The Origins of Silicon Valley: Why and How It Happened, and Lessons for Tech Hubs

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#technology history #start-ups #Silicon Valley #audion #Lee De Forest #Hewlett Packard #William Shockley #klystron

How did Silicon Valley come into being, and what can we learn? This talk will give an exciting and colorful history of device technology development and innovation that began in Palo Alto in 1909, and end with technology predictions.

INDEX: First companies (05:00); Ham radio culture (12:00); Challenge from East (22:20); Klystron and WW II (28:45); Recap and business climate (36:50); SV Characteristics (54:10); Tech predictions (57:20); Q&A (1:08:00). Given for the IEEE Computer Chapter of SE Michigan.

Silicon Valley is commonly acknowledged as the tech capital of the world. When most people think of the Valley, they probably recall semiconductors, personal computers, software, biotech, and self-driving cars. How did Silicon Valley come into being, and what can we learn? The story goes back to local Hams (amateur radio operators) trying to break RCA's tube patents, Stanford "angel" investors, the sinking of the Titanic, WW II and radar, and the SF Bay Area infrastructure that developed -- these factors pretty much determined that the semiconductor and IC industries would be located in the Santa Clara Valley, and that the Valley would remain the world’s innovation center as new technologies emerged and a model for innovation worldwide.

This talk will give an exciting and colorful history of device technology development and innovation that began in Palo Alto in 1909. You'll meet some of the colorful characters -- Cyril Elwell, Lee De Forest, Bill Eitel, Charles Litton, Fred Terman, David Packard, Bill Hewlett, Bill Shockley, and others -- who came to define our worldwide electronics industries through their inventions and process development. You'll understand some of the novel management approaches that have become the hallmarks of its tech startups.

Many of these attributes can be found, to a greater or lesser extent, in other technology hubs; however, the SF Bay Area has five generations of experience, as well as a "critical mass" of talent, making it difficult for others to catch up. The key attributes will be illustrated and analyzed, for consideration by other tech hubs. Then Mr. Wesling will briefly discuss the key technologies that he expects to be the most important during the 2020’s, including autonomous vehicles, virtual and augmented reality, artificial intelligence, and industrial IoT and analytics.

INDEX: First companies (05:00); Ham radio culture (12:00); Challenge from East (22:20); Klystron and WW II (28:45); Recap and business climate (36:50); SV Characteristics (54:10); Tech predictions (57:20); Q&A (1:08:00). Given for the IEEE Computer Chapter of SE Michigan.

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