即將交棒 Silicon Labs執行長Tyson Tuttle的IoT心路歷程

芯科科技(Silicon Labs)成立於1996年。在大約十年前,該公司押注物聯網(IoT)領域,從而擁有了兩條豐富的產品線──IoT,以及類比IC與零組件。Tyson Tuttle是Silicon Labs最早的員工之一,他在規劃該公司的IoT策略上扮演重要角色;在十年前,他被任命為CEO,負責執行相關計畫。Tuttle已經宣佈他將從Silicon Labs退休,於今年底生效。在這一週的節目中,Tuttle是我們的特別來賓...

時長: 26:55 | 發佈者: EE Times Taiwan | 發佈時間: 2021-09-15

即將交棒 Silicon Labs執行長Tyson Tuttle的IoT心路歷程

BRIAN SANTO: I’m Brian Santo, EE Times editor-in-chief. You’re listening to EE Times On Air.

Brian Santo:我是EE Times美國版主編Brian Santo,您正在收聽的是EE Times OnAir。

Silicon Labs was founded in 1996. About 10 years ago, the company made a strategic bet on the Internet of Things. That give Silicon Labs two broad product lines: the IoT and analog ICs and components. Tyson Tuttle was one of the earliest employees at Silicon Labs. He was instrumental in devising the company’s IoT strategy. Ten years ago, he was named chief executive officer, which put him in charge of executing the plan.

芯科科技(Silicon Labs)成立於1996年。在大約十年前,該公司押注物聯網(IoT)領域,從而擁有了兩條豐富的產品線──IoT,以及類比IC與零組件。Tyson Tuttle是Silicon Labs最早的員工之一,他在規劃該公司的IoT策略上扮演重要角色;在十年前,他被任命為CEO,負責執行相關計畫。

Earlier this year, Silicon Labs doubled down on its IoT bet by selling off its Infrastructure & Automotive unit — essentially its components business — to Skyworks, for $2.75 billion. Silicon Labs is now one of the few large semiconductor companies focused entirely on the IoT. That’s a mission accomplished, and perhaps that seemed like an appropriate time to move on. Tuttle announced his retirement from Silicon Labs, effective at the end of this year. This week, Tuttle is our guest.

今年稍早,Silicon Labs加倍押寶IoT,以27.5億美元價格將基礎設施和車用──主要是零組件業務──部門出售給Skyworks;現在該公司已成為少數幾家完全專注於IoT的半導體業者之一。這是已經完成的任務,或許也是一個繼續前進的好時機──Tuttle已經宣佈他將從Silicon Labs退休,於今年底生效。在這一週的節目中,Tuttle是我們的特別來賓。

Many of the most successful semiconductor companies achieved their prominence by growing their product portfolios and expanding into entirely new customer segments. Silicon Labs’ growth was likewise predicated at least in part on acquisitions, but its M&A strategy was a little different.

許多最成功的半導體業者是透過擴大產品組合和拓展全新客戶群來奠定其霸主地位,Silicon Labs的成長同樣有一部份源自於收購,只不過該公司的收購策略稍有不同。

While other companies were entering entirely new businesses and market segments, Silicon Labs typically bought companies to complement its existing strengths in mixed-signal and RF design, or to round out its portfolio with another wireless technology option.

不像其他公司進入全新業務或細分市場領域,Silicon Labs的收購主要是補強該公司在混合訊號和RF設計領域的現有優勢,或者增加一種無線技術來完善其產品組合。

In 2008 it paid about $80 million for Integration Associates, picking up some short-range wireless capability. In 2017 it bought Sigma Designs for about $280 million, essentially gaining control of the Z-Wave wireless protocol. Last year it bought Redpine Signals for a little over $300 million, picking up some expertise in low-power WiFi and Bluetooth.

