A different work style in a different culture
TG Daily: Work in the U.S. overall was probably a different world in itself. What differences did you see between the work culture in Israel and the U.S.?
Mooly Eden: Coming from a different culture, I believe that people are generally making a mistake by grading or judging another culture by using their own culture. I am often told that Israeli people are blunt. We are not blunt; we are just saying our opinion. Sometimes I tell my partners that they do not care about anything because they do not argue. And they tell me that I argue all the time. But all I do is care about it.
When you come from a different culture, you get into a lot of problems. For example, how do you tell someone that you do not agree with him? If I do not agree in Israel, I simply tell you that you are wrong. Here it is almost offensive to say that. Instead, people in the U.S. say "I am not following you. Can you reiterate?" But, what it really means is that "you are wrong." If you come from another country, you get into situations where you can sound offensive. However, from my perspective, that is also what is nice about living in another country: You make new experiences.
TG Daily: Would you say that America changed you? Or do you change the people around you?
Mooly Eden: I am changing in the way how I am behaving in the U.S. I speak differently. At the end of the day, I want to achieve something and I do not want to insult people. But I am also trying to change everyone around me to what I think is right. And that is to influence them, to being direct, to saying what you think, to elevating problems. I love problems. I learned that people in the U.S. have a problem saying "we have a problem." Instead, they say "we have a challenge." I don't think it's a challenge - why don't they call it a "problem?" It's a challenge to solve the problem.
TG Daily: Do you think that a different work culture, a more direct way to work with each other was helpful to come up with the idea for a completely different processor?
Mooly Eden: There have been a lot of great ideas in the U.S. Think about the 286, the 486 and the Pentium. But I would agree to say that the culture in Israel helped to develop Banias, Yonah and Merom. We are very friendly, we work together in teams, but discipline is not our strength. The lack of discipline results in a behavior where everybody is challenging everybody. People are challenging you all you all the time. People are not influenced by your rank. They appreciate you for what you are. It's a different thing. If you steer that behavior it into the right way, you get a lot of innovation.
TG Daily: What was the most profound lesson you learned in your career?
Mooly Eden: We learn from mistakes. There was Timna, which made me much more open. Performance or design is not good enough, if you do not have a deep understanding of the market. I was responsible for it and the writing had been on the wall. The marketing appeal disappeared since the project was based on RDRAM, which did not penetrate the market fast enough. I should have killed the project two quarters earlier. But I was so much in love with the project and we did not stop it. I learned that you have to respect marketing. You need to understand the market very well to determine if the product will be successful.
Also, the Pentium MMX project clearly indicated the importance of management and leadership of technical people. With the right management and leadership you can make it happen. Take the same project and a different management it could fall apart. It can make the difference between failure and huge victory.
TG Daily: What goals do you have left at Intel?
Mooly Eden: I would like to continue to do something interesting. I believe mobile is a huge opportunity. There is something that you can say when you work at Intel and it almost sounds arrogant: You leave your footprint on that evolution, you and your team. Look at Centrino, everyone in this world has a Centrino notebook and you look at it and can say "I was involved in it" and that makes me very proud. It will take 20 years until people will recognize it, because we are in the middle of a huge revolution. I hope I will be part of this moving forward.
TG Daily: What advice would you give someone who would like to pursue a similar career as you did?
Mooly Eden: I would say to just do it. Don't copy. Do what you believe in. Try to find a job you love, don't compromise with something you do not like. In your job, be patient because an opportunity does not reveal itself on a daily basis. Never be a yes man, say what you think, argue for your opinion. At the end of the day, it will be appreciated.
TG Daily: Thank you for the interview.