Intel International Science and Engineering Fair
Andrew S. Grove
San Jose, Calif., USA
May 9, 2001
ANNOUNCER: Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Carlene Ellis, vice president, human resources, director of education, Intel Corporation.
CARLENE ELLIS: Thank you. Whoa.
Well, I hear last night that ?? we'll be adjusting the mikes for a minute. I hear last night you had a great time at the tech; is that right?
CARLENE ELLIS: And I just want you to know we have a whole new category for projects beginning now for next year, and we want you all to go away and do hard, hard work on how to eliminate escalator congestion when 1200 students are involved.
CARLENE ELLIS: I'm so glad to be here, and I'm just so excited you will have this opportunity to take a random walk with Andy Grove.
You know, over the years there's been a lot written about Andy: Ph.D. from Berkeley, one of the founders of Intel Corporation who is now the chairman, author of many, many books, recipient of many awards. The one my children remember the most notably is "My gosh, Mom, he was on the cover of Time," and so on. And you know, these facts are the facts everyone knows about Andy Grove.
Well, I've been at Intel 21 years, and I've had just a total honor and privilege to work for Andy Grove for a part of my career here. And today, I want to talk to you about the Andy Grove that I know.
Recently, the San Jose Mercury News, which is the paper here in the local area, did a profile of Andy for a leadership series they were doing. Andy was asked, "What do you think Intel employees like the most about you?" He said, "Well, I say what I think."
The next question from the reporter was, of course, "What do you think your employees fear the most about you?" And very predictably, perhaps, his answer was the same, "I say what I think."
The Andy Grove I know is a leader who is open, honest, and direct. He says what he thinks, he deals with issues head-on, and he pushes for total resolution. Another reflection of Andy's influence is noted as you walk through the Intel buildings: Andy has nurtured an egalitarian culture at Intel. A lot of people talk about it; he does it. There are no executive perks at Intel; no executive dining rooms, no executive washrooms, no special places to park. And we all work in a company where Andy Grove's cubicle - which I think is about eight-by-nine - is just like everybody else's.
And you know what? That open environment that everybody jokes about - it is the essence of that open environment that allows people to communicate directly and solve problems in a collaborative fashion.
Most notable to me, however, in my 21 years at Intel, is Andy's role modeling of humor and humor's place in the workplace. He puts himself on the line to have fun. And I have a little video clip that may be career-limiting after this speech, if I have a job!.
CARLENE ELLIS: But I have a little video clip of Andy that I think might surprise you.
ANDREW GROVE: It's actually more fun than making chips.
CARLENE ELLIS: How about that dancing? Not bad, huh?
My last example of humor is one that I was personally involved in. I was personally involved in a few of Andy's humorous deeds, but only some of them can I talk about.
CARLENE ELLIS: So I think this one is on that line.
In the 1980s, and even before, many companies in the Valley, began setting up exercise facilities so their stressed employees could go in and relax and come out better ready to do the work.
Andy really didn't think too much of that idea, and he was widely quoted to me and others saying, "There will never be showers at Intel."
Well, as a kid, I didn't like the word "never," so I just kept trying. So in the late '80s, I was in a job as vice president of administration where I headed the facilities people that did the work in our buildings.
Well, after much planning and support from other managers, we decided to build showers in some of Intel's buildings, including the one where Dr. Grove worked.
So on opening day we had a sign out on the front of the building that said, "There will never be showers at Intel, Andy Grove, 1980-something." He had said it so many times we had plenty of years to pick from.
CARLENE ELLIS: So on that day with this banner out front and this big ceremony and the employees couldn't believe we were getting showers, they just thought, you know, something bad was going to happen because this was not going to happen, so we dedicated the first Intel showers in our building. And I'd like you to just see a very serious ??
CARLENE ELLIS: This is a very serious photo of Andy and I on that day.
CARLENE ELLIS: He looked pretty good in that 1930s bathing suit, I'm telling you.
So, very seriously, these are the qualities of the man I know: a leader who is open, honest, and direct; a leader who has never flaunted his celebrity status as long as I've known him - in fact, often tried to avoid it; and a man who can laugh at himself and with others.
It's my pleasure to introduce Dr. Andy Grove.
