Bits and Bytes
Jan 29, 2013 - 11:27:35 AM
More stories and songs of the Semiconductor Professional. Everybody Sing Along Now! Feel our pain!
In Part One of the Good Ol Days of the Semiconductor Industry, I discussed how we got here. I went from being a cubicle-dwelling design engineering resident, to the world of a distributor Field Applications Engineer (FAE). My office now had a front seat and a back seat.
I was an FAE dedicated to the National Semiconductor product line and life would never be the same. It's been over a year since Texas Instruments acquired National Semiconductor. For many of us, the memory lives on.
You learn many new words and phrases at a semiconductor company. "Phone tag" was one. When I worked for STMicroelectronics my vocabulary expanded even more. Sitting at my desk talking to Agrate Italy, if I asked my friendly Italian co-worker on the phone for an action item, sometimes I would hear in response "Yes, but no". Translated, that means "I like you, but I can't help you". I could write a book on my experiences at ST but those of you that never worked for a semiconductor company might get upset seeing how the sausages are really made.
Starting with my work as an Electrical Engineer, I used to keep Quote Logs. That's a text file containing some of the more unusual things overheard at the office (ex: "What time is the 10:00 meeting?" - that's not as ridiculous as it sounds). I might publish some of these quotes if I can find a safe place to hide first.
Quoting to a customer a custom ASIC that headquarters refused to make was always exciting. Win the Business was the mantra; once awarded the business you browbeat headquarters into building it for the customer because, hey, look at the size of that order! Size always matters. I'm happy to say I know that's true.
There was another song sung at the 1989 National Semiconductor Field Applications Engineering Conference. The German FAEs - big, friendly, blond, amazing guys - all got up an sang a song that had us all falling on the floor in laughter. I can still remember the tune, I think they invented it themselves. Luckily, I still have the handout of songs they gave everyone and so, for posterity, here is:
FRIENDLY GUYS FROM GERMANY
Slowly the day begins to dawn
We've been at National very long
Presentations we do best
Q-A says they're always right
Now we hope that you can see
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