Innovation has to do with some sort of tipping point — the right people getting together to solve a problem, with pressure from the customer to take action.
Admittedly competitive, Lucas Benson is eager, focused, and happy in his work. His interest in learning, his financial acumen, and his genuine interest in others help him lead as TE’s product expert for quad, small form factor pluggable (QSFP) interconnects. “Those of us working in the Data and Devices unit of TE Connectivity are in the business because we love it. We’re almost addicted to the fast pace and competition.” He touts TE’s “great mix of people” and long history of customer engagement, and relies on TE’s deep knowledge base to help solve problems for his customers.
What does your day look like as product manager with Data and Devices?
Every day is different. Some days I’m sitting with customers and engineers, working to solve a problem, some days I’m researching the market impact of a product, and other days I’m putting together a strategy to present to our upper management.
What would you tell the uninitiated about the QSFP portfolio of interconnects?
They are an industry standard, so the customer knows that any QSFP plug or cable assembly will work with it. They are widespread, so the cost of implementation is low, and their architecture is flexible to fit most any design.
Can you tell me about a recent product breakthrough?
We recently announced the 12-company multi-source agreement (MSA) for micro QSFP (μQSFP). That product innovation originally came at the end of four months of weekly sessions with other TE engineers and evolved into the MSA. It was FUN, frustrating sometimes, and is resulting in a new product specification that we hope is going to be a real winner for our customers. MSA information can be found at www.microqsfp.com.
Who are your customers, and how do you interact with them, typically?
My customers are engineers who build equipment for data center and networking applications, or anybody who wants to buy our products. I communicate with them in many ways, and with the world becoming so small, it’s easier than ever to connect. For example, I was on a video chat with a customer the other day, and that call was not only fun, but also very effective.
How do you stay connected with new technology and market trends?
I seek an industry perspective from our end customers and through newspapers and online journals. I gain knowledge from talking to our standards experts as well as other product managers and our customers.
Can you describe a professional goal of yours that will make a difference to your customer?
My primary goal — apart from making sure our products are successful and address the needs of our customers, is to become a selfless leader. In graduate school and work, I learn from others who lead and inspire me, and I strive to apply that learning with my team so we can solve problems better, together.
How does TE continue to be a leader in the market?
We stay close to the customer and differentiate ourselves from our competitors. We can’t simply be a commodity. We have to work to be the smartest, the most innovative, and to build trust by showing the customer we will do everything we can to make them successful.
What greatest benefit do you hope to provide your customer through what you’re doing at TE?
I want to help them make easy decisions. When I am shopping, I want to have a 15-second interaction and to know exactly what I’m going to get; I want to provide our customers with a similar, easy way to do business.
I want to be able to buy into what the customers are doing so I can help them succeed.
- Lucas Benson,
- Global Product Manager, Communications Solutions, TE Connectivity
TE Connectivity’s zQSFP+ interconnects offer an increased data rate of 28 Gbps in an industry standard, scalable design that allows for backwards compatibility with QSFP/QSFP+ cables and transceivers, providing a simple upgrade path from 10 Gbps to 28 Gbps. This extensive portfolio of interconnects delivers a large range of simple and customizable design options to address most customer requirements.