DR. ANDREW GROVE: What Carlene doesn't know is that this picture that she just showed you about the showers is on my wall at home.
DR. ANDREW GROVE: I've never been the same. I got completely lobotomized with that experience of having to go back on a fundamental principle of my management style.
DR. ANDREW GROVE: This morning I had the pleasure of walking around when a few of you were kind enough to stick around in the hall and show me some of the projects that you were involved with. Needless to say, I am very impressed. As you've been told a lot of times, you're kind of the creme de la creme of junior scientists, and that came across extremely well in the handful of projects that I saw.
But what I really want to talk about is something that I thought might be appropriate for you. As you go through high school and go into college, working on these projects gives you a sense of what your future might be about. This project gives you ideas about what you might want to do. You choose your educational career based in some way on that project - prodded by your plans, the feedback you receive and the product you're involved with.
All of that has to do with planning your life, planning your career, and that is what I want to talk about to you today.
I think plans are highly overrated.
DR. ANDREW GROVE: That's not a joke.
DR. ANDREW GROVE: Plans are a baseline, in my opinion; a model of a life that you depart from as you go on. Very rarely do they take you to the place you envisioned at the time you started. They almost never take shape the way you anticipated them. And I think that's very important to know and to realize as you go about your life, because I think it is very important for you to make your plans knowing that you're going to throw them away - almost certainly.
I'm going to take you a little bit back to my own experience and my own story and give you an illustration of what happened to me. Not to imply that I'm typical, but I think I'm more representative of the life plans that have evolved. They have not gone wrong, but they've evolved in unpredictable ways.
Around the time I started high school, that represents the younger portion of the spectrum of you in terms of age, my voice was changing. All of a sudden I woke up and I had a bass baritone instead of a squeaky kid's voice. So I had big dreams of becoming an opera singer. I liked the opera, and I didn't have a shower ??
DR. ANDREW GROVE: ?? but I closed all the doors in my room and when nobody could hear me I sang along with the opera records, 78 RPM vinyl records that I had. And I sounded so good to myself that I had this fantasy of somehow breaking into an incredibly difficult field. I don't know if I actually believed that it would happen or not, but it was very nice while it lasted.
I actually went and auditioned, and that's when the dreams got shattered.
DR. ANDREW GROVE: So I picked myself up and lowered my expectations ??
DR. ANDREW GROVE: ?? and decided I was going to go into journalism. I told you plans are not all that they are made out to be.
Now, actually, interestingly enough, I did not want to become a journalist. I wanted to become a writer. And at age 14, the sky seems to be too low a limit. So if I can't be an opera singer, journalist is not a good equivalent, but being a writer of novels, books that everybody reads and everybody carries around is much more equivalent. But after that audition I was a little too humbled, so I kind of phrased some lower-level equivalent of becoming a big-time writer, and that's how I became a journalist. And I actually became a student journalist for a while until a variety of political repercussions in my country caused my editors never to publish anything I ever wrote.
DR. ANDREW GROVE: It's very frustrating to be a blacklisted journalist at age 14.
DR. ANDREW GROVE: So I started looking around for something to do in the way of an avocation or a career that has nothing to do with politics, where you're unlikely to get blacklisted and there are no auditions.
DR. ANDREW GROVE: And my problem is I wasn't good enough at math to go into engineering or physics, or so I thought at the time, so I kind of figured that the less math-demanding cousin of engineering and physics would be chemistry.
DR. ANDREW GROVE: Chemistry has some side advantages. Some side branch of chemistry, that I understand two of your previous speakers, Sinbad and Craig Barrett also highlighted, has to do with explosives. Not big time explosives, little time explosives. But that actually made chemistry a whole lot more interesting for me. It ended up I made nitroglycerin and very proudly showed it to my high school class, creating, in the process, a drop of nitroglycerin that I would hammer away with a hammer, and just around the time when I completely gave up, the next smash of a hammer blew the hammer out of my hand.
DR. ANDREW GROVE: I really felt a real high.
DR. ANDREW GROVE: As a matter of fact, an interesting point is that along with Craig Barrett and Sinbad, Gordon Moore, who was my mentor, became a chemist and was involved with pyrotechnics and explosives. I just wonder if it's a boy thing, or whether girl chemists blow things up as well. I don't know. I'm almost tempted to ask for a show of hands in here, but we'll pass on that.
