The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.
– Lao Tzu, Chinese Philosopher –
There is a wall that every visitor has to pass when they drop by Silicon Labs’ office in Austin. The wall is filled with articles and pictures showing the history of the company. One frame holds a picture of three young guys, a business card, and a coin. How are they related to each other?
Back in 1996, Dave Welland, Jeff Scott, and Nave Sooch were three colleagues at Crystal Semiconductor. Even with a stable career in front of them, the ambitious guys kept thinking about starting their own business. The goal was to introduce innovative products to the embedded market and build an unique working culture where every employee contributes to the success of the company. Finally they had to choose: start their own dream company, or succeed where they were.
So they decided to leave the decision to chance by flipping a coin. Tails meant they would stick with their current jobs. If it showed heads, they would accept a new challenge. The coin was tossed, and it showed the heads! The guys were about to start up their own dream company.
The three founders discussed what kinds of company they want to build and came up with six core values, scribbled down on a piece of paper.
The note has been kept until today and is framed in the middle of the historic wall. The six values that the founders set are still applied to our company goals and employee policies. So when the guys flipped the coin in 1996, they didn’t know at that time that this was the beginning of a semiconductor company with more than 1000 employees worldwide.
So if your’re in doubt, just flip that coin and maybe something good will come out of it!
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Watch this video describing culture of innovation: