I was at the 50th anniversary of Moore’s law in San Francisco and it was a who’s who of legendary Intel execs, technology reporters and pundits, and CEOs. They had showcases of drones and spider robots that danced to the music at the event, though the biggest attraction was Gordon Moore talking about technology, his foundation, and the origins of Moore’s law.
One of the things I’ve really been noticing of late is how much passion is required in running a technology company and how much better Microsoft has become under Nadella, and Intel has become under Brian Krzanich (BK) as a result.
The Heartbeat of Silicon Valley
There have been a lot of attempts to take the technology leadership away from Silicon Valley by Redmond Washington (Microsoft), Austin Texas (Dell), Raleigh North Carolina (IBM), China and India but it has held strong. I think part of the reason for this is Moore’s law which set an aggressive technology cadence, a heartbeat if you will, that pushed Intel and peer technology firms on such a rapid development path the other geographies just couldn’t catch up. In effect Moore’s law was the heartbeat of Silicon Valley, and as long as this law holds, I doubt there is any other geography that can take this leadership away from it.
There was a clear effort to drive business managers in as technology CEOs. These are people who care more about what Financial Analysts want to see then in creating amazing products that will excite customers and environments where employees like to work rather than have to work. Much of last decade was exemplified by the sharp contrast between Steve Jobs who had a passion for the technology he created and the other firms in the Valley who mostly were run by folks who really didn’t care that much for technology products.
Intel and Microsoft are now the leading showcases of what can happen if passion is brought back into a company. Both firm’s CEOs seem personally excited about what they are working on and, particularly at Intel, Brian Krzanich seems much like a kid in a candy shop. I could again feel the energy and pride of the employees in the room at the Moore event and I think that was largely due to a seed change in the firm’s leadership from a good CEO focused on financial results to a passionate CEO who wants to create amazing things.
Dancing Robots and Drones
The event, which was at the San Francisco Exploratorium, was a showcase for many of the amazing things that were coming out for folks who are using Intel technology. This reminded me a lot of the old Intel, in Andy Grove’s time where Pat Gelsinger used to showcase the amazing PCs that folks were dreaming up. Over time this all seemed to get lost in the focus for ever-faster processors that overshadowed the Bunny People years which many recall as defining the good old days at Intel.
But there was magic in the air as each showcase from advanced personal Drones to Little Robots that danced to the music (which was being played off an Intel Ultrabook), to a fascinating little printer that printed in Brail—each showcased Intel technology being used in new, interesting, and surprisingly attractive ways.
I call out the dancing robots in particular because they were kind of creepy-cool, looking a bit like the Replicators out of Star Gate (like large mechanical spiders) and moving in sync in large numbers. They were just one jump and a little blood from being extras in the latest Terminator reboot. And still I wanted my own set.
Wrapping Up: Long Live Moore’s Law and Passion
Most of the technology around us is the result of engineers pushing themselves ever harder to create new and amazing things. From the smartphones, tablets, and PCs of today to the flying cars, jet packs, and friendly personal robots of the future, our lives have been and increasingly will be defined by this heartbeat of Silicon Valley. Passion also comes from the heart, and at this 50th Anniversary event, it seemed like the passion of Intel’s founders was being showcased by the executives and employees at Intel today, and that connection should help build the real Tomorrowland of the future.
President and Principal Analyst, Enderle Group
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