In­tel ex­ec­u­tives re­ferred to plan­ning meet­ings with him as a “Hun­gar­ian in­qui­si­tion”

Bloomberg Businessweek (North America) - - Opening Remarks -

Robert Noyce out the door to help found In­tel. “I was scared to death,” Grove said in a speech on the com­pany’s 25th an­niver­sary. “I left a very se­cure job where I knew what I was do­ing and started run­ning R&D for a brand-new ven­ture in un­tried ter­ri­tory. It was ter­ri­fy­ing. I lit­er­ally had night­mares.”

Grove be­came CEO in 1987. What­ever fear he felt when he ar­rived at In­tel, he’d long since mas­tered and learned to use as a man­age­ment tool. His plan­ning meet­ings were known among ex­ec­u­tives as a “Hun­gar­ian in­qui­si­tion.” “Men­tor­ing with Andy Grove was like go­ing to the den­tist and not get­ting Novo­cain,” says Pat Gelsinger, a for­mer In­tel ex­ec­u­tive who went on to be­come CEO of Vmware. “If you went into a meet­ing, you’d bet­ter have your data; you’d bet­ter have your opin­ion; and if you can’t de­fend your opin­ion, you have no right to be there.”

It wasn’t un­usual for pre­sen­ters to fail to make it be­yond the first slide be­fore hav­ing their care­fully pre­pared pre­sen­ta­tion ripped to shreds. The process was con­struc­tive sav­agery: It helped make In­tel the world’s largest chip­maker, a dis­tinc­tion it still holds, a decade af­ter Grove re­tired. “If you were to pick one per­son who built Sil­i­con Val­ley, it was Andy,” said Marc An­dreessen, the en­tre­pre­neur and ven­ture cap­i­tal­ist, dur­ing a 2015 Churchill Club award pre­sen­ta­tion. “Andy kind of set the model for what a high-qual­ity Sil­i­con Val­ley com­pany should be.”

That was the man I was edit­ing back in 2010. Even­tu­ally, af­ter much backand-forth, we had a mostly co­her­ent es­say—and had es­tab­lished a work­ing re­la­tion­ship. Our e-mail and phone ex­changes pro­ceeded in ac­cor­dance with his man­age­ment max­ims: en­gage in free and open de­bate where par­tic­i­pants would ar­gue vig­or­ously re­gard­less of rank, and, when the fights were done, “dis­agree and com­mit” to a course of ac­tion.

I still had one big prob­lem with his es­say, a rhetor­i­cal gap that needed fill­ing. Grove was sug­gest­ing, with­out quite say­ing it, that what the U. S. needed was some flat- out govern­ment in­ter­ven­tion to al­low com­pa­nies to cre­ate jobs. In the board­rooms of Sil­i­con Val­ley and be­yond, that’s heresy.

“Andy, peo­ple who read this are go­ing to at­tack you for be­ing some kind of com­mu­nist,” I told him on the phone.

“I know what com­mu­nism is,” said the man who es­caped life in Stal­in­ist Hun­gary. “And I am not a com­mu­nist.”

“They’ll dis­miss all this be­cause you’re a pro­tec­tion­ist,” I said.

“I don’t f---ing care,” he said, paus­ing af­ter each word for em­pha­sis. “If peo­ple think I’m a pro­tec­tion­ist, fine.”

We dis­agreed and com­mit­ted, and an edited, f-bomb-free ver­sion of that con­ver­sa­tion be­came the cul­mi­na­tion of his es­say: “I fled Hun­gary as a young man in 1956 to come to the U.S. Grow­ing up in the Soviet bloc, I wit­nessed first­hand the per­ils of both govern­ment over­reach and a strat­i­fied pop­u­la­tion. Most Amer­i­cans prob­a­bly aren’t aware that there was a time in this coun­try when tanks and cavalry were massed on Penn­syl­va­nia Av­enue to chase away the un­em­ployed. It was 1932; thou­sands of job­less veter­ans were demon­strat­ing out­side the White House. Sol­diers with fixed bay­o­nets and live am­mu­ni­tion moved in on them, and herded them away from the White House. In Amer­ica! Un­em­ploy­ment was cor­ro­sive. If what I’m sug­gest­ing sounds pro­tec­tion­ist, so be it.”

His break with rul­ing- class or­tho­doxy was strik­ing, but it wasn’t rooted in ide­ol­ogy. He was ap­ply­ing his usual in­tel­lec­tual hon­esty. In his mind, he was ad­dress­ing a sys­temic fail­ure— in this case, chronic un­em­ploy­ment— that threat­ened dire con­se­quences. There­fore, what was needed was logic to un­der­stand the causes of that fail­ure and de­vise a plan to elim­i­nate them. The ar­ti­cle gen­er­ated a lot of re­sponse, and Grove glee­fully for­warded ev­ery mes­sage or news clip, with sub­ject lines like, “still re­ver­ber­at­ing … .”

About four months af­ter the piece was pub­lished, we had din­ner at a sushi restau­rant in the Val­ley. His Parkin­son’s had pro­gressed, and his voice qua­vered as we talked about the story and some ideas for a fol­low- up. As we left, he of­fered me a lift back to my ho­tel and gave me an im­promptu tour of Sil­i­con Val­ley. We drove through Los Al­tos, not far from where Jobs grew up, and into Palo Alto, and on to the Stan­ford cam­pus. Grove pointed out the site of an old Fairchild Semi fa­cil­ity and talked about his days with Noyce and Moore. It was a sur­real, per­sonal trav­el­ogue through his­tory.

Out­side the ho­tel, I thanked him for din­ner, and we shook hands.

“Good night, Mr. Editor,” he called through his car win­dow. He laughed and drove off. <BW>

only a small and un­rep­re­sen­ta­tive sam­ple of re­search ever sees the light of day.

Why aren’t bad stud­ies rooted out? Some­times they are, but aca­demic suc­cess de­pends on pub­lish­ing novel re­sults, so re­searchers have lit­tle in­cen­tive to check the work of oth­ers. Jour­nals that pub­lish re­search, and in­sti­tu­tions that fund it, should de­mand more trans­parency. Re­quire re­searchers to doc­u­ment their work, in­clud­ing any neg­a­tive or “in­signif­i­cant” re­sults. In­sist on repli­ca­tion. Sup­ple­ment p-val­ues with other mea­sures, such as con­fi­dence in­ter­vals that in­di­cate the size of the es­ti­mated ef­fect. Look at the ev­i­dence as a whole, and beware of re­sults that haven’t been re­peated or that de­pend on a sin­gle method of mea­sure­ment. And hold find­ings to a higher stan­dard if they con­flict with com­mon sense.

To read Mo­hamed El-erian on mar­ket re­ac­tions to Brus­sels and Mark Gil­bert on the cur­rency war cease-fire, go to


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