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98 DESIGN007 MAGAZINE I JULY 2020 designers I've had the privilege to know over the years has been their penchant for thinking "differently." They would come up with ideas that were outside normal design practice, often pushing the limits of design norms. I had the pleasure of working with one such designer, John Goodrich, when he was with National Semiconductor and founder and president/CEO Charlie Sporck was still at the helm. It was in the mid-1980s when, while running process development at Printed Cir- cuit Builders Inc.—a small but spunky PCB company in Silicon Valley—that I first met John. He came into the shop with an unusual idea. He wanted us to make a multichip mod- ule comprised of a castellated package with chips that would be wire bonded on the top and bottom, encapsulated, and then a third chip a UV EPROM beneath a windowed cap; this was then surface-mounted to the top of the first assembly. He needed it to demonstrate a new product to Ford less than three weeks later in order to secure a multi-million-dollar contract from the customer. The company had already made the product, which consisted of two ceramic packages bonded one on top of the other. It had form and function, but it did not fit. Printed Circuit Builders Inc. had experience making many of the things John needed, but there were many other new things that needed to be learned. John and I worked closely to make it happen, trying to accommodate the needs of the other in getting the process defined. He asked if it could be done and if it would work. I told him I felt it could be done and that we would yield some good assem- blies, but I could not predict what the yield would be. To make a long story short, our cooperative exercise was a success, and the contract was secured. Our company received a nice, personal letter of thanks from Sporck— a most thoughtful and gentlemanly gesture from one of the men recognized as a founding father of Silicon Valley. What John envisioned at the moment was outside the box of normal design. The solution demanded it, and John responded accordingly. It was many more years before I saw some- thing akin to what we did back then finally showcased in technical literature. I have known other designers as well who refused to be hemmed in or corralled by convention. They have been mavericks, and the industry needs mavericks. It needs more designers will- ing to follow Peter Proteus to the edge. In the center is the known, but it's at the edge where change is found—and progress comes only from change. Think differently, embrace change, and you will cause change. It is the only way change has ever come or ever will come about. Stay safe and stay well. FLEX007 Joe Fjelstad is founder and CEO of Verdant Electronics and an inter- national authority and innovator in the field of electronic interconnec- tion and packaging technologies with more than 185 patents issued or pending. To read past columns or contact Fjelstad, click here.

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