The Dutton file Featured

8:00pm EDT May 26, 2008

Born: Tyler, Minn.

Education: Bachelor of science, San Jose State University

What’s the best business lesson you’ve learned?

It’s really about people and getting the power of the people working for the organization. Let’s say you acquire two companies, and one is entirely made of robots with a central program, and one is made of people — which integration is harder? The one with the people is harder, but also if you get those people aligned, they are going to outperform a set of robots, so it really is a difference in a company is people.

What’s your favorite board game and why?

My favorite game is probably Risk. It’s a kind of battle strategy game, and you have multiple opponents, but aside from the strategy, there’s always the luck of the dice in it, so it’s a good challenging game.

I grew up in the central-northern part of the Black Hills of South Dakota, so we would have long blizzards, and when I was young, we wouldn’t have school for days, and we would get together and play Risk, and you’d have games that would go on for days to bide the time.

What was your first job?

I was working on a construction crew building houses at age 15 or 16.

Whom do you admire most in business and why?

Andy Grove. A lot of it is because I was at Intel as an engineer when he was leading the company, and his clarity of vision and communicating to people and the methods Intel developed under his leadership is a lot of what I do today. I enjoy some of his books because some of the things he talks about in having been an engineer down on the front lines — you can tie where I was mentally versus where he was in leading the company.