More than 30 years ago, the Intel recruiter who interviewed Pat Gelsinger described him as smart, arrogant, and aggressive, adding afterward that he’d fit right in. For the next 30 years, Gelsinger would prove them right (about the last part, at least) as he quickly climbed the ranks to CTO and developed some of the chipmaker’s groundbreaking innovations.
In February 2021, after an 11-year absence from Intel, Gelsinger returned as CEO and set about implementing some ambitious new initiatives. During his commencement speech Sunday at The Ohio State University, Gelsinger reiterated the company’s plans to invest $20 billion in a more than 1,000-acre campus and two semiconductor chip factories near Columbus, Ohio. Construction is slated to begin this year and the plant is supposed to come online in 2025.
Gelsinger says the move will transform the area into “the silicon heartland,” a promising development for the startup ecosystem there. It’s also potentially a source of thousands of new jobs. In addition to the $20 billion investment in what will be the world’s largest semiconductor chip factory, Gelsinger and Intel will invest $100 million in the coming decade to find and train local students and workers to fill them.
During his years away from Intel, Gelsinger says, he often felt adrift and in need of a plan, a feeling many new graduates–or even seasoned entrepreneurs and executives–can relate to. So to help, he offered a suggestion for improving your professional life, a three-point plan that goes by the acronym “MAP.” Here are the components.
Gelsinger says that if you’re going to be better, you need no-nonsense people in your life to push you and make you better. He cites his own relationship with famed former Intel CEO Andy Grove. He likens Grove’s mentoring to “going to the dentist and not getting Novocaine,” but adds that such an approach was necessary. “We’re diamonds in the rough and we need people to knock off those rough edges,” he says.
Gelsinger recommends that you write down a professional mission statement and start living it. Since his early days at Intel, he knew he wanted to be CEO. What was once a pipe dream became reality, but only because he dared to dream it. So think bigger, he urges, and never lose sight of your mission.
Find something you’re good at, that you love doing, with people you enjoy doing it with, and throw yourself fully into it, Gelsinger says. He emphasizes that this doesn’t mean every day will be perfect–you will get fired, you will have bad days, and you will fail, he told the audience. It’s what you do with those failures that will define you. “Aggressively embrace these moments and make them better because these failures are your opportunities to learn and grow,” he says. “Use your passion to fight through those challenges and you will have more days like today.”
You can view Gelsinger’s entire commencement address at around the 59-minute mark of the video below.