He co-founded Intel, the world’s largest and highest-valued semiconductor chip maker. He also co-invented the integrated circuit, one of the most important technological developments of the 20th C. Robert Noyce was subsequently honored by three different U.S. presidents, and is credited as the “mayor of Silicon Valley,” bringing with him a more relaxed ‘follow-your-bliss’ management style that nearly every other tech startup has emulated.
But did you know he was also a complete badass as a kid? When he was 12—the age most kids these days spend cussing each other out on Call of Duty—Robert Noyce built a boy-sized aircraft with his brother, which they would launch off the roof of a stables to fly. He also built a radio from scratch, and welded a propeller and engine from a washing machine to the back of his sled to motorize it.
He was the star diver on the 1947 Midwest Conference Championship college swim team, and sang, played the oboe, and acted. But he was almost expelled after stealing a 25-pound pig from the farm of his hometown mayor and roasting it a school luau—it was only after his physics professor and the President of the college reached a compromise with the mayor to compensate him for the pig that Noyce was allowed back after a semester-long suspension. He’d go on to graduate with a BA in physics and mathematics along with the Brown Derby Prize from his classmates, recognizing him as “the senior man who earned the best grades with the least amount of work.”
The rest is history. And while Robert Noyce died in 1990 his badass legacy will live on.