The Intel Trinity

Learn about the business trinity that drove Intel to incredible success.

Companies all around the globe are continuously looking for a visionary leader that is able to transform their business into a global player with a personality that’s able to lead a company during times of difficulty towards success in the long run. That being said, lots of businesses crumble because they just aren’t able to find that kind of leader.

However, the technology giant, Intel, had a solid leadership. This is due to the fact that its power didn’t soley come from one leader, but rather three; three men that, today, are seen as some of the top business moguls of the twentieth century.

In this article, you’ll find outlines of how the mutual skills and capabilities of Gordon Moore, Bob Noyce, as well as Andy Grove let Intel greatly surpass their competitors.

You will find out:

  • How come Intel’s visionary leaders required a “business brain” as well
  • Which one of Intel’s top management was scared of firing staff
  • How come three really is a magic number

A perfect symbiosis among its top brass made Intel the world’s most important company.

It doesn’t matter how good your device looks like on the outside, whether it be a smartphone or a laptop, because on the inside, it needs microprocessors in order to work.

The microprocessor is probably the most crucial technological invention in today’s day and age and its advancement has been greatly influenced by Intel.

Indeed, the influence of the microprocessor has been so great that Intel could definitely be seen as the most valuable business on the entire planet.

During the previous 40 years, Intel has been at the front of the microprocessor industry, handling difficult competitors such as businesses like Hewlett-Packard. They’ve done a good job at succeeding.

Back in 2000, Intel had been valued at a close $500 billion, a number greater than the total American car industry joined together. That being said, those kind of figures didn’t generally appear in the tech industry. The only other business that has come close is Apple.

So, what was Intel’s recipe for success? Many say that it was all thanks to the characters in the business’s boardroom.

Based on the management theorist, Peter Drucker, top CEOs must have these three characteristics in order to be successful: be good with others, think a lot, and can’t be afraid to make a move.

The thing is, Intel didn’t simply have one CEO that had all three characteristics. That being said, it did have three different people, each of each that exhibited one of Drucker’s fundamental characteristics.

Robert Noyce was the one who was good with others, Gordon Moore was the one who was thoughtful, and Andy Grove was the one who wasn’t afraid to make a move. Combined, the three of them created a strong trio that complemented one anothers strong and weak points.

Together, they were able to turn Intel into one of the most successful businesses the world has ever seen.

Intel’s Robert Noyce was a charismatic, brilliant scientist who lacked essential management skills.

Every solid business has to have a high-energy, visionary leader; a person that’s able to come up with amazing ideas and relay them efficiently in order to get people on board with those ideas.

Bob Noyce had been the “people person” of the Intel trio. His greatest advantage had been to listen to every person and remaining patient throughout. Since he was willing to learn, he won the likeness of every stakeholder, whether they were a customer, a shareholder, an investor, the media, or even the government.

However, his personality didn’t hide his scientific excellence. He was actually the one who co-invented the integrated circuit, which is one of the most crucial inventions in today’s day and age.

Noyce’s personality combined with his scientific abilities worked really well with his aptitude of holding on to the big-picture perspective. He wasn’t scared to reevaluate entire industries, which is why he became such a monumental leader.

For instance, Noyce and Gordon Moore had left the business Fairchild in order create Intel. Noyce had introduced the chip for $1, which was significantly less than it actually cost to create during that time. His brilliance stemmed from his capability of being able to see that in the future, those exact chips would cost even less to create in the next several years as technology moved forward.

By getting customers attention with low prices, he could get a hold of more of them in the first stages, therefore, making more money from them in the long run as soon as production expenses decreased. This strategy later became known as learning curve pricing, which is now a common pricing strategy in the tech industry.

Putting all of his advantages to the side, though, Noyce struggled with his confrontational skills, indecisiveness, and he didn’t have enough of the necessary management skills.

He was never able to say “no” and steered clear of conflict as much as he could. Even though he was notorious for enlisting the top experts, he was just never able to get himself to fire anyone, regardless of whether or not the business’s life depended on it.

When he had to let go of 3,500 people because of mismanagement, he removed himself from the position of CEO in order to become chairman, that way he didn’t have to handle those kinds of difficult decisions.

Gordon Moore was Intel’s mighty man of thought, modest yet a seriously talented scientist.

Opposites typically attract and that was no different at Intel. Next to the strong, lively Noyce worked the humble and studious Gordon Moore.

Being a person who thought lots, Moore’s advantages included scientific aptitude and accuracy combined with his humbleness.

During that time, Moore had been the technical leader at Intel and ended up creating the onymous Moore’s Law, which essentially meant that the number of parts per integrated circuit is multiplied by two each year, therefore, decreasing its price relative to its performance.

Moore’s Law ended up becoming a directive force within the tech industry, the energy that guided the process as well as innovation. It was also the main piece that Intel’s strategy and items revolved around.

At a personal level, Moore was modest and didn’t have much of an ego. In comparison to that of Noyce’s extremely physical demeanor, Moore’s was much more spiritual. In his mind, the only things that really mattered was technological progress as well as scientific integrity.

Even after Moore had become a billionaire, him and his wife’s lifestyle didn’t change that much. For instance, the conversations that happened around the dinner table with Moore surrounded topics such as geology and fishing instead of business or money.

That being said, Moore also struggled with disadvantages similar to that of Noyce. He was also a manager that wasn’t able to make everyday business decisions and the development departments that he was in charge of at Fairchild as well as Intel weren’t very structured and instead quite disorganized.

Andy Grove later said that although Moore was able to answer essentially any technical question fast and with precision, he wasn’t able to deal with conflicts between people. Moore was, at times, not able to back up his own point of view, regardless of the fact that most of the time he was right.

