Five Lessons Entrepreneurs Can Learn From Craig Barrett


crb05.jpgCraig Barrett, Intel’s (s intc) former chairman and CEO, has offered up some great rules that helped guide his business life. In a profile for The Wall Street Journal, Michael Malone talked to the recently retired Barrett about his work ethics, business philosophies, and working with Intel legends like co-founders Gordon Moore and Bob Noyce and former CEO Andy Grove. If you are an entrepreneur, you might just find “Barrett’s Rules” to be invaluable.

  1. Invest in hard times. Intel invested heavily in capacity, and when it came out of the downturn, it was able to meet the pent-up demand faster than others.
  2. Consensus is mostly good. Except when it is not. “There’s a time to let everyone twist the knobs and a time to make a decision,” Barrett says.
  3. Follow the business, not Wall Street. No arguments about that, though in the case of start-ups, his advice is not to follow the pundits, media and others who are not your customer. “The job of the CEO is not to reward the short-term speculator of your stock, but to do a good job long-term for your shareholders, employees and customers,” he says. Look what happened to the old AT&T, (s T) which paid too much attention to Wall Street.
  4. When something works, don’t reinvent it, reproduce it. McDonald’s fries, anyone?
  5. Good competitors matter. “It’s like athletes: To be a great company you need great competitors…It’s what keeps you alive and keeps you honest,” Barrett says.

You should really read the full article, though it seems to be behind the WSJ paid-wall. (Photo courtesy of Intel Corp.)


Social Entrepreneur

Great philosophy tidbits. I don’t know that his record with Intel reflects this wisdom, but, nevertheless it is informative. Also adaptable to small business startups as well. I read the entire article. I didn’t have any problem accessing it as mentioned above.


There is nothing wrong with these observations. However, Barrett was not a particularly successful CEO, except when it came to claiming credit for things. He made a brave foray into moving Intel beyond microprocessors, but he failed. In the process, he took his eye off the one thing that had made Intel great, that is execution in the microprocessor business, and for many years Intel had to fight AMD because of it. In addition, unlike his forbears, Noyce, Moore and Grove, he was not loved by the troops, with consequences. So, overall, not a very good performance.

Chetan Sharma


Craig is very sharp and successful yet quite down to earth guy. I had the pleasure of interviewing him last Nov and he echoed most of the same points. He mentioned that this is his 11th recession and every time his philosophy is the same – invest. He has a real passion for education as well.



Om, your WSJ link seems to be working – at least at the moment. Got straight through to the article.

Thanks, I’ve always enjoyed Barrett’s thoughtfulness.

Shawn Drewry

Somebody like Barrett is good poeples to learn from, just on the strength of being the former CEO of intel. While it was great that he once headed the billion dollar company, he could now be more successful in his retirement, running his own business, whether it be offline or online, in addition to being paid nice speaker fees. If he were to give an online lecture, I’d surely tune in :-)


Sonal Maheshwari

@Craig Barrett: Good tips for the entrepreneurs.
@Om: Must say each sentence is very precise and has its meaning, a short and crisp description of how and what of business world.

Sonal Maheshwari.

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