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Embedded Systems Conference priced out of reach?

Started by Mark Borgerson February 11, 2007
I just got my flyer for the April  San Jose ESC.  Inside
the front cover I found   the following "best value" prices
for all access passes:

before Feb 6   $1795  (the brocure arrived on the 10th)
       Mar 5    1995
       Mar 29   2195
     on site    2295


Or you could just attend the free exhibits and a single
90-minute class at $195  No downloadable class notes
or proceedings CD, though   ;-(

It seems to me that the sponsors of this conference have
priced themselves out of reach of small companies.  About
15 years ago,  I actually talked my employer into sending
me to an ESC---and paying the $395 for the full set
of classes.   I don't think a request for $3000 (travel
plus conference) would fly today.   As a self-employed
consultant, there's no way I can justify anything more
than attending just the free exhibits.

Don't these conference organizers realize that they are
competing with a wealth of free or low-cost technical resources on
the internet?  Heck, for less than the cost of two classes,  I
can purchase freely redistributable source code for  an
RTOS,    SD  disk driver,  USB stack,  etc, etc.


If I were working in marketing for Atmel, MicroChip, IAR,
etc.  I'd have my boothies do a little pre-qualifying and
hand out passes for the kind of free  seminars they 
hold where you get a morning with some FAEs,  lectures,
and a free dev kit.   For something like that, plus
the free  ESC exhibits pass,  I'd consider the $500 cost
of travel  from Oregon to San Jose.    I suspect that
the conference organizers strongly discourage such competing
attractions.

Mark Borgerson

On Feb 11, 2:06 pm, Mark Borgerson <mborger...@comcast.net> wrote:

> If I were working in marketing for Atmel, MicroChip, IAR, > etc. I'd have my boothies do a little pre-qualifying and > hand out passes for the kind of free seminars they > hold where you get a morning with some FAEs, lectures, > and a free dev kit. For something like that, plus
For the customers Atmel, Microchip, et al actually care about (i.e. the people whose minimum annual usage is 100K units of whatever), the marketing budget is spent on actually going and visiting those customers, handing out free eval kits, etc. At the company where I work, more or less every other week a semi mfr comes in, buys lunch for everyone in engineering who wants to attend, and presents a spiel and roadmap (and sometimes eval boards/demo kits).
Mark Borgerson wrote:
> I just got my flyer for the April San Jose ESC. Inside > the front cover I found the following "best value" prices > for all access passes: > > before Feb 6 $1795 (the brocure arrived on the 10th) > Mar 5 1995 > Mar 29 2195 > on site 2295 > > > Or you could just attend the free exhibits and a single > 90-minute class at $195 No downloadable class notes > or proceedings CD, though ;-( > > It seems to me that the sponsors of this conference have > priced themselves out of reach of small companies. About > 15 years ago, I actually talked my employer into sending > me to an ESC---and paying the $395 for the full set > of classes. I don't think a request for $3000 (travel > plus conference) would fly today. As a self-employed > consultant, there's no way I can justify anything more > than attending just the free exhibits. > > Don't these conference organizers realize that they are > competing with a wealth of free or low-cost technical resources on > the internet? Heck, for less than the cost of two classes, I > can purchase freely redistributable source code for an > RTOS, SD disk driver, USB stack, etc, etc. >
The conference organizers are in it for the $$, and they will be insular. If the charges double, and 40% fewer arrive, they shrug.
> If I were working in marketing for Atmel, MicroChip, IAR, > etc. I'd have my boothies do a little pre-qualifying and > hand out passes for the kind of free seminars they > hold where you get a morning with some FAEs, lectures, > and a free dev kit. For something like that, plus > the free ESC exhibits pass, I'd consider the $500 cost > of travel from Oregon to San Jose. I suspect that > the conference organizers strongly discourage such competing > attractions.
The ones who should be most concerned, are the exhibitors. If the number, and quality, of attendees continues to decline, they will decide not to bother. The satellite seminars you mention, are already growing in popularity. -jg
> >> If I were working in marketing for Atmel, MicroChip, IAR, >> etc. I'd have my boothies do a little pre-qualifying and >> hand out passes for the kind of free seminars they >> hold where you get a morning with some FAEs, lectures, >> and a free dev kit. For something like that, plus > > For the customers Atmel, Microchip, et al actually care about (i.e. > the people whose minimum annual usage is 100K units of whatever), the > marketing budget is spent on actually going and visiting those > customers, handing out free eval kits, etc. > > At the company where I work, more or less every other week a semi mfr > comes in, buys lunch for everyone in engineering who wants to attend, > and presents a spiel and roadmap (and sometimes eval boards/demo > kits). > >
I think semiconductors calculate cost of sales should be around 4%. If you think that you have a project which generate enough business so that the revenue of your project will be 25 x the cost of supporting you with a dedicated visit, you should request it. In that calulation you need to take into account that work spent on you may be useful to other customers as well. Not unfrequently, have I argued that my company needs to do a specific thing for a small company, because that means that we will be ready with that when the larger customers start to need it. Not unfrequently have they listened. If you want to buy 50 chips, then you would probably get a no on a visit, but at least Atmel runs seminars at a regular basis where you for a nominal fee will get the full day + a kit. -- Best Regards Ulf Samuelsson
Mark Borgerson wrote:

