Andy Grove


Former President/CEO, and Chairman of Intel. Time's Man of the Year for 1998! That's the second Hungarian to be awarded this honor!
He graduated from the City College of New York in 1960 with a Bachelor of Chemical Engineering degree and received his Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley in 1963. Upon graduation, he joined the Research and Development Laboratory of Fairchild Semiconductor and became Assistant Director of Research and Development in 1967.

In July 1968, Dr. Grove participated in the founding of Intel Corporation. In 1979 he was named its President, and in 1987 he was named Chief Executive Officer. Andy's goal to get a computer in front of everyone skyrocketed. In May 1997 he was named Chairman and CEO, and in May 1998 he relinquished his CEO title and remains as Chairman of the Board. He passed on his title of CEO to Craig Barrett in 1998, and now lectures at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. He has written many books, including “Only the Paranoid Survive,” and patented several semiconductor technologies.

Intel Chairman Andrew Grove Reminds Us of Our Roots

It is a rare book by a corporate CEO that isnt either a trumpet blasting his visionary insight and strategic brilliance or a dramatic and mawkish retelling of his climb to the top from unimaginably humble origins. Swimming Across: A Memoir - Andrew Groves simple, elegant recounting of the first 20 years of his life - is that rare exception.

Grove, one of the founders of Intel and still its chairman, was born Andras Grof in Hungary in 1936, the only child of parents who were in the dairy business. We tend to forget that prior to 1945 there was no Iron Curtain, and countries we think of now as post-Communist had vital histories of their own before the Soviet Union stitched together its empire following World War II.

Grove recounts a happy childhood in Budapest, the countrys largest and most cosmopolitan city. The specter of war loomed large in Europe in the late 1930s, but Grove was too young to be aware of its darker aspects. His family was Jewish and even as a young child he knew that many Jews were forced to live separately in ghettos. But to the young Grove and his playmates, this reality was simply material for another schoolyard game, much to the horror of their kindergarten teacher.

Groves early years, before the full force of the war descended upon Europe, were comfortably middle class. Budapest was actually two distinct communities, the wealthier Buda on one side of the Danube River and the more commercial Pest on the other side. Groves family moved to Pest in 1938 when his father expanded the dairy business.

In 1942, Groves father was drafted into the Hungarian army. He and other Jewish conscripts were sent to the Russian front not as regular soldiers, but rather as part of a support team sent ahead to clear roadways and build camps, fortifications and other facilities. In 1943, Grove and his mother learned that his father "had disappeared at the front." The Hungarian army was unable to provide the family with any additional information regarding his father for the balance of the war. While his mother never gave up hope, Grove, who had been six at the time of the draft, had a more difficult time holding onto memories of his absent parent.

In one of the books most moving moments, Grove tells us of the doorbell ringing in their apartment one day in the fall of 1945. His mother opened the door and found "an emaciated man, filthy and in a ragged soldiers uniform standing at the open door." As his mother embraced the man, Grove thought, "this must be my father."

Scenes like this, however poignant, are the books chief disappointment. The writing is bland and devoid of emotion. Grove describes everyday life in the middle of a war zone and under the tightening noose of communism and even tells of his mothers rape by Russian soldiers, but all in prose that is more redolent of a corporate brief than an evocative memoir.

The meatiest part of the book can be found in Groves recounting of life in Hungary in the middle 1950s. We see a country that was being slowly strangled by the politburo in Moscow. In 1956, Grove, who had found his passion for chemistry, was looking forward to starting his second year at the university. He was already part of a small class of individuals destined for leadership within Hungary. But in October 1956, Russian troops and tanks rolled into Budapest and clamped down on what had been an incipient, but weak, effort to throw off the Soviet chains.

We can imagine the agony Grove felt at watching his country being overrun by soldiers intent on enforcing a police state. He knew that many of his friends were in fact fleeing Hungary; Groves parents urged him to get out before the borders were sealed. He and two friends made the difficult decision to leave, undertaking a journey to Austria and eventually to America that is the stuff of movies.

Grove found his way to this country through the combined efforts of numerous relief and charitable organizations. Relatives in New York City took him in and helped him adapt to his new life. Grove entered City College of New York and graduated in 1960 with an undergraduate degree in chemical engineering followed in 1963 by a PhD from the University of California at Berkeley. The rest, as they say, is history. Grove ends this memoir with his move to California.

