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Cupcake IC’ing

I love where I work! I've worked at places where we've had cool perks like free lunch, a visiting masseuse, ping-pong, and foosball. Don't get me wrong, these things are great, but what I've come to really enjoy is working with great people.

At our company, we are a wonderfully weird group of people. We have to be a bit quirky to do what we do. We make via configurable mixed signal ASICs. That means that we are fab-less provider for people that would rather not pay traditional full-custom IC development costs. To enable this low cost IC development path, we combine the development of via configurable arrays (VCAs) that are used and reused by many different customers. We also provide analog and digital design services to convert ideas into a customer's ASIC. And, we make EDA tools that allow non-IC designers to design their own parts. I mention all this to put this next part in proper context.

To make such a design flow possible, our company consists of analog IC designers, digital IC designers, experts in embedded ARM cores, place & route software developers, web developers, and yes, “cloud engineers.” I like to say “we are all weird in our own special way.” (Trust me, having analog IC designers working directly with the automatic place & route EDA developers can make for some rather interesting meetings.) It is this almost chaotic convergence of analog, digital, embedded, EDA, and cloud developer ideas that makes our place such a great place to work.

Now, on to Cupcake IC'ing. Below is the actual conversion log from work from a few days ago — a bit of silly, mildly juvenile humor, but pretty tame.

    Steve Janesch: I'm doing circuit design in my Fortress of Solitude today.

    Steve Janesch: So what is a fortress, anyway? Is that like a female fort? And what does that make a buttress?

    William Farlow: steve will you be buttressing your circuit today with symmetrical arc boutant to defend it from an attack of bipolar load steps?

    Steve Janesch: Absolutely. Do you think these arc boutants make my buttress look big?

    William Farlow: flying buttresses are specifically designed to appear light and airy and leave the observer to wonder in awe, just how does that support such a massive load

    William Farlow: you know it's kind of the same feeling we have when Billy does his monthly engineering meetings and reminds us of our mission and what we value, it provides just the right support to continue to build the successful company we all want to be a part of.

    Dan Curran: Please help yourselves to some cupcakes in the break room. They're from my wife's graduation party, she completed an associates in electronics technician so they are “colorfully” decorated with electronics symbols.

    Clark Hopper: RoHS compliant?

    Dan Curran: Not sure, but i think they're lead free

    William Farlow: so when is she interviewing, is she a beta user of via designer and does she write labview or cortex-M0 code?

    Clark Hopper: Are they IEEE standard symbols? That's the only desert items I eat.

A trip to the kitchen revealed the electronic themed cupcake IC'ing. Just another day in via-land. Having great people to work with is truly a lasting blessing. Hoping your day of analog integration aspirations and work interactions is the “icing” on your day!

10 comments on “Cupcake IC’ing

  1. Michael Dunn
    May 10, 2013

    Definitely a fun place! 

    A recent employer had weekly catered buffet lunches. There was a clear Higgs field-like effect on my mass. 

  2. eafpres
    May 10, 2013

    Hi Reid–I like the annotated cupcakes.  I immediately thought they could be used as an educational tool to introduce youngsters to electronics very eary.  Kids love cupcakes, and if every one had a little bit of knowledge on it, they would have to learn something, don't you think?

    I then realized the idea could be transferred to those wooden blocks that usually have letters on them.  If they had circuit symbols the little tykes could start designing circuits really early.

    Maybe this would be a great one for kickstarter or some other crowdfunding platform?

  3. Davidled
    May 10, 2013

    One of team member brings donut or bagel every Friday often.  But I think that this type cupcake reminds each person of job functionality, while eating it. If Sr. manger services each cupcake to each team member, that is not funny.  Let us design on top of apple pie or make electronics cream cake for department annual meeting. That is a great funny.

  4. bjcoppa
    May 13, 2013

    Fabless IC design firms like Triad can really take advantage of the foundry system. Due to the exclusive nature of the high cost of capital for building fabs, foundries offer startups and small ASIC (or any IC or MEMS) companies, the chance to leverage innovative designs and focus on their core tech and advantages and avoid worrying about the elephant that could have been in the room (building a billion dollar fab). The fabless model was once scorned in its early days but now some of the most profitable IC companies have truly capitalized and dominated their respective markets. Just look at ARM (IC design licensee) and Qualcomm (apps processors for mobile).

  5. Brad Albing
    May 13, 2013

    As someone wiser than I am said (or will say), don't overlook the NRE costs when considering custom ICs.

  6. TheMeasurementBlues
    May 14, 2013

    I just showed my daughter the cupcakes. She loves to make cupcakes, but would never make such “geek” things.

  7. TheMeasurementBlues
    May 14, 2013

    I used to bring in bagels once in a while when I worked in an office. But alas, no more office, no more commuting, and that adds years to the life of my car. that's OK, I still have Brad and MD, even if it's by e-mail.

  8. Brad Albing
    May 14, 2013

    Feel free to bring or send bagels to my house.

  9. WKetel
    May 15, 2013

    I have worked at a few places where the major fringe benefits included free parking and all the bad coffee that you could drink. Some of them included a whole lot of great people, some did not, only had a few great people. Some bosses were great leaders and others were somewhere between orcs and goons. Of course the best jobs were those thatr had great people and different projects all the time and managers who made certain that the resources to do good engineering were always in hand. Unfortunately, it seems, good bosses always get better offers elsewhere, while the truly evil, or possibly just incompetent sociopathic, bosses never go away, they must be left behind. And it seems that sometimes it is the very top management that imposes the worst managers.

    I did work at one place that would provide a breakfast on occasion, and sometimes nice meals for lunchtime meetings. That was quite nice, I thought.

  10. richardit
    July 23, 2014

    My wife has a lot of fun working with his colleagues because they are young and come with great innovative ideas, their company recently moved its headquarters in Dallas and all of their workers came with interesting ideas that would ease their work. She came with the idea of installing employee time clocks from a Time Clock eShop and the managers liked it, these clocks have a lot of interesting features that will surely allow them to save time and money.

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