Behind the Blogger: We talk to Bruce Trump, mentor and the voice of The Signal


His blog, The Signal, tops the charts of TI’s 23 E2E (engineer to engineer) Community of blogs. His posts garner thousands of views every month. Basically, he stands in the No. 1 spot in TI’s public blog world. The man behind the magic? Bruce Trump, a Tucson, Arizona-based TIer who uses his writing prowess and passion for mentoring to help others.

 Trump, a 33-year Burr-Brown and TI engineer, joined TI when the company was acquired in 2000. He originally considered writing a book about op amps but ditched the idea in favor of a blog. He believed it would help company customers and better suit his “ADD-induced, topic-hopping” style. Eager for such a writer, TI’s Analog media relations team launched The Signal.

It was a perfect match. He’s the sole contributor, crafting weekly posts (he’s working on No. 51). His stories are an analog junkies’ dream, with thorough explanation of topics and diagrams, all in a clear, easy-to-digest writing style. He might discuss op amp noise or using a linear potentiometer (pot) as a volume control – see, pretty technical.

“It’s a tremendous amount of work,” he says. “But the psychic payback comes when I get that email that says, ‘Thank you, I understand this better now,’ it makes it worth it.”

His “simple” style is exactly what his audience wants – the blog was an instant success. In July 2012, The Signal had the most views of any blog in the history of TI. The real surprise – he’d only started writing for The Signal four months earlier, in March 2012.

Not only are his blog visits high -- Trump is able to engage in conversations through comments with his followers. “I get people coming back to me multiple times looking for help or to answer a specific question, and I try to answer them all personally or even follow-up with phone calls,” he says.

It’s a task that seems meant for Trump, who is passionate about mentoring. While the blog gives him a platform in which to inform others, answer questions and converse with a large audience, he spends much of his time directly helping those with whom he works in Tucson. Trump is known for his willingness to offer advice – and for his open-door office policy. From applications, design, test and marketing engineers to product planners, co-workers know they can always ask him questions or seek out his help.

“It’s a duty of someone who has been around for a while, and who has specialized experience, to pass it on,” he says. “Personally, I feel like I’m in a race to pass on a lot of knowledge that will be lost. I spend a lot of time thinking, ‘What will people need to know?’’

It’s especially important in Tucson, where many of the products in development today are long-life – some have been around for more than 30 years. Communicating processes and ensuring that there are no slip-ups in production are the key to continuity.

“When I talk to engineers, I like to compare it to the advancement of mankind,” he says. “If we all had to learn how to make fire on our own and no information was shared, none of us would make it very far. But as a team who is sharing information, we advance so much faster.”

  • Rarely have i seen such a concise display of experience and knowledge than within the literary contributions you've so humbly bequeathed into the archives of this site. If you have published any books, or have a select few favorites, I'm sure we could all benefit from your advice. I wrote this mainly to express how important wise words are to those who seek and dream of one day building upon the solid foundation left to us by our predecessors.

    You are a true inspiration,

    Thank you.

  • Schuyler,

    Bruce has since retired, however, some of his best blogs have recently been compiled into 'The Signal e-Book', which can find it: www.ti.com/.../slyt701