Al Shugart, RIP

Rob Hof

So sorry to see Al Shugart passed away. He was one of the icons of the old Silicon Valley, the guys like Andy Grove and Charlie Sporck who would tell you what they think, whether or not it was the politic thing to do--a rare trait today. Even more, he challenged his interviewers, which always made him more interesting than all the earnest corporate drones. He was no angel--his Seagate Technology was famous for laying off people at the drop of a hat and sending jobs off to Asia.

But the Valley has lost not only a character but a real pioneer. The guy was just about as responsible for making Silicon Valley and the entire computer industry what it is as his more famous silicon brethren, because disk drives are at least as important to the industry as microprocessors. There's a Moore's Law in chips, but no similar law in storage, whose pace of improvement has eclipsed that of chips lately. If there were a name for it, it would have to be Shugart's Law.

We'll miss you, Al.