Andy Grove (1936–2016)

Forbes - - Farewell Toast 30 Under 30 -

who sur­vived the Nazi oc­cu­pa­tion be­fore flee­ing Soviet re­pres­sion, Grove would go on to earn a Ph. D. in chem­i­cal engi­neer­ing from Berke­ley be­fore join­ing In­tel as its first em­ployee in 1968 and serv­ing as CEO from 1987 to 1998. He died in March at 79. Bil­lion­aire ven­ture capitalist re­mem­bers him as a hero to the tech­no­rati—and to fel­low refugees.

MY MOM LEFT BU­DAPEST in 1956, the year Nikita Khrushchev stamped out the Hun­gar­ian re­volt. As I was grow­ing up, she’d show me news­pa­per clip­pings about another Hun­gar­ian refugee: Andy Grove, who was work­ing at a bud­ding com­pany called In­tel. I idolized Andy for years.

I fi­nally met him for the first time in 1994. In­tel was host­ing a con­fer­ence, and Andy was on­stage, mak­ing big pre­dic­tions about how the In­ter­net would change ev­ery­thing. He was just as my mom’s ar­ti­cles had de­scribed: en­er­getic, se­ri­ous and bril­liant. Af­ter­ward I in­tro­duced my­self, and I got to see another side of Andy, his kind­heart­ed­ness and gen­eros­ity. We talked about Hun­gary and our fam­i­lies for a half-hour— never mind that he was in the mid­dle of run­ning the con­fer­ence.

We stayed close over the years, and he used to love ask­ing me when I was go­ing to get a real job. “You know, enough of this ven­ture cap­i­tal gig,” he’d say. I took some of his other ad­vice more se­ri­ously. He be­lieved that op­ti­mists pay at­ten­tion to good news but of­ten miss key in­di­ca­tors of bad news. I’m con­stantly re­mind­ing young en­trepreneurs of that to­day.

Two years ago, I re­turned to Bu­dapest with my par­ents. All of their friends ea­gerly asked me if I had ever got­ten the chance to meet Andy Grove. He is a hero to a whole gen­er­a­tion of Hun­gar­i­ans. As soon as I found out that he passed away, I called my mom. I could hear the sad­ness in her voice, and I’m sure she could hear it in mine.

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