When media and analysts discuss Intel, a lot is said about Intel's products, but not a lot is said about tens of thousands of people who not just work, but evolve inside the company even for their whole career. Intel is one of those companies - unspoiled by unions, Intel is a company where engineers thrive, but the doors are always open for creative people worldwide. We talked with a lot of insiders who praised the openness of the company, and the fact that you can be involved in a "constructive discussion" is something that is not heard in a lot of companies.
For instance, you have an employee X who thinks that an issue is not addressed properly for instance, by a Senior VP. What will happen is that an employee X will select a third party as mediator and the discussion will continue for as long as mediator, employee X and the Senior VP don't come to a constructive conclusion. This process can take for hours, but the result should be a better insight into that project and ultimately, deliver a higher value.
While we were preparing for an interview with Intel, our goal was to bring a true face to Intel's "sponsors of tomorrow" marketing campaign. We didn't want to interview an actor that plays the role of a great scientist or a nutty professor, but rather an example how a person can develop inside Intel. The choice was quite simple - Dan S. Snyder was one of speakers during the recent Lynnfield launch and we decided to sit down and have an interesting discussion.Intel [changing] Inside from 1991 to 2009 BSN*
: You’ve been an Intel employee since 1991. How things changed over the years at Intel? Dan Snyder
: Well, the most obvious change that I’ve noticed is that obviously the company has gotten a whole lot bigger. When I started in the early 1990s, which was before Intel Inside
. So I think the biggest change is Intel went from really a kind of "nuts and bolts component only" company, that only guys who read things like EE Times
, IEEE Journal and stuff like that were even on Intel’s radar screen. As soon as Intel Inside launched in the 1990s - that kind of changed everything. We went from focusing on pure, technical, geek, guys in the lab who read EE Times to being a more mainstream company. So there’s a ton of more marketing people, a lot more people looking at how to position the products to end users and educate them about products. BSN*
: You began your career at Intel as an engineer out of Columbia University. What are some of the projects you worked on early in your tenure as an engineer? Dan Snyder
: My first engineering role was in our assembly and fabs in Phoenix, Arizona. I was working on issues with packaging on our old 386s
quite a ways back. We used to have plastic packages for our processors and we would basically take failure analysis from the field, like if a customer had an issue with the packaging or something happening, we would work with the customer and labs on the packaging. I have my background in material science and that was a very material science type position. It involved nuts and bolts type work on the package properties in a way it would twist and bend… also test how it would absorb moisture and different things like that. BSN*
: In 1994 you moved to a technical marketing position at Intel. How did the career move transpire? Dan Snyder
: Basically what happened was I started in engineering and I kind of just drifted slowly to more technical and a more spokesperson-type role. I think it’s because I had that background in engineering and I also like working with people I was able to talk to customers and explain the technology. Really, the key thing for our PR and marketing roles is the ability to explain things in a way that people can understand. So I kind of moved into a more technical marketing position from pure engineering, working on Pentium
tech marketing. I was setting up demos, working on training Intel field and marketing people. From there I went into a more pure marketing role and then from there I went into PR. Now I do the tech PR with all the tech enthusiasts, press and all that stuff. BSN*
: What would you consider as the greatest achievement Intel has accomplished over the years? Dan Snyder
: This is really tough. I’d say if I had to point to an achievement that happens over and over again but it’s one key area, I would have to say our process technology. I think that Intel continually reinvents itself and Intel is continually mastering high-volume manufacturing and processes. So every few years, we’ll go to lower lithography, into higher density transistors. I think if you have to point to the one thing, the one accomplishment, it is the manufacturing process side of it. That’s really the engine that fuels everything we do. BSN*
: Intel is known for its commitment to green technology as demonstrated by EIST [Enhanced Intel SpeedStep technology
] and now halogen-free products. What new environmentally friendly features can we expect from Intel in the future? Dan Snyder
: I think the power consumption on our product line, on our processor is the biggest thing there. Obviously, we’re continually offering more performance and lower power consumption. That’s pretty incredible. When we launched Conroe, it was 40% more performance at 40% less power consumption. Nehalem and Lynnfield are even better than that. So I think it shows real engineering marvel that these people [Intel engineers] more performance at less power consumption. So I think the lower power draw and the systems are running cooler really make a huge difference. We also are lead and halogen free in our products now, including motherboards, SSDs [Solid State Disks] and processors. That is a huge thing in terms of environmental areas, so we are definitely making sure we are careful on that. A lot of OEMs, particularly Apple
, won’t even buy a product unless it’s lead and halogen free from what I understand [halogen was the reason Apple skipped the first generation of Intel SSD products, Ed.]. Also, we do a lot of stuff with environmental areas. For example, reclaiming our water, I think we reclaim about 80% of our water we use in our Fabs and we purify and it ends up leaving the Fabs cleaner than when it came in. We put a lot of thought into the resources we use to make our products, that’s really important. Finally, all these things with corporate social responsibility, there are a lot of initiatives where we are buying back these [carbon] credits for power consumption [Intel is a leader in the USA for buying carbon credits, Ed.] I’m not sure of the exact terms of that, that’s not my area but we have a lot of people working on those things. For more information, see Intel’s corporate social responsibility page
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