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The Dual Levers of Success: Execution and Strategy

It all started in 1968, when Grove teamed up with two other people who shared his vision for a new business. Andy Grove, Bob Noyce, and Gordon Moore thought they could own the world. They had discovered that they could store ever-increasing numbers of transistors on a single chip without noticeably increasing the costs. More transistors meant faster performance and more utility for computers (and, of course, for any other gizmo that used the chips). By creating chips that could store an ever-increasing amount of information, they could boost the computer's memory and functionality in an enormously cost-effective manner. Intel was born. And one of the most important things that it had going for it was Grove's common-sense wisdom:

I have a rule in my business: to see what can happen in the next ten years, look at what has happened in the last ten years.

Grove was not the only Intel manager with prescience. In 1975, Gordon Moore made a critical prediction of his own: He declared that the power of the computer chip would double every 18 months. That prediction, now called Moore's law, has proved remarkably accurate.

Grove built on Moore's law with a prophecy of his own: The world will never stop finding new applications for these powerful chips. With every new generation of computers, more powerful chips would be needed, and Intel would be the company that supplied them. Years later, Grove used a metaphor to describe how technology, manufacturing, and marketing provided the foundation for Intel's success:

The essence of a company like Intel is execution and strategy. Intel, looked at in another way, is a three-legged stool. One leg is technology—design and silicon technology—another leg is manufacturing, and the third leg is marketing. Whenever Intel did well it was because the three legs were equal. Whenever one of those legs was shorter than the others, we wobbled.

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