The marketing of Power Electronics
Among other jobs, I have been a young (and idealist) market analysis consultant. I did my best to deliver sharp and accurate analysis and market forecasts.
There was a huge technological part in our work. Some reports were more than 200 pages with a lot of information and a lot of technology.
As a company publishing market report, we had a marketing and communications team to support us analysts. They did a great job… I can tell now that I have to take care of some of the marketing aspects of PntPower.com!
But at the time, I thought we could make much more from what we had, and I was right.
I remember seeing communication staff copy-pasting messages we passed them, to build sales and marketing material. They were literally struggling to deliver error-free material. At each time, we were sorry to see huge mistakes in some of this material anyway. The kind of mistakes we knew was huge because technically, it did not make any sense. But how could a Corporate Communication Master’s holder see that. It’s like when you read « Gan » instead of « GaN ». It’s so easy to spot that for an engineer. It’s so easy to miss that even for a marketing rock star. I quickly realized how much it was uneasy for non-engineers. It made me uncomfortable to have to correct them at each time.
Making more together
The young idealist I was had to started looking for a solution. I spent more and more of my time with the « Mark-com ». Most of my coffee breaks were taken on a stool in the marketing department: I was looking over the shoulder of my colleague working with me on Power Electronics and explaining what was on the screen. (Camille if you read this, do you remember these times ?)
It could be a Photoshop picture of a MOSFET :
« See, this is like a controlled switch. Gate is the control pin, and here and there are input and output. When you have voltage at Gate, you open the way to electricity flows.»
Or it could be the picture of an 8in. wafer from Infineon:
« 8in. Is the wafer size. The bigger, the more you can put devices, the cheaper the manufacturing. But it has to match with demand and production capacity… »
Weeks passed, and we all started to see less and less of these mistakes, but not only. We were also more efficient, and last but not least : The team felt stronger and better together.
That’s this last part that really made me happy of the job done.
Some missed the good in this informal teaching: It could have been interpreted as wasted time or disturbing colleagues from their initial work. But I knew I was working on a long term return for this invested time.
MOOC or SPOC: That is the Question
My secret dream when creating PntPower was to come to this. I thought that an easy accessible training, for marketing, sales, communication or any other people from your firm that are not engineers, could be an asset.
A solution is to propose on-site courses. But how much of it will trainees carry with them over time. How efficient is it, but mostly, when and how would we organize it? It’s already a nightmare to organize a conference call with everyone. Imagine the hidden cost for the firm, if we needed to gather all teams for one day, for a training day.
Online course has reached maturity and made knowledge transmission flawless. You all heard about MOOC (Massive Open Online Course). Well, when it’s not massive, we call it SPOC: Small Private Online Course.
So we took the best online course platform (OpenEdx.org) and built a course with it. It’s accessible 24/7, you can have short videos and small written sections with schematic.
The basics of Power Electronics accessible to everyone
I thought that we could and needed to explain the principles of Power Electronics without throwing Schrödinger’s equation… well… without any equation! So that’s what we did.
We built a course covering all the basics and not losing anyone in mathematics equations or semiconductor physics concepts. It’s made of good knowledge only, useful and ready to apply – including some quiz and test.
We explained Voltage and Current through an analogy with water. We showed bands and gaps to explain what Wide Band Gap semiconductor materials. We made animations of electrons flow to show the PN Junction of the H-bridge operation.
Watch the teaser
Teaching Power Electronics to Marketing and Sales teams: is a good bet ?
Now, picture yourself in your company with all teams on the same page about Power Electronics. A new flow of ideas from marketing, new customers and opportunities from your sales teams. All the staff is able to “speak Power Electronics” and to share directly with R&D or product development.
Let’s imagine how feedback and new ideas could rain if all the different profiles of your teams could discuss and share.
I’m not talking about making your desk manager a PhD in Semiconductor physics. Just letting all the people in the company know that your R&D in Silicon Carbide might save some CO2 emissions and make the planet greener. That’s already enough. The rest will come with time, and you teaching more to them, as you just saved the time of explaining the basics and can move straight to the core topic!
Share the story to your HR, CEO or anyone in charge of training in your company. This will help your company evolve.