Gelsinger said he was aware he must act fast to stop Intel from becoming yet another storied American technology company left in the dust by nimbler competitor. Rivals, like Nvidia overtook Intel in making chips and AMD has been stealing market share. Intel, by contrast, has faced repeated delays introducing new chips and frustration from would-be customers.
Gelsinger said that Chipzilla didn't get into this mud hole because everything was going great. "We had some serious issues in terms of leadership, people, methodology, et cetera that we needed to attack."
As he sees it, Intel's problems stem largely from how it botched a transition in how chips are made. Intel came to prominence by both designing circuits and making them in its own factories. Now, chip companies tend to specialize either in circuit design or manufacturing, and Intel hasn't been able to pick up much business making chips designed by other people. So far, the turnaround has been rough.
Gelsinger said he takes inspiration from the biblical story of Nehemiah, who rebuilt the walls of Jerusalem under attack from his enemies.
Last year, he told a Christian group in Singapore: "You'll have your bad days, and you need to have a deep passion to rebuild."
While Nehemiah might be an inspiration for those wanting to rebuild temples, particularly if you think Nvidia are Philistines, there are some symbolic weaknesses in Gelsinger inspiration. For a start, it would require him to be a eunochos and who spends a lot of his time laying down the law before leaving the city to "fall into its own ways."
Gelsinger's plan is to invest as much as hundreds of billions of dollars into new factories that would make semiconductors for other companies alongside Intel's own chips. Two years in his plan is is bogged down with problem but fortunately the Samaritans have not shown up yet.