Recapturing the Spirit of Enterprise

By George Gilder | Go to book overview

14 THE RISE OF MICRON

The building stands a few miles east of Boise, off Interstate 84 and the old Federal Highway, the Oregon Trail to the Pacific Northwest. It is a desert land, fraught with dire history, strewn with gold glints from the eyes of prospectors and with the parched bones of coyotes and wild horses, and of men who never made it through the mountains to the coast.

It is also a land of business legends, of men who abandoned visions of gold and got rich on potatoes; where the father of Micron's building contractor finally gave up the ghost of his Model A and his dreams of Alaskan wealth, settling instead for life in Idaho, building heavy machinery. It is the home of J. R. Simplot and the saga of his patch of Idaho sand. It is the land to which inventor Allen Noble fled his Montana home, at age fourteen, and began milking cows and growing potatoes. It is the home of the Parkinson twins--Ward and Joe--and now it is the home of Juan Benitez.

It is the land where Farris Lind built up the state's largest oil company out of his sense of humor while sealed in an iron lung. Micron workers daily pass one of Lind's famous billboards on their way to work. "Just 84 miles to Bliss, Idaho. Stop at the Stinky," it proclaims. It is signed by a cute skunk, the trademark Lind adopted after the name he once was called by a rival resentful of Lind's low prices and rising market share. But it also bespeaks Lind's indomitability: stricken by polio from the neck down, unable to speak except on the inhale of his breath, he nonetheless led his chain of gas stations to preeminence on the highways of the state. He died in 1979, the year Micron was born.

The low-slung 50,000-square-foot structure stood without a

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Recapturing the Spirit of Enterprise
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page i
  • Contents iii
  • Foreword v
  • Acknowledgments vii
  • I - THE ECONOMY OF HEROES 1
  • 1 - The Enigma of Enterprise 3
  • 2 - A Patch of Sand 15
  • 3 - The Real Economy 37
  • 4 - The Explorer 55
  • 5 - The Man Who Wanted to Clean the Water 71
  • 6 - The Cuban Miracle 97
  • II - THE EUTHANASIA OF THE ENTREPRENEUR 119
  • 7 - A Sad Heart in a Personal Jet 121
  • 8 - The Outsider Trading Scandal 139
  • 9 - Capitalism Without Capitalists 149
  • 10 - Wealth in the 1990s 169
  • III - THE GREAT TRANSITION 185
  • 11 - The Curve of Growth 187
  • 12 - Japan's Entrepreneurs 215
  • 13 - America's Digital Revolution 245
  • 14 - The Rise of Micron 265
  • 15 - The Dynamics of Entrepreneurship 295
  • Index 327
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