Father of Silicon Valley: Shockley or Terman?
With Silicon Valley back on top of the world, it’s time to point out a bit of unwelcome history.
There are two competing narratives about the technology hub’s origins:
• The famous tale of how William Shockley’s obnoxious management style spun off start-up silicon chipmakers such as Intel;
• The less-familiar version centering on Stanford professor Frederick Terman and Hewlett-Packard.
What has almost never been pointed out, however, is that the two rivals for the title of Father of Silicon Valley, Shockley and Terman, had common roots in early 20th century Palo Alto’s scientific and ideological consensus, a now extremely unfashionable worldview that has been driven underground but remains fundamental to how Silicon Valley actually succeeds in the 21st century.