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Lesson #3: The Accidental Entrepreneur is No Accidental Success
Moore claims that entrepreneurship is far from being in his blood. “To me the opportunities to start a company are few and far between,” he says. “I’m not the sort of entrepreneur who can just say, ‘I’m going to start a company. Let’s look for an opportunity.” Instead, things have to line up properly, with Moore claiming that in his entire career, he has only seen three ideas pass his way that he would have considered turning into an enterprise.
Intel was one of those opportunities. After becoming restless and dissatisfied with their work at Shockley, one of the Treacherous Eight wrote a letter to his friend at Hayden Stone, a New York investment banking house. He told Stone that there was a group of eight researchers who enjoyed working together and were seeking to be hired as a group for another company. Stone sent two of his colleagues to visit the group. “They talked to us and said: ‘You don’t want to look for a company to hire you; you want to set up your own company,’” recalls Moore. “That didn’t sound bad.” Stone found financial backing for the group and with that, Moore claims, he “finally became an entrepreneur.”
Moore and Noyce might not have been entrepreneurs for a long time, but once they decided that was what they were going to be, they set off to make it happen. They sat down with a copy of The Wall Street Journal, sifting through the New York Stock Exchange listings to identify the companies they thought would be interested in supporting a semiconductor venture. There were 30 that topped their list, and they began contacting every one. The search would result in the backing of Fairchild Camera and Instrument.
Next, after realizing their own shortcomings – “that none of us knew how to run a company,” recalls Moore – the group hired somebody to be their own boss. They hired Ed Baldin, who had come and told them “a lot of things they didn’t know,” such as the need to establish different parts of the organization with different responsibilities, and the need to bring in a marketing manager.
Noyce and Moore might have been accidental entrepreneurs, but their success was no accident. Committed to learning all they could, and from the best they could find, the duo worked hard to make up for their business shortcomings. In the end, it was their limitations as businessmen that facilitated their rise to the top.
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