Edge of Innovation

New Book Looks At Three Scientists Who Sparked Silicon Valley Success

Silicon Valley and the technology revolution that continues to impact peoples’ lives around the world can be traced to a unique, complex relationship between three particular scientists and engineers. That relationship led to the inventions of the century: silicon circuits and the microprocessor.

A book by Michael Malone

Michael S. Malone, author of a new, emotion-stirring book about the founders of computer chip maker Intel, details the personalities and perseverance of Robert Noyce, Gordon Moore and Andy Grove, who launched Intel in 1968.

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The invention of the microprocessor, which operates as the brains inside electronic devices, was monumental, but the book points to how these three men created things that forever changed the world and inspired innovation at Intel, which Malone calls “the world’s most important company.”

Out in digital and print July 15, The Intel Trinity: How Robert Noyce, Gordon Moore, and Andy Grove Built the World’s Most Important Company by Harper Business describes how the rare yet complementary characters and talents of Noyce (entrepreneur, co-inventor of the integrated circuit, and leader of the legendary “Fairchild Eight”), Moore (respected and revered scientist of Moore’s Law fame), and Grove (brilliant engineer become one of the great business leaders of the late 20th century) was crucial to the founding and dramatic growth of Silicon Valley and of Intel.

Andy Grove, Robert Noyce and Gordon Moore photographed in 1978.
Andy Grove, Robert Noyce and Gordon Moore photographed in 1978.

Relying on his own reporting in Silicon Valley, including interviews with tech industry notables over the past several decades, as well as upon existing  biographies of the men, Malone argues that the ingenuity sparked by the combination of Noyce, Moore and Grove, made Intel became the world’s most important company.

Intel. A human story.

Malone believes the true story of Intel is the human story of the trio. These three brilliant men, who came from vastly different backgrounds but shared similar, superior grasps on the relevant science, had the ability to twist and turn, fail fast, recover, and quickly make the right bets to beat scientific challenges and intense competition.

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Malone is likely the best prepared journalist to tell this story.

Noyce. Moore. Grove.

In his new book, Malone describes how Noyce, the most respected high tech figure of his generation, brought credibility and attracted funding to start Intel. Covering the Valley since the early 1980s, Malone interviewed Noyce numerous times before Noyce’s untimely death in 1990 and captured what is now some of the richest archival footage of Noyce talking about the birth of Silicon Valley and Intel.

Malone sees Moore as the guy who made Intel the world’s technological leader and Grove as the relentless driver behind the company’s ability to reach ever-higher levels of success and competitiveness. Malone concludes that because of these three men, Intel made possible the personal computer, Internet, telecommunications, and the personal electronics revolutions.

The book is mostly historical, but it touches on tenures of later Intel CEOs.  While technology has changed since the days of Noyce, Moore and Grove, Malone seems to feel that Intel’s drive to win and continuing stewardship of Moore’s Law, the doubling of transistors on a chip every two years will continue to re-assert themselves, but especially under the kind of risk-taking, visionary, disciplined leadership modeled by Noyce, Moore, and Grove.

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Malone was allowed access to Intel archives, some of which can be viewed at the Intel Museum in the company’s Santa Clara, Calif. headquarters.

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While some inside Intel have read an early version of the book, the book was not authorized or sponsored by Intel.

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