December 15, 2003
True Circuits' Stephen Maneatis
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It's also true that some companies have ramped up their Design Services team to go out and help customers via the “back door,” so to speak. They are getting design wins by using their own tools to “share in the burden” of their customers' design work. The Design Services teams are proving the methodology to “help out the customer,” which guarantees the sale of seats afterwards.
Letter No. 8
Excellent editorial in the last issue! Glad another editor feels the same way. I've been venting my frustrations - and asking for reader comments - in one of my regular e-columns. Have actually received quite a few responses from engineers on topics like outsourcing, corporate brain-drain, bounties on hackers (the only ones finding the many, many software bugs), etc. Most older engineers that I chat with say they will actively work to prevent their kids from pursuing an engineering career. This trend, plus all the others, are very depressing. Few outside of the press and engineering profession understand the true magnitude - or consequences - of the death of technology innovation in the U.S.
Hope you're feeling less “grumpy” in this season of hope.
Senior Technology Editor - Wireless Systems Design Magazine
Executive Editor, Wireless Systems Design UPDATE e-Newsletter
Affiliate Professor, System Engineering, Portland State University
Letter No. 9
Your column this week on the semiconductor industry is a classic that you should run every year, just like Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol". I started out laughing at your commentary about nice, nicer, and nicest. By the time I finished your email, I was so depressed that I left the PC and gobbled down an entire slice of leftover pizza which I had been saving for dinner. I have several comments on your editorial, and not necessarily in this order:
I promise never to do an event on Thursday.
Social events with press don't work well - sometimes. I agree with you that the adversarial nature of a relationship must be maintained, but only to a degree!! While I understand your comment, I believe that the relationship between the industry press and PR folks should be strong because PR people have a dedicated interest in sustaining the vitality of the industry press. PR people understand the role of the industry media far better than any other constituency you have, but as a group we have been unable to exercise assistance. In part this is because ad agencies, media reps and publishing companies see our roles as separate from their business interface.
Your comments on engineers are dead-on correct, as are the comments on what's happened to companies who have displaced their senior engineers. I would take your commentary further to say that the health and wealth and global standing of the U.S. electronics industry, and the U.S. in turn, is at stake. We are in an intellectual property battle that we are losing, in my view, due to our inability to design new business models that protect our ability to be competitive and build revenue. As for the comments on ARM, this is a problem in our industry. It is easy to assume that a problem belongs to another company, when it really belongs to the entire industry.
Replies from your hosts re: FPGAs, structured ASICs (new term for old term...ASIC) are wrong. One need only look at Xilinx to figure out how lucrative FPGAs CAN be. The PR folks are ingenuous (not 'ingenious') if they think they can invite industry press to an event and avoid tough questions. I'm glad these questions were asked.
The gift. In this regard, I fear you...and I...and everyone else...have become jaded. A gift used to be just that, a gift. An expression of gratitude and friendship. Now they are viewed with distrust and even rejected. I gave a colleague a book last year - one that I had read, enjoyed, learned from and felt so valuable that I wanted others to read it. I even published a review on it. Yet, one person replied with a scathing email asking if I thought he wasn't smart enough to figure all 'this stuff' out. I was crushed. Look at the gift as simply a gift. You should not read more in to it, or you will become its captive.
All the best,
Maestro Public Relations
November 17th - Peace & Prosperity
Letter No. 10
“Jobless recovery,” 8.7 million unemployed, ...
While it may be difficult to keep things in perspective when you are one of the 8.7 million unemployed, perhaps [your readers] may be too young to recall the stagflationary times of the late 1970's. The unemployment rate in Trumbull County, Ohio, (my place of birth) was 15 percent or higher. Okay, Trumbull County is no hot bed of high-tech (or any industry other than GM/Delphi these days), but it wasn't that long ago (in mid-to-late 1990's) that economists believed that a 6 percent national unemployment rate was the BEST we could expect.
Sure, the last 3 years have been brutal for high tech. But, 6-point-something-percent unemployment counts as a very mild recession by historical standards.
Again, it is hard to stay upbeat when you are currently downtrodden. However, if you happen to find yourself “liberated to explore new career opportunities,” then do so. High unemployment in Trumbull County led to my own personal odyssey of eventually getting a BS and an MS in Computer Science - achievements made possible when I left Trumbull County and my comfort zone in search of greener pastures. I have been fortunate to graze in the high-tech pastures for the past 18 years. However, if I should become one of the downtrodden, then I will search again for greener pastures, wherever they may lie.
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