Anyway, through a variety of shenanigans I became a chemical engineer and ended up working in the semiconductor industry; went to work for Gordon Moore, who I just mentioned, at Fairchild and he put me on studies of the silicon/silicon dioxide system that is kind of the kernel of modern day integrated circuit technology. But at the time this all happened, which was 1963, this was a very under-fully understood system, and what luck would have is I arrived at the scene just at a time when an instrumental analysis approach became possible. So we studied the system using a combination of electronics and chemistry, and understood its characteristics much better than ever before.
Now, at the time I interviewed at Fairchild, I had no idea I would end up on this project. In fact, I'm not sure that at the time of the interview, which was many months before I actually started working, anybody at Fairchild was particularly planning on this project.
But it so happens I arrived on a Monday morning. By Monday afternoon I was working on this task, and I was the first person to work on this task at Fairchild.
A number of other people joined me, and we developed into a wonderful collaborative team, and we did some pretty good work. And our work, along with some competing labs' work, became the foundation of MOS integrated circuits, which is the way microprocessors and memory chips are built today.
So you know why I'm down on plans. There's no way I could have planned on a break like this. A break like this happens to you, and if you're alert enough, you grab it and go with it. You can take the momentum of that opportunity to further places. And that is what I did. But I could not foresee and could not have planned for this break any more than I could have planned for the biggest break of my career where I followed Gordon Moore, the same person that I mentioned earlier, to Intel - not having a clue what I was going to do at Intel, because the stuff that I was doing at Fairchild was more appropriate for a relatively large company than it was for a startup like Intel.
Intel was a true start-up at the beginning, and I ended up ordering equipment, looking up catalogues, and doing some adult equivalent of science projects, which became the foundation of Intel's process technology.
Now when you look at this set of things, this is one individual's meandering and bouncing around in terms of career development, and I want to contrast ?? not contrast, compare these with the development of plans and the actual execution of those plans of a relevant entity, which is Intel itself.
This page that you cannot read is Intel's business plan. It's very brief ?? life was fairly simple in those times. A few-page business plan got you sufficient money to start a company. And this business plan was fairly expansive, fairly general, and fairly inaccurate.
When you compare it with what we did just two or three years into the life of Intel, a substantial part of what we planned on doing, we dropped.
Just to elaborate on that, we were going to embrace three different technologies. We ended up pursuing only one. It happens to be the one that I had worked on at Fairchild and that turned out to be the right choice between the three of them.
We started focusing on using this technology to implement memories. We ended up getting our fame and fortune with a completely different product style, microprocessors.
We have always envisioned the company to be a small company. We escaped, in a way, from the complications of a large company, like Fairchild. Intel turned out to be a pretty large company - far larger than Fairchild ever was.
We never thought of expanding out of Mountain View, which is about five, six miles north of here. Today we operate in 100 locations around the world.
Now, the point that I would like you to take away from that is whether you look at an individual's example, like my own, or whether you look at a company's development ?? and Intel's development is very typical of company developments that meander around and bounce around opportunities and obstacles and find their way in that. Life - whether it's an individual's or an organization's life - is like a random walk. The best way to describe that, it's not a mathematical concept, but the best way to describe it is kind of if you took a videotape of a drunk in the forest at night ??
DR. ANDREW GROVE: ?? he starts walking in a particular direction, bumps into a tree, sits down, gets up, starts walking in another direction. He doesn't intend to go in another direction but he can't keep track of what direction he came from and what direction he's going, and keeps going until he bumps into the next tree, sits down, and the process repeats itself again.
I think that is the best analogy of how careers develop. And the reason it's important to think about it that way is because rules of operating in a random-walk environment, the rules that make you successful in that environment are different than they would be if life, in fact, or careers or corporate existence was a smooth, well-developed, well-planned entity. So it's worthwhile to think about this a little bit.
Now, some things are actually a given, even in the dark forest. And particularly relevant to most of you here, to all of you here ?? I might add, all of us here including your sponsors ?? is that we operate in a life that is rich in technology. And technology will continue to experience rapid change.
