: You guys have been a success story in a very difficult market.
But you're not seeing semiconductor startups. Economies don't grow
without electronics. What does that mean? Is it a bad thing?
: Is is
a bad thing. It's sad, it's shortsighted, it's all of those
things. The argument is: Well software is where all the innovation
is. Well, there has to be innovation in hardware to keeping funding
the software piece of it. You can say all the existing companies are
going to do the innovation, and I don't really think that's true. Go
back to the Maxim example. Maxim almost by definition is going to be
focused on what Apple needs or what Samsung needs and to keep up
with them because their design cycles are so short it limits their
ability to innovate.
But the world's not static; the world's changing. and somebody's
gotta go after those things and that's where startups typically come
in. They're going after the areas that are less mined. what does this
VC's created their own problem. look at
what's being funded in the late '90s. And look at those
companies companies were basically one-hit wonders..they
basically had one product. Those products would come out maybe
silicon would wiggle, maybe it would work and they were able to sell
those companies for hundreds of millions of dollars. It was kind of
like the classic bubble peak. CSs keep funding the same thing and,
guess what, it didn't work anymore. So you get into the stage of
awol, "nothing works." People forgot there was another way to do it,
which we understood."
: You make a good point and there's that school of thought that
says innovation will come out of existing companies. But it almost
can't, right, because it's the whole Clayton Christensen thing,
: I know you were going to go there, it's the innovator's dilemma.I
love that book.
: You can't think past your profitability.
: True disruption isn't about going after big markets. It's going
after small, non-obvious market and then they turn into big markets
and you come up from the bottom.
Look at Maxim, for example, think
about the pyramid of customers. Maxim is going up and up that
pyramid, right, and they're focused right now right at that tip. And
they're saying and you know this has to go on in a company like this
if you're doing $250 million with Samsung you have to be
saying … well i don't care if I lose some of these customers
to Touchstone. Then they wake up one day and all they have left are
those top guys and you could argue oh great that's all that matters
but no it doesn't. Because now you've got all these other companies
innovating and doing it with us and others that service them. And
Maxim eventually--and this isn't going to happen any time soon--but
eventually and in the long term--if they don't adjust--dies.
startup goes old school, gets funding
targets 'everything in the signal path'
IC startup blog