2008 年,Silicon Labs以大約8,000 萬美元價格收購Integration Associates,取得一些短距無線技術。2017年,該公司以大約2.8億美元價格收購了Sigma Designs,基本上獲得了對Z-Wave無線協議的控制權。去年它以略高於3億美元的價格收購了Redpine Signals,取得了一些在低功耗Wi-Fi和藍牙方面的專業技術。

It was all in the service of making itself into one of the go-to companies for IoT silicon. It was a path laid out over 10 years ago by Tyson Tuttle and his Silicon Labs colleagues. For the last 10 years, Tuttle has led the company as CEO. We talked to Tuttle on this program a few months back about the company’s divestiture of its Industrial & Automation unit, which it sold to Skyworks. When Tuttle announced last week that he’d be relinquishing the reins at Silicon Labs, we gave him a jingle to ask him back to talk about his career and about the development of the Internet of Things — which was still more of a concept than a market when Silicon Labs decided to bet its existence on it.

這一切都是為了讓公司在IoT晶片領域佔據主導地位,也是Tyson Tuttle與他Silicon Labs的同事們在10多年前選擇的道路。在過去10年,Tuttle擔任CEO領導公司,我們在幾個月前該公司將工業與車用業務出售給Skyworks時,才在這個節目中與Tuttle聊過,而當Tuttle一宣佈他將交棒在Silicon Labs的領導位置,我們馬上邀他回來談談他的生涯規劃以及對物聯網發展的看法──畢竟當Silicon Labs決定孤注一擲IoT時,該名詞還更多只是一個概念,尚未形成市場。

BRIAN SANTO: I wanted to see if we could maybe just start at the beginning. If we could get your view of where you saw the IoT when you first started. And maybe you can bring us to where do you think you’re leaving it.

Brian Santo:我想看看我們能是否就從頭開始,請您聊聊一開始是從哪裡看到IoT,然後可以告訴我們你認為到了哪裡是要離開的時候?

TYSON TUTTLE: Yeah, well, in 20, oh, probably about 2010, we had… Silicon Labs was founded in 1996, and we went public in 2000. And did a lot of hit products and a lot of different areas. We had modems, we worked on some stuff for mobile handsets, we ended up selling that business in 2007. But had done a lot of really pioneering work in the integration of RF and mixed signal into standard CMOS and using digital techniques and applied that to a bunch of different areas: radio tuners and TV tuners and timing chips for high speed communications. So a lot of different components.

Tyson Tuttle:是…嗯…在20,喔,大概是2010年,我們…Silicon Labs是在1996年成立,於2000年上市,曾做過很多熱門產品、涉足很多不同的領域。我們有數據機,我們為手機做了一些東西,但最終於2007年賣掉了相關業務。但Silicon Labs在將RF和混合訊號整合到標準CMOS上,以及將數位技術應用於一系列不同領域:無線電調諧器、電視調諧器以及用於高速通訊的時序晶片方面產出很多開創性成果,有很多不同的零組件。

I liken this to… the industry, when we started was like a big apple tree. And you could just go pluck a big apple off the tree, and crank that product out and get a big hit. And over time, those apples got higher up in the tree, and they got smaller. And also, when you’re a startup, everything is growth. But when you reach middle age, you’ve got some things coming down and something’s coming up. And as the industry matured, and it wasn’t just about integration and CMOS anymore, it was about having a larger portfolio, and we were diversifying, but we found ourselves in a mode where we weren’t growing as fast as we wanted to. And also saw down the road that you really had to get into a situation where you can control the integration path and control a system in order to have long-term sustainability.

我將這個產業比喻為一棵大蘋果樹,起初可以輕易摘下一個大蘋果,打造出產品並廣受市場歡迎,但隨著時間推移,樹上的蘋果不但很高而且變得更小。當你還是一家新創公司,一切都在成長;但是當你邁入「中年」,會遭遇市場的起起落落,而隨著產業成熟,只有整合與CMOS技術是不夠的,需要擁有更廣泛的產品組合。我們也嘗試多角化經營,不過發現自己的成長速度不如預期,也意識到必須掌控整合的途徑與一套系統,才能實現長期的永續發展。

So we really sat down as a team and thought about what are the areas over the next decade or two decades… so this was around 2010. I had moved from a product role into CTO at that point. And we wanted to think about… wireless communications had been one of our areas, and at that point PCs and handsets were connected up. But we saw that there were more and more things getting connected up. And when I started talking to the board and the team about IoT, it’s like, Well, what’s that?

