Founding Fairchild, by Gordon Moore.
In 1957 Moore, accompanied by six colleagues – Jean Hoerni, Eugene Kleiner, Jay Last, Sheldon Roberts, Vic Grinich and Julius Blank – walked out on Bill Shockley, the Nobel Prize-winning inventor of the transistor which had set up Silicon Valley’s first chip company – Shockley Semiconductor.
Later, Bob Noyce also left to join them when they realised they needed a leader.
“The idea of setting up a company never occurred to us,” remembers Moore, “none of us had an entrepreneurial inclination. We thought we liked working together and decided it would be nice to find some place to work together. We hoped that a company might hire the entire group.”
“Someone (Eugene Kleiner later to found VC firm Kleiner, Perkins Caufield and Byers) had a relation in an investment brokers who knew Arthur Rock. He said: “Why not set up your own company”. We sat down with the Wall Street Journal and went down the names to see who might want to set up a semiconductor company. We asked 30 and got 30 ‘No’s.”
“By a coincidence we ran into Sherman Fairchild,” remembers Moore, “he came out and talked to us and decided to invest $1.3 million in starting up a company. No one in the founding group of Fairchild had any management experience. The first thing the eight of us did was to go out and hire our own boss. We interviewed a few people and appointed a guy called Ed Baldwin”.