Moving from California to New Hampshire has been an educational experience. The move, prompted recently by the opportunity to join the Advanced Packaging staff, gave me the chance to learn, among other things, that our family's possessions weigh 9.7 tons. The movers felt free to remind us of that repeatedly on two very long days this summer. I also learned what an “acre” is – a term that certainly doesn't enter the vocabularies of mere mortals in the California real estate market.
On the professional side, I found it difficult to move away from Silicon Valley while our editor in the area gets all of the best stories, fearing that I would lose touch with the center of the industry. I was looking forward, though, to learning more about some of the companies on the East Coast. The eye-opening part, now that I am here, is seeing how many there really are! My personal and professional relocation has been a good reminder that there is more to the industry than what can be found in Santa Clara County. My list of companies to visit in the Northeast has gone way beyond the few that I expected to see.
This lesson might be a useful one for SEMICON West, as well. It is a tremendous event, of course, and while there might be better ways to learn the details of the latest equipment and technologies, there is certainly no better way to meet a bunch of key contacts all at once and to get a gut feel for what is going on the industry. (See our report on p. 14 for what the collective AP gut felt.) Clearly, the event has been very well orchestrated between two cities.
However, there is still ongoing debate about what to do now that SEMICON West has outgrown its twin venues in the San Francisco Bay area. There is much understandable reluctance to do any of the overhauls that would solve the crowding, with the options including a limit on the participation, another split or a move to a city with large enough facilities.
Many think that moving SEMICON West out of Silicon Valley would, literally and figuratively, spoil the party. It would certainly require some big changes in how exhibitors and attendees approach it, but what's wrong with some big changes? Benefits that I can envision include a more focused audience if a greater fraction of the attendees have traveled away from their jobs. (How many people who work in the Valley feel like they can spend the whole week at the show?) A less Valley-centric event might also call more attention to what goes on elsewhere in the industry. Think of it as an industry “off-site” with all of the intangibles associated with a change in venue.
Other specific effects of a relocated SEMICON West can also be debated, but I am generally in favor of big changes for the benefits that you can't predict. SEMICON West might serve its purpose even better – or even fill a new role that we can't envision now – if it were moved. Let's hope that the decision-makers continue to keep an open mind about the options and don't rule out shaking things up a bit. My family (and employer) certainly kept an open mind when considering the option of moving six people (including a one month old baby!), a Malamute sled dog and that 9.7-ton load across the country.
Thanks for reading,
Jeffrey C. Demmin