I was first exposed to Andy Grove in 1985 at PC Week when Intel was riding high after its 8086/8088 microprocessor was ensconced by IBM as the standard in its first PC — giving rise to the so called Wintel oligopoly that kicked off the PC Revolution that followed.
Grove had an amazing life story — surviving World War II, the Soviet occupation of his native Hungary, emigrating to New York City in the late 50s and heading straight to City College for a free education that he turned into one of the most illustrious careers in the entire PC industry.
Walter Issacson, in his book “The Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution” details the vital role played in the Intel “Holy Trinity” of Gordon Moore (he of Moore’s Law) and Bob Noyce. It was Grove who pushed Intel out of memory and into microprocessors, transforming the chip maker into one of the biggest forces in tech.
“Grove nurtured Noyce’s egalitarian approach – he worked in an exposed cubicle his entire career, and loved it – but he added an overlay of what he called ‘constructive confrontation.’ He never put on airs, but he never let down his guard. In contrast to Noyce’s sweet gentility, Grove had a blunt, no-bullshit style. It was the same approach Steve Jobs would later use: brutal honesty, clear focus, and a demanding drive for excellence. ‘Andy was the guy who made sure the trains all ran on time,’ recalled Ann Bowers. ‘He was a taskmaster. He had very strong views about what you should do and what you shouldn’t do and he was very direct about that.'”