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Silicon Valley Before the Startup 57

kenekaplan writes "An upcoming PBS documentary reveals how technology pioneers transformed Silicon Valley into the epicenter of technology innovation. From the article: 'Gordon Moore remembers a time before the idea of a Silicon Valley startup existed. That was half a century ago, before the place became an epicenter for wildly successful technology, and companies such as Apple, Google and Intel generated billions of dollars in annual profits. “It just exploded,” said Moore in the PBS documentary, “American Experience: Silicon Valley,” premiering Feb. 5. “Every time we came up with a new idea we spawned two or three companies that would try to exploit it,” he said, referring to his days at Fairchild Semiconductor, a company he helped found in 1957, a decade before he co-founded Intel with Robert Noyce.'"
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Silicon Valley Before the Startup

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  • I grew up there (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Misanthrope ( 49269 ) on Thursday January 31, 2013 @12:27AM (#42747073)

    My dad bought a house on the edge of a cherry orchard, eventually Fairchild built a plant across the street and then promptly leaked solvent into the groundwater. My sister and several of her friends ended up with large amounts of settlement money due to possible health effects. The Santa Clara Valley was known as the valley of heart's delight and was world renowned for it's stone fruit, especially apricots. It was fun growing up surrounded by tech companies, on the other hand some of the world's best farmland is now fallow.

  • Re:Failure (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Zeio ( 325157 ) on Thursday January 31, 2013 @12:51AM (#42747191)

    Im in SiVal in a new startup. I've been at 5 so far. I love working for the next big thing. I hate how the rats and scum from Shanghai and New York have showed up, skyrocketed the cost of living and totally stifled innovation by making it impossible to run a middle class existence due to idiotic zoning rules, bad pub trans and ridiculous home prices.

    Yes, the core team, the founders and the smart people are needed for cool startups, but you also need a bunch of regular people who can maintain regular lives.

    SiVal is SillyConScammy now. Pockets of the good stuff, but a burned out husk with landed gentry and wealthy rats roaming around contributing nothing to innovation.

  • Re:I grew up there (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 31, 2013 @04:25AM (#42748237)

    Fairchild built a plant across the street and then promptly leaked solvent into the groundwater....

    And that magic potion was is how Santa Clara Valley was transformed into Silicon Valley...

    Sadly I have personal experience with this as well, I currently live very near an ex-EPA superfund site that was brought into existance by an AMD fab dumping solvents into the ground next to an elementary school. They say it has been technically cleaned up, but in reality it's just that they put in a rain-water barrier over the polluted soil, covered it with new dirt and haven't noticed the underground pollution plume moving for X-number of years.

    on the other hand some of the world's best farmland is now fallow

    On the other hand, it's not feasible to dig up all the dirt in a several sq-mile residential area with hundreds of houses (and maybe an elementary school or two) and wash it, or move it out of the way so you can plant stone fruit (not that anyone would probably want to eat such fruit even if you could do that). Maybe it's for the best now...

The rich get rich, and the poor get poorer. The haves get more, the have-nots die.