Intel outside: How the chipmaker is pitching itself beyond the PC

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Alyson Griffin.
Alyson Griffin. Credit: David Hall

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Last year Intel, the chipmaker best known to the wider world for its "Intel Inside" tagline, decided to pivot from being a PC-centric company to a data-centric one. It has invested heavily in artificial intelligence, the internet of things, drones, autonomous cars and more. Those data-centric businesses made up 47 percent of revenues in fiscal 2017, underscoring the diminished importance of the PC to its business.

"We need to make sure the future tech buyers of the world understand we're not just a chip in a PC," says Intel's Alyson Griffin, who is charged with telling that story. "We need to make sure we're not stuck inside a PC."

"Our businesses have been growing dramatically over the years. We just didn't market it externally," she says. "Ninety-seven percent of the cloud runs on Intel, for example. They were thinking, 'If we have 97 percent, why are we going to market it? To get 2 more percent?' But the problem is that there are other areas—memory, storage, fabric, 5G, telecommunications—where we are in the market but we are not the leader."

She joins the Ad Lib podcast today, along with her shock of magenta hair, to talk about her role a little over one year in. We discuss her somewhat uncommon childhood in Silicon Valley and growing up with HP, where her mother worked for 43 years (she herself worked there for 17). We also discuss Intel's transformation, its b-to-b play (which is more interesting than it sounds) and, naturally, whale snot.

"The word is changing and data and a data-centric company is where Intel needs to focus," she says. "Where we need to grow—we are not the leading brand. We are challenger brand in many places, so we don't know that position very well."

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