Once upon a time I operated as Principal Engineer for an excellent Toshiba embedded software team in Nashville, TN. Our team was primarily responsible for digital television embedded software and the final build delivered to manufacturing. At times it was a daunting job, with our team delivering software for digital television models throughout the world.
With language, culture, and also engineering culture clashes, working for a Japanese company was at times frustrating, however, I would not trade that experience. Furthermore, I truly came to enjoy my business trips to Japan, quickly learning to appreciate their wonderful country and culture.
Regardless of culture this post is a reminder to managers everywhere.
From time to time Japanese executives were rotated in and out of our local team. On one such occasion, my boss and I were privileged to give a new VP his first tour of our facilities. During the tour, we entered our “signal and server room.” Our new VP’s eyes bugged out as he observed our group’s extensive installation of build servers, RF signal generators, cable head-end simulators, network attached storage units, and the usual collection of cooling systems, mail servers, revision control servers, etc. Our new VP then exclaimed, “Hmmm, very expensive!”
To which my boss immediately stated, smiling pleasantly throughout:
No. Very cheap. It makes engineers more productive.
What a wonderful lesson to engineering managers and executives everywhere.
Note: The above reminiscing inspired by a more mathematical approach to the same topic. See this blog post found at embeddedrelated.com.