於是在2010年左右…當時我從產品部門的職位接任技術長,我們整個團隊一起坐下來思考,未來十年或二十年,公司該往什麼領域發展?無線通訊一直是我們擅長的領域之一,那時候PC和手機已經連結在一起,我們看到越來越多的東西都在相互連結。而當我開始跟董事會以及團隊談到IoT,就像是…蛤,那是蝦米?

We did a lot of thinking about how are devices going to get hooked up? And ultimately, a lot of these are microcontroller-based. And we saw that billions and trillions of devices are going to get hooked up over time.

各種裝置會如何連結在一起?我們做了很多思考;終究那些裝置很多都是以微控制器為基礎。而我們預見隨著時間推移,幾十億甚至上兆裝置都將連結起來。

And it wasn’t just a chip. It was a broad range of applications, thousands of applications of this technology, where there’s an SOC at the heart, and you need a series of SOC s, depending on the application.

那不只是一顆晶片,還涉及非常廣泛的應用,這種技術會有數千種應用,以一顆SoC為核心;而取決於具體應用,你會需要一系列SoC。

BRIAN SANTO: I was gonna say. I mean, when you say you went to the board and said IoT is gonna be big. There’s no such thing as the IoT really, when you’re creating a product roadmap. There’s a bunch of potential things at that point, right?

Brian Santo:我想說…我的意思是,說你去了董事會報告IoT會變得很大,但實際上當你在打造產品藍圖時,實際上還沒有IoT那樣的東西;在當時有很多有潛力的東西,對吧?

TYSON TUTTLE: Yeah, we had up until that point not really taken a lot of market risk. We would go into an existing market with a better mousetrap and then take share. And this was kind of the first time when we leaned forward and said, okay, we know that things are going to get hooked up. And then you got to figure out how you’re going to address that market. How do you address all these variety of applications with a common platform.

Tyson Tuttle:是的,在那之前我們沒有真正承擔過很大的市場風險。我們會用更好的產品進入一個現有市場並取得市佔率。那可以說是第一次,我們傾身向前說,好吧,我們知道各種東西會連結在一起。然後你得搞清楚你要如何著墨那個市場,如何以一個通用平台來因應所有不同的應用。

If you think about things like FPGAs or microcontrollers in general, you’re going after a very broad market, and microcontrollers sometimes would have a wireless component to them or something like that. But if you really want to be at the heart of these IoT devices, you’ve got to really integrate all the pieces. You got to integrate the wireless as well as the microcontroller. And then you’ve got to have software, all the protocols. You got to support Bluetooth and WiFi and mesh networking and a lot of proprietary protocols.

如果你想的是諸如FPGA 或一般微控制器這樣的東西,你追逐的就是一個非常廣闊的市場,而且微控制器有時會附帶無線元件或類似的東西。但如果你真的想成為IoT裝置的核心,就必須真正整合所有元件;你得整合無線和微控制器,還要有軟體和所有通訊協議,並支援藍牙、Wi-Fi、網狀網路以及許多專有通訊協議。

In a handset, you’ve got a number of wireless, depending on WiFi or Bluetooth or the cellular technology. But in IoT, there’s a whole different variety of things. So you’ve got a real matrix of functionality and wireless protocols that you need to support.

在一支手機裡,會有許多無線技術,如Wi-Fi、藍牙或蜂巢式技術。但IoT涉及各式各樣的東西,你得有一個提供所需支持、實際的功能與無線通訊協議矩陣。

So we developed a multi-protocol platform where you can support all of these wireless protocols with the same silicon and a number of different devices that would run the same software framework and development tools to help customers get those to market. We added security and machine learning and a lot of those things that are now getting integrated into the chip. And saw the proliferation of these devices in the market.

因此我們開發了一個多協議平台,可以用相同的晶片支援所有無線協議,各種不同的裝置可以執行相同的軟體框架和開發工具,協助客戶進入市場。隨後我們又添加了安全性和機器學習,還有很多我們現在整合到晶片裡的東西。而我們也看到那些裝置在市場上激增。

So when we started out, our business was really just a microcontroller business about maybe $100 million at that point. And we did a series of acquisitions to bring in talent and technology into the team. We invested money, we actually took the profitability of the company down to be able to make the investments that were required. We transferred a lot of resources from other groups into this. And it became the bulk of our R&D activity over the course of the last 10 years. And this year, we’ll end the year over $650 million in that business with 30% growth in IoT, and really well set up for next year and the following year.

