1. Andy Grove and his role in Intelís Success

When I think of Intel, I think of Andrew Grove. That may be due to my age, and the fact that I was too young in 1968 to know that Gordon Moore and Robert Noyce, pioneers in the semiconductor industry, had left Fairchild Semiconductor to form Intel Corporation. But I believe that my association of Grove with Intel is due more to the tremendous influence that he has had on the company as the official and unofficial overseer of Intelís internal operations from the beginning.

Even though he did not join Intelís executive committee until 1976, and did not become CEO until 1987, it is clear that he has been the leader at Intel since the beginning. He has constantly pushed the collective company envelope with "big, hairy, audacious" goals to produce better and faster chips that ultimately have been some of the primary drivers of the computer industry.

Intelís first goal was to replace magnetic-core computer memories with semiconductor memories. Their objective and early vision, initially shaped by Gordon Moore, was to dominate any market in which they participated. They would set out to accomplish this internally by "buying options", which allowed them to systematically explore various alternatives. This approach gave them flexibility but also created internal competition, which played a strong role in shaping the culture of Intel. I believe that Moore, who felt that the semiconductor business "lived on the brink of disaster", also was a very strong influence on Grove. Grove seemed to carry on "Mooreís Law" Ė that approximately every three years a new generation of chips must be developed with four times the capacity of their predecessors.

The companyís first SRAM chip, the 1101, came out in 1969, but Intel was constantly driven to change the industry. Moore, Noyce and Grove were never satisfied long. They initiated a drive within the company to produce a DRAM chip with four times the capacity of the SRAM. The resulting 1K chip, introduced in 1971, was the 1103, which was universally preferred to magnetic core technology and became the industry standard. After two other big developments in 1971, "Operation Crush Ė an all-out combat plan" was initiated to make the next generation 8086 chip the industry standard. This was followed by development of the 432 project. The 8086 and 432 are examples of "buying options" Ė Intelís strategy whereby one product is developed with an evolutionary strategy while another is developed with a revolutionary strategy. Noyce remarked that through these R&D projects, often times Intel "may not have found what they were looking for, but found something else equally important".

Andy Grove could be described as a "detail-oriented pragmatist", as oppossed to Gordon Moore, who was a "technology driven futurist". Grove was a demanding, hard worker who worried about how to accomplish what Moore dreamed up. This has been a critical element in Intelís success. Grove noted that it led to the development of the "Two-in-a-Box" management philosophy. This consisted of two individuals with complimentary skillsets, much like Grove and Moore, sharing the same management position in order to stabilize a transition, start-up or reorganization. It was also used to groom successors or to get more value out of a position. Some people in the organization viewed this as inefficient, but Intel continued to succeed.

According to another executive, Grove possesses "aggressive brilliance". Heís very articulate, yet with a powerful, confrontational style. I believe Groveís penchant for "constructive confrontation" led Intel employees to think of themselves as the "Marine Corps" of the industry. He helped develop an organization with "bright, opinionated, macho, rude, even arrogant and impatient, and very informal" employees. This negative type of personality meant that Intel people often didnít care how they got results, but it probably gave them the toughness to weather the 1980ís recession and the semiconductor price wars of 1986-87 that caused U.S. manufactures to lose billions.

Intel survived, not unscathed, probably in large part due to Grove. Despite his tough style, he focused on individuals and took a lot of pride in putting people where they were needed. This would be extremely important as he tore the company down and put it back together a number of times, as