Poaching, by Charlie Sporck
National Semiconductor was “essentially bankrupt” in 1967 when Charlie Sporck took it over, Sporck recounts in his book SPINOFF.
Nonetheless the company had a great asset – the Bob Widlar and Dave Talbert partnership in developing the industry’s best analogue ICs.
“With Widlar and Talbert involved, National could carve out a good position in linear circuits,” recounts Sporck.
“I proposed a plan wherein I would bring some competent people from Fairchild with me,” adds Sporck.
The plan worked only too well. Fairchild Semiconductor’s parent, Fairchild Camera and Instrument – was siphoning off money from the semiconductor operation to blow on unprofitable investments in other areas. The semiconductor men were fed up.
“When we needed additional experienced personnel, we could reach into the Fairchild organisation and take anyone we wanted,” says Sporck.
Fairchild threatened to sue if they poached any more people.
After that, “when people came to us and said they would rather be at National than Fairchild, we told them to get a job somewhere else for a while and then come to us. It was our little “workaround” for the threat, of legal action.”
It worked well.
We caught up with Fairchild in total sales within seven or eight years,” writes Sporck, “and then we really zoomed past them.”