‘Twas the Night Before Semicon

Alas, Electronic News (the print edition): we hardly knew ye!‘Twas the night before Semicon,
when all through Moscone,

Technicians and marketers scurried,
looking for coffee.

The tchotchke were hung by display booths with care,
In hopes that journalists and chipmakers soon would be there.

The executives were nestled all snug in their hotels;
Business was booming; they’d said good-bye to dry spells.

And me with my laptop, my boss with her briefcase
Were both gearing up for the crazy Semicon rat race.

When out on Mission Street there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the Argent lobby to see what was the matter.

Away down 4th Street I flew like memory flash,
Angering morning commuters with a jaywalking dash.

The sun behind the breast of newly drifted fog
Gave a blurry luster to objects seen through last night’s grog.

When on what should my tired eyes do seize?
A gaudily lit booth and eight tiny booth-bunnies.

With a little old executive shouting like a carnival barker,
I knew in a moment, no doubt, he must be a marketer.

More rapid than eagles his product claims they came,
He whistled and shouted and hawked them by name:

“Now Copper! Now low-k! Now RPT!
On a 300mm bridge tool, that’s the key!

Semicon West: I used to dread this time of year when I worked at E-News.“To the front page, to the top of the market!
Now dash away! That’s what we want: a stock split!”

He was well-dressed and groomed, a right slick PR elf,
And I groaned when I saw him, in spite of myself.

But with a wink of his eye and a flick of a well-manicured hand,
I had a press kit and tchotchke, useless, gaudy, but grand.

He spoke lots of words, touting the companies wares,
Of my wearisome feelings, he seemed not to care.

And laying his hand upon a Brooks Brothers-clad hip,
He winked at me again as if providing a hot news tip.

He sprang to his booth, to his girls gave a whistle,
And away they all flew, like a chip-guided smart missile.

But I heard him exclaim, ere he schmoozed out of sight,
“Merry Semicon to all, come to our company party tonight!”

Editor’s Note: As explained at length elsewhere on this site, this is a news story written by me that originally appeared on the now-defunct Electronic News’ website, which is long gone. It’s former sister pub Electronic Design News (EDN) currently holds the copyright to all Electronic News copy (to the best of my knowledge). You can still see a copy of this story at EDN.

Editor’s Note Part the Second: Now I can say what I never could before, at least not in a public forum. I hated Semicon West. Hated. HATED.


Hated. Not because of anything or anyone in particular — it was just hell month for me as the editor for Electronic News that covered semiconductor capital equipment. I used to get my ass kicked with work for a couple weeks before the show, and then during the week of the show that ass kicking was multiplied times infinity plus one.

I used to absolutely dread the coming of July, all the free booze not withstanding.

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