« The Way I Heard It with Mike Rowe

Episode 79: Bobby Brings Home the Bacon

2017-10-17 | 🔗

Only problem is - it's not Bobby's bacon.

This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
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Hey there. It's micro- and this is the way I heard the only podcast the curious mind with a short attention span. I've been thinking, and rather than sell the incredibly valuable piece of real estate that precedes the unforgettable story. Your about here too many of my loyal sponsors this month, I'm going to keep it for myself, so that I might suggest to you with great humility that you consider giving my book as a Christmas present like the story you're about to here, the book is called the way I heard it and modesty aside, I don't think you'll find a more appropriate gift out there. The reviews are excellent, It's an official New York Times best seller and everybody tells me they hear my
Voice in their head, when they read it now, I don't know if that's enough, that's a good thing or bad thing or weird thing, but it's definitely something go to micro dot, com book. That's my crow dot com book there still a few autographed copies left. If you'd like one just click on autographed copy stuff it in a stocking wrap it in brown paper or slap, a bow on my giant face and give it to somebody loved or liked or somebody. You just simply feel obligated to buy a gift for either way it's at micro dot com book. This is the way I heard it at the Grammy awards Britney spears forgot to thank the pig. Nobody called her on it, but looking back the facts are clear: without that pig, Brittany would have never sold a hundred million albums Norway. Likewise George Lucas
would have never gotten star wars on the big screen and Neil, Armstrong would have never walked on the moon, and yet none of these people ever acknowledged the pig Bobby. On the other hand, he thought about that pig every day and why wouldn t thanks to the big Bobby, died with a net worth of three point, two billion dollars and a product that changed everything fundamentally Bobby was a tinkerer and a risk take her, but not necessarily in that order. When he was twelve, he built a box kite strapped to his back and drove off the roof of Grinnell College, just to see if he could fly turns out, he could for about thirty seconds. Then there was a time he took propeller and welded it to the back of his sled, along with an engine from an old washing machine, turns out sleds with. Motors and propellers don't fly either, but they do go
faster than normal sleds. Much faster Bobby was a tinkerer you see and a risk taker, but not necessarily in that order, and not just as a boy when he was twenty one Bobby volunteered to procure the guest, of honor for a fraternity luau in the light of a harvest, moon, low and fat in the Iowa Sky, the young, physics, major regarded his options, rooting around and grunting, and the muddy pig pen in front of him, so many to choose from surely the farmer wouldn't miss a single swine, woody, twelve hours the guest of honor was turning slowly on an open spit roasting to a crispy golden, brown with an apple wedged in its mouth. It was, by all accounts, a view very successful luau, but the next day
moral hang over weighed heavily upon Bobby. What was he thinking? The pig was not his to take, and yet he had taken it so Bobby returned to the burgled pig pen confessed his crime to the farmer and offered to compensate the man for his loss, and that was the moment. If the farmer lets Bygones be bygones all bets are off, but he doesn't because stealing, a pig and Iowa back and nineteen forty eight was like rustling cattle in Colorado a hundred years earlier. It was larceny, especially in Grenelle, where every action had an equal and opposite reaction. And so even though the farmer forgave Bobby for his sin, like the good Christian he was, he still had to press charges,
and even though the sheriff liked him he still had to arrest him and even though the dean of the college admired him, he still had to expel him as for Bobby's father, even though we loved him, the preacher could say nothing in the face of such obvious guilt, and so he didn't that's the way go sometimes when live in a town of great consequence, but not everyone believed the reaction to Bobby's crime was equal or opposite, or for that matter, just ironically, it was the physics professor at Grinnell College who came to Bobby's defense. Professor grant gale implored the dean, the sheriff the mayor and all the good people of Grinnell to rethink the penalty for purloined porcine and find a punishment that fit the crime. In the end, the farmer,
was persuaded to drop the charges. The sheriff, backed off and Bobby's expulsion was reduced to a single semester, suspension for some students that might have translated into a three month vacation, but not for Bobby, because in the midst of Grenelle great Swine, and professor Gale received in the mail, a very interesting package, a package containing two prototypes from Bell laboratories sent from a former,
Nell graduate the professor was intrigue and used one of these prototypes to demonstrate the flow of electrons through a solid in what turned out to be the very first college class ever offered in solid state electronics and the other prototype that wound up in the hands of a suspended senior who like to tinker and take risks, but not necessarily in that order. For Neil Armstrong, it really was near thing without Bobby's tinkering. There would be no manned space mission because there would be no onboard computer
Four George Lucas. There would be no star wars, because there would be no see gee I and for Brittany Spears. There would be no Grammy awards because there would be no auto tune. It's true America came that close to hearing exactly what Britney spears sounds like when she sings without technical assistance. The exact details of how Bobby turn that, for Simple transistor into the most important product of the modern age would take days to share, but this much can be explained a single sentence. Without his willing as to assume risk all that tinkering would have been for nothing, because if you think I've off a roof strapped to a home made kite, is risky trial. Launching a start up in Silicon Valley back before the silicon was even there. That's what Bobby did in nineteen,
sixty eight and even though you might not know his name, you know what's inside inside your coffee machine, your electric razor, your car, you're, remote control, your kids, favorite toy your fit bit and, of course, the computer on your desk and the smartphone. You can't leave home without it's the same thing Bobby darted tinkering with back and nineteen. Forty eight during his fortuitous suspension from a tiny college in a small town of great consequence. The same thing, they're still tinkering with today, a little company called Intel. That's the legacy of Robert noise.
The man who like to tinker and take a little risk, but not necessarily in that order. But let's not forget his silent partner, the twenty five lb suckling pig, whose impact on our lives began with a brief appearance at a long forgotten luau in America's Heartland and whose ultimate sacrifice gave us a tiny piece of silicon. We call the microchip anyway, that's the way I heard it.
Transcript generated on 2021-07-26.