My first job out of college was working for Cadence Design Systems in San Diego. At the time, Joe Costello was the CEO. He was very charismatic, and working for Cadence was truly exciting. The quarterly meetings were known as “The Joe Show.” You didn’t want to miss it because Joe aimed to entertain when he spoke.
The San Diego facility was dedicated to the new outsourcing concept of making chip designs for customers. At the time, it was a revolutionary idea which many other companies have modeled since. Cadence bought the design team from Unisys, which gave them a good foundation to start. Unfortunately, the transition was difficult, given that these managers and engineers never had to sell or answer to an outside customer before.
Unfortunately, Joe left the company for circumstances that were never made known to us. However, the company would never be the same. The CFO eventually took over, and true to being a bean counter, did all of the things one would expect from being a bean counter.
Cadence decided to spin the services group off into another company called Tality. At the time, there was a lot of IPOs being offered and this was Cadence’s attempt to get in on the game. However, this fledgling company was never able to sustain itself long enough to go IPO. The tech wreck in 2002 put an end to Tality and the San Diego operation.
Honestly, Tality had to be the dumbest name EVER. Even more amazing is that some got paid to come up with it. Obviously, we all poked fun at it, calling “fatality.” We even had a softball team called brew-tality, which lasted longer than Tality itself.
We were given a rather generous 90 day paid notice along with a severance package at the end. Cadence was hoping to sell us off to another company given that it was rare to find a complete ASIC design organization with decades of experience. Unfortunately, Cadence tipped their hand by announcing the layoff prior to negotiating. Given that we were going to be disbanded, none of these companies saw a need to purchase the whole group when they could simply interview people as needed.
The following was a song that I penned as our final days at Tality were coming to a close:
(Music to “Working for MCA” by Lynyrd Skynyrd)
workin’ at the circle “A” and studying at the grand old U.S.C.,
I’ve work every chip you can name, soldered many a lead,
Along came Mr. Joe Costello saying maybe you what I need.
Be sure to sign the contract,
Be sure to sign the date
Gonna make lots of money,
Working for Tal-a-tay!
40,000 dollars, that’s all I could win,
but I smiled at Mr. Costello with his big old San Jose grin,
They’re gonna take me out to San Diego, gonna make me a engineer,
Just don’t question the answers, buddy, and you’ll have nothin’ the fear.
Want you to sign your contract
Want you to sign today
Gonna give you lots of options
Workin’ For Tal-a-tay!
Management took my bennies since day I was screened
If it isn’t my Uncle Raymond, then it got to be a Brent Hudson scheme,
But I’ll buy your excuses folks, and I want this management to know
Just give me my severance package and out the door I’m gonna go.
Need you to sign your contract
Need you to sign today
Gonna give lots of excuses
For Workin’ at Tal-a-tay!