A chat with the chairman of Intel
The highlight of this year's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas for me was the sitdown that the Intel Insiders had with Intel chairman and former CEO Craig Barrett. (Disclosure: I'm a member of the Intel Insiders.)
At CES the next day, Barrett gave a keynote in which he announced a wide-ranging new initiative by Intel to support the philanthropic micro-lending efforts of Kiva.org and the nonprofit charity Save the Children all across the globe.
In the wake of the global financial crisis, Intel has been steadily reaching out across the U.S. border to advance education and literacy around the world. Barrett mentions the Intel Teach program to put technology in the classroom, which is especially popular overseas. He also discusses the larger role that technology companies — Intel, Microsoft, Cisco, IBM (and Google, though he doesn't name them) — are playing in the evolving field of corporate social responsibility.
Two quick quotes from Barrett:
• "Technology is not the answer. Technology is one of the tools you can use. The really important thing in education is that you have good teachers." Without quality teachers, all the technology in the world won't help.
• He told a story about schoolchildren in a rural village in India whose highlight of the week comes on Tuesdays, when a bus carrying a mobile computer station arrives. It's had a significant impact on reducing truancy and dropout rates in rural India. "When you see that, you say, Wow."
A week after we met with Barrett, he announced that he will step down in May — after 35 years with the company, seven of them as the CEO and almost almost four as chair. See the Intel release and the GigaOm story.