Friday, January 17, 2014

Andy Bechtolscheim's Innovation Talk at Stanford University

Everyone at Sun Microsystems loved employee #1 Andreas V. Bechtolscheim.  Andy was Sun's hardware genius who created the first (and many thereafter)  Sun 1.    He was loved because he was both brilliant and the nicest guy you would ever meet in your whole life. I will tell you one quick Andy story.  It is the late 1980s and a group of us are waiting for Andy to come present.  The group was the SPARC Ambassadors and Andy was going to be presenting at Sun's long time offices in Mountain View. Andy was running a little late and quickly went by the receptionist where a few of us were standing.  The receptionist yelled, "sir, can I see your badge?"  Andy stopped in his track and came back and said, "oh, I am so sorry.  Here it is."   The receptionist said, "ok, go ahead".  I walked up to the receptionist and said, "this may or may not be any of my business, but did you notice his employee #?"  She replied "no."  I said, "it was #1 and he is Andy Bechtolscheim and a founder of the company where you are working.  I would go out to Sun's home page and memorize his face, Scott McNealy's face and Bill Joy's face.  Those are the three founders that are still here."  She smiled and said, "thanks, that's probably not a bad idea."

Just as an FYI, Sun was an acronym for Stanford University Network.  The word genius gets thrown around a lot these days.  Andy is a genius. Andy is probably the most famous Silicon Valley investor of all time as well.  He famously wrote the first check for $100,000 at dinner with Larry Page and Sergey Brin - Google's founders.

Luckily for me, I stumbled upon hour long presentation of Andy presenting at Stanford on the topic of innovation after accepting Stanford's Engineering Hero award.

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