Happy B’Day Gordon Moore: One Of The Founding Fathers Of Silicon Valley


Innovation is the only thing that will keep the company vital. If we stop innovating, it won’t be long before we become the equivalent of the buggy whip industry

Gordon E. Moore co-founded the paramount Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC) with Robert Noyce in 1968, worth $150 billion industry today and the Fairchild Semiconductors where he co-invented the path-breaking Integrated Circuits with Robert Noyce. He pioneered the technological chronology and developed the ‘Moore’s Law’– it states the number of components on a single silicon chip would continue to double every year.

Self-claimed ‘accidental entrepreneur’ Moore is a Ph.D. holder in Chemistry and minor in Physics from the prestigious ’California Institute of Technology’. A lover of mathematics and chemistry also attempted his luck on the examination of solid rocket propellants used in the anti-aircraft missiles by the U.S. Navy, but soon switched to the private industry which was an ocean of research. A multi-billionaire pledged to give half his wealth to the noble causes along with Bill Gates and Warren Buffet under ‘The Giving Pledge’ organization.

Birth date: January 3rd, 1929 San Francisco, CA, USA.

Net worth: $7 billion

A visionary, an inventor, and a great philanthropist has many untold aspects of his life:

  • The Noble Laureate William Shockley offered him a job in ‘Shockley Semiconductor Laboratory’ where he met Robert Noyce. The interview conducted by Shockley was a bit bizarre in nature, Moore was selected after several Psychological tests while Shockley timed each answer with the stopwatch.
  • Traitorous eight: Due to the poor quality of management, Noyce and Moore along with 6 others left Shockley and founded Fairchild Semiconductors in 1957 and were called the ‘traitorous eight’. The company was a success and several inventions including, Integrated Circuits are in its name.
  • Moore’s Law: During his tenure at Fairchild, he published a journal in some electronics magazine on 19th April 1965 for the future of the semiconductor industry. His statement ‘the number of components per square inch on a single silicon chip would continue to double every year’ which came to be known as Moore’s Law. This ground-breaking law still holds true.
  • The birth of ‘Intel’: After they were frustrated by the corporate inertia again at Fairchild, a decade later in 1968 Noyce and Moore founded ‘NM Electronics’ which was later renamed as the ‘Intel Corporation’ and was named its President in 1975.
  • $2,672 was Intel’s first year’s revenue while $43.62 billion was the revenue of Intel in 2010, it itself speaks of the success of the company.


  • When asked at an interview about the culture of Silicon Valley of that time, he replied, “It continues to evolve, but basically it’s still a place to do startups. A few become very successful.
  • A mentor: He has also aided Steve Wozniak, once providing him with ‘1103s (first dynamic RAM)’ for his project.
  • From 1991 to 1996 he servedGilead Sciences’ as the member of Business Advisory Board later became the member of the Board of Directors of the Company.
  • In 1993, he became the Chairperson of ‘California Institute of Technology’ (Caltech) and presently he is the life trustee of the institute. In 1997, he retired as the CEO from Intel.
  • Philanthropy: Apart from signing ‘The Giving Pledge’, Moore and his wife Betty launched their philanthropic foundation in 2000 which has more than $6 billion in assets and makes grants of around $250 million each year for environmental conservation, scientific research, and patient care. Has also funded around $200 million for the development of world’s 2nd largest optical telescope named ‘Thirty Meter Telescope’. In 2015, they pledged a $100 million endowment for graduate fellowships at California Institute of Technology.
  • Awards and recognition: The major awards include ‘National Medal of Technology and Innovation’ in 1990 presented by then-President George H.W. Bush. Was bestowed with ‘Presidential Medal of Freedom’ and the ‘Bower Award’ in 2002. In 2008 received ‘IEEE Medal of Honor’ and later in 2010 received ‘Future Dan David Prize’ for his exceptional work in the field of Telecommunications. He has also become a fellow of ‘Computer History Museum’ (1998) and ‘American Association for the Advancement of Sciences’.

The technology at the leading edge changes so rapidly that you have to keep current after you get out of school. I think probably the most important is having good fundamentals.

The post is a part of a B’day Series where we celebrate the birthday of renowned personalities from Tech Industry, very frequently. The series includes Entrepreneurs, C-level Executives, innovators or a renewed leaders who moved the industry with his exponential skill set and vision. The intent is to highlight the person’s achievements and touch base the little known, but interesting, part of his life. You can see the list of all earlier celebrated tech personalities, including Mark Zuckerberg, Marissa Mayor, Sean Parker, Andy Rubin, Julian Assange, Sir Richard Branson, Sergey Brin by following this link or subscribe to your daily newsletter.

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