On Stanford's involvement with the Valley's beginnings:
"Silicon Valley is the only place on earth not trying to figure out how to become Silicon Valley." -- Robert Metcalfe, InfoWorld, March 2 1998.
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.
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