You know that is a given. It's almost like a fundamental rule of technology. And it is a rule of technology because technology brings in people who are interested in improving it. People like you.
So it is the fact that through the nature of technology, its evolutionary nature, its ability to grow and mutate brings people into the field who like to tinker with it, like to evolve it, like to improve on it, and choose its constant and guaranteed evolution.
So that's a given for your life plan. That's a given for any organization that you may start or you may get involved with.
It so happens that through your involvement with the project that brought you here, you happen to have the best seats in the house to watch the evolution of technology. If the examples I saw this morning are any representation of the rest of the projects, you are taking very good advantage of the front seat and looking at the frontiers of different branches of science, and being on the front seat gives you the opportunity and the ability of possibly thinking of changing the course of science and continuing the course of technology.
Your career will evolve through those changes. Change is going to guide your movement forward in that random walk. It will move you ahead. But as you move ahead, you have to be mindful of one more thing. This changing environment bring new rules that require adaptation on your part, adaptation to the next tree that you bump into, adaptation to the next opportunity that comes your way - like I had when I went to work at Fairchild. But also, an opportunity to understand the new rules of the game of technology and the game of use of technology that you, being a contemporary of the technology, being of the same age at which the technology is created and modified, gives you a uniquely good opportunity to be that.
This sounded a little complicated. It's not that complicated. People of a given age bring with them, in the pores of their body, in their understanding, the rules of technology at that time. So there was a time when technology was mechanical technology, and the people who grew up in that were mechanically minded. Today the technology tends to be very heavily digitally based. Digital technology pervades all kinds of science and technology beyond the digital field itself. And you not only have the best seats in the house but you happen to be a generation that's born of that age and that gives you fantastic advantages and fantastic momentum as you go forward.
What else is constant? One very important thought: Technology is both an end in itself and a means to other ends. It is a beauty of its own and it is a utilitarian act: one of the very few places you can find something that has both of those characteristics. You look at fine arts, it's a beauty in itself but it is not utilitarian. You look at a lot of design work; it may be utilitarian but it is not beautiful.
Technology, at least in my mind, and to my eyes, has both of those characteristics. It is an art in itself and it is utilitarian.
And being engaged in technology, being engaged in the discovery process, in my experience and in watching the lives of other people, is a very important way of bringing excitement and pleasure into your life. This is what I mean when I mentioned earlier that it is a beauty ?? it has a beauty of its own.
The discovery process, the process of creating that first drop of nitroglycerin, the process of figuring out how the silicon/silicon dioxide system works, implementing that through a variety of incremental changes into an integrated circuit that could not be built before brings with it an emotional response that is very unique and very, very, very precious.
One of the rules that might guide you in this random walk of life that I described is that you should take advantage of this enjoyment, take advantage of this potential of excitement and invest yourself in exactly those areas that give you that kind of joy.
The best work is going to come from your efforts when you expend those efforts in areas that are capable of bringing you these emotional highs. So by looking for the areas of science or technology that give you those highs, you are automatically finding those that give you the best ultimate results.
The bottom line, the rule that I'm advocating that might help you in this process of random walk is to follow your passion.
Now, I want to kind of ?? we're getting near the end -- I want to touch on somewhat of a side issue. I want to talk to you about revolution and evolution.
The attention in a world that we live in ?? for that matter, any other world and the world that had preceded us ?? is always on revolution. Revolution is more exciting. Revolution is easier ?? the stories of revolution or change are easier to tell. And no revolution ?? well, very few revolutionary changes have gotten the media attention and the popular focus as the digital revolution has in today's time.
But the fact of the matter is that evolutionary change is as necessary as the revolution itself to deliver the benefits of the revolutionary change in its possible forms. So evolution, to me, is on the same pedestal. Evolutionary work, evolutionary change, incremental improvements are on the same pedestal as revolution in its utility and taking advantage of the utility ?? of the potential of the revolutionary invention in the first place.
Those of us that are involved with technologies and applications of the Internet see these evolutionary changes almost like a river. You can't even put your finger on the discovery of the revolution in here. If you studied the history of the Internet from what it used to be, to the way it is today and how it has proliferated in the world through the invention of the browser, taking advantage of the presence of many, many millions of personal computers, this all represents evolutionary change. Every time a personal computer was shipped and connected to the Internet, the Internet has evolved one iota. To the evolution of applications like peer-to-peer networking that was first popularized by Napster, to the evolution of those peer-to-peer networking to scientific endeavors like searching for protein involved in cancer evolution. All of these are evolutionary changes in something where the sum total of those evolutionary changes represents one of the largest revolutionary changes in the environment that we can imagine.
