As a long time technologist, I recall the battle days between Microsoft and Borland in the 1980s’. It’s come full circle since Bill is Chairman Emeritus of Borland and he shares valuable insights from those times. As a technology enthusiast, I followed the history and work of Stanford Research Institute (SRI), again the circle closes — Bill is President and CEO Emeritus of SRI International.
The innovation foundations and contributions originating from Silicon Valley are legendary including from Stanford University. Bill setup the Stanford computing program and is Professor of Computer Science Emeritus. His business work is encapsulated as Herbert Hoover Professor of Public and Private Management Emeritus. So we have that rare leader that combines excellence in entrepreneurship, research, academia, business, non-profits, international outreach, and much more.
I really enjoyed this interview with Bill since he shared so many insights into all of his many roles. Bill talks about one board meeting where the Chairs of some of the biggest companies are in attendance and there’s a lesson he shares from this experience. He continues to serve as Chair of several startup companies and again, pearls of deep lessons abound.
The interview starts with an Asia slant due to all his work in that region however there are many nuggets of wisdom embedded throughout. [The interview is slated for Asia but I thought I would share it with you too due to the breadth of Bill’s experiences.] Have a look at his profile and you can use the time index to get to the gems you want to repeat.
I encourage you to share your thoughts here on these interviews or send me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Dr. William Miller
Dr. William F. Miller has spent about half of his professional life in business and about half in academia. Dr. Miller came to Silicon Valley from a position as Director of the Applied Mathematics Division at the Argonne National Laboratory where he worked after receiving his PhD in Physics from Purdue University in 1956. At the Argonne National Laboratory, Dr. Miller conducted research in basic atomic physics and in computer science. He and his colleagues began early work in what is now called computational science.
Dr. Miller was the last faculty member recruited to Stanford University by the legendary Frederick Terman who was then Vice President and Provost of Stanford. He was recruited to help form the Computer Science Department at Stanford and to direct the Computation Group at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC). He led the computerization of SLAC and later as Associate Provost for Computing he led the computerization of the Stanford Campus. He carried out research in computer science and computer systems and directed the research of many graduate students.
As Vice President for Research and later as Vice President and Provost, Miller championed the establishment of the Office of Technology Licensing which has become the model for such activities at other universities here and abroad. He actively facilitated the establishment of a number of interdisciplinary programs such as the Human Biology Program, the International Security and Arms Control Program, and the Values Technology and Society Program and he helped establish the Neurosciences Department. In 1978 he negotiated and brought to Stanford the first scholars from the Peoples Republic of China. In 1979 he was named the Herbert Hoover Professor of Public and Private Management.