In an interview in Esquire magazine in 2000, Grove spoke about his life as an immigrant in this country. In an era when many would have the U.S. close its borders and eject every "foreigner," Groves presence and success is a reminder that the U.S. has been the place for those seeking a better life for almost 400 years. "It is a very important truism that immigrants and immigration are what made America what it is," Grove writes. "We must be vigilant as a nation to have a tolerance for differences, a tolerance for new people."...

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Andrew Grove was a founder of Intel Corporation and is the companys CEO today. His memoir tells the story of his childhood and early college years in Hungary. Grove survived World War II and emigrated to the United States following the Revolution.
Andrews parents seem remarkably strong. His family enjoyed a comfortable life as owners of a dairy business. His father survived, improbably, a stint in a prison camp during World War II and later saw the business dissolve into state ownership. His mothers spirit kept him alive during the War.
Both parents worked hard but gave Andrew what we would call "quality time." Even when money was tight, he had English and music lessons.

After reading so many stories of growing-up-in-wartime-Europe, I was surprised to find myself drawn into the story. I wanted to keep reading and actually wish the book had continued into Andrews early years.

What works is Groves straightforward, matter-of-fact style. He conveys a sense of, "I did what had to be done," with no time wasted on emotional fallout. As a result, his story can seem cold.

For instance, when escaping from the Austrian countryside to Vienna, Grove and his boyhood friend decide to leave early to avoid "procedures" of the local gendarmes. They do not awaken the two girls who traveled with them from Hungary, and these girls are never mentioned again. Indeed, the only women Grove mentions are his mother, his occasional dates and -- in two sentences -- his wife and daughters.

Apart from the compelling narrative, Groves book shows how qualities of a future CEO emerge in childhood. Grove continually sought to learn and grow. At one point he even signed up for singing lessons. He had a clear sense of what he wanted and seemed to take for granted his success in school, particularly his talent for chemistry. Ironically, surviving in a Communist society turned out to be excellent preparation for capitalist corporate life. Both, for example, punish those who speak too freely.

Groves teachers predicted his success. The books title comes from a teachers prediction that Grove would "swim across" the river out of Hungary to success. Grove did swim across, and eventually he was able to fly.

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Andy Grove (b 1936, Budapest)
Former President/CEO, and Chairman of Intel. Time's Man of the Year for 1998! That's the second Hungarian to be awarded this honor!
He graduated from the City College of New York in 1960 with a Bachelor of Chemical Engineering degree and received his Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley in 1963. Upon graduation, he joined the Research and Development Laboratory of Fairchild Semiconductor and became Assistant Director of Research and Development in 1967.

In July 1968, Dr. Grove participated in the founding of Intel Corporation. In 1979 he was named its President, and in 1987 he was named Chief Executive Officer. Andy's goal to get a computer in front of everyone skyrocketed. In May 1997 he was named Chairman and CEO, and in May 1998 he relinquished his CEO title and remains as Chairman of the Board. He passed on his title of CEO to Craig Barrett in 1998, and now lectures at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. He has written many books, including “Only the Paranoid Survive,” and patented several semiconductor technologies.

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SAN JOSE, Calif. - IBM faced a problem by late 1979: Computers were getting smaller and cheaper, increasingly finding a home in businesses where Big Blue was supplying everything from typewriters to mainframes.

After years as primarily gadgets for geeks, computers designed for desktop use were proving themselves capable of supplanting typewriters and calculators and doing just about anything programming enabled.

In short, the general purpose personal office machine was coming.

While the nation grappled with gas shortages and double-digit inflation, IBM chief Frank Cary and other executives decided the company would not forfeit the game to early players such as Apple Computer, Commodore and Radio Shack.

A dozen or so engineers secretly began work in July 1980 at a company plant in Boca Raton, Fla., and were told to break some rules and circumvent IBM's formidable new product bureaucracy.

Thirteen months later, on Aug. 12, 1981, International Business Machines Corp. unveiled the result: the IBM 5150 Personal Computer.

Nobody realized it at the time, but the boxy desktop machine would change the world.

Decisions that went into the first IBM PC would create new industries, turn parts suppliers like Intel and software companies like Microsoft into the mainstays of the information economy and make their founders multimillionaires or better.

With IBM's size and influence, personal computing reached critical mass. Other companies soon were able to buy off-the-shelf hardware and software created for IBM and make compatible clones. PCs based on proprietary hardware and software were left to niche markets or disappeared entirely.