When you look at something as big as the digital revolution, as big as the Internet, you may very well be tempted to ask the questions: Are the days of the garage gone? Are the days of the time when an individual or small teams can make a difference gone?
You may very well be caught by a bit of nostalgia in thinking: I wish I was born when HP could be founded in a garage, when Intel could be started in a little rented building in Mountain View.
Well, I want to leave you with the thought that you live in an age just like I have lived in an age and my predecessors have always lived in an age where almost nothing mattered but the work of the individual. And almost nothing would prevent the impact that the individuals could bring on society and on technology.
Now, we're going to give you kind of a little illustration of it, because you had Jim Morris here from Industrial Light and Magic illustrating, I understand, one spectacular example of digital imaging and digital entertainment after the other. And Industrial Light and Magic is a huge multi-million dollar undertaking that has been in the works from 20, 30 years ago. It evolved as an organization 20, 30 years ago, and you may think of it as a field that's intractable to the garage approach. Well, I want to show you something that might suggest otherwise.
Let's roll the little video.
DR. ANDREW GROVE: Now, what's notable about this little segment that's downloadable on the Web, is that it's produced by two people in three months, on company time.
DR. ANDREW GROVE: I don't know this for a fact but I suspect unbeknownst to the company.
DR. ANDREW GROVE: Using off-the-shelf software, using Intel architecture PCs, at a total cost of $75, and they sent the link to a segment of 50 people. And sometime the later part of the fall last year, 3 million people have seen this movie clip. That is a far larger number than the number of people that are going to end up seeing "The Mummy Returns."
DR. ANDREW GROVE: The technology that they used allowed them to create the car and the plane completely digitally. There is no car and there is no plane. For $75, you can't rent ??
DR. ANDREW GROVE: ?? any of those things.
And the old lady in that car has never driven a car in her life. She was digitally placed in the car.
So keep this in mind. Keep the story of the 405, the movie, in mind as you contemplate whether technology has become too complex for an individual to participate in.
The point I'm going to leave you with is that as an individual you can still make as great a difference as any generation before, as any individual in any generation before you could.
You have to be alert to the fact that life is a random walk of opportunities, problems, threats, and unpredictable instances. And the only compass that you have to guide you through those bumps and encounters is your passion for technology, your passion for science, your passion for the work that you are involved with now and you will be involved with in the future.
So thank you very much for your attention.
DR. ANDREW GROVE: Thank you.
If I could have the house lights up a little bit. There are three mikes: one to my left, one ahead of me, and one on my right side, and I would like to see a line of people lining up at each mike and we'll take whatever questions you want to throw my way. But I the light out of my eye a little bit, if I could have that.
Go ahead in the middle, please.
: Hello, dear Mr. Grove. I came from China, and I'm eager to know what do you consider the biggest difference between the teenagers in your time and the now youths. And what's your expectation to the nowadays young people? Thank you very much.
DR. ANDREW GROVE: You know, it is very difficult to objectively answer the first part of the question, which is what the difference ??
: The (inaudible) of the teenagers.
DR. ANDREW GROVE: No, no, I understood the question. I'm having a difficult time with the answer.
DR. ANDREW GROVE: And I'll tell you why: Because the teenager in my times I observed when I was a teenager myself. And teenagers look different to other teenagers than they look to adults.
DR. ANDREW GROVE: But if I ?? As much as I can adjust for this different perspective, which is kind of a deforming perspective, I don't think there is much difference between the teenagers that were teenagers when I was a teenager and the teenagers at a time when my kids were teenagers, and today.
In terms of expectation, you know, I don't really have any different expectations of teenagers as I have of people of other ages. Expectations are kind of universal, fundamental. Do an honest day's work, whatever work means at a given time. Be decent to other people, be straightforward, and enjoy your life.
: Thank you very much.
DR. ANDREW GROVE: My left.
: I was simply wondering ??
