A Rare Mix Created Silicon Valley’s Startup Culture

When Facebook goes public later this spring, its founder, Mark Zuckerberg, will be following in the footsteps of a long line of Silicon Valley tech entrepreneurs that includes Steve Jobs and Google’s Larry Page and Sergey Brin. But there was a time when the idea of an engineer or scientist starting his or her own company was rare.

In 1956, what is now called Silicon Valley was called the Valley of the Heart’s Delight. Its rolling hills were covered with farms and orchards. To become Silicon Valley it needed four ingredients: the first, brilliant scientists.

Collecting Scientific Talent

William Shockley was certainly brilliant, says Leslie Berlin, a historian and archivist at Stanford University.

“People tend to collectively agree,” she says, that “[Shockley] was one of the smartest people to walk about this valley for quite a long time.”

In 1956, Shockley won the Nobel Prize for co-inventing the transistor. His next dream was to make transistors out of silicon; he decided to set up his lab in Mountain View — near Palo Alto — largely for personal reasons.

“He’d grown up in Palo Alto,” Berlin says. Most importantly, she says, “his mother was still living in Palo Alto.”

Of course, it helped that nearby Stanford University was also doing federally funded electronics research. Shockley was a magnet who drew more brilliant scientists to the valley. Among them was Gordon Moore, co-founder of Intel and the man who would come up with Moore’s Law — the observation that the number of transistors on a chip doubles about every two years.

Please click here to continue reading the original article by Laura Sydell at NPR.

Fortune – The Secrets Apple Keeps

For the most part, Apple counts on its employees to censor themselves. But in some cases it pays attention to what employees say when they are out of the office — even when they’ve only walked across the street for a beer. BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse is tucked so close to Apple’s Cupertino campus that insiders jokingly refer to it as IL‑7, for “Infinite Loop 7,” a building that doesn’t exist. Company lore holds that plainclothes Apple security agents lurk near the bar at BJ’s and that employees have been fired for loose talk there. It doesn’t matter if the yarn is true or apocryphal. The fact that employees repeat it serves the purpose.

from The secrets Apple keeps by Adam Lashinsky, Fortune (via timb)

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