TI CEO Rich Templeton wasn’t always the easiest guy to get along with. We worked together as peers while I was with TI in the mid 80s - he on token ring network products and me on microprocessors. When you work in the type of environment that typified TI in the late 80s there’s bound to be clashes. But there’s never been a question about where he stands on an issue. And this time he’s hit the nail squarely on the head.
"Technology development is not a team sport,” Templeton commented in a recent EE Times article. And he’s more right than most might know. He and I (and a number of other engineer and marketing folks) worked on several “alliances” together. The hard lesson from many of them was that both companies were weak, or at least they weren’t as strong as we thought. Sometimes we were weak in different areas, but sometimes it turned out that we were weak in the same areas – much to our surprise.
Nearly twenty years ago TI started a program aimed at uncovering the most promising opportunities and putting the technology in place to serve those markets. The work was rough and tumble, but the company persevered. Many of today’s products had their genesis in the “Circuit Rider” program. But some came out of pure engineering, such as Digital Light Projection (DLP).
There is no outsourcing of customer relationships. No magic formulas to divine the hot new product. No shortcut to customer support. The semiconductor business is not for the faint of heart. Nor is it for the timid.
Success in semiconductors requires equal doses of skill, insight, execution, and luck. As Edna in the Incredibles said “Luck favors the prepared.” Mastering all of the skills needed in your business makes you prepared. Templeton’s insight into what makes a technology company succeed may just see the Texas company to finally reach the pinnacle that has evaded them for so long.