My diverse background and education help me identify what ‘dots’ (ideas) are really important, which are just noise, and how I can best connect them.
Drawing from nature, the future, and the past helps this technology leader figure out what really matters and then do something about it. He focuses on continuous improvement, crediting success on the right experience —significant technology and business leadership roles in start-up, consumer electronics, and business-to-business environments focused on software, large-scale chipset development, and product development and management — and familiarity with other cultures, having lived in four different countries and traveled extensively. Phil says, “What helps me day to day is a diversity of professional and industrial experiences randomly woven together.”
What traits do you look for in leaders to help you achieve your goals?
Personal energy and raw intelligence. A creator of team energy. A willingness to own a vision, big or small, and persist with it, no matter the obstacles. Someone who “joins dots” (ideas) quickly and can see the bare-bones structure of a complex thing and take action. Someone who can make and take a joke, and who has enough courage to speak truth to speak truth to those in power.
What have you read recently that inspired you?
William Manchester’s biographical trilogy of Churchill’s life, The Last Lion. I found Churchill’s immense personal energy, courage, clarity of mind, creativity, oratory, and achievement in the face of bleak odds superhuman. Certainly he had flaws, but it’s hard to find another individual as remarkable. He said of himself, “We are all worms. But I believe I am a glow worm.”
What is the key to bringing innovations to market?
Creating innovation is the easy part (believe it or not). Given the right background, and a problem that must be solved, I think we can invent many different solutions. The hard part is ensuring what we invent is relevant and has potential value for our customer base.
Who is your customer and how do you interact with them?
Our customers are engineers designing products under great stress. The actual products are almost a second-level issue in that sense. We need competitive products, but more importantly, we need to interact with our customer engineers almost as if we were an extension of their team, solving problems for them.
What is your technical vision?
A focus on simplicity. Nature’s designs are always simple — the hydrostatic mechanics of a tree, for example, are just genius! The best products and technologies break barriers and create a new field of use, but they need not be only the fastest or best performer in the industry. The best can be an existing need met by a product created at the lowest cost, as bare bones and functional as possible.
I’ve experienced many varieties of organization. I find that the highly integrated vertical team, with as few levels as possible, with each level having the broadest contextually relevant job scope, is the key to velocity and simplicity. People can do great things if given the space to make that happen.
What is your favorite TE product and why?
That really is a “which of your children do you love the most,” question! I like products that lead the field. Our business unit’s current industry leadership of the micro quad small form-factor pluggable (µQSFP) I/O — 100G (25G per channel) in a redefined version of a well-known form factor designed for 10G — is a great play. It’s impactful, challenges the status quo, and can change the world a little. I like its ambition level.
If you could tell a potential customer one thing about why they should work with TE, what would it be?
Our engineers are among the best in the industry and can make almost anything reality within the bounds of the laws of science.
Simplicity of design, perfectly aligned to its function, is the ultimate in engineering elegance.
- Phil Gilchrist,
- Vice President and Chief Technical Officer
TE’s zQSFP+ (z-Quad small form-factor pluggable plus) interconnect offers four channels of high-speed differential signals with data rates ranging from 25 Gbps up to potentially 40 Gbps, and will support 100 Gbps (4x25 Gbps) Ethernet and 100 Gbps 4X InfiniBand enhanced data rate (EDR) requirements.