America Backs British Skills. Will Mandy?


A great endorsement of this country’s technological talent is the decision by one of the world’s sexiest IC companies, Inphi, to set up a mixed signal design centre in Northamptonshire. And it’s a decision which should give Lord Mandy, the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, pause for thought.

Until now, all Inphi’s designers were in the US. Inphi could have done what so many Western companies do when they want more designers, and that’s to go and set up design centres in India and China and staff them with IC designers on salaries 10X less than US or UK designers’ salaries.


But Inphi didn’t. Why not? Because Inphi, which has been growing like a weed for five years, does difficult stuff. It needs the best mixed signal designers in the world and those are in the US and UK.


“We’re keen to get involved in the 100Gbit per second market”, says Mike Harwood, who’s setting up the centre for Inphi, and has hired five designers so far.


Inphi has set itself as a maker of ICs for Cloud computing – in other words bloody fast ICs.


Inphi already has a 100Gbit per second coherent transimpedance amplifier.

Speed is of the essence because those mammoth users of Cloud computing, Amazon and Google estimate, respectively, that every 100ms of latency loses 1% of sales, and an extra 500ms in search page generation time drops traffic by 20%.

So, as Gordon Brown talks about generating a million new high-tech jobs, and Mandy talks about supporting high-tech companies, hopefully they will focus their efforts on supporting people with real, internationally recognised and valued skills.

Not plausible shysters who give a good Power Point presentation.



  1. Well, Tom, my opinion is that the British usually go for common sense at election time and the common sense option is to stick with people who have shown the world the right way through the financial wreckage caused by the banks. To opt for untried opportunists who have consistently proposed the wrong remedies for the economic crisis would be going against common sense. But we’ll soon see.

  2. Mandy wont be backing anything – in a couple of weeks he will be history.

  3. R&D tax breaks for one thing – very lucrative and helpful

  4. ‘Not plausible shysters who give a good Power Point presentation’
    Well, I’ve sure met a few of those in my time..
    Keep up the good work (and the acid wit)!

  5. Mandy better not claim any kudos for this. What have any politicians done for fledgling or established engineering and manufacturing recently apart from letting their city mates line their pockets by selling anything with a bit of worth left to foreigners (cheerio, Cadbury!) or doling out death by self-fulfilling highly-visible short positions or debt-laden asset-stripping operations.
    But (and I know I shouldn’t start with conjunctions) with an election to be fought, I’m sure he will.
    Where’s a Guy Fawkes when you need one?

  6. Only if I had my longjohns on, Dr Bob

  7. Would you want Mandy behind you?

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