June 2005

Lately there seems to be some consolidation in the industry. In 2004, Bookham closed the fab line that invented MMICs... Celeritek is sold. Analogics might soon go fabless... and there's still way too many GaAs fab lines out there. Seems to us that in five years, there might not be a foundry other than pure-play, with the exception that each defense electronics contractor is going to keep his own III-V group as a hobby shop, because the battle of the "mission systems integrators" will get bloody all the way down to the fab trenches, and there will always be "DARPA hard" projects to milk. Heck, even Boeing might have their own boutique fab, they own 1/3 of Hughes Research Labs, right? Let's start a rumor here right now, that in 2006 LockMart will have a nice fab center somewhere north of Dallas...

Anyhow, below we have compiled some things to look out for, in case your GaAs fab is about to be sold.

  1. The cafeteria menu is suddenly and without explanation improved dramatically... enjoy it while it lasts! Perhaps the Cafeteria workers have started wearing Sodexho badges.
  2. Ordering new business cards is "temporarily" not allowed.
  3. A visitor's facility tour "accidentally" finds a stash of platinum sputtering targets in a the pipe chase.
  4. Finance has started putting asset tags on every last pair of tweezers in the building.
  5. Other company's financial literature is found in the bathroom stall the executives use.
  6. You see facilities dudes outside, up on a ladder, using a tape measure to make measurements of the building's sign.
  7. You see your entire company on the Dovebid website as a single item for sale.
  8. IT helpdesk no longer answers calls that have been on hold for an hour.
  9. The parking lot is finally getting paved and striped.
  10. Internet access seems broken all week, especially to sites like Excite and Google news... and email seems extremely sluggish, especially if you are sending attachments such as resumes.
  11. New "tour guide" signs appear outside the fab bay windows, with graphs showing 99 percent RF yield.
  12. There is a "RE/MAX" sign in front of the building.
  13. The supremely disgusting visitor bunny suits have been deepsixed, and a nice selection of new ones in all sizes (including weasel) is in stock.
  14. Certain hallways are being painted, ones which are connected to the general manager's office and the reception area.
  15. "Inspirational" posters are being hung over cracks in the wall.
  16. The visitor lot has a $100,000 Porsche parked in it.
  17. A Mexican landscaping crew is not just pulling weeds, but planting flowers... and the washroom seems strangely cleaner.
  18. Lightbulbs that have been burned out for years are replaced.
  19. Some Clean Harbors dudes in a white van are busy drilling test wells all around the building.
  20. The company suddenly implements a "search all bags" policy at all the building entrances, and they take just a quick glance inside of incoming briefcases but a much harder look at everything being carried out.
  21. You find you can no longer copy files to a portable USB device.
  22. Managers disappear to a series of mysterious off-site meetings, and tell you that "you know more than I know" when you ask them what's going on.
  23. The capital equipment budget mysteriously dries up.
  24. Roof leaks are actually being patched, instead of putting buckets in strategic locations.
  25. The boss's secretary is apparently under orders to wear short skirts.
  26. And you get a copy of Spencer Johnson's "Someone Stole My Cheese" in your mail slot.... (seriously, watch out if this ever happens, it means you are gonna get screwed!) Then you can decorate your cube with messages such as "Imagining Myself Enjoying New Cheese Even Before I Find It, Leads Me To It." Most engineers would choose inhaling tailpipe in their closed garage before reading this book!

Good luck!


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