No, I'm not being paranoid -- Synopsys, my largest competitor, is literally following me:
Before discoursing on this unusually public display of affection, allow me to take a step back and announce that I've started to tweet on Twitter. While initially put off by the apparent solipsism embedded in Twitter's "What are you doing now" conversation starter, I've come to appreciate two benefits of Twitter: it's effectively a huge public focus group where I can glean specific feedback and general trends regarding my products and corresponding methodologies, and it's a font of unfiltered world news from primary sources.
That said, like Friendster or CB Radio, Twitter might eventually fall by the wayside and/or devolve to serve some niche purpose. Regardless, as with blogging in general, I've discovered that sending tweets stimulates the same part of the brain that produces guilty, narcissistic pleasure produced by self-expression to an audience. Rephrasing, what Marketer doesn't love public speaking -- with Twitter you get to satisfy this urge 24/7! Whooo-hoo!
Now back to Synopsys, and their "following":
The first question that sprang to mind when I saw the "Synopsys is following you" notice is whether this whole entity in its entirety is following me (for all I know they have some sort of automatic logger/wiki of competitive info)? Or is there some wizard behind the curtain hanging on my every tweet? Could it even be that Synopsys' CEO Aart DeGeus himself is discretely glancing down at his Blackberry every time I fire off a tweet?!? (Don't laugh -- it's possible -- really -- ok, maybe more like "improbable but possible".)
More likely suspects are people who I used to work with who are working there now. Larry: if you are the actual Synopsys follower, I believe you still owe me $10 for lunch for that time you forgot your wallet. However, all is forgiven since I got to keep the Palladium logo clock that you left in your cube.
Taking a more competitive view:
Of course following me/Cadence activity on Twitter is a logical extension of Synopsys' devoted following of the innovations that myself and my many colleagues have introduced in verification technology and methodology over the years. It started back at the turn of the century, when Synopsys attempted to push VERA as a credible alternative to the then new paradigm of coverage driven verification pioneered by e/Specman. In the present day, they are now including e language support natively in VCS, as well as supporting OVM in VCS (where OVM itself has many roots in the e Reuse Methodology).
I could go on, but the point is that Synopsys has been in the rear view mirror for years, and thus my fleeting surprise at this "following" has been quickly replaced by my regular, Andy Grove-style "Only the Paranoid Survive" alert level reserved for any competitor. So "Synopsys", whoever you are, I welcome your continued following -- both of me personally, and the products & methodologies I drive here at Cadence. Borrowing a line from Charles Osgood, "See you on the radio!"
Joe Hupcey III