“One hopes when you share your mistakes with the kids they won’t make the same ones, but the world is more difficult for everyone now—in some ways it’s going through a tougher cycle than it has in the past,” he added.
On the other hand, “One thing that’s surprising is the last up cycle was so long--you had a generation that didn’t know what tough times were,” Saxby recalled. “In tough times, the companies that do get funded can have more potential than those founded in a bubble when money is easy,” he said.
Venture capital is tight, especially for semiconductors. “We just did a funding round, and it was tough, but we got some money--you have to work harder and have a clearer plan, but the investors need to put their money somewhere,” Saxby said.
Today’s challenges in the physics and engineering of electronics are more complex than when ARM was coming up in the 1990’s, especially with the rising costs of fabs and R&D, he said.
“Now we start looking at things like sensors, bringing silicon closer to the human being,” said Saxby who started his own TV repair business at 14. “The new electronics is biology, things like understanding the genome.
“I am always looking at new spaces and problems for the planet like the aging population and energy supply--semiconductors can bring huge benefits to that,” he said. “I would encourage out-of-the-box thinking because semiconductors are an integral part of more and more things and there may be new waves of uses for them in biology or energy control,” he added.