Wild River: Simplifying SI so Engineers Can Focus on Design

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Shaughnessy: Do you see any trends? Any changes in your segment?

Neves: Yes. In a lot of the presentations, I'm still seeing a lot of lousy launch designs. I'm still seeing a lot of basic mistakes in signal integrity and I'm still seeing people who are overlooking the issues of causality when they're de-embedding. My company's job security looks like it's going to be insured for a long time from what I'm seeing. Things are improving in the industry, but people are still making basic mistakes, and they're still taking on unacceptable levels of risk based upon how fast they need to turn things.

Shaughnessy: You mentioned that you're so busy now that you almost don't have enough manpower to get everything done?

Neves: Managing and running a small company is extremely challenging.

Shaughnessy: How many people do you have on staff?

Neves: We have five people right now. We're going to be trying to hire more this next year. To hire people you need money. To make money, you need resources and people.

Shaughnessy: The chicken or the egg.

Neves: And then you have the challenges of a tax code that's not very beneficial for the small company. You have the difficulties of legal and purchasing groups within organizations that are inflexible.

They like to kick the little guy. The world needs to understand that the economic lifeblood of our country is small business. These big acquisitions are going to cause a lot of people to lose their jobs. That's a contraction. The small business is an expansion. I really think that people in this country need to start thinking about being motivated to help small businesses grow. If you go to Malaysia, which we did, and teach a class, the Malaysian government will give you $14,000 to teach the class, along with the other companies that were there. In India and Malaysia, a lot of these companies are very motivated to boost their high-tech, and their tax code reflects that.

We're started selling internationally recently. We just sold one of our platforms to IBM Zurich. We're doing business in Japan, and we're slowly becoming an international company. Things are looking good.

Shaughnessy: Sounds like a company that Mentor or Cadence would want to buy.

Neves: Oh wow. I'd love that. Hey, Mentor folks (laughs)! We'll see. We're kind of in a niche space. We're probably not a viral software company, but that would sound interesting.

Shaughnessy: You could buy a nice guitar, a top-of-the-line Taylor.

Neves: That's the dream. It's funny because I run the company, but then I'm driving down in my Ford Expedition with a carpet on the roof for our trade show booth because it saves us money. We're always cost-constrained. We're always trying to do things so we can move things forward in terms of cash flow management.

Shaughnessy: Have you seen any good papers at DesignCon?

Neves: Yeah, the COM (channel operation margin) paper that I did with Mentor Graphics. The room was standing room only. Vladimir [Dmitriev Zdorov, principal engineer with Mentor] just knocked the entire room on its ass.

Shaughnessy: What was the paper called?

Neves: “BER- and COM-Way Channel Compliance Evaluation: What are the Sources of Difference?” He basically said that COM doesn't work. Having said that, com has channel operating margin. It's a way of looking at SerDes. We're looking at ways of doing and we're improving SerDes testing with our serial link products. We're introducing a new product called the Crosstalk Platform. The Crosstalk Platform is going to completely change how people do crosstalk testing with loss and crosstalk testing of SerDes. We're looking at everybody's assumption of how crosstalk works, and the simplifications, breaking down. For both 32 gig NRZ and 56 gig PAM4, which is the hot new thing. We're seeing a lot of 56 gig PAM4. You seeing the same thing?

Shaughnessy: I have heard a lot about PAM4 at DesignCon. Well, it sounds like you guys are on the right track. Thanks for your time, Al. I appreciate it.

Neves: Thank you, Andy.





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