How Big Tech survives recessions and always comes out stronger The best leaders, such as former Intel CEO Paul Otellini, have always seen difficult times as an opportunity.

As an analyst, I’ve been involved with the tech industry for 40 years now and have lived through at least five recessions during that time. I’ve noticed that many of the tech companies that survive them share some things in common.

The great recession caused by the housing bubble in 2007-2008 was devastating for some industries. Some, like the auto industry, needed bailout money to survive. Tech stocks took some hard hits, but the industry survived and eventually recovered. It was during the same period that I learned a valuable lesson about the resilience of tech companies in periods of economic downturn.

I was working with Intel’s CEO at the time, the late Paul Otellini, and his marketing team. The mood inside Intel was a bit dour, as it was inside most companies. During a meeting a few months into the recession, a few of us asked Otellini how the recession might impact the chip company he led.

His answer was brilliant. He said that recessions come and go, and some are worse than others. While some companies might hunker down and slow down their research and development, Intel had no intention of doing that. Intel, he said, would increase its R&D budget in preparation for a time in the near future when demand for the company’s products would rise again. When that time came, he said, he wanted Intel to be ready with innovative products to meet the needs of its customers.


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