Brian Fuller's blog on the media, marketing and content creation

Panel dispatches

Posted on | August 21, 2007 | No Comments

I’m not going to excerpt today’s Fabless Semiconductor Association panel just yet. That takes a bit of noodling through my notes. But I DO want to share a vignette that occured afterward. It involves Peggy Aycinena of EDA Cafe, who has never shied away from poking her fingers in people’s eyes, and Jack Harding, CEO of eSilicon, who has never shied from taking those fingers and bending them back.
I happened on Peggy, laptop at the ready, and Jack a good 10 minutes after our panel ended. Peggy looked at us and asked how old our kids were and what they studied. Jack’s were liberal arts majors; mine are in process. (WIP, as they say on the fab floor). Peggy’s three kids are studying physics, math and computer science. Her point was along these lines: “What the hell is this country coming to if children of people in the Valley aren’t going into technical sciences????” As Peggy is wont to do, it was delivered with a mixture of moral outrage and a wink (a wink as in, “yeah, it’s a tough question now answer it.”)
Jack, being Jack, didn’t blink an eye. It was something along the lines of “That’s a fantastically presumptuous and pompous question. How dare you suggest that future of the world hangs on technical education??”
This was an exchange for which I had my video camera. The long and short of it was Peggy’s preaching has merit on a national level, at least as a discussion-starter.
Jack’s point: it matters little. “It’s where you sit in the value chain that makes the difference.” IBM, he argues, doesn’t make money on its technology development. It makes money taking other people’s technology and finding ways to make profit on it. It’s hiring not engineers but liberal arts and business people. In housing, he added, the contractor takes the risk and gets the margin. The plumbers, framers and electricians he hires (you can’t build the house without ’em!) get an hourly wage.
It’s a bracing notion and true.

If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed!


Leave a Reply

  • Sunset in the Sunset

    Sunset in the Sunset
  • Recent Comments