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The Smart Techie was renamed Siliconindia India Edition starting Feb 2012 to continue the nearly two decade track record of excellence of our US edition.

April - 2007 - issue > How I Got Where I am Today

Wayward Wanderer, by accident

Aritra Bhattacharya
Saturday, March 31, 2007
Aritra Bhattacharya
I was on the flight to Edinburgh, to meet an EDA partner, and should have essentially concentrated on preparing for the meeting, but the buzz in my head was too much. No longer able to contain my restlessness, I started scribbling frantically on the backside of my boarding pass,” recalls Mahesh Mehendale. Little idea did he have then that the field-programmable-gate-array diagram, (‘scribble’ in his terminology) would fetch him a patent - one of the six he holds in all. It was an accident, he quips, hastening to add that most of his achievements till date, indeed his very domain of operation has been an accident.

Quite by accident then, he has moved on to become the Chief Technologist, Digital Entertainment Products, India at Texas Instruments. Contrary to his career path, which never had a destination, (we’ll come to that later), he steers his teams to design and develop high-end silicon pieces meant for car infotainment, camera phones, hi-performance audio devices, and surveillance cameras. The learning curve in his twenty-one year long career has been steep, despite significant shifts.

But why shifts? Apparently, it was his restlessness. “I’ve changed jobs every 5 years,” he quips. This is all the more perplexing since his biodata mentions that he’s been working with TI, without a break, since 1986. The ‘shifts’ have been entirely technical, he clarifies. The first few years were devoted to EDA (Electronic design automation), followed by Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGAs), Digital Signal Processors (DSP), System-on-a-chip designs to complete product development including embedded software.

His moves were determined by his interest in the domain, as well as in the interest of the project/organization. Whenever he has felt that he was becoming indispensable to a project, he has moved on, but not before developing a strong leader to follow in his footsteps. It has helped keep the projects on track, and not be marred by the possibility of his absence, as also ensuring him a fair amount of elbow room. Being indispensable works only for a short term and sticking to a domain to the point of becoming sacrosanct with it ties one down, he reckons.

Every shift in his career has been accompanied by an intervening period, during which he has handheld his peers into the art of steering the project in his absence. “I’ve been fortunate to have had good teams, packed with people who had within them the fire and the ability to lead,” he states.

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