Archive for September, 2009

Writing a Fan a $439 Personal Check for a Bad Game - Priceless

Thursday, September 24th, 2009

To hear long time fan Tony Seminary tell the story, he was embarrassed by the Oregon Ducks performance when they lost to Boise State on the opening night of the 2009 college football season. Not only did they play a sloppy game, gaining only 152 total yards, making only 6 first downs, and committing 2 turnovers, but the whole nation got to see one of their star players punch out a Boise State player on the field after the game.

So what did Tony do? He wrote an email to new Ducks head coach Chip Kelly asking for him to reimburse him for the cost of his round trip from Portland to Boise.

So what did Chip Kelly do? He wrote an email back asking “what’s your address?” A few days later, Tony received a personal check from Chip Kelly for the $439 that Tony had requested.Chip Kelly Check

This happened a few weeks ago, but it just hit the news this week and has gone, dare I say the word, ‘viral’. Among the results of this are the following:

  • Customer Loyalty - Tony Seminary sent the check back and has been quoted as saying “I think of Coach Kelly as a totally different person now, I have a different bond with him now thanks to what happened. Let’s just say he lost every game as an Oregon coach. You would never hear me calling for his head. It just wouldn’t happen. The guy showed an incredible amount of class”.
  • Team Loyalty - Said Seminary, “I now know why his kids would run through a wall for that guy, because who does what he did, right? That is simply amazing.”
  • Personal Reputation - In blogs and articles all over, Chip Kelly is being hailed not only for doing what he did, but for doing it quietly without drawing attention. As one blog said “Chip Kelly, a man of his word.”
  • School Reputation - I don’t have any evidence of this as yet, it’s too early, but certainly some of this will rub off on the University of Oregon, in a good way.

The good news was that Oregon had put in charge a man with integrity and they gave him the freedom to respond as he saw fit. But how would most schools and companies have handled something like this? It would have probably gone something like this:

  1. Coach receives email and forwards it to the legal department.
  2. Lawyers craft a carefully worded response indicating that Oregon regrets the loss but it is not responsible for incidental damages according to the relevant terms and conditions on the ticket that Mr. Seminary tacitly agreed to and should have read.
  3. Mr. Seminary vows never to go to another Ducks football game again. He then goes online and tells hundreds of his friends who are Ducks fans the story.
  4. One of his friends writes a Oregon Ducks blog and posts the story and the text of the Oregon response email. ESPN picks it up and shows it on Sportscenter.
  5. Hundreds of Ducks fans come to the next game with signs saying something like “Win, or give me my money back”.
  6. Top recruit hears the story and decides that he’d rather not go to Oregon. Chooses USC instead.
  7. Athletic Director resigns.

No matter what business you are in, hire good people with good judgment and give them the freedom to make the customer happy. That kind of service is “priceless”.

harry the ASIC guy

I’m (Not) an IBMer Anymore

Thursday, September 17th, 2009

IBM NotI came across a tweet the other night that pointed me to a discussion on the EE Times forum regarding an editorial by Mark LaPedus a few weeks ago. The editorial states that “IBM Corp. has cut nearly 10,000 jobs this year, according to reports, although Big Blue still refuses to fess up to most of the layoffs.” Although IBM denies the reports and claims they are fabrications by union officials, the editorial adds fuel to the fire by stating that “for some time, the union has charged that IBM is cutting and outsourcing U.S. jobs, while quietly hiring in India.”

The comments in the discussion thread are very interesting and worth reading through. If you don’t have time, here’s a synopsis of the various opinions offered there:

  • We are in a jobless recovery and IBM is not the only company moving jobs offshore.
  • IBM is a corporation and their only obligation is to their shareholders. Outsourcing to India makes business sense so that is what they need to do.
  • “The sole function of a union is to keep their own jobs and breed a sense of entitlement and proliferate mediocrity.”
  • If it’s in the national interest to keep jobs and fabs here, then public funds should fund them.
  • Instead of blaming IBM, consider the high taxes and burdensome laws that favor outsourcing over keeping jobs in the US.
  • If you think IBM is doing the right thing, just wait till it’s your job being outsourced.
  • If this kind of off-shoring continues, we will wipe out the technological advantage we have in the US and you’ll need to move to another country to get a job.
  • Outsourcing “delivers worse results at lower costs”, and that’s what businesses want right now.
  • We, as consumers, are more concerned about the low prices we get at Walmart than the notion of “social justice.”
  • Instead of laying people off, cut out the big executive bonuses and perks.
  • Companies need to take care of all three groups - employees, customers, and shareholders. Otherwise employees can quit, customers can stop buying, and shareholders can sell.
  • Do companies owe anything to the communities where they are located or to the nations where they are headquartered?
  • Yes, they owe taxes!

