Dusty - Silicon Snow
Catanich returns to the thrilling historical fiction he has so brilliantly made his own. This is the first of seven side stories from the infamous Gopal affair told as a chillingly dark, hard-edged series of novels of theft, conspiracy and espionage.
Dusty - Silicon Snow
It was nine months earlier when Sean saw the newspaper ad for a "new startup" needing someone with "semiconductor design skills". With the changes coming at Intel, it was time for him to start looking.
"Could this be Bagine's new company," he wondered?
For over a year, Sean had been working at Intel as a mask designer under Bagine and helped create the industry's first 1024-bit, N-channel, 5-Volt, 1K by 4 Static Random Access Memory (RAM). This was something deserving real bragging rights and with Bagine's industry contacts, Begine did get a great deal of press and recognition inside Intel and out.
Then suddenly, Bagine quit and start Bilog, a new company in direct competition with Intel that would be dedicated to the emerging microprocessor market.
Sean was very disappointed when Bagine left and didn't take him as well. "After all we were a team". At Intel, both Bagine and his #2, Dr. Fukuoka had accepted Sean, handicap and all. They repeatedly asked him to go to lunch. To most engineers in the Valley, this meant that they were friends and that they belonged together. However, both leaving without him was paramount to abandonment.
It was over two year since Sean started to deliver product to one of his Los Altos moms. Shannon was already drinking at 3 in the afternoon and quickly lit up. Of all the women he delivered to, she was one of the nicest. He usually stayed longer just to talk with her so it was no surprise when she asked him one day if he ever wanted anything else in life.
"Yea, I would love to do something else" he said "but with a face like this, there are not many options".
"My sister's husband is always hiring so why don't you give me your resume and I will give it to him".
A week later, he made another delivery to her and dropped off his resume. Within the week, he received a phone call from Intel HR to stop by for an interview. "Oh, please wear a suit" Shannon advised "because you will be talking with the Director of Engineering". They were fully aware of his handicap and it didn't matter.
The interview was set for 10 am, and he had talked with three different employees when they asked him if he would like to go out for lunch. As silly as this may sound, it was the first time anyone had ever asked him to a business lunch. He was finally asked the question, what happened.
It wasn't until they returned from lunch that Dr. Fukuoka told Bagine that "I like him and we need to hire him". Then, when Bagine conducted his interview, a bond was forming. His staff wanted him, and Bagine liked him. However, the deal was closed when Bagine asked, "Since you don't really have experience in n-silicon gate design yet, why should I hire you?"
"No sir I don't, but I am a quick learner and I will devote as much time as necessary to learn if you give me that opportunity."
"Ok, that's great; we'll get in touch with you about our decision. How soon can you start?"
Friday morning, Intel HR called Sean and offered him his first real job in a long time.
"You are to start on Monday". His first week was 40 hours on the clock and 40 hours off and even then, he took work home with him. He was one of the rare employees that ever got a raise following his 90-day review. More important, both Bagine and Fukuoka were at lunch with him when he was told. Sean had a family again.
Dusitmier had made the move to the bay area, which allowed him to start over after all his problems in LA. He moved into a small apartment and applied to most of the law enforcement agencies in the area. However, with the deep recession "they were not hiring at this time".
So after a few drinks one night, he decided to become a private investigator. The next day, he printed up business cards and started making calls to introduce himself.
With the lead from SCSD, he called Bagine and introduced himself.
The meeting between Bagine and Dusitmier was set for 2:30 pm at the offices of Bilog in Cupertino CA.
Bagine outlined the existing problems and need or requirements.
Dusitmier explained that he was not licensed yet.
Bagine didn't mind. "Look, I want someone to get answers, real answers. Not someone that will follow the law. It's mandatory for us to locate, stop, and punish these people that are copying our chips. It's killing our sales and bottom line."
"Do you have a good idea about who these people are" Dusitmier asked?
"We know that National is copying everything Intel is doing so that would be a good starting point. We also have a contact inside you can talk with. She said a new guy was hired, a Robert Contie who is heading up the chip copying effort. I've got nothing on him but it's a good starting point. We've also had counterfeit chips returned to us from Italy, so we know that someone out there has our design. That's the culprit we need to locate and stop."
"Any idea who's selling them or manufacturing them?"
"There is a company in Italy that is selling them. Here's the file on them," he said as he slid it across the table to him. "Also, we think that a Japanese company is doing the processing. Our advanced chip-making process is leading edge and no one in Silicon Valley is using it yet. Only Toshiba and Fujitsu are known to be using it. Therefore, I started looking there and discovered they set up a company here in the Valley. It's called Maruman Integrated Circuits here in Sunnyvale. Here's my file on them?"
"Is there anyone inside there that can help us?'
"Not yet, but they are hiring people now, so I was thinking…"
"I'll check it out, but don't they check your background as in jobs, education, etc?"
"Yea, but we can cover you on that if needed? I want to stop this crap once and for all so I'll break rules if I must. So don't worry. I'm very creative…"
"Well then, let me get started."
"Great. Here is my contact information. Check in once a week or if it's… let's say a $250 or more expenditure. We will go from there."
It was a month later when the phone call came in. They were requesting a follow up meeting with Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office. With the rapid growth of Santa Clara County in 1977, the Sheriff's Office was putting on 28 new officers to fill their needs and most of these would be in the new County jail.
Although the interview went very well and his background was perfect, the County shrink put a 6-month hold on him due to the psychological impact of the LA shooting.
"I just feel that we should keep an eye on him for 6 month before he goes on full time. He would make a great part time candidate for both the jail and holiday traffic stops. The stress level there is greatly reduced and this would give him more time to readjust."
With that, Dusitmier was hired on as a part time employee.
However, this lucky streak of his continued when he got a phone call from Maruman's HR asking him if he would be interested in a part time, Component Engineering position that just opened up. The salary was low but the "on-the-job" training was extensive. Could he could start immediately. Of course, he said yes.