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JUNE 2020 I DESIGN007 MAGAZINE 27 Lipman: Exactly. There's a chain of liability or responsibility that, depending on the industry and application, could be very high stakes or not high stakes at all. If your art project goes wrong and your LED displays the wrong col- ors, that's not terrible, but if the same thing happens with a LIDAR in orbit, you could en- danger the mission and crew. It depends on the lens that the user is using to view a data- sheet, an app note, or a reference video. Matties: Most companies would build a library of acceptable components based on the appli- cation, and that's what you verify, correct? Lipman: For many companies, that is how they do it. Something for aerospace or medical is going to have different requirements than a consumer product as to how demanding each individual component is. Various applications have different requirements, and companies have to track that. Johnson: Geof, what I'm getting as I'm listen- ing through to this is app notes are of as high quality as the engineer. And there's a need there to have a source for this sort of technical data that can be trusted and verified, right off the bat. Where does this come together? Lipman: It's a challenge from the profession- al ethics side of things. In the same way that you trust that GM and Ford have done their due diligence, I would trust that Microchip or Texas Instruments had done their due diligence before writing an app note. There could still be mistakes, but engineers have traditionally had faith in particular manufac- turers. They think, "Analog Devices wouldn't put an idiot in charge of their I/Q modula- tors." Matties: With mutual funds, they have a rating for the fund manager because even though it's a trusted brokerage firm, there are still rising stars and under-performers with- in that spectrum. An EE would see a partic- ular writer's name on the app note and say, "That's gold." Lipman: This conversation has revolved, in some ways, around the idea of trust signals for users. When we can, and as much as possible, we try to expose trust signals to the user on our website. An example of that would be the five-star rating concept, which is a trust signal that would enable engineers to place smarter bets, as opposed to guaranteeing that things are going to be good and stops them from hav- ing to do their due diligence. A five-star rating is a better bet for you, and you're more like- ly to get through the vetting process—what- ever your vetting process happens to be—un- scathed with a five-star product. Shaughnessy: Do you have any advice that you would give a young EE or designer who has to work with an unfamiliar component as far as looking at the app notes and datasheets? Lipman: App notes are a wonderful thing. It's the kind of thing where you have to become familiar with what's available, and different companies will have very useful stuff or not. Some white papers have amazing technical revelations in them, but others are straight-up marketing, and that's the same case with app notes. Read the app notes, but make sure that you understand what is and what is not being rep- resented. I've learned tons by looking at and comparing parts on websites like Octopart. You can learn a lot by seeing what the differenc- es are in their technical specifications. To go deeper on that, you would use the datasheet, app notes, etc. You want to start by making a good bet, having a good probability of success, and then doing your due diligence. Shaughnessy: We appreciate your insight, Geof. Thanks for breaking this down. Matties: Yes, this has been very helpful. Thank you. Lipman: Thanks for the opportunity. I love to talk about this stuff. DESIGN007

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