Title and Description Page
Early Years 1
Born and grew up in Brooklyn, New York. Father out of work; family on welfare. Great Depression. Parents’ background. Wanted to build bridge across Atlantic Ocean. Enrolled in engineering program at City College of New York. Left college to take job at Emerson Radio corporation. Enlisted in United States Army Signal Corps. Aviation Cadet Program. Infantry. Battle of the Bulge. Picture taken on Siegfried Line; now in history books. Back to Emerson after the war. Night school at New York University; degree in administrative engineering. Nicknamed “Hammering Herman.” First patent, for television antenna. New job at Radio Receptor Company.
General Transistor Corporation Years 8
Founded General Transistor to make germanium alloy transistors. Business slow at first until UNIVAC built File-Computer System. PNP transistors. Took over NPN business from Raytheon. Control Data Corporation and switching transistors. Going public. Merger with General Instrument Corporation. Making silicon transistors. First American electronics manufacturing plant in Taiwan. Fialkov starts microelectronics division after merger; eventually division spun off into Microchip Technology. General Instrument eventually sold to Motorola.
Beginning Acquisitions 19
Sees the future in cable television. Helped General Instrument buy Jerrold Electronics. Founded Standard Microsystems Corporation. With Richard Geiger set up venture capital firm, Geiger and Fialkov. First investment with Intel. Invested in startups: Teledyne, Inc.; Microsemi; AMI. Ended firm after eight years. Founded Aleph Null. Set up PolyVentures, stayed on its board for twenty years.
Recapitulates Previous Discussion 39
Emerson to Teletone to Radio Receptor. General Transistor. Transistors at first mostly for hearing aids and then computers. Unreliability and high cost of early transistors. Licensing and patenting. Making crystals. People along the way. Transistor market broadened to semiconductors and computers. Sees that microelectronics the coming thing. Standard Microsystems. Memory and modems. Tough times in 1970's. Making communications chips ancillary to microprocessors. Local networking.
Reflections on Career and Colleagues 89
From germanium transistors to silicon integrated circuits to MOS circuits. Liked being part of “vibrant, changing technological environment.” Retirement at forty certainly possible but unattractive; loved his work and still misses it. People who impressed or inspired him. Companies he invested in or started or developed or all three. Other officers of companies and fellow investors. What has happened to all his companies and their people. Visit to Israel; possible relationship to Chaim Weizmann. Changes in venture capital workings. Entry of Israeli companies into technology.
Bridging the Atlantic Ocean 122
InEnTec and InEnTec Chemical. Making energy and building material from waste. Grandsons and their businesses. Importance of ability to judge people when investing in startups. Discusses more companies. Globecomm Systems—Fialkov’s bridge—still going strong.