The 4th of July is a holiday I celebrate just like every other American, even though I am English. But when thinking about the holiday I also thought about what it means. It was about someone winning a dispute when diplomacy failed. All too often disputes start long before diplomacy has been given a real chance and it degrades into a matter of - I am stronger than you and thus my views and opinions are better than yours. And yet at the end of the day, while history is written by the winner, it is often the loser who has the biggest lessons to learn. What could they have done better, was it worth it, how to avoid it in the future? The victor never considers these questions, they just gloat in their spoils.
We are just as guilty of this winner takes all view in the semiconductor industry. We are all very quick to announce and celebrate successes, but few companies are willing to even admit when they made a mistake, or had to do an unplanned chip re-spin. But it is in those failures that the lessons are learned. What went wrong and how can that problem be prevented in the future. Those who succeeded may just have been lucky without really even knowing it and they will fall victim the next time around.
I would like to think that the reason is that every company who learns a lesson the hard way feels that the information they learned is so valuable that they cannot let the secret out. It is too valuable to them to enable other companies to avoid the same fate. But I know this is not the case. We are programmed to think that failure is a sign of weakness and we are embarrassed about it.
I am not embarrassed to say that I was on the losing side of the dispute that ended on this day many years ago. This country, the place that I love and call home would not have been the same had the outcome been different, but I do wish as a culture and society that we could rise about admitting failure, and yes I wish that America would admit that they still don’t know how to make a cup of tea, just as they didn’t all those years ago when they tried to make tea in the Boston harbor!
I strongly encourage articles that discuss failures or lessons learned! Happy July 4th
– keeping you covered
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