One of my tasks over the past quarter has been to figure out precisely why Saleae exists and precisely what our mission is for the next few years. I’m not going to address that latter question now, but I thought I’d take a moment to share what I think about why Saleae needs to exist.
What an individual can accomplish within the scope of a life is profoundly and inextricably bound up with the tools at their disposal.
Think about the process and tools you use to create electrical engineering designs and circuit boards. Now imagine that the process and the tools you used were 10x worse—or 10x times better—it would make a huge difference, right? And that’s multiplied by all the other electrical engineers, hundreds of thousands of men and women. Those tools and those processes—if they are 10% better, or 100% better, or 1,000% better—they make an absolutely massive difference in our world. We’re talking Tamagotchi pets vs. city on Mars kind of differences here. Orders of magnitude.
And yet, the processes and tools for electrical engineering don’t get love. They’re not sexy and cool, and the market is zero-sum-competitive and price driven and stodgy. On the one hand, you have cheap, derivative crap and zero innovation, and on the other hand, you have $20,000+ beige machines, and it’s like, which beige machine would you like, the one from soulless corporation A, or soulless corporation B?
But it doesn’t need to be this way. The tools of electrical engineering can and should be badass. Tony Stark badass. They need to be 10x better. Ten times more valuable. And what, precisely, is the value? It’s time. It’s all we have in this world, as Andy Grove might say, and these goddamn beige machines are wasting it.
So now, we’ve gotten somewhere to start from. The reasons Saleae needs to exist are that 1) our EE tools need to be 10x better, so we can build the kind of exciting future we all want; and 2) our tools need to be badass, so we can get fired up about what we do every day.
I’m not saying we’re going to succeed, or that what we’ve done to date has been particularly groundbreaking.
But we’re going to try.