DR. ANDREW GROVE: The mike is not on.
: All right. I was simply wondering if you could explain to us one of your favorite moments in your life as an engineer.
DR. ANDREW GROVE: You know, I'm going to do a little better than that because I'm going to go back. A particular moment in my life was when I was a chemistry student at the University of Budapest, first-year chemistry student. And as I think back in terms of experience of science, the most enjoyable moment was at the end of a story that I have to spend a minute to tell you to get you a picture of it.
The big event of the first year of chemistry curriculum was analytical chemistry; qualitative analytical chemistry where you had to figure out very manually, in a very old-fashioned way, analysis of substances that were given to you in some kind of a liquid. And the big part of the first year's grade depended on performance in this class, and the class culminated in the analysis of a very complex liquid at the end of the year. It was this analysis that we ended up working on for a couple of months.
And there's two ways to go about it. One is to follow the systematic, very logical scheme that they taught you, and the problem with that is that it would take a lot longer to do that than the time that they allowed you to do the experiment, which I don't quite understand.
But the alternative was to kind of go with the flow and adjust a la random walk your experiments to what you find and use logic and intuition to find the answer. And I chose the second one, which is a higher risk approach, but it was faster, so I had a good likelihood of completing my analysis before the semester was out.
This was a fairly complicated process, and I got very confused. At first it was very easygoing. Then it got more difficult. Then I had mutually seemingly inconsistent results out of the analysis. And one particular day I was kind of dejected. I was going home on the streetcar. I was hanging out on the outside step, completely deep in thought, thinking about nothing and everything having to do with this experiment. And those atoms and molecules and ions in that solution were dancing around in my head, and all of a sudden they clicked, and I understood the error of my logic, why I thought these results were inconsistent, whereas in reality, these results were consistent and they spelled out the answer.
I think you could have stuck me with a pin; I wouldn't have felt it at that moment. I didn't know where I was, even though I was on the same ride that I took twice every day. It was kind of a state of aggressive euphoria that I couldn't come out of for a period of time. And it wasn't the significance of the grade. It wasn't the significance of a class. It was the significance of your thoughts of several months all of a sudden jelling and then understanding what you didn't before.
There were instances like this a number of times in my subsequent career, but that first one kind of stands out in my mind as the most significant one.
DR. ANDREW GROVE: We'll go to my right and I'll come back to the middle.
: My name is Paul Rossman and I'm from New Mexico.
When Intel was first founded, what obstacles did the company have to overcome when making the first processor?
DR. ANDREW GROVE: Well, remember, first of all, we didn't start making processors. We started making memory chips. And the obstacles we had to overcome were only two: the design didn't work and the process didn't work.
DR. ANDREW GROVE: And if you're really scraping for a third obstacle, the third obstacle was we didn't know which was which.
DR. ANDREW GROVE: You know, we would routinely gather ?? modify the design, modify the process, and then there was this clumsy tester that kind of looked like one of your projects here ??
DR. ANDREW GROVE: ?? that was commercial memory testing that was built in the lab for $25. And all it would tell us when it would test the memory chip, the light would be red or the light would be green. If the light was red, it didn't tell us any information whatsoever what was wrong with the chip. And the light was red and red and red.
DR. ANDREW GROVE: So in a not too terribly different way than this analytical process that I described earlier, we were trying to take implications of hand measurements, microscopic examinations, and the tester results and try to surmise what was wrong with the process and what was wrong with the design simultaneously. And, you know, the first time around, neither the process nor the design works is the most difficult one, because later on, when both of them work, then the process works. Then when you try your second design and something is wrong with it, you know it's the design because the process has worked before for the previous chip. For the first chip, you don't have that assurance. So this iterative deal that is going on, and in the meanwhile, your marketing department has committed to shipping this product to distribution at a particular date that seemed very reasonable at the time they committed to it.
DR. ANDREW GROVE: But looks less and less reasonable every day as you get closer to it.
So the pressures multiply. And a very real situation occurs. This wonderful team that you've assembled, idyllic team that you think is involved in startups, starts snarling at each other, pointing fingers at each other, "It's your process, not my design." "It's your design, not my process."
That kind of combination gives you an idea.
