Overcoming Hurdles against Innovation

Vijay Meduri
Executive Vice President of Engineering-PLX Technology, Inc.
Thursday, October 3, 2013
Vijay Meduri
The 1994 founded Sunnyvale based PLX Technology, Inc. [NASDAQ: PLXT] with a market-cap of $271.17 million has been developing I/O interconnect silicon, complimentary software and provides solution consisting of semiconductor devices, software development kits, hardware design kits and operating system ports.

As a technologist, I have come across many a discussions with industry peers about the challenges of driving new initiatives. It is often frustrating to get business groups to listen and to understand new ideas. While there is no perfect answer or silver bullet, we have had reasonable success in this area. As a small-cap public company entering into the PCI Express space in 2002, the odds were stacked against us. The only way to compete was through relentless innovation.

First, there are big innovations or 'moonshot' programs that can be driven by someone at the CEO level who can pretty much set the direction of the entire organization – for example, a Steve Jobs or a Jeff Bezos– but I am not going to be talking about that type of innovation. Then, there is a category I refer to as 'pragmatic innovations'-- more modest in ambition than the moonshots, but can have a significantly impact on the business. These pragmatic innovations can help you leapfrog your competition, deepen your foothold in the market and even launch into completely new markets. For kindred souls that are pushing pragmatic innovations, I have a few suggestions.

First, Establish a Track Record

Design and build a product, take it to production, and engage your customers. Having a strong record on execution is the key in getting folks to listen to new ideas and give you the benefit of doubt. If you try to push new ideas or concepts with no history in the company, in most cases you will fail. Once you have built credibility, you will be amazed at the support and flexibility that the organization will automatically provide, and you will find silent support across the functional groups. I use the word silent because most people are uncomfortable with risk and are afraid of failure; the pain vs. gain metric is not evident given their context and visibility. Folks will silently help and support but not openly commit.

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