Education: Bachelor’s degree in physics and chemistry from Dartmouth College; master’s degree and Ph.D. in electrical engineering from Stanford University
What is the greatest business lesson you’ve learned?
Always strive to bring value to the marketplace, and you exist as a company only to serve your customers. If you want to think of a company that failed to do this, think Xerox.
What is the greatest business challenge you’ve faced, and how did you overcome it?
I’ve faced two crises, and they were both of equal magnitude. The first was in 1992, which was the first time the company had a revenue downturn resulting in layoffs, and the second crisis was the dot-com crash, and we just recovered from that this year. The first was a crisis really of our own making, and I learned that you must always maintain your identify in the market and your purpose in order to succeed. During the second crisis, we knew who we were, but we were impacted by the country’s financial crisis. We survived by reinventing ourselves, and I’ve learned to never let the company become a one-trick pony.
Whom have you admired most in business and why?
I think out of everyone, I’ve admired Jack Welch the most because he inherited a sick giant and restored it to a high standard of performance.
Accolades for T.J. Rodgers and Cypress have included:
- Encore Award from Stanford University Business School as entrepreneurial company of the year in 1988
- Entrepreneur of the Year award from Ernst & Young in 1991
- CEO of the year in 1996 as named by Financial World Magazine
- Inducted into the Silicon Valley Engineering Council Hall of Fame in 2006?’