一開始我們實際上只有一個微控制器業務,當時營收規模約1億美元。後來我們進行了一連串收購,為團隊帶來人才和技術,我們投入資金,實際上是降低了公司的獲利能力來投資那些我們收購的業務。我們從其他部門調集了很多資源投入這個(IoT)領域;在過去 10 年,我們的研發活動也是以它為大宗。今年,我們預計IoT業務的年度營收將超過6.5億美元,成長30%,而且已經為明年和未來做好了準備。

And then when we got to 2020, and IoT had kind of reached this critical mass of growth, and it had gotten to the point where it was profitable, we made a decision as a company to divest essentially our legacy business, but our component business. We had very good vectors and electric vehicles and automotive infotainment and in high-speed communications, but those businesses were starting to move apart. And one was a component business, different supply chain, different customer base, and then IoT really now starting to get critical mass and escape velocity. And the thinking that that the infrastructure business would be in better hands with a company that was really focused on more component type things. So Sky Works was a great partner for that.

當我們進入2020年,IoT業務已經達到了一個成長的臨界點,開始盈利;我們決定讓公司剝離傳統業務,我們的零組件業務。我們有非常好的導航、電動車、車用資通訊娛樂、高速通訊方案,但那些業務開始各走各的路,一個零組件業務有不同的供應鏈、不同的客戶群,而當時IoT真的開始取得關鍵成長與速度。我們的想法是該基礎建設業務交給真正專注於零組件的公司會更好,因此Skyworks成為理想的夥伴。

We got a good value for it. Closed that deal I guess a week and a half ago or two weeks ago today, have a fair amount of cash in the bank now. So a bright future on IoT, but it’s been definitely a journey to get IoT into this point where we now have over 20,000 customers and we’re building our third generation platform. And it’s great to see the progress that we’ve made.

我們獲得了不錯的價值,該交易已經完成,取得了一筆相當大規模的現金。因此IoT的前景是光明的,但讓IoT發展到目前真的是一段漫長的旅程。我們現在有超過2萬名客戶,而且正在打造第三代平台,能看到我們取得的成就真的非常棒。

BRIAN SANTO: Pursuant to what you just told me, at a certain point, you’re looking at the IoT, you figured out what the IoT is gonna need: microcontroller with a multi-platform support for all sorts of different conductivity. But it’s still early in the day. And you must be already anticipating helping potential customers out with the development kits that you were talking about.

Brian Santo:根據您剛才說的,在某個特地的時間點,您專注於IoT並釐清IoT要的是什麼──具備支援各種不同連結性平台的微控制器;但當時仍在早期發展階段,您一定已經預料到能夠用你們討論的開發套件來幫助潛在客戶。

And you said, We actually took the profitability of the company down a little bit so that we can make the investments that were necessary. That’s one of those lines that I don’t want to just skip over. I got to imagine that somewhere or other there were some investors that you probably had to convince that taking the profitability down was something you might have had to convince them about. Was that a complicated sell?

還有您說到公司實際上是降低了一點獲利能力,才能做必要的投資。這是我不想錯過的幾條線,我想像在某些領域,你們應該得說服某些投資人降低獲利標準。那是很困難的推銷嗎?

TYSON TUTTLE: Well, when I took over a CEO in April of 2012, we announced that we were getting out of the handset touch business, and that we were going to move our focus over to IoT, and we tried to define what the IoT was, and certainly what the opportunity is. And at that point, telegraph that we were going to be investing in this area. And shortly thereafter, we acquired Ember. They were the leading provider of Zigby, which is a mesh networking technology.

Tyson Tuttle:當我在2012年4月接任CEO時,我們宣佈將脫離手機觸控業務,把焦點轉向IoT;當然我們也嘗試定義什麼是IoT,以及商機何在。當時我們透露將投資這個領域,隨後不久收購了網狀網路技術Zigbee的領先供應商Ember。

BRIAN SANTO: Right, right!

