what user group meetings need to be! (you don’t want to listen to marketing people like me talk to long!)
If you have any questions on how you can get involved, feel free to contact me.