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Andy Grove, both hedgehog & fox

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As chairman and chief executive officer of Intel during its fastest growth as a maker of computer microprocessors, Andy Grove accomplished something rare. He recognized both a moment of opportunity for Intel and how to capitalize on that moment.

People fall into two categories: the hedgehog and the fox, as described by British philosopher and essayist Isaiah Berlin. The fox knows many things. The hedgehog knows one big thing.

In 1987, for Intel to embark on its wild ride as preeminent chipmaker, Grove would need to become both hedgehog and fox. The one big thing he needed to know was that the personal computer would be “it.” Hardly anyone knew this at the time, not even IBM. And the many other things Grove needed to know would allow him to take advantage of that one big opportunity.

He managed to be both hedgehog and fox. For a decade, he plotted the right strategy and executed it relentlessly.

Which animal are you, hedgehog or fox?

—Adapted from Andy Grove: The Life and Times of an American, Richard S. Tedlow, Portfolio.

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