CEO Talk: Adam Vishinsky, Rivlan, Inc.

January 15, 2018, anysilicon



Tell me a bit about your background?


I’ve got over 20 years of experience in IC design.  After completing my PhD in Electrical Engineering at PSU in 1995 I started my job at Texas Instruments in Dallas in their Hard-Disk electronic group.  Then I moved to Cirrus Logic also in Dallas/Plano, where I worked for their TV-tuner group.  In late 1996 our group spun-off form Cirrus Logic and we formed a startup – Microtune, where I became an IC design manager.  With my help, Microtune built industry-first monolithic cable tuner and in 2000 they went public.



How did you first get started with your company?


I always wanted to lead my own company.  So, in 1999 I left Microtune and I started my own company Rivlan, Inc. Since then, I’ve led Rivlan for 19 years now.  The beginnings were not so easy.  I had to learn how to approach customers and how to market our IC design services.  Gradually, I learned those new skills and I was tasked with new projects.


Tell me about Rivlan


Rivlan, Inc. has focused on high-speed and high-performance analog/RF, mixed-mode and digital IC design.  Recently, we are bringing to you – our customers, more value by offering our system expertise in defining your products and solving all related system issues, before selecting an appropriate technology and proceeding to the actual IC implementation.  Apart from our traditional expertise areas of wireless communications, GPS and video products our current strength extends to specific industrial, instrumentation, medical, sensor and RF ID applications.

What problem did you see that needed to be fixed? What is your approach to solving that?


Typically, our customers are not IC designers or even users, but they are product builders and as such they know their product functionality and needs.  However, it’s difficult for them to translate this into a viable system spec for a product ASIC.  And this is where we come handy with our IC and systems expertise and with a customer assistance we are able to quickly define a required set of specs for a product ASIC implementation.


How was the role/offering of Rivlan changed during the recent years?


Originally, we started as analog chip builders.  We built analog chips according to customer specifications.  Over the years, we became responsible for building the entire specs and our chip game grew from analog to high-speed RF, MMIC mixed-mode and digital.  We also do a lot of straight layout projects both for analog and digital applications.


Which market segment seems promising to you? And why?


Recently, we were approached by many customers asking to assist them with building a bit coin mining ASICs.  We investigated this area and we built a team that specializes in this field.  On this team we’ve got logic synthesis, cryptography, power supply and high-speed ASIC design experts.  We believe, we can achieve better performance than many other competitors.  Also, we estimate that this area will be vibrant for next 10 years.



What is a typical customer for Rivlan?


Our typical company is a small or a startup company that is not an ASIC design expert.  They know a lot about their application, but they relay on us to build their product ASICs.


Customers are focused on time-to-market, first-time-right, price, etc. Do you see a change in customer behavior in recent years? Where is the focus today and why?


Yes, there is a trend such that most customers focus on low price.  Unfortunately, they don’t understand that all factors need to be taken into account and that all of them directly affect the price.  For example, we can quote a low price and speed-up the design, but this may cause the performance or parametric yield to drop below the target, which in consequence requires a second spin that nearly doubles the price.  If a higher price was accepted in first place one spin would do and the effective price would be lower.



What are the 3 top things you wish your customers would do better (or different)?


My advice to customers can be summarized as follows.  Be more open about your IC design and systems skills.  Overstating your experience doesn’t pay off.  Modesty is much more appropriate.  Also, think twice and clearly specify your needs.  Modification of system functions after the electrical design started can be very costly.  Be patient, sometimes it takes a bit longer to do things, but generally we tend to stick to a schedule and deliver on time.



Are you currently hiring? What type of jobs?


Yes, we constantly looking for good engineers.  We hire analog/RF, mixed-mode and digital experts.   We also hire a good layout and chip verification specialists.


What is your #1 advice for people who want to work for Rivlan?


Since we’re small our team members need to know many skills and have several years of experience.  For these reasons, we don’t hire fresh college graduates.


Where can one find more information?


To learn more about our company you can visit us at wwww.rivlan.com


What is the best moment in your day?


Solving a tough design problem is always a reward.


How do you keep yourself energized and engaged during the day?


I try to stay focused on current project and facilitate or assist other team members in their work.  This helps keeping project running smoothly and creates a good example of a teamwork.


What is your preferred lunch discussion topic?


At lunch, we tend to talk about other things more on the private side.  After all you cannot always talk about the job.  We like to joke a bit and make it fun from time to time.


How do you spend your time outside working hours?


My favorite pass time activities are tennis, skiing, and sailing.  I love dogs and have two of them at home.  Additionally, I collect old autos and if time permits I restore them.


Want to know more? see Rivlan’s website or visit Rivlan’s vendor page on AnySilicon

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