Monday, December 31, 2007

When the Best is the Enemy of the Good

Recently, I had coffee with former Intel chief executive Andy Grove moments after he had admonished a room full of scientists about being too good at what they do.

"They are so caught up in doing the best science that they are failing to translate that science into anything useful," he said, his Hungarian-lilted voice rising and blue eyes intense."When we set out to develop the microchip," he had just told a packed room at the Society for Neuroscience annual meeting in San Diego, "we did not try to make the best chip, but one that worked for as little cost as possible." If one chip idea didn't work, he said, they tossed it and built a better one, learning from their mistakes.

Read the rest as David Ewing Duncan looks at natural selection and the thought-provoking comments by Andy Grove.