Therefore, as Moore worked in the lab on revolutionary technologies and Noyce acted as the link to the outside world, the team still had to have a knowing, business-inclined teammate that was able to get the job one. This partner was Andy Grove.

A man of action, Andy Grove provided Intel with its business smarts and nimble workings.

Since Noyce and Moore were the technological visionaries, Grove had to be their businessman that was able to utilize their ambitious ideas and turn them into something successful.

Grove was the final piece of the Intel trio; he was the man of action. He was conclusive, practical, incredibly truthful, and very organized; every characteristic which assisted Intel with working faster and further than the rest of the competition.

For instance, in order to beat out their rival, Motorola, Grove brought forward “Operations Crush”, a leading edge marketing strategy created in order to beat out Motorola’s efforts in a mere two months.

As the chief operating officer, Grove had analyzed and confirmed his strategy in only a week. The following week, he had outlined the plan to 100 salespeople. By the next week, he had gathered over 1,000 staff members that would carry out the plan.

His business skills also played a crucial position in Intel’s microprocessor success. Even though the choice to go into that business wasn’t even made with him as he was totally against it, regardless, he utilized his skillset in order to bring the business up to new levels.

In addition, though, Grove was careful and unstable. On the contrary to both Noyce and Moore, he didn’t help found Intel. Instead, he had been a staff member with a salary and, therefore, the financial stability had depended on how successful the company was. As a result, he always second-guessed risky strategies.

That was the kind of fear that got him to be so doubtful of the business’s shift to microprocessors. He wanted Intel to stay with its bread and butter which were the memory chips. On the bright side, he was never able to put a stop to both Moore and Noyce who had known that the move was the right one. Had Grove ended up halting the idea, Intel most definitely wouldn’t have had the success that it did.

That’s how the trio had worked. Both Noyce and Moore would come up with a vision and use both their confidence and technological knowledge in order to come up with a long-term strategy. Grove, on the other hand, would utilize his management skills in order to execute the plan in an effective way.

That being said, this formed union wasn’t all perfect. Keep on reading to find out why.

Although the trinity struggled, each challenge was successfully overcome to add to Intel’s successes.

It’s no doubt that bringing together such completely different personalities in one space won’t not culminate in a few disagreements.

Noyce and Moore really trusted each other and Grove had looked up to Moore lots as a mentor and a scientific guru. That being said, Grove wasn’t a fan of Noyce for putting on shows and not being very responsible along with the fact that he didn’t care much for everyday business concerns.

Boyce would sidestep conflict during meetings as well as act indifferent, as if he didn’t even care much for the company. That really frustrated Grove and further enhanced his distaste for Noyce.

Based on Grove, when Noyce had decided to go after the microprocessor plan, it was clear that he should’ve spoken with Grove. Most likely, since he was afraid of a possible argument, he decided to disregard him, thus breaking every single management rule in the book in order to make a huge decision all by himself.

In the end, Moore ended up having to be the intermediary between the two. Eventually, the both of them were able to place their feelings to the side in order to put their utmost attention into their work towards the expansion of the company.

Although Grove was very frustrated with Noyce for starting the microprocessor plan without letting him know about it, he was still the partner that had actually brought it success thanks to all of his business knowledge.

Noyce understood that Grove wasn’t a fan, but regardless, he admitted that Grove should end up becoming a CEO. He had even made Grove in charge of the introduction of the microprocessor.

Noyce had merely seen how Grove was the only one capable of lining up Intel’s management with his own end goal.

Intel balanced an egalitarian openness with a ruthless commitment to excellence in engineering.

The powerful characters of Noyce, Moore, and Grove had put forward a great example for the remainder of the business, developing a revolutionary corporate environment that would garner lots of success in the long run.

Ever since 1968, Intel’s organizational arrangement has been outlined by a flat hierarchy as well as its open structure. In fact, executives didn’t receive any exceptions like special dining rooms for themselves or reserved parking spots.

Indeed, one of Intel’s upper management had gotten frustrated at their partner for arriving to the company’s lot in their pricey Mercedes. From that day, he would only ever been seen driving his plain sedan.

The conversations that happened inside of the business weren't very formal and it was lateral, therefore, it moved with ease all throughout the entire organizational arrangement. Any staff member could come up to the executive's desk, which didn’t differ from anyone elses, and talk about their thoughts for the company.

One instance of that type of open communication is the conversation between the staff member Ted Hoff and Robert Noyce. The microprocessor came about from that conversation as, during that time, Intel was having some problems in the memory chip business. Noyce had been captivated with the idea and had Hoff continue his research in it.

That being said, having a casual work environment was merely a feature of Intel’s main goal: to be an unrivaled innovator, the top worldwide, and incredibly successful. It was that kind of motivation that had Intel bring forth the normal 80-hour workweek into Silicon Valley.

“Creative confrontation” had also become very normal. Essentially everything was allowed, granted the behavior or the act had helped a business issue and latched onto a competitive standing. Personal attacks were even withstood as people yelled during meetings.

At Intel, if you ended up making a mistake, you’d be made well aware of it and you’d be reminded of it nonstop. Therefore, the following day you’d work twice as hard as usual that way the mistake would end up being obliterated.

That combination of striving to be the best along with the flat hierarchy is what helped Intel be ready and make any changes necessary to handle any issues. Its self-esteem and certainty helped it make some risky decisions, but at the same time, it also always figured out a way to expand and become more powerful.

Final Summary

Success is backed up by strong people. In Intel’s case, their success was founded off of the partnership of three gentlemen whose specific characteristics and strong craving for success are incomparable.