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FEBRUARY 2018 I DESIGN007 MAGAZINE 39 ness model, where you consult with your top 10% of revenue generating customers, then give them exactly what they need to keep them happy. Certain competitors we have do this kind of thing and that's their business model. Nothing wrong with that, yet we have built our business on catering to smaller companies and indi- vidual users and small teams and providing what they need and doing what's best for the greater good, kind of thing. Doing something that's useful to every- one. At the same time, we still have some larger customers who are important to us and do make unique demands from time to time. We do want to keep those people happy too. It's kind of a fine line in balancing on a knife edge for us sometimes. I think adding rigid- flex capability and multi-board are examples of that. We also know those are things that just about every designer has got to face at some point. It doesn't make sense to withhold it. Some might consider that a more extreme measure, and instead of having different tiers of licensing with different features, we instead, to address different market segments, introduce different product brands that have a different look and feel even. We introduced CircuitMaker for free for the whole maker community. Shaughnessy: Are you seeing EEs moving into careers as designers? Jordan: Yes, we've always had a fairly large proportion of our customer base as EEs. Our company was founded in Australia and, by and large in Australia, the electrical engineers are also PCB designers. It's such a small popula- tion in that country that the electrical engi- neer also laid out his own boards. The com- panies didn't have the budget or they didn't design enough things to have a dedicated PCB designer on full-time. There were a few larger global companies, like the military contractors and so on that had more specific segregated workers and work flows, but by and large the market needed a tool that the electrical engineers would use. That's why we came out with the first unified design tool that kind of happened by default just because we were founded in Australia. As a result, most of our customers, for a long, long time, were EEs who also did their own PCB design. We still see that increas- ing, because PCB design has become so complicated with high-speed design that a lot of people eventually had the equivalent of an EE through industry training over many years of learning more about signal integrity. They would learn about fields, waves, RF, EMI and EMC. They'd end up with practically the equivalent of an EE degree anyway. But we are noticing that trend, especially with the younger designers. Shaughnessy: I see Altium tools are in a lot of the colleges. Jordan: Yeah, that's something Judy War- ner, our director of community engagement, and Chris Potts, senior manager of market- ing, sponsorship, and academia, are working on together: having a better, more formalized program for schools and for startups. We don't ever want price or cost to be a barrier for any- body who's got a bright idea and is willing to be an entrepreneur and launch a project on Indiegogo or Kickstarter or something like that. We have those startup programs to get the right tools into their hands right at the beginning so they can save time. We know they'll become good customers if they're successful anyway. We see ourselves as a partner in helping them get something off the ground. In the '80s, you could get OrCAD in every electrical engineering department across the country. We're still try- ing to catch up to that, but we're getting there. Shaughnessy: Thanks for your time, Ben. I'll see you on the road, I'm sure. Jordan: Thank you, Andy. DESIGN007

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