61) Not an iPhone or Even a Pentium, but in 1989, a “Market-Maker”

The Company, Opportunity and Value Proposition – Analog Devices Incorporated – ADI

Analog Devices designs, manufacturers and markets analog, mixed-signal and digital processing integrated circuits. With its headquarters in Norword, Massachusetts, rich pedigree, billions in sales and world-wide reputation for excellence, it is considered a top-tier semiconductor engineering and scientific juggernaut. All of this richness was lost on me, a marginally credentialed technology worker with a very bad recent track record.

Hey North Minneapolis, How Do You Like Me Now?

None of this mattered. I had aced my interview with Dr. Payne, had passed my test with the other members of the engineering team at the Wilmington, Massachusetts design facility and was in possession of a starting date and compensation package document. After making the trip to Boston to begin my new job, I found a luxury-class GM automobile waiting for me at the airport, which I drove to the hotel room (semi-luxurious) where, as a new employee with Analog Devices Incorporated, I would be staying until I could find suitable housing for the family. ADI was giving me the executive treatment – full-on.

Somehow, my references had apparently all checked-out. So at least that was solid.

And my little foundation was in place but something was nagging me. I had been warned of a steep-learning curve by the team but – as with any new job – I didn’t know yet what my project team would actually expect of me. A wisp of uncertainty crept in. But I was too green to be outright scared. What I didn’t know would’ve shocked the folks in my group. Nor did I know what I didn’t know. So my self-confidence was as high as ever. The fate of Nadine, Jenner and Stevie squarely in the palm of my hands, Nadine and I made plans for her to fly to Massachusetts to find housing.

ADI – A Compassionate, Galaxy-Class Engineering Firm

In my favor and what I didn’t know at the time, was that a business that is elite in its industry almost always employs people who excel recruiting, training and retaining individuals it values. Analog Devices showed early signs of treating its employees with compassion and integrity. For example, rather than members of my new team tasking me with layout work, I was given plenty of time to learn the systems, tools, processes and key people in our organization. So by the time I received my first assignment – except for normal project specification questions – I was completely comfortable.

First of its  Kind

Our group at ADI would be developing the world’s first device to measure acceleration – an accelerometer, and put it on a tiny chip. Okay, I know sooner or later everybody gets to design the first something that turns out to be cool. And the truth is, circuits that measured and reacted to acceleration were not new. But small ones were. Fitting one on a thumbnail size chip would be a market maker. That is to say, if successful, our new product – which was anticipated to be 5 – years in development and be used in airbags – would save lives in automobile crashes and make the company and others, multiple millions of dollars.

Have you ever moved your family to a distant work opportunity and felt the enormous pressure that rides on your success or failure?

Next: We move to Massachusetts.

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