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PCBD-Dec2016

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42 The PCB Design Magazine • December 2016 a reseller is not exclusively covering just our products, often the customer is more knowledgeable than the sell- ers. Moreover, the pace at which our products are devel- oped further challenges the reseller model and creates "in- formation asymmetry." Shaughnessy: How do you iden- tify potential customers? And what is a typical time frame for making a sale? Romine: Because our PCB design products cover all facets of the market (from "makers" to agile enterprises), we are now literally applicable to any company that designs PCBs. Our typical sales cycle is measure in days to weeks. Shaughnessy: For the big EDA companies, mak- ing a sale usually means converting someone from a rival's EDA tool. But I know designers who use Altium as well as another design tool. How do you make your case to that sort of potential customer? Romine: This is not unusual, no. Historically, when we saw this, our users in these companies would say, "We keep Altium around for when we want to do something fast." As the industry has pivoted to agile processes, our footprint has grown dramatically as every- thing needs to be developed fast and our products really empower the users to make the most of the creative pro- cess. Whereas the older enter- prise solutions of the '90s and early 2000s are typically puni- tive to the creative process. Shaughnessy: How would you describe Altium's marketing phi- losophy? Romine: We do business with the USERS in our market. Shaughnessy: We've all seen how marketing has changed in the last 10 years or so. There are so many new ways to market your tools now, with social media leading the way. What avenues work best for Altium? Romine: All of them, and we have a line in all the ponds, literally. And each offers some level of ROI. Our core focus is now optimizing each, but more importantly linking the marketing ex- perience with the sales experience in this age of information. Shaughnessy: Thank you, Lawrence. Romine: Thanks, Andy. PCBDESIGN ALTIUM'S SALES PLAN: DEAL DIRECTLY WITH DESIGNERS A research team from King Abdullah University of Science & Technology (KAUST) has now developed a microsupercapacitor that exploits three-dimensional porous electrodes. These micropower units are expected to enable a new generation of "smart" products. However, for these units to be tiny yet still efficient, the highest energy density must go into the smallest area. One approach to carrying this out is to construct microbatteries using films with a thickness of just a few micrometers or less and to replace traditional electrolytes with solid-state ones. Microsupercapaci - tors are a faster alternative, and these may prove suitable for applications requiring power pulsing and very long cycle life. The team has now developed integrated microsu- percapacitors with vertically-scaled three-dimension- al porous current collectors made from nickel foams to improve microsupercapacitor performance. The pores in the foam work to increase the surface area. This is superior to state-of-the-art microsuperca- pacitors, which achieve between one and forty mi- crowatt-hours per square centimeter, and is compa- rable to various types of thin film batteries. Novel Microsupercapacitor Exploits Three-Dimensional Porous Electrodes Lawrence Romine

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