The Secret History of Silicon Valley

What set the stage for Sil­i­con Val­ley to change the entire land­scape of tech­nol­o­gy? What made com­pa­nies like Google, Yahoo and Hewlett Packard pos­si­ble? Accord­ing to this talk pre­sent­ed at Google by Steve Blank, it all goes back to the after­math of World War II. It starts when Stan­ford Uni­ver­si­ty and its engineering/electronics depart­ment began to focus heav­i­ly on mil­i­tary R&D. And it con­tin­ues dur­ing the Kore­an War, when the Uni­ver­si­ty starts devel­op­ing new tech­nolo­gies that con­tribute to mil­i­tary intel­li­gence (or what Blank calls “spook work”) and var­i­ous weapons sys­tems. The next thing you know you’ve got a brain trust in the Bay Area that starts spin­ning out com­pa­nies lik Fairchild Semi­con­duc­tor, the father of all semi­con­duc­tor com­pa­nies, and, with that, Sil­i­con Val­ley becomes Sil­i­con Val­ley.

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