Digital? Every Idiot Can Count to One

May 27, 2015 | 12:36
© Bo Lojek, History of Semiconductor Engineering, 2006
© Bo Lojek, History of Semiconductor Engineering, 2006
Recently, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak stated that “Steve Jobs and I never could've gotten a job at Apple today.” And that’s how it is. Nowadays, if you want to make it through the strict hiring processes of most engineering companies, you have to fit in. If you’ve shaped your character, softened your behavior, and succeeded in getting as much academic titles as possible, then you might stand a chance of getting hired. Once in the club, just follow the rules of etiquette advised by HR, with a touch of personal mediocrity, and you may keep the position. It’s funny somehow, considering that the history of electronics is full of geniuses that, in essence, were misfits. Especially analog designers. And my favorite by far is Bob Widlar.
 
Silicon Valley, early 1960s. A few years after the soap opera of electronics par excellence with the “traitorous eight” and all that stuff, Fairchild Semiconductor was already a well-established business. But not wildly successful until they hired analog design wizard Bob Widlar in 1963. Although it didn’t look like the most sensible decision back then. It is said that Widlar arrived half-drunk at the first interview with the R&D Manager. At the second interview, after the erstwhile Staff Manager at Fairchild, Joe Malone, made him a proposal, he stated that he would get back to him with his decision “after six beers.” See? You too can take it easy at the next job interview.
 
µA709 high-performance op-amp (1965)
µA709 high-performance op-amp (1965)
© Fairchild Camera & Instrument Corporation
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