In the ensuing 20 years, the PC revolutionized business, education and entertainment. Once connected to the Internet, it became the foundation for the 1990s economic boom.

"The idea of the PC as a tool for individuals was the key element for everything that came afterward," Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates wrote in an E-mail interview. "The Internet moved out of the universities after 25 years because of the huge installed base of PCs."

IBM's name gave respectability to the fledgling industry. The $1,565 base price - $3,039 in today's dollars - attracted buyers, both businesses and consumers. Developers saw profit potential and time savings in writing programs for one popular machine instead of dozens of less popular and incompatible systems.

"It was a situation where the world's leading manufacturer was defining standards for the industry and was legitimizing the product," said Charles Smulders, an analyst for Gartner Dataquest.

But few, including Microsoft, Intel and even IBM, envisioned this future.

IBM executives wanted to get an early jump on a market, one that analysts predicted could result in 80 million units in use by 2000. Only 327,000 desktop computers were sold in 1980.

"Nobody had a clue that it would be so successful," said Mark Dean, one of the IBM PC's original engineers. "We thought if we sold 200,000 for the life of the PC that it would be just tremendous."

IBM says it sold about 3 million PCs during the first model's life span. This year, the industry expects sales of 140 million units, or $174 billion in hardware alone, according to Gartner Dataquest.

IBM hoped to capture the "heart and soul" of users who would see Big Blue's familiar logo on the front, said David Bradley, one of the first engineers. A quick jump into the market was critical, and IBM flexed its marketing muscle.

IBM executives remembered the company's slow start with minicomputers, which were smaller than mainframes yet powerful enough to handle the computing chores of small and medium-size businesses. Digital Equipment Corp. dominated that market for years because of an early start.

For the 5150, IBM decided to save time and keep costs low by turning to outside vendors for microprocessors, the operating system and other software. For its brains, the team turned to Intel Corp., which primarily sold memory chips.

Although some early microcomputers such as the MITS Altair incorporated an Intel microprocessor, executives at the chip-making company did not actively pursue the standalone PC market, said Andrew Grove, who became Intel's president in 1979 and its chief executive in 1987.

"I don't remember paying a whole lot of attention to it," Grove, now chairman of the world's largest chipmaker, said of the order.

The future, Grove thought, was in IBM's $7,895 Displaywriter, an office machine that could perform only one task: word processing.

"I was quite sure that this was going to be the evolution of the IBM typewriter line," he said. "I could envision Displaywriters in every office sooner than I could envision IBM PCs in every office."

Intel's revenue was $854.6 million in 1980. In 2000, it was $33.7 billion.

IBM also turned to Microsoft, which at the time had only about 100 employees. Another company, Digital Research Inc., was approached for its well-known operating system, CP/M.

"We actually sent IBM down to meet with DRI," Gates wrote.

But the company balked first at IBM's long nondisclosure agreement and then at terms of a potential deal. Eventually, IBM returned to Gates, although Microsoft had no operating system.

The future billionaire bought the rights to the "Quick and Dirty Operating System" from another company. The name became MS-DOS, and Gates insisted on one critical detail:

"A key point in our negotiation with IBM was making sure that we could license to other manufacturers," Gates wrote.

In the end, IBM would offer other operating systems with its PC, including CP/M. But DOS was sold at a lower price and quickly caught on with businesses and consumers.

A little over a year after IBM's 1981 introduction, a group of former Texas Instrument managers started their own computer company and bought hardware from Intel and software from Microsoft.

The first Compaq Computer Corp. PC, however, was marketed at IBM PC users who wanted a portable machine. The Compaq Portable - affectionately nicknamed the "luggable" because of its bulk - sold 53,000 units in 1983, and Compaq's revenues went from zero to $111 million in a year. Its first desktop clone appeared in 1984.

"If we couldn't have purchased the key components, we would never have been successful" said Steven Flannigan, vice president of software and one of the first Compaq employees.

Ten years later, IBM would lose its top spot in the PC market to Compaq.

In the second quarter of 2001, Big Blue sold the third most worldwide, after Dell Computer Corp. and Compaq.

"The sincerest form of flattery is imitation, right?" said IBM's Bradley. "That was the first reaction - there's no greater validation of your own work than other people wanting to copy it.

"The second breath is: They're taking away my money."

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Dr. Andrew Grove

Chemical Engineer, Billionaire, Author,

Co-founder of the Intel Corporation