Foreign aid is often in the hot seat, but today the heat is cranked up especially high.
I was sad to hear about the passing of Gordon Moore. Many people know Gordon’s name because of Moore’s Law—a visionary projection he made in 1965 about how quickly microchips would improve. But I hope he will be remembered for much more than that. I had the honor of working with Gordon in his capacities as a technology innovator, businessman, and philanthropist. He was great at all three—and was a thoroughly good person as well.
I first got to know Gordon through Microsoft’s work with Intel, the chipmaker he co-founded. Intel had what seemed like a magical ability to make chips with more transistors than anybody else—and Microsoft built an important partnership with them based on their increasingly powerful chips and our software. We were so closely linked that people gave us a nickname: “Wintel.”
In our work together, Gordon was always a real gentleman. He was wise, thoughtful, and calm. Several times he stepped in to help both sides understand why we were disagreeing and design a clever path for us to move forward productively.
Gordon never bragged about the legendary engineering work he did before Intel, at the Shockley Semiconductor Laboratory and Fairchild Semiconductor—and he always put other leaders out front at Intel. But he deserves enormous credit for what those companies accomplished.
He and his wife, Betty, also deserve enormous credit for the impact of their philanthropy. I admire the work their foundation has done in medical research and climate change, two issues that Gordon cared passionately about. He exemplified the best in philanthropy by taking smart risks, being willing to fail (as long as it produced good learning), making great use of data, and collaborating with other funders. I’m also grateful that he and Betty were early signers of the Giving Pledge. He told me that joining the Pledge was easy for him—he simply saw it as his responsibility to pay forward the gifts he received in life.
Gordon’s accomplishments in business, technology, philanthropy, and life will continue to be an inspiring example for me and millions of others.