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52 The PCB Design Magazine • January 2017 didn't say, "High-speed design," they came back and said, "Power distribution is really an issue." So that's one of the things we co- developed with CST. We used the technology from CST and have em- bedded this tool very closely into our flow, while keeping it easy to use. Normally when you talk about power integrity it's a specialist tool and a specialist environment. The challenge here was to make it suit- able for every PCB designer. That's why the PDN analyzer is easy to use and therefore able to ad- dress these additional needs. Matties: We're here in your hometown, Munich. What's the mood of this market right now? Asfalg: The market is very healthy, which is one of the reasons why we recently opened a brand new office in Munich. When we look at the roots of Altium Europe, we started in Karl- sruhe, Germany, which is one hour away from Frankfurt airport and three-and-a-half hours away from Munich. We were growing so fast we had to get new folks on board and expand our horizons. The decision was that the next office we opened should be in a place which is easily accessible, close to high-tech companies, and also put us in a position to reach out easily to all of Europe. That's the reason why we chose Munich. It doesn't mean we've closed down Karlsruhe and moved to Munich. That's not the case. This is just an addition, but now we have an office which is easily accessible, close to our custom- ers, and as you can see here at this trade show, there's an international community. Matties: Just a couple of final questions. What ad- vice would you give a young PCB designer? Asfalg: Stay tuned and stay current – because we're in such a fast-moving environment. Not just for Altium; I think it's true for everyone. People who get stuck in their comfort zone will be left behind by the industry. These days it is really important to stay on top of the latest technology, have a wide perspec- tive, and know what's going on and what the trends are. Also for software, be aware of the latest de- velopments because they will make your life easier. Deploy the most re- cent releases and keep up to speed with what's being developed. That's also something I highly appreciate over here in Europe: there are a lot of companies who are genuine innovators and tech- nology drivers. To become one of these they need engineers who are clued into what the future is and what's being developed. I think they should just utilize and use all these exciting things, because it is extremely exciting. The markets are moving away from vertical spe- cialists, so having a wider perspective is much, much better. Matties: Yes, a lot more opportunity. What's the greatest challenge of selling software? It seems to me that if I'm loyal to one brand or I've been using one brand for many years and I'm very comfort- able with that, I would think that must be hard to go and commit somebody to switch. What's your take on that? Asfalg: There are different aspects that are able to trigger a switch. One important aspect is cost. A PCB design tool shouldn't be terribly expen- sive. Development cost is an issue for many companies. The other side is functionality. Does the tool provide the necessary functionality I really need for my job? The best environment and the best tool are those which give me the best price-performance ratio for the money I in- vested. This is the criteria by which you should choose. Then there's always this aspect of, "Oh my God, when I switch, what does it really mean?" I'll need to convert my libraries and my designs. Then I'll need to train my people and it will take time until they are properly productive. One of the most important things for us with Altium Designer is that it's easy to deploy. Part of this is to make all of these transition processes as easy as possible. We provide translation tools for all major EDA software, so it makes the mi- THE EVOLUTION OF PCB DESIGN AND DESIGNERS

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