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Article 1 (Aug 2019): Corporate Legends: A Silicon Valley Hero, but Just a Guy at Heart

August 28, 2019

Bill Campbell helped create some of Silicon Valley's most successful companies (including Google, Apple, and Intuit) and generated more than $1 trillion in market value.  A former college football player and head coach at Columbia University, he died in 2016 of cancer.  He was 75.

As notes in its review of "Trillion Dollar Coach: The Leadership Playbook of Silicon Valley's Bill Campbell," he was just one the guys in almost every way.  As Intuit's CEO and board chairman until his death, "Coach," as he was known by most, still couldn't write a single line of code.
For decades, Campbell quietly mentored such visionaries as Steve Jobs, Larry Page, Sheryl Sandberg, and Eric Schmidt who, with Jonathan Rosenberg and Alan Eagle, authored this book. During their Google years, the three men were eyewitnesses to how Campbell worked, counseled, addressed challenges, and eased tense relationships.
Based on their observations and interviews with more than 80 people who knew Campbell, they describe his principles and bring them to life with tales from the stellar companies and people with whom he worked, quaffed lots of Bud Light, laughed, and played.
According to Forbes, Campbell dodged the spotlight.  Instead, he was far more involved in helping people, making them better managers and leaders, assisting them in producing a better work culture and better results.  People loved him--and now revere him--for leaving the world a better place for having been here.

What were Campbell's principles?

  • Care about people more than anything
  • Judge people by more than their metrics
  • Don't separate the vision from the operations
  • Put a premium on innovation
  • Be completely trustworthy
  • Give away credit
  • Be yourself 
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