App note: Interview with Bob Dobkin the chief technical officer at Linear Technology

Here’s an interview with Bob Dobkin, the CTO and co-founder of Linear Technology. He talks about how he started in the industry, the founding of Linear Technology, reasons behind application notes, and how to become a good analog engineer. He also talks about Jim Williams, the late analog design guru who’s responsible for many excellent app notes.

Linear Technology Chief Technical Officer Bob Dobkin discusses analog design challenges and circuit design approaches.

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  1. This dude knows whats up. Any time I’ve dealt with LT, I’ve always been blown away with how helpful the app notes are. Not to mention they always have thorough datasheets, and even really helpful staff you can call (at least that’s what I’ve experienced in my limited dealings with LT).

  2. In 1956, at the age of sixteen, I purchased faulty military surplus walkie-talkies (AN-PRC) which utilized sub-miniature tubes, as transistors and IC’s were not yet being utilized. Robert Dobkin, “Bobby,” then about thirteen or fourteen years of age, would repair these devices for me at no charge, without the help of a schematic. Even as a child, he was a technical genius, and it is my privilege to have shared some time with him. Also, in the fifties, Bobby seemed interested in improved battery design. I’m not at all surprised by his success in the electronic world.

  3. Bob Dobkin is one of the “Founding Fathers” of analog IC design, his success derived from an understanding of the physics of the fundamental devices combined with extensive experience and understanding of all manner of analog circuits (as he explains). I much appreciate the effort expended here to interview him and thus memorialize his thoughts and insights into the design of analog ICs.
    I was touched by the emotion that leaked through on his face near the end, where he was talking about Jim Williams; his passing clearly was a great loss that still saddens him to this day. These guys know what they’re doing, so it’s no surprise that Linear Technology makes some good products and is one of the industry leaders.

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