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Monday, June 30, 2008

Nanosolar Yahoo News Group

I recently came across this video from Nanosolar where it was posted on YouTube.

What was surprising to me was not the use of YouTube or the video (it's pretty bad sound), but that it was distributed through the "Nanosolar Friends" News Group on Yahoo. Subscribers to the News Group get updates on Nanosolar through Yahoo emails, which are often authored by the CEO.

There are over 48,000 members to this news group!

I am a member of a few News groups, such as Seirra Summits, but I have not seen the news ggroup system so well applied to business. Maybe I should start one on SEMI?

ST- NXP Wireless Needs A New Name

Nice little riff from EETimes on the ST- NXP Wireless joint venture.

Perhaps we should move to a maore mangeable naming convention, something like ST-NXP 1.0, or better yet ST-Philips 2.0.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

OLED Display Video

The global organic light-emitting diode (OLED) display industry is expected to exceed $4.5 billion by 2010, up from $2.7 billion next year, according to a recent report by Global Industry Analysts

The Active-Matrix OLED (AMOELD) displays will represent the burgeoning segment in the total OLED display market. Revenues from this segment are expected to overtake passive-matrix segment and will achieve a share of about 84% of the total OLED market value by 2010. If you’ve ever seen one these displays you understand the optimism. These displays are cool!

Here’s a well done technical video from the Fruanhofer for Applied Polymer Research.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Inside the "Best of West"

It has been an interesting experience organizing and managing the Best of West awards program at SEMICON West.

The program was developed to replace the Technology Innovation Showcase award program that we have been running for the last 4 years. The TIS was a good program that focused exclusively on new companies and involved a booth fee to participate in the “showcase” portion of the program. The TIS Committee worked hard to find and nurture a small group of entrants every year and the winners generally received some good visibility for their innovations.

But the program did not grow and it was a struggle to find entrants. New product introductions had to be the centerpiece of SEMICON West and we needed a big, loud, prestigious vehicle to support our attendees and exhibitors.

After talking with exhibitors, the TIS committee, and influential buyers in the industry, we decided to create a more conventional trade show award program, the Best of West Award.

Key aspects of the new award program were: free to all exhibitors, prestigious judges panel, open selection criteria (based on financial impact on the industry, engineering or scientific achievement, or societal impact and benefits) and special encouragement and consideration given to start-up and smaller companies. The process was structured to recognize all finalists prior to SEMICON West to achieve maximum publicity and pre-show value, and select winner(s) at the show where demonstrations or detailed questions on the submission could be answered.

Some of the organizing issues we faced were judge selection and the judging process. We wanted to assemble a diverse set of judges including top technology leaders at device makers. We also wanted to involve academia. Fortunately, Bernie Meyerson quickly singed up giving the program instant credibility. Our editor friends at the leading trade journals all agreed to participate, even though many of them had their own award programs. One of the great advantages we had with the trade journal participation was that it gave us nearly automatic coverage of all the segments (we hoped and encouraged test specialists to select test submissions, packaging editors to select packaging, etc.). This expectation held true as the finalist selections had a wide diversity and represented a broad set of technologies in the industry. The toughest group to recruit was academia, but Godfrey Mungel and Dave Parent joined on and our panel was set.

Concerning the judge process, one of the biggest issues was the desire to balance the need for thorough technical information on each entry without overwhelming our judges with a mountain of work. As it turned out, it was difficult balance. We had about 40 entries, each one consisting of a 750-word long description, a 300-word summary and associated charts and photos. The judges’ document turned out to be over 200 pages, 2-inches thick and about 10 megabytes of data. We will probably charge a fee next year for the award entries to limit unnecessary submissions.

Another challenge was the restriction of entries to new products and technologies introduced for the first time after May 1. Several exhibitors didn’t like this restriction, some wanted non-disclosure agreements, and many wanted extensions to the submission deadline. Our members aren’t shy about strongly pushing their opinions, but we felt our process was appropriate to meet our objectives.

Another challenge in the judging progress was the requirement to attend teleconferences where each judge had to explain or advocate their selection to the other judges. This was required to best utilize and leverage the different areas of expertise on the panel. When the choice is narrowed down to just finalists, judges are going to have to consider entries outside their areas of expertise and we needed to find a way to support this. Fortunately, the judges’ discussions on the entries went amazingly well. They were able to share their perspectives effectively and I think the entire panel is well informed about the merits of each finalist. Our academic participants were especially articulate in describing their impressions (I expected the journalists to be most verbose and the customers most definitive).

Almost all of the submissions were well-written and of high quality. A few submissions included promotional copy and graphics that generated a couple of negative comments from the judges.

I am absolutely thrilled with the selection of the finalists and know that any of them are worthy for the Best of West award. I know all the finalists are hugely regarded by the judges panel and are going to receive enormous visibility and prestige for their selection. For the good of West, our industry and the entrants, I hope they make boat load of money on their new products.

We will be making tweaks to next year’s program. If you have any suggestions on how we can make the Best of West program more successful, please let me know with a phone or call or email.

Friday, June 06, 2008

International Experiential Marketing Association

I recently came across a website for the International Experiential Marketing Association (IXMA). These folks are part of the wave of contemporary marketers who believe that traditional advertising and brand marketing that relies on soft messages and bulk impressions no longer work. People don’t believe in advertising and they expect your brand to look professional and be well executed. In their words, your customers “want respect, recognition and relevant communication, and they've indicated that the best way to give it to them is through experiences that are personally relevant, memorable, sensory, emotional and meaningful.”

I can’t help but agree with them.

Trade shows are an essential part of these critical customer experiences. They are dramatic demonstrations of how you listen, how you innovate, how you partner, and how you respect your customer. Too often at SEMICON events, this reflection isn’t a good one. Too often booths are set up to recreate a sales experience. Exbibitors have offices or meeting rooms and sales people ready to grab your hand and shake it out of your socket. They give away chotskes and throw parties. They use data sheets for graphics and they wait passively for a customer to stroll by so they can ambush them with a badge swipe or business card.

They don’t reflect leadership, they don’t reflect innovation or creativity, they don’t reflect customer interaction.

Today's customer wants to be involved in the marketing process by being engaged in a dialogue with you and your product. They want to be excited about your products and they want to see you excited about them. They are institutionally directed to commoditize your products, but emotionally they want to see exciting, rewarding, thoughtful points of differentiation.

The proponents of experiential marketing see it as a more holistic approach to the customer/brand relationship. They see it going way beyond traditional
feature-benefit methodology, engaging both rational and emotional sides of the customer.

Experiential marketing can be used in any medium, but in this industry SEMICON events afford the best scenario to create a fully immersive brand experience and platform for product differentiation. To fully leverage the SEMICON investment, exhibitors need to move beyond the customer “meet and greet” lead capture model and embrace the concepts of experiential marketing.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Life's a Marathon, Not a Sprint.

The San Diego Rock and Roll Marathon: 21,000 Runners, 20 Bands, 26.2 Miles

This was a tough race because of a shortened training cycle that was filled with trips to SEMICON Singapore, SEMICON China and the Strategic Business Conference. But I was reasonably successful in getting in the required miles on hotel treadmills and following my plan. My goal was 4:00. My time was 3:59. But most importantly I finished with an expectation that I will run another one (I have 2 more to go to have run every major marathon in California).

From the looks of this video, maybe I had too good a time running this race?