Brian Santo:沒錯,沒錯!

TYSON TUTTLE: One of the hard things about being a CEO is, you have a lot of different stakeholders, right? You’ve got the board of directors, you’ve got customers, you’ve got your employee base, all the investors and everything. And we were very transparent about what the strategy was. We were going to de-emphasize certain product areas, we were going to go through a series of acquisitions. Part of that was going to be to invest to win over the long term, and staying focused on that long-term vision and what it’s going to take and to continue to talk about what the opportunity is and measuring progress along the way.

Tyson Tuttle:擔任CEO最難的一件事,是你有很多不同的股東,是吧?你有董事會、有客戶、有員工…所有的投資人以及各種事情。而我們在策略上是非常透明的──我們將淡出特定產品領域,我們將進行一系列收購;其中有一部分的投資是將贏得長期利益,並且持續專注於長期願景,還有將採取什麼行動,繼續討論商機所在,以及在途中衡量進展。

It takes a firm hand on the wheel and some intestinal fortitude from time to time when maybe that market doesn’t develop quite as quick or some of those things.

 

當市場發展並不那麼快,或存在其他阻礙時,會需要一顆堅定的心和勇氣。

There was a strong conviction on the part of the board and the team that this was a huge opportunity in the future. And that we had what it took to be able to win. And we understood that you needed to simplify your offering to be able to support customers, you needed to make investments in the platform to be able to have a complete offering to be able to address as much of the opportunity as possible. But there was a strong conviction on the team to be able to set that vision and people understanding the value that that’s creating. It helps to improve people’s lives. It helps to make the economy more productive, it helps to make products more functional.

所幸董事會及公司團隊堅信那在未來是龐大商機,而且我們擁有獲勝的必要條件。我們了解要簡化所提供的方案以支援客戶,需要在平台上投資,以擁有完善的方案並盡可能著墨最多的商機。我們的團隊堅信可以實現願景,人們也了解正在創造的價值,它將改善大眾的生活,助力提升經濟生產力,並使產品更具功能性。

You example after example of customers embedding technology, embedding connectivity into their device for the first time. And then creating new business models around that and new revenue streams. We got to the point where it’s like, it was just example after example of if you don’t add connectivity and connect up your device or your network or be able to leverage IoT technologies, it was kind of a race to the bottom.

我們舉出一個又一個的客戶案例,首度將技術與連結性嵌入他們的裝置,然後圍繞著那些創造新的商業模式與營收來源;我們達到了某個地步,像是一個又一個的案例,如果你沒有添加連結性,連結你的裝置或網路,或是利用IoT技術,就變成一種逐底競賽(比爛)。

We all expect our phones to continue to update and add new connectivity, and you think about all the different things that that enables in our lives, well, that’s the same thing for a light bulb or for a power tool or for an asset tag. Or in a retail environment or in a factory environment or in smart cities. It’s really one of the key drivers of productivity improvements, and you think about the things that are going on in portable medical. Continuous blood glucose monitoring, and identifying disease. You think about during the pandemic of doing tracking and tracing of measurements and being able to geolocate. Because a device can talk to a phone or it can talk to a network and be able to communicate data and to adapt, and then become part of larger applications

我們都希望手機能夠持續更新並增加新的連結性,而對於你想得到的我們日常生活中所有不同的東西,包括燈泡、電動工具,甚至財產標籤來說,那也是同一件事。而在零售環境、工廠環境或者智慧城市中,那會是實際上提高生產力的關鍵驅動力之一。你可能也會想到可攜式醫療領域正在發生的事情,例如持續監測血糖、辨識疾病,還有在新冠疫情大流行期間進行追蹤、量測,以及地理定位;因為裝置可以跟手機或者與網路連結,能夠進行資料通訊並不斷適應,繼而成為更大應用的一部分。

There’s a mission. Our goal is to connect up the world. To build a smarter, more connected world, and that delivers tangible value. And when you see that tangible value, you know you’re on the right track.