Personally, I can see both sides, but what do you think? I’m especially interested to hear from any company execs who have decided against outsourcing and why that is.

harry the ASIC guy

The Accidental Blogger

Thursday, September 10th, 2009

As a kid, I always dreamed of being interviewed after hitting the game winning homerun or jump shot or throwing the game winning touchdown pass. Well, at this point in my life, the likelihood of those dreams is pretty much zilch. But, fortunately, I’ve been able to achieve something almost as great. A one-hour interview on Dee McCrorey’s Big Dreamers! The Reinvent Success Show.

Dee McCrorey

So, after a full weekend of watching college football and then NFL football, and listening to those other guys getting interviewed after the game winning touchdowns, you can sit down at 6pm PDT, and unwind as Dee McCrorey, Risk Guru, Innovation Catalyst, and Business Coach asks me about my career from no-name engineer to “Harry the ASIC Guy”. You can always listen to the recording afterward if the time is inconvenient, but if you tune in live you can actually call into the show and ask questions, make comments, remind me of the $10 I borrowed for lunch and never gave back, whatever.

Honestly, I’m both flattered and embarrassed to have this opportunity. I met Dee just this past July at DAC in the Synopsys Conversation Central booth and we hit it off right away. Even after the sessions were over, Dee stayed and continued to ask questions trying to dig deeper and get at the core the topics we were discussing. She really has a desire to get to the essence of things which is a great asset for an interviewer, so I’m looking forward to some tough questions. She also has a thriving consulting business helping professionals reinvent their careers, both within corporations and individually, so I’m looking forward to working with her professionally as well.

For more information on the show, you can go here. I hope you can join me.

harry the ASIC guy

Two Blog or Not Two Blog?

Monday, September 7th, 2009

I got an email last week from one the readers of this blog that observed “it would be interesting to learn how to manage both blogs while doing justice to your readers.” He was of course referring to my new blog on Xuropa that I write in addition to this one.

Indeed, this was a concern of mine that I had considered carefully before embarking on the other blog … or so I thought. The other day I wrote a new blog post about how designers want to actually use tools hands-on rather than just listen to product marketing pitches, or webinars, or podcasts. I originally wrote the post for this blog, then decided that it made more sense for the Xuropa blog, and ended up publishing it there (here’s the link). But it could have really gone on either one with small adjustments. I can see that this is now going to be more difficult than I thought.I did a little research online to see how other bloggers are handling writing multiple blogs. One of the suggestions was to set down the objectives of each of the blogs so I could be more clear in my mind and to the readers. I think that’s a good idea. So here goes:

  • The Xuropa blog will be focused on ways that EDA companies can do more with less, like cloud computing, online tool access, and software-as-a-service. It will also be written for an audience of EDA sales and marketing professionals. If you are in EDA, you’ll want to subscribe to that blog.
  • The harry the ASIC guy blog will include lots of other content and is hopefully valuable for people in all aspects of the semiconductor industry. I’ll discuss general engineering trends, quarterly reports from EDA companies, technical topics, and industry news. If you are a designer, you’ll want to subscribe to this blog.

I’m guessing that many of you will be interested in both topic areas and so it is OK to subscribe to the Xuropa blog and subscribe to this blog. You have my permission. After some time you may find that you are only interested in one of the blogs. That’s OK too, just unsubscribe to the one that doesn’t meet your needs.

Another suggestion was to set realistic expectations for how frequently I’d be publishing a new post. I think that is a good idea as well. I will continue to post on this blog roughly once per week as I have in the past. For some time I was actually closer to 2 posts per week but I have fallen back to once a week and that is about what I can handle now. The other blog is shared with some other folks from Xuropa so I will probably publish there every other week. We’ll see how that goes.

I’d like to ask you each a favor as well. Please help me keep to my commitment. I’ve already made this commitment of public record here, so that alone will provide some pressure. But if I start to post too infrequently or the quality slips or goes off track, let me know. Leave a comment or send me an email.

I would also like to make this blog a little more fresh and collaborative. I’ve said in the past that I learn more from you folks than you learn from me. You are working in hundreds of companies with thousands of years of collective experience. I’d like to see if we can tap into that for all our benefit. So here’s the deal:

  • If you have an idea for a blog post, let me know. Leave it as a comment or send me an email. I’ll make sure I give you full credit (unless you want to be anonymous) and link back to your website or LinkedIn profile.
  • If you’d like to write a guest blog post, I’m open to that as well. The more viewpoints the better.

Of course, not every suggestion will be used and not every offer of a guest blog post will be accepted. I’ll still make that decision to make sure the content is of high quality. But I won’t censor anything just because I disagree.

Well, I guess that’s it. We’re going to try this 2 blog thing and see how it goes. Wish me luck.

harry the ASIC guy