> I just got my flyer for the April San Jose ESC. Inside > the front cover I found the following "best value" prices > for all access passes: > > before Feb 6 $1795 (the brocure arrived on the 10th) > Mar 5 1995 > Mar 29 2195 > on site 2295 > > > Or you could just attend the free exhibits and a single > 90-minute class at $195 No downloadable class notes > or proceedings CD, though ;-( > > It seems to me that the sponsors of this conference have > priced themselves out of reach of small companies. About > 15 years ago, I actually talked my employer into sending > me to an ESC---and paying the $395 for the full set > of classes. I don't think a request for $3000 (travel > plus conference) would fly today. As a self-employed > consultant, there's no way I can justify anything more > than attending just the free exhibits. > > Don't these conference organizers realize that they are > competing with a wealth of free or low-cost technical resources on > the internet? Heck, for less than the cost of two classes, I > can purchase freely redistributable source code for an > RTOS, SD disk driver, USB stack, etc, etc. > > > If I were working in marketing for Atmel, MicroChip, IAR, > etc. I'd have my boothies do a little pre-qualifying and > hand out passes for the kind of free seminars they > hold where you get a morning with some FAEs, lectures, > and a free dev kit. For something like that, plus > the free ESC exhibits pass, I'd consider the $500 cost > of travel from Oregon to San Jose. I suspect that > the conference organizers strongly discourage such competing > attractions. > > Mark Borgerson >
Something to consider when you decline to go is that you're not paying $3000. You're really paying $3000 pre-tax for conference and travel, plus the $3000 to $6000 in lost revenue, depending on what you charge. So the question isn't do you want to pay $3000 vs. $1000, it's do you want to pay $4000 to $7000 vs $6000 to $9000. Looking at it that way, it's not as big a difference. Even if I weren't presenting and getting into the talks for free, I think I'd have to go at least every other year to keep my training current. I don't know how much they charged last year, but there were certainly a lot of full rooms when the seminars were being given. If they can continue to fill the rooms, even with their expanded program, I don't see much motivation for them to cut the price. If they do drive away enough business, however, they'll lose their teaching staff. They certainly don't pay enough to make the trip worthwhile on a purely monetary basis. The value for me (and a lot of other folks doing it) are to fill the room with potential customers for services or training, and to gain credibility as a world-class expert. Were they to pay me the same but not fill the room consistently I don't think I'd keep going. -- Tim Wescott Wescott Design Services http://www.wescottdesign.com Posting from Google? See http://cfaj.freeshell.org/google/ "Applied Control Theory for Embedded Systems" came out in April. See details at http://www.wescottdesign.com/actfes/actfes.html
Ulf Samuelsson wrote:

