Saturday, August 21, 2004

TI is Revived by a Marketing Guy Chasing Technology

Every recent business article on Texas Instruments talks about the revival of the company thanks to its vision for the future of digital signal processing (DSP) chips for the cellphone. They realized that DSP chips could put amazing capabilities into a cellphone, partnered with Nokia to begin the transformation of the product, and launched themselves into the most powerful position in these chips.

Surely there was a technological brain behind this realization, someone who could see the power of a core product within TI and convince the CEO to pursue it. Surely? or Surely not? Articles in Business Week, Business 2.0, and the TI web site all credit a guy from Marketing and Sales with this revelation and the salvation of the company.

Richard Templeton entered the company through the sales department (though he did have a BS degree in EE). He rose to lead the semiconductor side of the business and leveraged the move into cellphone chips.

Where was the CTO, Chief Scientist, or Technical Director to inspire him, back him up, or put the vision in front of customers like Nokia? According to published history, there wasn't one. There seems to be no reference to such a person. Does this mean that a company does not need a CTO? Can you get a two-for by hiring a President/COO who has a technical background?

"Things that make you go hmmmm..."

Business 2.0 Article: What Works: Don't Mess With Texas Instruments

Business Week Article: A Talk with TI's Richard Templeton

TI Web Bio: Richard Templeton


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