On Stanford's involvement with the Valley's beginnings: 
"The goal was to create a center of high technology close to a cooperative university.  It was a stroke of genius, and Terman, calling it "our secret weapon," quickly suggested that leases be limited to high technology companies that might be beneficial to Stanford." -- Fred Terman: The Father of Silicon Valley by Carolyn Tajna. 

"Silicon Valley is the only place on earth not trying to figure out how to become Silicon Valley." -- Robert Metcalfe, InfoWorld, March 2 1998. 


Silicon Valley

Geographically, Silicon Valley is an area surrounding San Jose, California, in the Santa Clara Valley.  Technologically, it is the center of today's computer industry.  Silicon Valley has the highest density of software and hardware companies anywhere in the US -- including Hewlett-Packard, Intel, and Apple, among hundreds of others.

In the 1950s, Fred Terman, a dean at Stanford University in Palo Alto, CA, wanted to bring research  companies nearby to benefit the university.  He encouraged a number of high-tech companies to settle in the area. One was Shockley Semiconductor, founded by William Shockley.  Some of Shockley's employees soon splintered off to form Fairchild Semiconductor, and even more companies -- sometimes nicknamed "Fairchildren" -- spun off from there, forming the base of Silicon Valley. At one point virtually all companies in Silicon Valley could trace their genealogies to Fairchild and Shockley. 

It is possible that more people have grown richer faster in Silicon Valley than at any time or any place since Holland in the 17th century or Venice 200 years before.

The area got its name in 1971 when Don Hoefler wrote about a series of articles entitled "Silicon Valley USA" for Electronic News.  The term had been occasionally used before, but Hoefler is credited with putting it in print for the first time. 

-- Silicon Valley History and Future
-- Silicon Genesis Project
-- Fred Terman: The Father of Silicon Valley by Carolyn Tajna. 

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