>>>If I were working in marketing for Atmel, MicroChip, IAR, >>>etc. I'd have my boothies do a little pre-qualifying and >>>hand out passes for the kind of free seminars they >>>hold where you get a morning with some FAEs, lectures, >>>and a free dev kit. For something like that, plus >> >>For the customers Atmel, Microchip, et al actually care about (i.e. >>the people whose minimum annual usage is 100K units of whatever), the >>marketing budget is spent on actually going and visiting those >>customers, handing out free eval kits, etc. >> >>At the company where I work, more or less every other week a semi mfr >>comes in, buys lunch for everyone in engineering who wants to attend, >>and presents a spiel and roadmap (and sometimes eval boards/demo >>kits). >> >> > > > I think semiconductors calculate cost of sales should be around 4%. > If you think that you have a project which generate enough > business so that the revenue of your project will be 25 x > the cost of supporting you with a dedicated visit, you should request it. > In that calulation you need to take into account that work > spent on you may be useful to other customers as well. > > Not unfrequently, have I argued that my company needs to do a specific > thing for a small company, because that means that we will be ready > with that when the larger customers start to need it. > Not unfrequently have they listened. > > If you want to buy 50 chips, then you would probably get a no > on a visit, but at least Atmel runs seminars at a regular basis where > you for a nominal fee will get the full day + a kit. >
Then there are us consultants who never buy more than a dozen chips but where a design-win often means massive revenue. Some companies realize that, others don't. The topper was a company that told me point blank that they do not send samples to consultants. "But I'd gladly pay for them". "No, we don't send samples to consultants". It was a part that couldn't be purchased via Digikey. It did not get designed in... -- Regards, Joerg http://www.analogconsultants.com

Tim Wescott wrote:

> Mark Borgerson wrote: > >> I just got my flyer for the April San Jose ESC. Inside >> the front cover I found the following "best value" prices >> for all access passes: >> >> before Feb 6 $1795 (the brocure arrived on the 10th) >> Mar 5 1995 >> Mar 29 2195 >> on site 2295 >>
[...]
> Something to consider when you decline to go is that you're not paying > $3000. You're really paying $3000 pre-tax for conference and travel, > plus the $3000 to $6000 in lost revenue, depending on what you charge.
Just wondering how did you get those numbers. That looks like too small to be a cost of the lost opportunity. Networking at the ESC is rather dubious, since those who attend it are mostly the juniors just from school.
> So the question isn't do you want to pay $3000 vs. $1000, it's do you > want to pay $4000 to $7000 vs $6000 to $9000. Looking at it that way, > it's not as big a difference. Even if I weren't presenting and getting > into the talks for free, I think I'd have to go at least every other > year to keep my training current.
There are much better, less time consuming and less expensive ways to keep oneself on current. The conference is mainly the place to have fun (if it is billed to the account of employer), however paying your own money is a different story. Vladimir Vassilevsky DSP and Mixed Signal Design Consultant http://www.abvolt.com
Vladimir Vassilevsky wrote:

> > > Tim Wescott wrote: > >> Mark Borgerson wrote: >> >>> I just got my flyer for the April San Jose ESC. Inside >>> the front cover I found the following "best value" prices >>> for all access passes: >>> >>> before Feb 6 $1795 (the brocure arrived on the 10th) >>> Mar 5 1995 >>> Mar 29 2195 >>> on site 2295 >>> > > [...] > >> Something to consider when you decline to go is that you're not paying >> $3000. You're really paying $3000 pre-tax for conference and travel, >> plus the $3000 to $6000 in lost revenue, depending on what you charge. > > > Just wondering how did you get those numbers. That looks like too small > to be a cost of the lost opportunity. Networking at the ESC is rather > dubious, since those who attend it are mostly the juniors just from school. > >> So the question isn't do you want to pay $3000 vs. $1000, it's do you >> want to pay $4000 to $7000 vs $6000 to $9000. Looking at it that way, >> it's not as big a difference. Even if I weren't presenting and >> getting into the talks for free, I think I'd have to go at least every >> other year to keep my training current. > > > There are much better, less time consuming and less expensive ways to > keep oneself on current. The conference is mainly the place to have fun > (if it is billed to the account of employer), however paying your own > money is a different story. >
Yeah, but the food at Teske's Germania in San Jose is so good. It's a nice stroll across St.James Park. Now don't do that if you have to undergo any cholesterol testing in the weeks after the ESC. -- Regards, Joerg http://www.analogconsultants.com
On Monday, in article
     <oJOzh.21503$zH1.14299@newssvr29.news.prodigy.net>
     notthisjoergsch@removethispacbell.net "Joerg" wrote:

