The Semiconductor industry is mature and well-established. The major players are known and the market growth is measured years in advance. The technology is hard and the competition is fierce. The customers are demanding and the playing field is global. Even the smallest Semiconductor startup has to develop strategic plans to do business with China, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, and Europe. If you do not have a global plan, you do not have a freaking business.
On the other hand you have the internet industry. Buy a domain name, get a Linux server, make some content, advertise for your site, get some traffic, and boom – You are up and running. Yeah, I know … it’s not that simple but hey compare that to a chip that costs you $20 Million dollars to make. Now you get my point!
Then you have the health industry, you need millions of funding before you can get a new drug out to the market. It’s just ridiculous how much crap you have to go through to get something done in such an environment.
I heard the Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg saying that it took him about two weeks to make the initial version of his website. That’s it people! Two weeks of an undergraduate student time to build an entire social networking site. Now he is getting as many page views as Google. They never revamped his code; they only built on top of it. The internet allows you to take a good idea to market in no time.
The interesting thing is that not only the industries are completely different but the people involved too. Internet companies are younger, most of the workers have just graduated and they are very dynamic. They are creative, they move quickly, and they are trying new stuff out all the time. While Semiconductor companies are careful, slow, and very deliberate. New products are offered after doing extensive market research and profiling customer needs. It makes sense, right? If a chip is gonna cost you ten million dollars, you better be damn sure that you are going to sell that thing. There is no such thing as a beta product. Try selling a processor that half works or a playstation that crashes in the middle of a game. Semiconductor companies are filled with Principal Engineers who have been working in the field for the past 25 years.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that one industry is better or cooler than the other, they are just totally different. Since I have been on both sides, I think internet companies are in general a better fit for people my age. In my case, I’m enjoying the Semiconductor world for the time being. The internet stuff, I can always do on the side – which is exactly what I’m doing right now. By the way, if you are a talented web designer and can afford to work for equity, give a call, we might be able to do some business together.