Robert Noyce was the co founder of Fairchild Semiconductor back in 1957 & Intel in 1968. He is credited as one of the inventors of the microchip, the visionary & natural leader founded two companies that would go on to shape the computer industry.
He was the "Mayor of Silicon Valley," (well before Foursquare came around) that is what they nicknamed Robert Noyce, he grew up Iowa & was hooked to the field when he first saw two of the first transistors ever. It was his Physics teacher at college that showed them to his class and encouraged Robert to study Physics at MIT. At MIT his fellow graduates would call him 'Rapid Robert', his mind was so quick!
After MIT he started work at an electronics firm called Philco where he created transistors. But he had a vision of where he wanted to be and that was in Mountain View, California, working at Shockley Semiconductor. He was determined to get the job and went as far as moving his wife and kids to California, buying a house, and then going to Shockley to ask for a job, which he got.
Robert Noyce was a brave, determined, confident man that knew what he wanted and was determined to get it & Shockley saw that. After a while at Shockley Semiconductors Robert Noyce and a few other researchers at Shockley Semiconductors were disillusioned by the managements goal and focus. Noyce had already had a few altercations with Shockley & being full of ideas, ambition and confidence it's not surprising the two clashed.
At this point, Robert Noyce, aged 30, went on to found Fairchild Semiconductor taking the seven disgruntled researchers with him. Together they grew Fairchild into one of the biggest & most innovative in it's industry. During this time Noyce invented the integrated chip, a chip of silicon with many transistors all etched into it at once. He revolutionized the industry with the use of silicon. He ingrained a casual working atmosphere, letting ideas and creativity flourish, and this has stayed to this day, he defined the working style associated with the tech companies of Silicon Valley.
In 1968 he left Fairchild to start Intel along with one of the researchers he took from Shockley's, Gordon Moore. This is where he yet again revolutionized an industry with the invention of the Microprocessor. Intel would go on to become a household name with revenues of over $40 billion & close to 100,000 employees.
A true pioneer, Robert Noyce had the ambition and determination to bring his passion to life and continue to innovate and build without fear, even in the face of adversity.
In his last interview before he passed away in June 1990, Robert Noyce was asked 'what would you do if you were "emperor" of the United States?' He said that he would, among other things, "make sure we are preparing our next generation to flourish in a high-tech age. And that means education of the lowest and the poorest, as well as at the graduate school level."
In 1991 his family set up The Noyce Foundation, which is dedicated to improving public education in mathematics and science in grades K-12.
Noyce was a mentor and father-figure to an entire generation of entrepreneurs.
Today, December 12th 2011, marks what would have been Robert Noyce, the 'Mayor of Silicon Valleys' 84th birthday.
Check out this interview from Robert Noyce from 1981, where he talks about the future technology in the workplace: