A Delicate Balance

“Meanwhile, I don't socialize too much at the office. I don't go out to lunch and I try to be incredibly productive during the workday. Then at the end of the day, there is that separation [between work and home]. My husband works for HP, so we don't talk about work. Although if one of us is upset, occasionally we do. But [at the end of the day], both of us have had enough of computers, semiconductors, etc.”

Kranen: “I like that. You set topic boundaries, I set time boundaries. I have wireless Internet at home, so every night I'm on the phone or sitting in bed with my laptop working on-line [well past the time when the rest of the household is asleep]. But Kevin and I do talk about work often. It's so helpful.”

“Kevin will tell you that [when I was a stay-at home mom], I got really excited about landscape design, decorating the house, paint colors. He'd come home from work and I'd say, 'Guess what! Kyle pooped eight times today!' Now at the end of the day, I say, 'Guess what! We had this great idea at work today!' I want to share my challenges with him. It's what connects us.”

“Tuesday night is our weekly date night, but sometimes he has to bring food to my office instead. It violates our sacred date night to be at work, but I think it makes me more interesting to him.”

Bartleson: “I agree. Having my husband in the same industry has been unbelievably wonderful. We have total understanding of what each of us does for a living. One night he's slamming down pans [after a frustrating day], and [the next night] I am. We are each other's support center.

Kranen: “Kevin will actually point things out to me [that I might not have seen]. He helps me to understand things [from a man's perspective], but it's a learned trait to know how to drop [conversation about work], how to turn it off.”

“When I was at Quickturn and a VP, I was a single woman. For the most part, I had a life that was just consumed with work, and few friends except my buddy, Kevin Kranen. Through the course of various events, some out-of-town friends gave me some advice. They said, 'We love you, but you really should have some friends in California.'”

“They came out to visit me and said, 'Why don't we meet some of your friends.' But my local friends already had plans. I learned then, that you have to make a concerted effort to connect with old friends. You can't call people on a Saturday afternoon at 3 o'clock and see if they already have plans. Because they do.”

“It's the same with play dates with other families. The advice I give to women's groups - on those [rare] occasions when I'm a speaker - even if you have to take an entire hour mid-week to plan something special for the upcoming weekend with family or friends, take that hour! Set up the weekend in advance, so that when [Saturday] comes, you're really escaping from work”

“Once I stopped working every weekend [even before I had children], and started using my Wednesdays to set up my weekends, I was stunned and appalled to find out that my entire organization did better. They had been suffering under the oppressive weight of my 24x7 thinking about work. It was humbling to find out [that I was a problem in the organization], before I learned out how to have balance in my life.”

“Moshe Gavrielov at Verisity and his wife have taught me so much about [balance and family]. My greatest joys are at home now. I've rescheduled my board meetings to attend meetings at the nursery school, and I plan way ahead to control meeting times, presentations, to control events. I've even learned to go to the bathroom before I leave the office, so that when I come in the door I can give [full attention] to the kids [because they're all over me as soon as I walk in].”

“However, I don't want to sound like I'm up in the clouds or arrogant. I recognize that many women work all hours, don't have nannies, or someone to cook. I would say that I've been very lucky with my support system, and I take my hat off to the men and women who do all of this without big salaries.”

Bartleson: “[In the end], we have to force ourselves to make that balance. We have to commit ourselves to having broader access [to life] than just work, to having a very disciplined approach. We will have a date night. We will honor commitments to our families. We will be able to say, 'I did balance things!'”

“So, I disagree with Penny. Penny's choices have been very good for her and for women [in general]. But we have to look to what's good for us as individuals. I look at some of the [legendary] leaders at TI who gave up their families consciously [for their work]. How many people actually want to say at the end of their lives, 'I didn't work enough hours.'”

(Editor's Note: Thanks to Kathryn Kranen and Karen Bartleson for their time and candor. Thanks, as well, to Francine Bacchini of ThinkBold Corporate Communications who arranged this conversation. At the end of the hour, Francine said to all of us, “Both Kathryn and Karen have chosen partners very wisely. The thing that I see in all of this is that having the right partner makes all the difference. The ultimate lesson should be for men or women - Choose the correct helpmate in life!”)

Industry news - Tools and IP

Agilent Technologies Inc. announced that NEC Compound Semiconductor Devices Ltd. has selected Agilent's RF and mixed-signal design software tools as its new standard for mobile communications RFIC development. Agilent says its RF Design Environment (RFDE) provides NEC designers with “efficient circuit simulation and system design.”

Altair Engineering and Ansoft Corp. announced that Altair's HarnessLink wiring harness and system design tools will be fully integrated with Ansoft's SIMPLORER simulation software. The companies says that the integration of HarnessLink and SIMPLORER will provide automotive, aerospace and, marine manufacturers a complete design environment for electrical distribution systems - “the combined solution allows engineers to size and validate a vehicle electric system and to identify design trade-offs by performing what-if studies in rapid succession.”

Cadence Design Systems, Inc. and Global UniChip Corp. have jointly announced that Global (Unichip) has selected the Cadence Encounter Digital IC implementation platform as Unichip's hierarchical IC implementation platform. The companies says that “this equips Unichip with the capabilities it needs to address nanometer design challenges in its customer design services - specifically, virtual prototyping, routing, signal integrity (SI) and timing closure issues. Cadence and Unichip teamed up on a methodology project to build this advanced tape-out flow.”

Dolphin Technology, Inc. and Legend Design Technology, Inc. announced that Legend's CharFlo-Memory! product now offers instance characterization and verification for Dolphin's memory compilers. The companies say that CharFlo-Memory! is based on layout-extracted circuits with resistors and capacitors and permits users of Dolphin memory compilers to automatically generate on-chip memory instance models at any process technology corner.

Mentor Graphics Corp. announced the TeamPCB design collaboration tool for implementing and managing team design processes in a manner that the company says is easier and more effective “than previously possible.” The tool includes an automated design process, which manages and synchronizes layout design data and allows multiple PCB designers to work on the same PCB layout simultaneously. It is compatible with the Mentor Graphics Expedition PCB, Board Station RE, and SFX RE layout tools.

The Press Release says, “For PCB designs that are too large or complex for a single person or team to complete in the desired time frame and for PCBs with multiple technologies requiring specialized design teams, TeamPCB allows companies to effectively utilize design resources across geographically or functionally dispersed PCB design groups to dramatically reduce overall design cycles.”

Oak Technology, Inc. and Accelerated Technology , the embedded systems division of Mentor Graphics, announced that Oak's Quatro SoC reference designs support Accelerated Technology's Nucleus PLUS real-time kernel. The companies say that Oak selected Nucleus PLUS as a supported operating system for its Quatro SoC reference designs because it is a “robust and compact operating system.”

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