Rocks and Hard Times

I feel it necessary to mention it here, for the sake of those of you who don’t regularly see me in my everyday life, that my job is at risk of not existing by the end of this week. For those who may not know, I work at AMD, have been there over 5 1/2 years, doing power and performance measurement and optimization on server-class processors. It’s a decent job that occasionally taxes my skills and nudges me further along into a hands-on engineering direction in my life.

The problem is that, as not the dominant processor manufacturer (and quite possibly not even the 2nd in the market), we don’t have the resources to engineer superior products for all our lines. Why, you ask? Pride. Top-tier semiconductor designers have their pet projects, their favored architectures, and they won’t let them go even if they’re proven, through models and sample processors, to be inferior to other designs. So we push those to market. And you know what? The market isn’t buying. And because they’re not buying, we don’t have the resources to engineer superior products.

The executive level of the company has chosen the path of hacking and slashing their way to profitability. I liken it to this example: our company reached a river, and to get to the other side, we took chances and walked through it, current, flotsam and all. We stumbled after a misstep and gashed our foot on a river rock. So, in order to stop the bleeding, our executives are cutting off the leg. That leg consists of a set of canceled products and markets; one of those is server processors (we don’t have any future server products in the development pipeline). Since my job entails profiling the performance and power characteristics of server processors, my guess is that my time has come.

The suspicion is that part, if not all, of the announced 15% reduction in force (layoff) will happen this Thursday, Oct 25. Time will tell. As soon as I know more, I’ll update, or you can be sure to keep up to date by following my Facebook feed.

Until then, it’s time to reconsider living a small, frugal lifestyle. Instead of $25 for decent whiskey, I’ll have to settle on $8 for decent wine. Hard times indeed.

Published by Shawn

He's just this guy, you know?