As a savvy EE I strongly recommend expanding the root cause search for the 787 battery problem beyond the batteries themselves. The root cause could be an unintended operating mode in charger or protection circuits.
In the mid 1990s, a significant portion of the analog IC industry began experimenting with various bonus schemes to improve new-product time to market and stock performance. But analog ICs are cantankerous beasts and multiple revisions for new designs proved necessary regardless of the incentives. The net result was pressure to cheat by pushing defective products to market for bonuses.
I was employed in a new-product verification role at the time and was often the last line of defense in quality regarding bugs. There was begging, scheming, falsification of test data and outright threats to my employment made to get defective products past me. And I was terminated in retaliation for standing my ground on quality.
Since then, I've seen an industry-wide loss of new-product bug testing talent. And I've seen many bugs making it to market. For example, one analog IC had two battery chargers for Lithium-Ion cells. One of the chargers had a floating node that caused the charger's current to very slowly ramp from microamperes to amperes over the course of hours despite the charger being off. That IC is not in the 787 because it failed on the market due to other bugs and was obsoleted. But its a good example illustrating my advice.
Floating nodes and such problems are very difficult to find in analog ICs because they exhibit themselves in an intermittent, non-deterministic way. The one I found was only caught because I was paying close attention while characterizing other attributes of the new-product. The initial symptoms were so subtle that 999/1000 engineers would have missed them and I almost did. There was only a slow monotonic increase in the values of the lowest digits of the 6 digit DMM. But I was the best of the best in my trade at that time and it was a lucky day.
Best wishes in fixing the unfortunate problem in your otherwise fine new plane.
Excellent description! So basically, the new Maxim is a Machiavellian sausage machine wrapped in blue velvet that grinds employees up and spits them out in the service of quarterly results.
I've been through that before. Previously, I brought in about $20M/y revenue potential in design wins in 6 months customer service. I did it profitably by being 7x faster than the big names in Apps. The reward was scathing ridicule and termination. May a Guatemala style sink-hole open up and suck Maxim into Hades.
This focus on quarterly results to serve the investors is a disease in American management culture. A company makes money by serving customers. Investors make money when customers are served. This focus on placing shareholders first is like driving a car backwards down HW280; Its destructively counterproductive. Those who believe that is the way to run a company are idiots.
Good to be back! A couple of people have tried to convince me that things have changed and that I should give Maxim a second chance. But the mistake of choosing Maxim as an employer came at a very high price. And there is no basis for confidence that I would not be repeating that mistake. Presently, it has all the appeal of walking into an S&M gay bar on "pride day" smeared in KY Jelly.
The basic idea is that getting stock value to double every couple of years requires corresponding exponential growth in revenue. And exponential growth in revenue in analog is tied to exponential growth of new products. But everybody forgets that this formula only works if
1. The products are unique enough they increase the size of the revenue pie instead of just dividing it into smaller pieces.
2. Customers can actually find the products rather than getting buried in them.
3. Everybody else isn't playing the same game.
4. Creative talent is retained for the next generation of unique products.
5. An inflection point isn't crossed where diseconomies of scale overcome economies of scale.
6. There are no physical limits to exponential growth (size of planet, etc.).
Jack was able to pull-it off though the latter 90's and then it all fell apart after his founding crew retired. Success bred arrogance and pathological greed in the new-generation, socially immature management. The culture of the company changed from constructive collaboration to totalitarian control. And those rising in power were too adept at making up bullcrap to justify why it had to be that way -they lied about everything.
My department wasn't too bad until after Fullagar retired. Fullagar did a pretty good job of maintaining professionalism by keeping the rats under control. After he left, it rotted into a dung-heap sweatshop from hell. To this day, I regret that "Strong Smell" is not an option in the Sentiment Disclosure.
Whats the beef on the rebranding? Is there constructive change or is this a slick PR snowjob? Did Tunc find Jesus or did Maxim's reputation for employee abuse become so acrimonious that they couldn't draw talent? I can't decide whether to applaud or puke.
MXIM is almost back to where it was when I left.
So much for delusions of perpetual exponential growth.
My former colleagues and the insipid finance flunkies that follow them failed to consider one fundamental fact of positive feedback systems; They limit -typically by clamping to a constrained resource, inefficiencies of size or catastrophic self-destruction.
Maybe each of us should take turns playing "shill of the day".
Here's one for yeh; Investing in MXIM vs. lighting money on the BBQ? Had to think about it a bit. But definitely, I'd say MXIM is the better of the two investments.
Reminds me of the time I told BMo about "Hell Dollars" In a fit of mischief, he bought a couple packs and started handing them out at work which kinda freaked out people of a certain ethnicity.
Maxim is living proof that fools never learn. I remember being on the phone hotline in the 90s receiving frantic calls from desperate customers with lines down, searching for parts.
One more thing, the standard operating procedure of every tyrannical organization is to slur it's critics and victims as crazies. The Soviets did it, the Chinese do it
and Maxim does this sort of thing as well.
If you happen to know the poor guy, tell him to keep his eyes open. WBRC is notorious for KGB style post-employment shenanigans. Corporate spooks followed a buddy of mine around Dallas. I had similar experiences. At one point, I had suspicions that my personal email was being intercepted. The typical way that is done is for spooks to call the ISP with claims of a "lost password"; Its called "pretexting".
FYI, here's a few interesting news stories on the general topic of corporate spookery...
Yah, everyone wants to put together the best team they can but those who overdo it deserve the docile, mindless sycophants they're stuck with.
What's with Wall Street's vapid fascination with "offshoring" anyway? It like the Finance pundits pursue this on a trite emotional level and are mentally incapable of thinking through the specific details of when it does and does not make business sense. If I ever suffer serious brain damage, maybe I should become a hedge fund manager.
Loss of humility is definitely a factor. Often, this and loss of ethics go hand in hand.
Unfortunately, the "business" people know zilch about operating a business too. The root problem seems to be lack of creativity and due diligence for growing their skills and insight beyond their immediate experience. I'm reminded of the "business" guy I brought in to help with my first startup. He had extreme difficulties with the concept of "lead time" because all his prior experience was in the restaurant industry. He failed to plan ahead to queue-in purchases for ensuring parts came in on time. He never understood that we couldn't cover shortages by just driving someplace and buying ICs like lettuce.
The ex design-manager VPs like Doluca and Henry (ADI) are a pretty good example. They never understand or respect the customer service side of the business, having no first hand experience. Tunc never understood the delays from customer service calls or respected my hard work to keep his projects on-schedule. Repeatedly, his people suggested that I should have blown-off the customers for their pet design projects.
Jack used to call NSM the "sleepy company". But the funny thing was that over time, as Maxim became larger, they became more and more alike. I suspect its a fundamental management challenge to keep a company from turning into a brontosaurus as it becomes large.
Remember; "up up up"?
MXIM reminds me of the nuclear facility I used to work for with the building that went many stories underground. The elevator had a button for each floor... and then one below them all that pointed down. ;-)
Stock growth is driven by revenue growth. Revenue growth is driven by viable new products backed by solid manufacturing operations. But a company can't maintain a track record of viable new products or operations by destroying talent for political expediency.