這是一個使命,我們的目標是連結世界,建立一個更智慧、更互聯的世界並提供有形價值。而當你看到了該有形價值,你就會知道自己走了正確的路。

BRIAN SANTO: In your mind, what’s a reasonable way of slicing and dicing this market of interconnected networks? Whether it might be the home, the factory, the smart city? Maybe xR, VR, AR everywhere? How do you conceptualize that? What’s the philosophy of figuring out what’s what?

TYSON TUTTLE: This gets into corporate strategy and looking at… if we’re, call it a $700 billion company, and we’re going to a billion and two billion and four billion, you don’t have to do everything.

BRIAN SANTO: Right.

TYSON TUTTLE: And so our view is that this is a machine-to-machine model, and that our ultimate goal is to do the complete integration at the far edge. And you’re going to have things that look like mobile phones, and the folks that do mobile phones are going to do those pretty well. Companies like Qualcomm.

So it’s going to run Linux, and it’s going to have gigabytes of memory. And it probably has to be plugged in, like a voice assistant or something. Those are IoT devices, for sure. But our view was that it is an embedded application. So microcontroller, not microprocessor, where we are running a real time operating system, not Linux or Android.

We optimized our platform for low energy consumption. So most of these devices would be running off a battery. And kind of our benchmark on that is that you need to run off of a coin cell for 10 years, a watch battery.

Most of the devices are going to be low duty rate, low duty cycle, and just wake up. They may be monitoring the environment every 10 minutes or every 20 minutes, or every time you open a door. Or on an energy meter, maybe you’re only measuring once a minute or once every 10 minutes. And that’s enough. It’s really command and control type networks that are going to be the proliferation of the majority of these devices.

You’re always going to have higher functionality devices. A car is an IoT device, too, right?

But in our view, it’s the far edge. And we believe that those have to be secure, they have to be updatable. They have to be smart. They have processing embedded and memory and power management and they have to operate on like very, very little energy.

And to be able to have as high of a functionality as possible. We’re doing a lot of work in machine learning and understanding how to integrate that type of technology in a power-efficient way to process sensor inputs.

You know, one of the most expensive parts of an IoT device is when you have to transmit information. So you want to make sure that you only do that when necessary. So that’s the way we define it. And it’s across the personal area networks that talk to your mobile phone, it’s across the local area networks that talk into, say, a gateway or something like that within your house or your factory, and also wide area networks to a certain degree.

There’s a place for 5G. We kind of decided that 5G was where we were going to draw the line and not go after the cellular carriers and go after that. And you just look at the size of these markets — the size of the WiFi market, the Bluetooth market, the mesh market, Z-Wave, and then all the proprietary standards. And we’re addressing a seven, $8 billion market going to a 10 to $15 billion market over the next five years. And now we’re focused purely on this IoT opportunity, which is, for me, the most exciting opportunity of my career so far.

And I’m even more optimistic now than I was a decade ago. A decade ago, it was like, Well, I think this is gonna happen. Now it’s like, I know this is happening.

BRIAN SANTO: So you’re retiring at the most exciting junction. Is that what you’re telling me?

TYSON TUTTLE: Well, yeah, actually. I started at the company when there were 10 employees. And I worked on the tape out of our first chip and our second chip and our third chip and our fourth chip. And built a couple of businesses here. And then have had the privilege of leading the company for the last 10 years in building up IoT to where it’s now achieved this critical mass. And you know, where we’re selling off the other part of the company.

We’ve been through this really remarkable corporate transformation. That involves people, right? It’s not just the leader, it’s the entire culture of the company. So it’s like, we’ve got this great situation where we’re now purely focused on something. We’ve got to optimize the company around that. And we’ve got a very capable team. After 24 years, I just turned 54, my daughter graduated from college and announced to me that she’s getting married. And in some ways, it’s like Silicon Labs has now graduated from IoT college. And it’s ready to go out in the world.

I have full confidence in Matt. Matt Johnson, our president, joined the company three years ago, came out of Freescale and NXP, worked across systems. Great communicator. The team loves him. He’s ready to take over.

BRIAN SANTO: He’s definitely gonna be the guy after you then.

TYSON TUTTLE: Yeah, yeah. So I’m finishing off through the remainder of the year, and announced that I’m going to be stepping down as CEO and Matt’s gonna be taken over in ’20. So I’ll finish up ’21 and Matt takes over in ’22, and I don’t think we’re gonna miss a step there.

