Classic CEO quotes for a sunny Sunday
Classic quotes from CEOs, mostly from my memory vault
Bob Bailey, CEO of PMC-Sierra, at Semico Summit 2004: "Our industry is made up of geniuses that act collectively like idiots." I don't recall what Bob was referring to, but whatever it was, the audience appeared to agree with him.
Jerry Rogers, CEO of Cyrix, commenting on the company's sales team at an employee luncheon, c. 1996: "We've got more salesmen now than we've ever had before. We've got so many salesmen that I think they're out there bouncing into each other and getting lost. I don't think they know where the customers are, so maybe we should sit here and draw maps for them."
"Sometimes, when I can't sleep on planes, I do differential equations. It relaxes me." That was Bruce McWilliams, CEO of Tessera, sometime in 2000. He used to be a physicist.
"I don't know. This whole thing just makes my butt pucker." That was L.J. Sevin, legendary venture capitalist, and founding CEO of Mostek. The comment was during a Cyrix board meeting to determine whether the microprocessor maker should market a Cyrix-branded personal computer, c. 1995.
Jerry Chang, former vice president and later CEO of, while interviewing me for a job, c. 1993: "Close your eyes. Now tell me how many Tiki statues are on top of the bookcase."
"It's like we're riding on the prairie with a horse that's been shot and we have to make a jump to a fresh horse." That was Berry Cash, Cyrix's chairman and founder of InterWest Partners, in a Wall Street Journal interview, c. 1997. Berry was referring to a product shift to a new microprocessor.
"InLight Communications has amassed the technology, know-how and engineering team to develop and deliver differentiated next-generation products in a very hot space." That was Steve Tobak, accepting the top job at an optical switch company in May of 2001. We filed for bankruptcy seven months later.
Disclaimer: Most of these quotes are from memory, so there might be some relatively minor paraphrasing. If so, my apologies to the executive.