When and where was the genesis of Silicon Valley? What started the charge from an agrarian valley to the world’s epicenter of innovation and technology? What was the Pandora’s box that set the change in motion?
Ironically, it was on the campus of a university whose nickname is “The Farm”. To the rest of the world it is known as Stanford University.
It was on the Stanford campus that an engineering faculty member, Dr. Fredrick Terman, encouraged his students to start their own businesses and keep them in the Santa Clara Valley instead of joining established companies in the east coast. Herman has become known as the father of Silicon Valley. Two of his students heeded his advice and started their business in a humble garage in Palo Alto. Their names where William Hewlett and David Packard.
This garage is now known as “the Birthplace of Silicon Valley”. It was in this small detached garage, in 1939, that Hewlitt and Packard built their first product, an audio oscillator.
Fredrick Terman also encourage the development of local businesses by convincing Stanford University to develop a 700 acre business park on Page Mill Road, just south of the campus. The park was built in 1951 and early tenants were Varian, Hewlett-Packard, Lockheed, and General Electric. The park was renamed Stanford Research Park and it is still the address of the main headquarters of the company that started in a Palo Alto Garage on Addison Avenue.
In the next post I will sketch another garage that birthed one of Silicon Valley’s most famous companies. This garage sits on land that was once an apricot orchard and the company that starting in this garage changed the face of the Santa Clara Valley perhaps more that the two Stanford grads that labored away in a small green shed in a Palo Alto neighborhood.