Throughout my career, it’s been really important for me that I finish what I start, and I leave whatever project or whatever, in very good hands. I’ve used an analogy that you got to land the plane. My dad was a pilot, and so I think of things on those terms.

This is the right time for me to go out and start thinking about what’s next in my career. I get bored pretty quick. I’m not actually retiring to the beach, because two days and I’m ready for something new. And I don’t play golf. So that’s gonna be plenty of interesting work.

But after 24 years, it’s time to try something else. I’m joining the technical board, so I’m going to step back onto the technical advisory board, and continue to work with the engineers. But from a day to day perspective, passing things off, and it’s a good time to do that. I’m excited.

BRIAN SANTO: I noticed you are still going to be involved with a bunch of boards, you’d mentioned in your blog. Do you anticipate continuing to monitor and help forward what’s going on in the IoT? Are there other elements of engineering or engineering education that are important to you that you expect you’ll be pursuing?

TYSON TUTTLE: Yeah. I’ve been involved in the community a lot. And the involvement of Silicon Labs into the community. And being on top of policy has been something that I’ve really enjoyed. I’m continuing to remain engaged with my alma mater — so Johns Hopkins and UCLA — in terms of education. We’ll see what comes along from an industry standpoint. I think that certainly the IoT market, but the semiconductor industry in general has a lot of challenges and a lot of growth ahead.

And so there’s a lot of aspects to our industry that I’ve spent my entire career. And there’s other pieces to look at as well. So looking forward to having time to thinking about that. I don’t have anything specific in mind.

I’ve been involved a lot in policy around the Austin area in terms of transportation and homelessness and racial justice and social equity issues.

I joined the board at the Dallas Federal Reserve Bank at the beginning of last year, which has been a pretty interesting place to really understand how monetary policy and fiscal policy work and sometimes doesn’t work. And what a lot of the global pressures are on our society and on our economy.

So there’s a lot a lot of interesting problems to work on in the world, and I’m looking forward to the chance to spend a little bit more time on that kind of stuff, too.

BRIAN SANTO: That’s pretty cool! When you walk into those situations, do you feel like you’re wearing your engineering hat, or your management hat? Or engineering hat and management tee-shirt, I guess. Do you feel that an engineering point of view is… I don’t see that as something I often see in policy discussions, and I’m wondering to what extent you bring your experience to some of these endeavors you’re talking about.

TYSON TUTTLE: I was born, an engineer. I like to joke that I came out of the womb as an engineer. When I was a kid, I took all sorts of stuff apart, and in high school, learned how to put some of it back together. But fundamentally, I’ve always really enjoyed problem solving and the scientific process, and then bringing teams together and understanding what problems are worthwhile to solve, right?

There’s a lot of interesting stuff to work on. But you really want to see something either succeed in the market or to change the world or, you know, to change the way people live or improve the economy. And those are not just semiconductors. That’s one component. But if you look at affordability, for instance. This is a multi-faceted policy that comes into that.

I think that you can apply problem-solving principles in building a vision and building a mission, and executing on plans and project management and understanding finance and understanding markets. And being able to steer things in the right direction. I think that in a lot of ways, I think engineering principles and problem solving could be more applied to more things. And we’ll see if that’s possible. Certainly the experience that I’ve had at Silicon Labs and in terms of strategy and project execution and building teams and working with some just fantastic people. Hopefully that’s an element of whatever I ended up doing going forward.

BRIAN SANTO: That was Silicon Labs CEO Tyson Tuttle. Visit this episode’s web page for a link to the blog in which he announces his retirement. Look on the left for a link to the story.

And that wraps this episode of the Weekly Briefing. Thank you for listening.

This podcast is available on all the major podcast platforms, but if you get to us via our web site at eetimes.com/podcasts you’ll find a transcript along with links to the stories we mentioned.

The Weekly Briefing is produced by EE Times. It was Engineered by Taylor Marvin and Greg McRae at Coupe Studios. The Segment Producer was Kaitie Huss.

I’m Brian Santo. See you next week.

 

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