The Intel Trinity

I have learned much from almost everyone I ever worked with, but for anyone my age, who was part of the semiconductor revolution, it is impossible to hear the word “INTEL” or see it written on their computer without thinking of the founders – Bob Noyce and Gordon Moore.[i]But what about Andy Grove – he was actually employee number three. I came to know Andy quite well, and more than I thought I deserved at the time. Gordon was my boss for a short time, prior to my Division being acquired by Timex, so I got to know him pretty well also. I only met Bob a few times at business meetings, but the one meeting that lives in my memory is an event at his house in the Los Gatos foothills in the very early 1970s.

Gordon

Gordon died recently at the age of 94. Aside from being a literal genius in his field, he was one of the nicest guys I ever knew. Lacking Andy’s swagger, with his out-of-place open-collar shirts, and Superman belt buckle, Gordon had a confident but humble personality that everyone admired.

I have no doubt that he was the one behind the open-door President’s Office that was so popular. One of those three, who shared the title, would always be in that office, and anyone was welcome just to drop in and share an idea.

I was truly saddened to learn of his passing

Andy

I have often said that over my professional life, I learned more from Andy than from all the other people I have worked for combined, and I have written about him here. As with most painful experiences, those of us who learn from our failures are wiser for the experience, and I thank Andy for the experience.

Bob

I suppose I learned two things from Bob, although it has taken me almost a half-century to realize them both.

Firstly, he was emphatic about getting Intel into the “Consumer Electronics Business”, a view not shared by the others at the time. He made multiple attempts, including a toy digital microscope[ii]I still have one in my barn office, home networking products, electronic watches, and others, none of which succeeded because the others didn’t share his vision of the future. Long after his death, Intel missed out on the smartphone opportunity, and Apple stepped in to fill the void. While Gordon had the technology genius and Andy made it happen, only Bob possessed the Job’s caliber [iii]Sorry for the redundancy marketing vision.

Secondly,[iv]I add this as a footnote because it is hardly of the same relevance or in the same context. I have tried hard to emulate the style of his gardens near Austin Corners between Los Gatos and Saratoga. The ponds, waterfalls, and carefully placed rocks etched an image in my mind that I can still see today. I imagine him sitting in that garden, dreaming about what makes the world go around in much the same way my gardens please me.

By: Jim
Written: April 23, 2023
Published: April 23, 2023
Revised: 
Reader feedback always appreciated[v]. . thoughtful commentary perhaps more so than shallow thoughts
footnotes
footnotes
i But what about Andy Grove – he was actually employee number three.
ii I still have one in my barn office
iii Sorry for the redundancy
iv I add this as a footnote because it is hardly of the same relevance or in the same context. I have tried hard to emulate the style of his gardens near Austin Corners between Los Gatos and Saratoga. The ponds, waterfalls, and carefully placed rocks etched an image in my mind that I can still see today. I imagine him sitting in that garden, dreaming about what makes the world go around in much the same way my gardens please me.
v . . thoughtful commentary perhaps more so than shallow thoughts