Rambus CMO Jerome Nadel recently participated in an Internet of Things World panel about aligning corporate and startup strategies. As Nadel notes, the key to achieving successful synergy between the two requires a nuanced understanding of how established corporations and nascent startups differ.
“We need to ask ourselves: how do large companies think as opposed to small startups? For example, veteran corporations tend to focus on platform or system plays within a three to five year strategy cycle,” he explained. “In contrast, startups are far more passionate about niche point solutions that often deal with specific consumer-facing scenarios.”
Rambus’ strategy, says Nadel, straddles a fine line between the two, with the company focused on bringing the true value of semiconductors closer to the consumer in a strategic manner.
“We have three primary divisions: Memory, Security and Emerging Solutions (Rambus Labs), the latter of which serves as an active incubator for the next generation of semiconductor technology,” he continued. “One of the Internet of Things (IoT) projects Labs is currently working on involves lensless smart sensors (LSS), which will help enable the next-generation of low-power sensing for consumers. At one millimeter thin, these thermal and visible light sensors are small enough to integrate directly into existing devices and applications, including digital eyewear, smart homes, VR and AR, as well as automotive.”
To develop and explore potential use cases for LSS, says Nadel, Rambus collaborated with design firms IXDS and frog in the context of the company’s Partners-in-Open-Development (POD) program.
“We asked them to prototype a number of minimum viable products around LSS in specific, clearly defined verticals. Tapping into a design-based, contrarian start-up mindset helped us open up and achieve a viable ‘Blue Ocean Strategy’ critical for a very competitive IoT marketplace,” he explained. “This illustrates the value of adopting a hybrid approach to marketing, one that tactfully blends logic and long-term strategy with passion and an immediate, forward-facing consumer mentality.”
In a broader sense, says Nadel, Rambus’ successful collaboration with IXDS and frog shows that technology design and marketing are irrevocably intertwined.
“At Rambus, we take a hands-on approach to product design. Understanding how our customers will use a product plays a direct role in influencing its development,” he added. “It is therefore essential for semiconductor marketing teams to think like designers upstream at the beginning of the creative process, rather than simply focusing on more traditional marketing methods downstream when a product is taped out or finalized. If you are promoting what you helped create, you naturally have a better understanding of the product itself.”