Experiences Working in California’s Silicon Valley of the 1980s


The southern part of the San Francisco Bay Area has been the birthplace for many electronic innovations throughout the 20th century and into the 21st. The first radio station in the United States with regularly scheduled programming started in San Jose in 1909; William Shockley set up his Shockley Semiconductor Laboratory in Mountain View in 1956; both cities are in the Santa Clara County of California. Roughly 1970 is typically considered the beginning of what became known as Silicon Valley because of the number of electronics companies supporting each other and competing against each other within the geographical area called Santa Clara Valley and the governmental boundary area of Santa Clara County. The funding for this innovation and growth came largely from venture capital groups, many of which had offices in the same valley. By 1980, much of the necessary structure and protocols for doing business had been established, some of those companies still exist today, some do not. The industry still had much growing to do, new tools to be perfected and advances beyond believed physical limits to be achieved, in order to create what we understand the industry to be today.

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