Remembering an Industry Icon, Andy Grove 1936-2016

Along with the late Steve Jobs and a handful of others, Andy Grove was instrumental in helping to shape the industry as we know it.


March 22, 2016

2 Min Read
Remembering an Industry Icon, Andy Grove 1936-2016

Many today are remembering Andy Grove, the former CEO and chairman of Intel, who died yesterday, March 21. He was 79.

Along with the late Steve Jobs and a handful of others, Grove was instrumental in helping to shape the industry as we know it. His imprint in indelible.

Present when Intel was founded in 1968 by Robert Noyce and Gordon Moore, Grove became president in 1979 and CEO in 1987. According to Intel, “Grove was one of the most influential figures in technology and business, writing best-selling books and widely cited articles, and speaking out on an array of prominent public issues.”

During his tenure, Grove oversaw the release of several milestones and transformative products including the 386 microprocessor and the Pentium. More than mere technical excellence, Grove drove Intel to be a financial powerhouse that stood tall among tech giants and beyond. During his tenure, Intel revenue grew from $1.9 billion annually to more than $26 billion.

Grove’s influence extended beyond the company. As much as anyone, he was responsible for establishing the competitive, disruptive and egalitarian culture that has become Silicon Valley. Wall himself off in an ivory tower or stately office? Not Grove, who famously sat in an open cubicle and made himself available to all.

To say that Intel was driven during Grove’s tenure would be a gross understatement. His 1996 bestseller “Only the Paranoid Survive” captured the unease that highly successful but never satisfied people embody. The greatest danger in business, he famously said in the book, was “Standing still.”

We could go on. But we will wrap with this. When you look around the industry today, you can see Grove’s fingerprints in many places. Take Amazon. Estimates vary, but AWS is believed to have the capacity of the next five, six or seven competitors combined. To achieve such an unbelievable competitive advantages in terms of capacity and pricing prowess, you need to make a massive, gutsy bet on your vision. Few people in business have done that. Jeff Bezos certainly is one.

But where does someone get that courage? Some of that can be traced to Grove, who famously invested in clean-room manufacturing facilities that cost billions of dollars to make products that the company had yet to develop.

While it’s tempting to remember Grove for his paranoia, this reporter will remember him for his courage.

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