DR. ANDREW GROVE: But in a not-too-different fashion, breakthroughs happen, and the breakthroughs give you the exact highs we were talking about. And when those highs hit the team, the finger pointing stops and all of a sudden you switch from the bickering and the antagonistic mode of operation into a very, very positive feeding. And that carries you through the difficulty, and so it goes.
And you know what's interesting about it? I bet many, many corners, dozens if not hundreds of corners of the companies, the same scene is happening today over and over.
: My name is Chris, and I'm from Florida, and I'd like to know what you think about the possibility that the technologies that your company has created will eventually serve to make human beings obsolete. Many researchers think that the Internet is an intellectually harming experience that isolates us from our fellow humans in physical contact. What do you think about that?
DR. ANDREW GROVE: Not much.
: Can you elaborate?
DR. ANDREW GROVE: Of course. People have speculated on the dehumanizing effects of technology probably all the way to the time when the first wheel was invented. And we have come an enormous amount of ways with technology and science being evolved, and at a rate that usually it's typified that 95 percent of all knowledge has been created in the last generation. It's an exponentially growing knowledge. And I don't think it is any truer today than it has ever been.
And if it was truer today, I would point to some very basic facts that this question and the self-examination that's suggested by this question is an incredible luxury to 90 percent of the world's population who are worried about fundamentals of feeding themselves, housing themselves, protecting themselves interest illness and the dehumanizing effects of a malaria vaccine has not occurred to them.
So this kind of thought process is, I think, somewhat of a luxury of those who are very fortunate by birth and by happenstance of their personal history of living in the privileged ten percent of the world's population.
: Whatever damage you've done you've made up for by funding the science fair, so thank you very much.
DR. ANDREW GROVE: To my left.
: Hi. My name is Louis. I'm from Florida. And my question for you, sir, is what do you tribute all your success to? What single characteristic do you think made you so successful?
DR. ANDREW GROVE: Personal?
DR. ANDREW GROVE: I don't know that I can add a whole lot to what I basically told you about in my talk. Whatever personal characteristics I was born with or I developed through my years pale in comparison to the happenstance of opportunity and choices that I made, that became available to me and choices that I made not terribly consciously of the right, real reasons for that choice.
I will give you an illustration of that. When I came out of college, came out of graduate school, the two jobs I was looking at, one was going to Fairchild and the other was going to Bell Labs. Bell Labs was really the mecca of solid-state physics research. It was the place where the transistor was discovered not terribly long before I graduated, and conventional wisdom would have sent me to Bell Labs. And I didn't go to Bell Labs. And when I look at the evolutions and changes, the contributions that the team at Fairchild has done as compared to the corresponding changes and contributions at Bell Labs, I ended up choosing the right place, and certainly when you consider that through Fairchild I was in line to go to Intel, which was another opportunity. That branch in the decision tree made it more than worthwhile for me to choose that direction.
Now, at various times I ponder what would have happened if I had gone to Bell Labs, and just knowing some people who basically have similar personality characteristics and competencies, colleagues of mine who were at Bell Labs, I think I would have had a pretty productive and decent career, but I don't think it would have been as, you know, public as obviously high profile as the one I ended up having, and it is the same me that would have gone in both of those.
This is why I'm trying to leave you the message you cannot plan these things out. Conventional ?? planning leads you to conventional logic. Conventional logic will often give you a less than optimum answer. Maybe an okay answer but less than optimum, and it is the same basic understanding you bring to the bargain.
: I'm from Oklahoma. How do you feel that our experience at the science fair about affect the career that each of us choose?
DR. ANDREW GROVE: I'm sorry; I didn't hear that.
: How do you feel that the experience from the science fair will affect the career that each of us choose?
DR. ANDREW GROVE: I think it gives you probably, most importantly, self-confidence that will lead you to escalate the next step that you're going to take, let you ?? unlike my audition that made me lower my sights, success at the science fair is going to allow you and urge you to increase the hurdles that you're going to go after. So if you're successful with that, you're on an upward trajectory in your work and the content of your work.
And secondarily, I don't think you can dismiss the recognition that you get from a well-established organization in that whose judgment is going to bring you favorable consideration from your peers and other people whose decisions bring you more opportunity or less opportunity in the future.
So those two is what I anticipate. Okay?
