Top Ten Consultants' DON'Ts 
Author Message
 Top Ten Consultants' DON'Ts

      The Hardware Design & EDA Consultants' Top Ten DON'T commandments
      -----------------------------------------------------------------

I am posting these upon the request of several budding consultants
who have asked me what they should do as consultants. Being a die-hard
cynic, I thought it's best to answer the question by negation.

DISCLAIMER:
These are my personal opinions. Do NOT use them in your career or trade
without a professional opinion from your CPA, lawyer or physician and,
may be, even a fellow engineer! Some of these may be injurious to your
health/happiness. Use at your own risk. Much of it is via first-hand
experience. And it's not meant to be funny!

If you have any suggestions to add to the list, please email them to:


The Top Ten DON'T commandments:

1. Don't neglect the non-technical aspects of consulting. Work with the
   best CPA, the best legal advisor (not always your neighbor), the
   best HR and finance people you have met in your career.

2. Don't compete with offshore contracting companies or temp agencies.
   They are meant for folks who cannot find jobs themselves or are not
   interested in long-term careers. Compete with the best: the Cooleys,
   the Kumars, the Sutherlands, the Trivedis, the Zeladas, the Saunders'
   (but not the Hemmadies).

3. Don't sign up with a broker if you are consulting long term. You may
   go broke with them. At a minimum, you will carry the burden of a
   30-150% markup, and several inane non-compete clauses which will
   make it harder to stay independent longer term. Instead, work with the top
   one or two tool vendors who provide the tools in your area of expertise.
   Besides referrals, they may even provide you with free or discounted
   trainings and technical support.

4. Don't become a broker or a head-hunter unless you want to switch
   careers for good. You will lose credibility very fast as an engineer
   or as a manager, which can be far more damaging to your career than
   the 15-30% you will make as a broker. You are better off exchanging
   contracts with your consulting peers when the sun shines more often
   than you can make hay.

5. Don't advertize on the Internet. Market your services by providing
   something useful to the community. Create the next ESNUG. Support
   the IEEE standards committees or the ACM SIGs. Teach a course at a
   local college. Sweat it out over a panel or a paper at a conference,
   or on an article in Integrated System Design or an opinion in EE Times.

6. Don't be the low-price leader. Better be the high-quality trend-setter.
   Simply to break even, a rule of thumb is: you should charge a mimimum of
   pro-rated 2X of your estimated full-time salaried income (not including
   the cash value of your benefits and options). In most cases, you get
   only money, nothing else, not even an assurance of money in future. If you
   get any other assurances, commitments or other intangibles, evaluate
   accordingly. You are paid by the customer for your work and the perception
   of your past work.

7. Don't work without a written contract. Read each word and phrase in your
   contract. Get professional legal help if required. Negotiate a contract
   you can live with the rest of your life, not just the rest of the duration
   of your contract.

8. Don't compete with the in-house design or EDA engineers. They are not
   competing with you. They are most likely your future references and/or
   peers. Usually they know more than you do about the specific project
   you are consulting on.

9. Don't under-estimate the need for marketing your services even as a solo
   consultant. In the submicron era, interconnect delays and packaging
   problems are among the biggest bottlenecks.

10. Don't consult if you think you will not find the next full-time job.
    Getting a consulting assignment is usually more challenging than finding
    a job. A short-term contract in such cases is usually a short-term
    remedy.

Your friendly neighborhood Cool Guru,
Shankar Guru Hemmady

Acknowledgement: My sincere thanks to several top-notch consultants and
consulting companies without whose continued support I would never have
ventured into this hazardous profession:

* Yatin Trivedi and Larry Saunders of Seva Technologies, Inc.
* Kris Kumar of Cadworx, Inc.
* Krishna Uppuluri of Interweave, Inc.
* Sean Murphy of Leader-Murphy, Inc.
* John Cooley, the Synthetic goat-farmer and President of USE/DA, a
  perpetual source of inspiration for those who like to live dangerously.
* My ex-colleagues at Cadence, Intel, Sunrise and Unisys.
* My customers all around the globe and the Internet.

___________________________________________________________________________

Shankar G. Hemmady                                 Guru Technologies, Inc.

EDA & Design/Test Consultants                      Cupertino, CA 95014.
HDLs Test Timing Power Synthesis                   http://www.*-*-*.com/
Telephone: (408)366-1549                           Facsimile: (408)749-8079
___________________________________________________________________________



Sun, 01 Feb 1998 03:00:00 GMT  
 Top Ten Consultants' DON'Ts


Quote:
>With all due respect, these are largely technical newsgroups. Go {*filter*} yourself
>on misc.jobs.contract.

