ANDY GROVE


As a senior engineer with Intel Corporation, Dan traveled the world with Intel chairman and cofounder Dr. Andrew S. Grove. Dan's job was to design and present technical demonstrations on stage in Dr. Grove's keynote speeches.

Early in his career with Intel, Dan developed an almost perfect impression of Dr. Grove's distinctive voice and accent. A natural prankster, Dan would often leave messages in Dr. Grove's voice that terrified his coworkers at Intel headquarters.

Dan was able to handle the technical end of his demanding job with no problem, but it was public speaking in front of thousands of people, or sometimes millions on television, that he found to be terrifying. After a tremendous amount of procrastination, he finally took a comedy class in nearby San Francisco, making his comedy debut at the Punchline. He reasoned that being successful at stand up comedy would make business presentations much easier to handle.

Dan happened to have the video of his first performance with him when he was part of the Intel team at a convention in Las Vegas. His coworkers, upon viewing the videotape, invited him to perform at the team dinner that night, for about 200 Intel employees. At the dinner event on top of the Riviera Hotel, he did impressions of American presidents, as well as of Dr. Grove.

Immediately after that performance, the director of marketing asked Dan to do the same act at the upcoming International Sales and Marketing Conference in San Francisco. Dan e-mailed Dr. Grove to ask him if it was okay to do an impression of him, and the chairman responded, "Have fun!".

At the rehearsal the day before the actual event, Dan performed his act for Intel's top executive team, who were laughing hysterically. They enthusiastically approved his act for the convention the next day.

In the grand ballroom of the San Francisco Hilton, at approximately 8 o'clock on Monday morning, Dan pretended that something had gone wrong with one of his demos, and he strode to the podium and said that he would tell some jokes while the demo was being fixed. In only his third comedy performance ever, he had the audience of 2500 Intel sales people from around the world laughing uproariously and pounding on tables, and they gave him a standing ovation. Many of the Intel employees who didn't know Dan assumed that he must have obviously been a professional comedian who had been hired for the event. It was here that Dan got his first inkling that perhaps he could become a professional comedian one day.

During many subsequent Intel events, Dan was asked to imitate Dr. Grove on various corporate videos, and over simulated live phone calls. Dr. Grove also introduced Dan at an Intel holiday party. Dan imitated the chairman mercilessly for 20 minutes, which caused Mrs. Grove to laugh so hard that she was actually crying.