: Dr. Grove, my name is Samuel Chang from Austin, Texas, and my question is you tell us to follow our passions when starting out with our plan, taking life as a random walk. How does risk affect that random walk? And is there any time when an immense amount of risk would lead us not to follow our passion but stay with another tried path?
DR. ANDREW GROVE: That's an interesting question, and I really haven't thought of ?? could be the third branch of a triangle here. But my offhand reaction to that is the only time you're going to take risks, when the taking ?? when you're passionate about the path that risk ?? that involves the risk that you're involved with. When you're passionate about the process of going down that path or the potential upside that you're going to get out of it.
So risk is not a virtue, in my mind, of itself. It is something that you should actually try to avoid so long as you can avoid it without giving up on your fulfillment of your passion in the activity or in the result.
Risk is not something that, other than extreme sports fans, you should look for in their own. It is something that you should undertake when other considerations, like your passion, warrant undertaking them. That's kind of my first cut on the answer.
: Dr. Grove, there's a saying that goes we don't plan to fail but we fail to plan. So through your experience, what does it take to make sure that your plan went well?
DR. ANDREW GROVE: I'm sorry; I have to ask you to repeat the question again.
: There's a saying that goes that we don't plan to fail but we fail to plan. So through your experience, what does it take to make sure that your plan went well?
DR. ANDREW GROVE: Well, see, the whole gist of what I'm talking to you about is it's not that you shouldn't plan, but you should not regard your plans to be anything more than a baseline model of what might happen. And the biggest failures that you may encounter is not that your plan fails but you fail to depart from that plan and forgo the opportunities that life brings your way by too rigorously sticking with that plan.
So it is not the failure of plan, but the failure of departing from plan that I'm cautioning you about.
How are we on time?
Last two questions. Negotiating.
: Hi, my name is page and I'm from New Mexico. What do you see in the future for the Intel Corporation?
DR. ANDREW GROVE: Kind of picking up on the same theme that I described in the talk, technology changes for us. Market changed for us. And my hopes for the company is that the same way that we have come an enormous way from that business plan that I described to you and evolved with technology some of what our own making, some of it other people's makings, but we involved with it, some with the possibility of products, exploiting the possibility of products, what they allowed us to do, and how that developed personal computer markets in the past, we will be able to continue to evolve while maintaining some of the characteristics which Carlene talked about which are in human and organizational terms very healthy, very rigorous, and very enjoyable characteristics; taking those characteristics and evolve to the opportunities of technology and marketplace in a constantly self-renewing fashion.
What specifically that's going to take us to, we are very busily involved in taking our technology into the communication task involved in the Internet, but that's going to take some period of time to develop. And like everything else, it is going to reach a level of maturity at some point, and something else is going to be beyond that. And I just hope that the company is going to maintain the characteristics of recognizing those and grabbing those opportunities both in terms of technology and products.
: My name is Dominic from Michigan. In running Intel, how did you bring people together to form ?? to create new technology? I mean, to make those teams that were really successful.
DR. ANDREW GROVE: I kind of touched on the difficulties of that on an earlier question but how we brought the teams together, in the early stages a few of us knew each other from Fairchild so there was kind of an affinity. If you wish, there was a latent team in existence. We liked working with each other before. So some attraction ?? the starting team came from some attract from members of the latent team.
Then we added people one at time, and some people we added landed on their feet and turned out to be very productive and very sympathetic members of the evolving team, and others didn't. And it kind of evolved at the beginning a person at a time and later on, many people at a time.
As time went on, fortunately, we were fairly diligent about understanding the social and cultural values that have motivated us, that have shaped our working, the culture, internal organization culture, things, again, referring back to what Carlene was talking about Intel was like. And we worked fairly consciously to maintain those as Intel became a large company with 100 locations, international, and we're ?? given that the average age of our employees is 33 years old and the company is 32 years old, mathematically figure that most of our people joined in the latter stages of the company.
And this continuity of culture is what we're counting on going forward as I answered the previous question.
So understanding what makes you tick and investing your efforts into making what makes you tick permanent is kind of the bottom line of the answer.
Thank you very much for some very stimulating questions.
DR. ANDREW GROVE: Best of luck with your projects and enjoy them.
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