I write hard science techno-thrillers with fictional characters and made-up events but set in the real world of high-tech industry and current affairs.
Our modern lives are dramatically impacted by technology – from phones and internet down to dog tags – and I hope to bring the amazing technologies and the wonderful techie nerds to life through fictional stories. The technical and business facts that I ‘sneak’ into my novels are all true, and the stories are ‘the sugar that helps the medicine go down’.
A high tech AI startup, the Russian mafia, and the downfall of a 'resident adult.'
About the Book
A story of a professor caught up in a whirlwind of a high-tech startup, who then has to fend off the pressures to lie and cheat in order to sell the company, exerted by a shady early investor who, in turn, needs to get his money out due to the effects of the pandemic on his other businesses…
Semiconductor industry has always been wholly immersed in the startup culture. All of the iconic names in the industry – from Gordon Moore and Intel on to Steven Jobs and Apple – seemed to have a startup in their past. So, I was thinking that indexing a plot of a story to the typical phases of evolution of a high-tech startup may be an interesting way of structuring a novel. But just making up a startup was not enough of a plot.
In 2020 the press was full of articles about the pandemic disruptions to the supply chains. This made me ponder about how the impact would probably be the worst for service based industries that involved a lot of human contact.
Finally, in my past I had experience with a couple of startups which happened to involve Armenians – both of the local kind, and of the kind that came from Armenia.
Sometime in the middle of the pandemic lockdowns, these three vectors converged in my head, and the idea behind ‘Startup’ germinated. I thought that combining something that involved the disruption that the pandemic must have caused to the service-based industry with the theme of a startup might make an interesting story. The contrast of a high-tech startup working with an Armenian oligarch potentially made for good drama. Add in the Russian mafia, a spoiled naïve professor, a splash of technology, a pinch of typical pressures in manufacturing… and it could work…
Between the Dragons
About the Book
A story about China trying to control the supply chain for the high-tech industry by acquiring a specialized company by any means, and the antics that the owner of the targeted company, along with a couple of his friends, play in order to avoid having to sell...
The supply chain that feeds the semiconductor industry is extremely complex and very much globalized. Furthermore, the sheer complexity of the semiconductor technology necessarily pushes its supply chains to ever-greater degrees of specialization. This sometimes results in niche products that are critical in the supply chain but are sole sourced by relatively small companies, or in some specialized skills that are known to just a handful of people. In fact, I personally know several technologists who founded very specialized businesses like that, and my impression is that their relationship with the companies is highly personal – even beyond it being just a vocation.
Back in 2019 and 2020, the media was full of stories about the highly visible trade war going on between the US and China, and the professional press ran many articles about battles taking place in the ~$400B global semiconductor industry. But most of those stories focused on the well-known entities that occupied the very top of the supply chain - like Apple and Huawei.
So I thought that a situation where a big power tried to gain control of some specialized entity deep in the high-tech supply chain may be an interesting setting for a story. And I felt that trying to buy a company from a dedicated founder would have to be about much more than just money, and that this could make for some good drama. I used some of my friends as templates for the characters, threw in some of my experiences of doing business in Asia, added some of my biases, and…
Between the Titans
About the Book
This is a story of a man who happened to inherit rights to a patent, and who then had to resort to all sorts of antics to avoid the pressure put on him by agents of two giant high-tech companies, who see his Intellectual Property as a valuable weapon to be used in their patent war...
There was a legal dispute between Qualcomm (a company that makes chips for most phones), and Apple (the company that makes the most famous phones), that dominated the tech-industry headlines between 2017 and 2019. This case was very interesting to me, not only because I had worked at Qualcomm for 10 years, but because it was a fight between a supplier and a customer over Intellectual Property, and the question of how it should be paid for. I thought that this dispute could serve as an excellent setting for a story.
At the time when I started writing this book – my very first attempt at pure fiction – I was out of the high-tech industry for only a couple of years, and I was busily ruminating over my professional life, and how working in corporate teams tends to shape one’s ethic.
I thought that a story could be made up around a combination of those two trends – a legal dispute between two giant corporations, and the peer-group pressure that corporate teams exert on an individual. I added my love of a place where I used to spend summers when I was a kid, and the stories that the local people share, and threw in a desire to try and explain what a wonderful and complicated thing a mobile phone really is, and…
Managing More-than-Moore Integration Technology Development
About the Book
This is not a fictional novel. This is a management book.
This book presents the real challenges and experiences of managing an advanced semiconductor technology development and integration program – but using a novelized form. The material is presented in a conversational format through a story that follows a fictional narrator as she grows from an intern to a manager in a (fictional) chip company. The story describes the technology development program from management, engineering and human perspectives, and exposes not only the management and technical issues but also the typical work-life balance challenges experienced by engineers working in the technology industry. Use of a series of realistic and representative vignettes, supported by a set of illustrative cartoon-ish panels, presents the serious management topics in a light and readable way.
- Based on real, hands-on experiences and presents actual lessons learned;
- Describes various aspects of managing an engineering development program
- Explains key technical aspects of semiconductor technology to non-experts;
- Written in a novelized form that makes it very easy to read;
- Enables an understanding of how and why the chip industry evolved over the last 50 years into what it is today
This book is my first experience with writing fiction. The book itself is a management book rather than a novel, but I chose to write it in a ‘novelized’ form. I was inspired by ‘The Goal’ by Eliyahu Goldratt – a book about management of a manufacturing facility that I read some 20 years ago – and still remembered it. So I thought I would try to write a book about managing an engineering team - also in a novelized from.
I found the experience exhilarating and liberating. I loved the freedom of writing without having to provide data, or at least to cite a reference or explain the reasoning, to back up anything and everything. I loved the ability to use first person singular, rather than the passive third person format required for technical and scientific work. And I loved making up people and stories to communicate something that is true and real.
So I became a novelist…
Formats: Paperback, Hardback and eBook
Date of Publication: Feb 2017