Thursday, June 1, 2006

Kingston Technology and the meaning of U3


By David Gewirtz

This month, we had the opportunity to interview Heather Skinner, an executive at Kingston Technology, the world's largest independent memory manufacturer. Heather, shown in Figure A, was kind enough to help us understand a fascinating new technology called U3.


This is Heather Skinner of Kingston Technology. (click for larger image)

U3 is an application specification that allows applications to launch directly from specially-designed USB flash drives, like the U3 DataTraveler shown in Figure B.


This drive contains programs that will launch once plugged into a PC. (click for larger image)

Unlike most Windows programs, which require a complex installation process, U3 drives load their programs without any installation. This allows you to take your specialized tools on the go and use them in nearly any computer without modifying that computer's operating environment.

Let's let Heather tell us all about it.


Please introduce yourself and tell us something about your background and role at Kingston.


I am Heather Skinner and have been with Kingston for more than 14 years. I am currently the Corporate Public Relations and Community Relations manager and have a Project Manager role with the company.

Currently I am responsible for managing and executing corporate communications projects and programs for the company, which includes new product launches, marketing communications programs such as Kingston's Icons of Photography and all corporate philanthropic initiatives. Some of my accomplishments include achieving coverage in Fortune's "100 Best Companies To Work For" for four years running, and organizing a $5 million scholarship program for local high schools.

Prior to my current position, I served as the project marketing manager for networking, processor upgrade and memory products here at Kingston. I am also involved with identifying and managing new product areas and markets for Kingston as well as new business development.


When we talked earlier, you told me about your time at Yamaha. As a biker, that's probably even more fun to talk about than U3. Can you say a few things about bikes to keep my inner biker happy for a little while longer? It's an incredibly beautiful day outside and I'm in the office, not on my bike. Gotta feed the ride somehow!


I have to agree that motorcycles can be a little bit more fun to talk about. My step-father works for Yamaha Corporation in Cypress, CA. I have been riding Yamahas since I was a child. It is a hobby that my husband, kids and I enjoy very much. Nothing beats getting out into the sun, putting on your boots and helmet and riding the track. I have a TTR 125cc. Both my boys (ages 9 and 6) ride as well.

Of course, we ride Yamahas and nothing else. We often go to the office to check out the new inventory, which is where I was the other day. Yamaha is getting ready for their dealer meeting and my boys love to check out the stock.

Having said that, U3 is quite interesting and we are seeing a lot happen in the USB industry.