Fairchild’s Death March

Fairchild’s Death March
by John East on 07-22-2019 at 6:00 am

The “20 Questions with John East” series continues

How did it end for Fairchild?  Badly!!!

In 1966 Fairch was the number one supplier of integrated circuits.  That was as it should have been.  After all,  Fairch had invented the IC.  But in 1967 TI passed them.  Still, Fairch remained a strong #2.  By the time that the mid-seventies… Read More


The Wilf Corrigan Fairchild P&L Review

The Wilf Corrigan Fairchild P&L Review
by John East on 07-15-2019 at 6:00 am

The “20 Questions with John East” series continues

In 1973 plus or minus a year or so I was working as a supervising engineer in one of the bipolar digital product groups.  My boss was a man named Jerry Secrest.  He was a great boss – he taught me most of what I knew about ICs in my youth. Jerry had responsibility for a product line.  That… Read More


Texas Instruments and the TTL Wars

Texas Instruments and the TTL Wars
by John East on 07-08-2019 at 8:00 am

The “20 Questions with John East” series continues

Most people in the IC business understand very well that TTL products dominated our industry for 30 years or so.  They’ll also probably know that TI was the king of TTL. But,  if you ask those people what TTL is,   most won’t have any idea.  If you’re one of those people, rest easy.  … Read More


Layoffs à la Fairchild

Layoffs à la Fairchild
by John East on 07-01-2019 at 5:00 am

The “20 Questions with John East” series continues

You wouldn’t think that layoffs would be a subject that I’d want to talk about in my stories of  “Silicon Valley the Way I saw it.”  The subject is just plain distasteful!!  — Still  — layoffs were a major part of the valley’s culture back in the day.  To give a true picture… Read More


1971 is the year that Intel changed the world

1971 is the year that Intel changed the world
by John East on 06-24-2019 at 5:00 am

The “20 Questions with John East” series continues

From time to time I present the History of Silicon Valley as I saw it to various audiences.  I always enjoy doing that.  I’ve learned that the part that audiences like the most is the Apple / Steve Jobs story.  That’s not hard to understand.  Steve Jobs was truly fascinating! The story… Read More


Intel let there be RAM

Intel let there be RAM
by John East on 06-17-2019 at 5:00 am

The “20 Questions with John East” series continues

Intel was founded in 1968 by Robert Noyce and Gordon Moore who had left Fairchild earlier that year.  They immediately hired Andy Grove. Noyce, Moore and Grove were a study in contrasts. I had various dealings over the years with Noyce and Grove, but have met Moore only twice.  They… Read More


The Integrated Circuit

The Integrated Circuit
by John East on 06-10-2019 at 5:00 am

The “20 Questions with John East” series continues

Noyce and the rest of the traitorous eight left Shockley without a clue as to what they would do next.  They believed in semiconductors and knew that they were the very best semiconductor guys in the world.  Their hope was to find a company who would hire them en masse.  After some false… Read More


The Genius Sperm Bank

The Genius Sperm Bank
by John East on 06-03-2019 at 5:00 am

The “20 Questions with John East” series continues

How did it happen?  How did Fairchild transform over a decade into the “off with their heads” culture?  To understand that, you need to know a little about the William Shockley story. William Shockley was born in London in 1910.  He moved to Silicon Valley when he was 3.  Of course,… Read More


Off with their heads!

Off with their heads!
by John East on 05-29-2019 at 8:00 am

The “20 Questions with John East” series continues

I started out as a supervisor in the wafer sort and class area.  Today you’d call those probe and final test.  My first boss, a man named Les Faerber who I had never met,  met me in the lobby,  got a smock for me,  took me into the test area and introduced me to the ladies (All the operators… Read More


20 Questions with John East

20 Questions with John East
by John East on 05-21-2019 at 10:00 am

In 1967 I was a grad student at Cal Berkeley.  In December of that year my wife to be and I got engaged to be married.  I was supposed to get my master’s degree in December of ’68, but once we worked out all the details we realized that I’d have to go to school over the summer of ’68 and get the degree in September.  We were broke and couldn’t … Read More