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Posts Tagged ‘U.C. Berkeley’

Woz: the Attribution Stump Speech

Thursday, December 5th, 2013

 

When somebody runs for public office, they usually have several stump speeches that can be trouped out in front of the appropriate audience: “I’m very pro-labor” when the candidate’s standing in front of a manufacturing facility. “I believe government should be pro-business” when they’re standing in front of the Chamber of Commerce.

In recent years, I’ve heard Steve Wozniak speak numerous times and to me it seems he has at least 2 different stump speeches: “Technology is wonderful and is changing the world for the better” when talking at the Computer History Museum. “Steve Jobs made a lot of money off of things I invented” when talking in front of engineers at DAC, or a bunch of well-heeled suburbanites as he did this week at the San Mateo Performing Arts Center on Wednesday night.

The Steve Jobs bit probably plays well in front of engineers who often feel under-appreciated, or sense that Sales & Marketing makes more than their share of the winnings from intellectual property developed and refined by Design & Engineering. The Steve Jobs bit may not play so well, however, in front of mid-Peninsula suburbanites who drive late-model BMWs, Mercedes and the odd Tesla here and there, never chew with their mouths open, and passionately want their children to behave, excel on their SATs, and go to Ivy League schools. These people believe in Steve Jobs – they all carry iPhones and, more importantly, all believe in the money they’ve earned by investing in Apple here in the new millennium.

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Marvell’s Weili Dai: articulating Entrepreneurship at IEDM

Thursday, January 3rd, 2013

For the first time ever, organizers of the International Electron Devices Meeting honored a member of their community by providing a platform for conversation about translating innovation into business success. The premier event on December 12th in San Francisco featured an hour-long, on-stage, lunch-time interview with Marvell Technology Group VP and GM of Communications and Consumer Business Weili Dai.

Ms. Dai co-founded Marvell in 1995 with her husband, Sehat Sutardja, and his brother, Pantas Sutardja. Together they have built an organization which now stands as the fifth largest fabless semiconductor company in the world, one with 7000 employees and an international clientele. If you wanted to know more about Marvell, the information’s out there in spades. If you wanted to know more about the personal story behind Marvell, however, you should have been at the IEDM Entrepreneurs Lunch on December 12th. Ms. Dai gave a compelling interview that day, providing as succinct a summary of what it takes to start and build a company as one could ever hope to hear.

The highlight was a description of how, with babe in arms, she was in the audience at the Greek Theater on the Berkeley campus watching her husband receive his PhD in EECS several decades ago. Now today, that child is himself a PhD candidate in the same school where his father earned a PhD and his mother a BS in Computer Science. Sehat Sutardja and Weili Dai have a younger son, as well, who is currently an undergraduate at Cal, also in the School of Engineering.

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Chris Rowen: Tensilica’s rational trajectory

Tuesday, September 18th, 2012

 

Chris Rowen is Founder and CTO of Tensilica, an IP company based in Silicon Valley. We spoke last week by phone to discuss how an IP company decides what and when to introduce new products.

I first asked to Chris for a brief history of the RISC [Reduced Instruction Set Computing] architecture he is closely associated with, and how that history segued into the founding of Tensilica.

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From RISC to Tensilica …

Q: Can you give me a quick overview of the origins of RISC architecture?

Chris Rowen: RISC is a set of ideas that grew up in academia and IBM in response to increased architectures in both the mainframe and microprocessor worlds.

People saw machines with really high hardware costs being built for assembly [language applications]. However, as compiler technology got better, people said: If I want a compiler to run well, I don’t need fancy instructions. I only need a common set of instructions that run really fast. All other complex operations could be composed by the compiler out of these fast, simple operations.

RISC grew out of these compiler technology advances, and a recognition in the VLSI era that there was an opportunity to rethink the process of how the architecture could be put together. (more…)

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