Ed Goes Crook
‘Growth, I’ve got to find growth or I’m out of here – The Brats have made that very clear,’ writes Ed in his diary referring to the 20-something year-old super-sharpies who monitor his company for its private equity owners.
‘Growth is hard to get when you don’t have access to M&A funds, when your R&D budget has been cut to the bone, when your best engineers have left and when your new product stream has reduced to a tickle – and often a trickle which has already missed deadlines. But it’s growth or my head,’ moans Ed.
‘No use begging or borrowing, so I have to steal. I’ve already stolen one new product idea by dressing up engineers as lawyers to infiltrate a competitor to find out how they make a hot new product – that will be a volume runner – now I’ve got a new wheeze for filching another promising product,’ writes Ed.
‘We share a Chinese foundry with a fabless company which has a superlative designs for an all-silicon RF filter for hand-sets,’ writes Ed, ‘this is also going to be a high volume runner – no question – and I have contacts inside their fab who can get their mitts on the GDSII file.”
‘When we come out with the chip they’ll sue the pants off us,” writes Ed, “but the lawyers can stall things until we’ve taken our share of the early revenues – say 18 months of high margin returns – and by that time I’ll be out of here.”
A month later, the diary reads:
‘Got it! I’ve sent the filched copy of the GDSII file to an outside design house with instructions to figure our the smart bits of the design and produce something with equivalent performance but just enough difference to give the lawyers something to play with,” writes Ed, ‘roll on my $25 mill.’