An unavoidable consequence of getting older is that more frequently our friends and colleagues unexpectedly leave us for their final venture. Jim Hogan, widely known and loved in the semiconductor industry, has passed on. He will leave a substantial hole in the hearts of many. Always ready with seasoned advice, a sympathetic ear and a boundless stock of entertaining stories. I for one will never forget his patient and encouraging support. For now, I must make do by remembering the man who helped and inspired me in so many ways. My thanks also to Peter Calverley and Scott Becker of Tela Innovations for filling in some of the blanks. RIP Jim Hogan, a dear friend to many of us.
The early days
I first met Jim in the late 80’s at National Semiconductor. He was a big wheel in computer integrated manufacturing, and I was a lowly CAD manger in the ASIC group. He left to join Cadence and I independently left for Cadence not long after. Our orbits didn’t overlap too much during that period, but I remember a friendly easy-going recognition at those times our paths did cross.
Jim stayed at Cadence for a while, running a division, later Japan Operations before moving on to Artisan Components as the head of Business Development. Which culminated in Artisan’s acquisition by ARM. Jim then switched to what would become his true love – investing in and guiding early-stage ventures. If you were a Jim Hogan watcher at all, you’ll know he was involved with many successful exits. However, he was a modest guy. He told me that there were many more not-so-successful investments. He would often laugh about Theranos as one painful example.
Investing and guiding
Jim invested first through Cadence’s Telos Venture Partners. Later and together with Scott Becker, a close friend he first met at Artisan, he formed his own venture fund Vista Ventures. At the same time Jim helped Scott form Tela Innovations and served on the board for over fifteen years. Vista Ventures was the vehicle through which he invested in many of the companies we know he helped. Most recently Jim complemented his investment activity by joining the board of Silicon Catalyst.
Nothing could get Jim more excited than new technologies and new ideas. In my closing days at Atrenta, I got into blogging, particularly on harebrained ideas – which Jim enthusiastically encouraged. I’m not sure which of us was crazier. One blog was on how we could exploit biological security parallels (antibodies and so on) in system security. He wanted to turn it into a Ted talk. The guy was infectiously excited by any new tech idea.
He guided me in my early freelancing, helping setup assignments and introducing me to key executives looking for content marketing help or strategic marketing guidance. I was lucky to work together with Jim on some of these projects, for example the work we have done together with Paul Cunningham at Cadence in the “Innovation in Verification” series. Paul and I are the techie enthusiasts. Jim always grounded us with his investment insight. He also provided me with the content for chapter 4 of my recent book (The Tell-Tale Entrepreneur). That chapter offers a fascinating view into investment through the eyes of an investor.
I wasn’t lucky enough to meet Jim’s family, but I know we shared common interests outside technology. We were always debating how to manage fire clearance, tractors and attachments, drilling new wells and building versus buying a new home. He talked often and affectionately about Lisa and even more often about Jake and his adventures, most recently his fascination with chain saws (I can relate).
My abiding impression of Jim is that for all his accomplishment and renown in the industry, he topped it by being one of the most genuinely nice human beings you could ever hope to meet and count as a friend. We all want to succeed in fame and fortune. Jim had those but more important he left a lasting impression as the kind of person we all hope to be when our time finally comes. Rest in peace Jim. We won’t find your like again.
If you would like to express your appreciation of Jim, please submit your entry to nominate him the the Phil Kaufman Hall of Fame.
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