In January, 1995 I was concluding dinner in Palo Alto with Intel managers from the Hillsboro Architecture Development Lab. We had been negotiating Seer’s continuing development of our synth/audio engine into the forthcoming Pentium. As we were leaving, boss Don Dennis asked me to pause to meet someone. I demurred, but he routed me to an adjacent table, containing a few Intel officers I recognized, and simply interrupted: “Here he is, Andy. This is the synthesizer guy.”
And right next to me rose Andrew Grove, in a gently-reddish sweater, turning and graciously extending his hand. He looked me in the eye and said, “Thank you. Thank you. And if you ever get another great idea like that, you be sure to let me know.”
“Thank you so much, sir. I’m deeply honored, of course. We’ll keep at it.”
With reason, many entrepreneur/inventors consider such meetings, however brief, as the high point of their careers. And that reflection illuminated my evening drive.
Two months prior, Mr. Grove had upset CES by announcing Intel’s initiative to migrate natural data types to the motherboard—with an argument that rested upon demonstrating for the first time a laptop running Seer’s real-time audio synthesis. The Native Signal Processing War was now on with Microsoft over how quickly the industry would adapt to faster processors.
Thank you always Glenn Spencer, Avram Miller, Ralph Smith (Intel Badge #14) and Andrew Grove, who somewhere along the line signed-off on Intel’s relationship with “a bunch of Birkenstock-wearing hippies.”