>No flame wars, please.

>\G

Oh jeeze! Lighten up. He wasn't trying to sell anything. He was giving some
advice. Probably to avoid getting more "do you have any advice for a
newbie consultant" e-mail.

You do not have say-so over the content of the netnews groups anyway.

//Celia Clause



Sun, 01 Feb 1998 03:00:00 GMT  
 Top Ten Consultants' DON'Ts

Quote:

>>No flame wars, please.

This is kind of like putting a note on your car's windshield saying "I know
that it's wrong to part in front of a fire plug, so please don't tow my
car away to teach me not to park in front of fire plugs."  Man, if you know
that parking in front of fire plugs is wrong, then don't do it.  

If you think that a post is going to draw flames, then you should think
twice about posting it.  Asking people not to flame you for something that
you know deserves flames is like deliberately pushing someone into a mud
puddle and then saying, "I'm sooo sorry," and expecting the person to not
be mad at you.

The original post may have been slightly out of place, but the attitude and
language Swaminatha V. Gurudevan used as not appropriate for a professionally-
oriented news group.  In a professional engineering news group, we do not call
each other {*filter*}s.

Chuck Gollnick



Mon, 02 Feb 1998 03:00:00 GMT  
 Top Ten Consultants' DON'Ts
Chuck,

Thanks for your comments. I indeed was shocked by being labeled a "{*filter*}".

Hmm... looks like it is uncouth to talk about business with techies!
How come most of us work in profitable businesses, rather than in the
academia! How come the academia always asks for our tax dollars and
sends us letters asking us for donations. I, for one, believe, there must
be synergy between the two.

One more point: if business discussion is AGAINST technical curriculum,
it is a SHAME that there are seminars such as the IEEE Economics of
Test; books by well-known professors on the subject; courses in
Economics taught to Undergrad engineering classes; and indeed even the
very existence of an IEEE consultants' network must be uncouth!

On a different note, it is also SHAME to deride the world's oldest
profession :-)




: >>No flame wars, please.

: This is kind of like putting a note on your car's windshield saying "I know
: that it's wrong to part in front of a fire plug, so please don't tow my
: car away to teach me not to park in front of fire plugs."  Man, if you know
: that parking in front of fire plugs is wrong, then don't do it.  

: If you think that a post is going to draw flames, then you should think
: twice about posting it.  Asking people not to flame you for something that
: you know deserves flames is like deliberately pushing someone into a mud
: puddle and then saying, "I'm sooo sorry," and expecting the person to not
: be mad at you.

: The original post may have been slightly out of place, but the attitude and
: language Swaminatha V. Gurudevan used as not appropriate for a professionally-
: oriented news group.  In a professional engineering news group, we do not call
: each other {*filter*}s.

: Chuck Gollnick



Tue, 03 Feb 1998 03:00:00 GMT  
 Top Ten Consultants' DON'Ts

Quote:
(Shankar Hemmady) writes:


|> Newsgroups:
|>
comp.lsi.testing,comp.cad.cadence,comp.lang.verilog,misc.entrepreneurs,alt.compu
uter.consultants,comp.cad.synthesis,comp.lang.vhdl,comp.sys.mentor,comp.lsi.cad,
,comp.cad.compass
|> Subject: Re: Top Ten Consultants' DON'Ts
|> Followup-To:
|>
comp.lsi.testing,comp.cad.cadence,comp.lang.verilog,misc.entrepreneurs,alt.compu
uter.consultants,comp.cad.synthesis,comp.lang.vhdl,comp.sys.mentor,comp.lsi.cad,
,comp.cad.compass
uncouth!
|>
|> On a different note, it is also SHAME to deride the world's oldest
|> profession :-)
|>

What do you have against apple-pickers?

--
____________________________________________________________________

The Usual Disclaimer:  Any opinions expressed above are mine alone,
                       not those of Silicon Graphics



Tue, 03 Feb 1998 03:00:00 GMT  
 Top Ten Consultants' DON'Ts

Quote:

>On a different note, it is also SHAME to deride the world's oldest
>profession :-)

he wasn't necessarily deriding it; he was just saying that you shouldn't engage
in such activities in some of these groups :-) (whether that is what you were
doing, I am not commenting on)

muzo

standard disclaimer



Tue, 03 Feb 1998 03:00:00 GMT  
 Top Ten Consultants' DON'Ts

Quote:
> With all due respect, these are largely technical newsgroups. Go {*filter*} yourself
> on misc.jobs.contract.
> No flame wars, please.

Swami, you ignorant slut.

                                                John Williams



Wed, 04 Feb 1998 03:00:00 GMT  
 
 [ 7 post ] 

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