>Ulf Samuelsson wrote: > >>>>If I were working in marketing for Atmel, MicroChip, IAR, >>>>etc. I'd have my boothies do a little pre-qualifying and >>>>hand out passes for the kind of free seminars they >>>>hold where you get a morning with some FAEs, lectures, >>>>and a free dev kit. For something like that, plus >>> >>>For the customers Atmel, Microchip, et al actually care about (i.e. >>>the people whose minimum annual usage is 100K units of whatever), the >>>marketing budget is spent on actually going and visiting those >>>customers, handing out free eval kits, etc. >>> >>>At the company where I work, more or less every other week a semi mfr >>>comes in, buys lunch for everyone in engineering who wants to attend, >>>and presents a spiel and roadmap (and sometimes eval boards/demo >>>kits). >>> >> >> >> I think semiconductors calculate cost of sales should be around 4%. >> If you think that you have a project which generate enough >> business so that the revenue of your project will be 25 x >> the cost of supporting you with a dedicated visit, you should request it. >> In that calulation you need to take into account that work >> spent on you may be useful to other customers as well. >> >> Not unfrequently, have I argued that my company needs to do a specific >> thing for a small company, because that means that we will be ready >> with that when the larger customers start to need it. >> Not unfrequently have they listened. >> >> If you want to buy 50 chips, then you would probably get a no >> on a visit, but at least Atmel runs seminars at a regular basis where >> you for a nominal fee will get the full day + a kit. >> > >Then there are us consultants who never buy more than a dozen chips but >where a design-win often means massive revenue. Some companies realize >that, others don't. The topper was a company that told me point blank >that they do not send samples to consultants. "But I'd gladly pay for >them". "No, we don't send samples to consultants". It was a part that >couldn't be purchased via Digikey. It did not get designed in...
The things we get can be ridiculous "Get small qauantities from DigiKey/RS/Farnell" (parts are too new for any of them to carry or will never be carried by them) "Only in MOQ of full tray/box of hundreds" (distibutor is actually just a freight forwarder) "Samples only sent to same company that must be taking the volume quantities" ('distributor' that would only send mains connector samples to same company GUARANTEEING minimum annual usage of 1000 parts) Distributors/manufacturers that have web sites with NO leadtime or pricing summary, let alone full details. Samples questionaires that require multiple corporate signoffs and a day to fill in. -- Paul Carpenter | paul@pcserviceselectronics.co.uk <http://www.pcserviceselectronics.co.uk/> PC Services <http://www.gnuh8.org.uk/> GNU H8 & mailing list info <http://www.badweb.org.uk/> For those web sites you hate

Jim Granville wrote:

> The ones who should be most concerned, are the exhibitors. If the > number, and quality, of attendees continues to decline, they will > decide not to bother.
We exhibitted at ESC for years and stopped when the industry was no longer being represented. Intel dropped out, Motorola / Freescale dropped out after being a major promotter of ESC. Finally the major technical people from most companies stopped attending. From an exhibitor point of view ESC was a place to set up deals with customers and partners. That no longer happens. The last ESC I was at was poorly attended with limited embedded industry coverage. Most of the shows we attend/exhibit now are application specific. Walter Banks Byte Craft Limited

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