I've just returned from a week-long trip to India, spending
most of my time at the Cadence R&D center in Noida. I was last there a year
ago for our CDNLive! India 2010 event, a great show that prompted me to write a
glowing blog post.
This year's show was covered
admirably by my colleague Joe Hupcey, which was fine with me since traveling to
India twice in three weeks would be tough even for us seasoned road warriors.
This time my focus was strictly on product development and deployment, topics
that consumed a full week very easily.
It's amazing how much my Indian experience has changed since
I had my first R&D site there 15 years ago. In those days we had a small
office suite leased from a tile manufacturing company, one window air
conditioner that didn't really keep the place cool, a single speakerphone
shared by the entire staff, and dial-up Internet access so unreliable that we
sent floppy discs through the mail rather than trying to send source code via
FTP. When the power went out, typically 2-3 times a day, we would start up a noisy
gas-fired generator out on the balcony.
To be fair, at the time I worked for a startup and doubtless
larger companies had somewhat better offices. But today the Cadence Noida site
is the peer of any in the world, not just in physical facilities but also in
terms of engineering talent and productivity. I really enjoy visiting India,
and our team in particular. But I didn't start this blog post just to talk
about my trip. Along the way I had a few experiences that reminded me yet again
that the real world seems to be missing assertions that would prevent some
illogical situations from arising.
My first example occurred before I even left the ground. In
the departure lounge at San Francisco International Airport (SFO), I noticed
the sign shown at the right:
In case you have difficulty viewing the image, below the
sign and arrow requesting "comments" are two holes and an outline on the wall
where clearly some sort of receptacle for comments had once been attached. I
got a good chuckle out of that, promptly snapping the photo and posting on
Facebook with the comment "Apparently somebody decided that they didn't want
passenger comments after all." It's
almost too easy a target, but I'll assert that if you're going to remove the
receptacle for comments you must remove the sign requesting them as well.
My second example occurred at a fairly new and very nice
Southeastern Asian restaurant near my hotel in Noida. Of course we ate a lot of
good Indian food on the trip but the menu at this place looked promising for
something different. In fact the food was very good and the service quite
solicitous; clearly they were looking to build a positive reputation. When the
waiter brought the check I gave them my credit card, and when he returned he
brought the familiar printed receipt with a line to specify the tip and a line
below to indicate the total.
Since the service had been good I wanted to give him a nice
tip, so I wrote in the amount and the total. He returned a few minutes later
saying that the tip would not work on the card; after a few minutes of
confusion we realized that they had no way to add the tip to the credit charge.
This is fairly common outside of the United States, especially in Europe, but
the receipt generally does not leave a space for a tip. So I left the tip in
cash, but I'll assert that if a credit-card receipt has a place to write in a
tip the restaurant must allow the tip to actually be charged to the same card.
My final example is a bit odd. It's a rarity on a business
trip to see much of anything beyond hotel rooms and conference rooms, but my
colleagues kindly arranged for a pedicab tour of Old Delhi (check out wheninindia.com - highly recommended).
Several hours of visiting historic mosques, markets, and other sites led us to
the Red Fort, a staggeringly
impressive complex once the center of the whole Mughal Empire. As dusk was
settling over the city we settled down to watch a "light and sound show" of the
The multi-media aspect was dated, but I enjoyed a narration that
filled in some gaps in my knowledge of Indian history. In one segment, the
narrator mentioned a king falling in love with a woman of dubious reputation (I
won't use the word here) and installing her in his palace along with her friend
who had "the most luscious watermelons." I'll assert that you shouldn't use
derogatory slang for women and double-entendres in a family show intending to
teach history. My Indian colleagues had the same reaction so I don't think I'm guilty
of cross-cultural judgment.
So that's a quick summary of a business trip that was much more
enjoyable than most, and three more real-world assertion stories for you. My
next blog post will jump back into more serious topics, based on a request from
my last post on cooperation in EDA and verification. One of
my colleagues suggested that readers probably don't know much about the Cadence
partnership programs, and the Verification Alliance in particular. Unless
there's some major industry change that would take priority, I will cover
partners in my next post.
The truth is out there...sometimes
it's in a blog.