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March 15, 2017 AT 8:35 am

Interview with Altium! 3/21/17 4:30pm ET @altium @adafruit #adafruit

Tuesday March 21st, 2017 Interview with Altium! 4:30pm ET LIVE! @altium Limor “Ladyada” Fried and team will be interviewing Altium!

http://www.altium.com/

About Altium
“Altium software empowers teams of makers, engineers, and innovators to create a smarter, safer, and more connected world.”

http://www.altium.com/company/about-altium/about-us
http://www.altium.com/company/about-altium/altium-in-a-snapshot

Joining us will be: Ted Pawela Chief Marketing Officer, Altium

TED PAWELA
Chief Marketing Officer
http://www.altium.com/company/about-altium/leadership

Ted Pawela was appointed Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) in October 2016. Prior to joining Altium, Ted served as Product Management Executive responsible for marketing at BIOVIA (a subsidiary company of Dassault Systemes). Ted has extensive knowledge and experience in marketing at a leadership level in additional technology software companies including Accelrys, MSC.Software, ANSYS, Marc Analysis Research Corporation, and ANSYS. As CMO, Ted is a key member of Altium’s leadership team and is closely aligned with the execution of the company’s corporate strategy and product strategy. Ted is responsible for the management of Altium’s multi-product, multi-brand positions and their support for Altium’s bid for PCB market leadership by 2020.

The questions we plan to ask are here, post your questions in the comments!

  1. What’s your role at Altium? Given that your background is more in MCAD/MCAE than eCAD, why did you join Altium?
  2. Altium has a pretty long history – can you give us a brief background on the company?
  3. What would you say Altium’s philosophy is, and how does it set Altium apart from other companies in the “CAD” industry?
  4. Altium has several PCB software applications – CircuitMaker, CircuitStudio, and Altium Designer. Are you planning to keep developing all of them, or will some be retired or put in maintenance mode in favor of others?
  5. Is there anything that Altium products can do that no other PCB software does?
  6. How does Altium help avoid common PCB design mistakes that come up?
  7. Much of the Adafruit community is made up of makers. Does a commercial software company like Altium really care about the makers community?
  8. It’s no secret that one Autodesk Eagle recently moved to a subscription-only model, and that Altium has been running replacement discount promotions. Why do you think Eagle users should take a look at Altium products?
  9. For Circuit Studio, which is the direct competition to Eagle Ultimate, the question would be how does the maintenance premium version compare with Eagle’s saas version?
  10. What is your favorite Altium innovation/feature and why?
  11. How/where can makers or any customers of Altium participate in giving feedback, suggestions, or just ask questions about all this?

AND…

More questions & comments from the community

  1. “I’ve used Altium in the past. The questions relevant for this deal with their both the freeware edition called Circuit Maker and the commercial entry-level edition called Circuit Studio.”
  2. “The question for Circuit Maker is easy: why is user data storage strictly cloud-based?”
  3. ” For Circuit Studio, which is the direct competition to Eagle Ultimate, the question would be how does the maintenance premium version compare with Eagle’s saas version?”
  4. Suggestion/idea: “”A pay only if you successfully crowd fund your project” license. It’s free to use for makers and hobbyists, but if you crowd fund your project you pledge to pay for the tool. And you build the cost of the tool into your campaign, so you’re effectively crowd funding your toolkit as well as your project. It’d be also helpful if they can figure out a way to do multi-tier pricing, so they have an intermediate tier for less complex designs that don’t really require a $5k up-front to work on.”
  5. Suggest/idea: “a city-wide site licenses for hackerspaces, so you’d have a limited number of copies that people could check out and use within the hackerspace context”.
  6. Comment – “any cloud-based board design tool is very limiting. I do a /lot/ of board design on long airplane rides — layout is the perfect thing for that situation. So if someone told me I could only use my design tool if I had an Internet connection, it would be thrown out of my toolkit pretty fast.”

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5 Comments

  1. questions from the community….

    How do they see the role of open source tools like KiCad and gEDA? Perhaps they don’t view them as a threat, but have they thought about collaborating to create an open CAD file standard?

    What is the potential they see for the maker community? They gave it a shot with Circuit Maker, but it seemed like there were still some limitations in the software/licensing

    Are there any new CAD features that are actually needed going forwards? Especially in the tools targeted at people getting started?

  2. more questions from the community…

    These questions are from Dave Jones of the EEVblog.com (YouTube channel) –

    Q1) Why did they backtrack from the cheap (like circa $50) paid rental option model for Circuit Maker that I saw in beta a few years back? i.e. Base program was free and you could rent more advanced features like more layers etc for a one-off monthly fee. IMO, that would have been a huge success. In stead they went for the completely free model, which while admirable, was crippled with the cloud only thing. Do they regret that decision?

    Q2) Would they care to share the user numbers for Circuit Maker? To me it doesn’t look like it’s had much traction.

  3. Additionally, we asked the OSHWA mailing list for questions/comments/suggestions:

    http://lists.oshwa.org/pipermail/discuss/2017-March/002056.html
    http://lists.oshwa.org/pipermail/discuss/2017-March/002059.html

    Altium can export to a fully documented, open, and standardized format: IPC
    2581. I’m not sure it can import from it, and smaller tools like Eagle do
    not yet support it.

    See: http://techdocs.altium.com/display/ADOH/IPC-2581+Support

    IPC 2581 was created specifically to provide an unencumbered, open, and
    standardized format to replace the closed ODB++ format commonly used in
    manufacturing. It captures everything needed for a circuit board, from pcb
    lay out, to assembly, netlist, and bill of materials. When it comes to the
    printed circuits side, IPC is an org who is fighting hard for
    interoperability and open standards.

    We’ll ask about adding “import” if it’s not currently supported.

  4. Most EDA and CAD software provides low-cost or free licenses to startups, however Altium does not for Altium Designer. While Circuit Maker is more affordable, it’s missing a lot of functionality around efficiency and advanced features – two very important areas for startups that need in order to move fast and develop state of the art products.
    Is there a reason Altium doesn’t offer free (qualified) Startup licenses like many others do?

  5. Most EDA and CAD software provides low-cost or free licenses to startups, however Altium does not for Altium Designer. While Circuit Maker is more affordable, it’s missing a lot of functionality around efficiency and advanced features – two very important areas for startups that need in order to move fast and develop state of the art products.
    Is there a reason Altium doesn’t offer free (qualified) Startup licenses like many others do?

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