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Things To Know About Silicon Valley

Zoom Video Communications HeadQuarters
Zoom Video Communications HeadQuarters

What is Silicon Valley?

Silicon valley is a global center of technological innovation in a region in the south San Francisco Bay. It is located in the State of California, United States of America. Silicon Valley derives from a silicon transistor, a primary material found in computer microprocessors. The name was first adopted in the early 1970s because of the region’s association with the silicon transistor’s invention, designing and development by major tech giants. 

Vast number of technology companies headquartered there. As such, Silicon Valley is a global hub for technological innovation. Hundreds of major technology, software, and internet companies call it home. Some of the major companies in the region include Adobe, Apple, Cisco, Chevron, Facebook (Meta), Google (Alphabet), HP, Intel, LinkedIn, Lyft, Netflix, OpenAI, PayPal, Twitter, Uber, Visa, Yahoo, and Zoom. It is a center for innovation, entrepreneurial spirit, and a lifestyle founded on technologically based wealth. It is one of the wealthiest regions in the world and one of the hottest real estate markets.

Understanding Silicon Valley

Silicon Valley covers an area of 1,854 square miles and is home to about three million people. It is located in the Bay region of California. San Jose is the largest city. The region also includes Santa Clara, Redwood City, Mountain View, Palo Alto, Menlo Park, Cupertino, and Sunnyvale. It is also home to Stanford University and several state university. This academic presence has helped fuel a rich research and development synergy throughout the Valley.

Timeline of Key Silicon Valley Developments

The Era of the Pioneers

  • 1939: HP (Hewlett-Packard) Company is founded by William Hewlett and David Packard after they patent an audio oscillator.
  • 1947: William Shockley, John Bardeen, and Walter H. Brattain invent the first working transistor at Bell Labs.
  • 1951: Fred Terman establishes Stanford Research Park as a partnership between Stanford University and the City of Palo Alto, providing a base of operations for both military and commercial technological innovations for companies such as Hewlett Packard, Lockheed, and Xerox.

The Semiconductor Era

  • 1955: William Shockley opens his own firm, Shockley Semiconductor Laboratory, in Mountain View.
  • 1957: Eight Shockley Semiconductor Laboratory employees (known as the Traitorous Eight) resign and start a competing firm, Fairchild Semiconductor.
  • 1958 to 1960: Robert Noyce and Jack Kilby independently discover that all parts of a circuit, including the transistor, emanate from silicon. Their discoveries led to the integrated circuit, created from silicon, used in all microprocessors today.19
  • 1961: Arthur Rock together with Thomas J. Davis established Davis & Rock, considered the nation’s first venture capital firm, giving rise to a new type of investment industry.
  • 1968: Robert Noyce and Gordon Moore, founded Intel after they decided to leave the transistor company they had helped start, Fairchild Semiconductor.
  • 1969: Advanced Micro Devices (AMD Inc) by Jerry Sanders and a group of other technology professionals together with dozens of employees who were passionate about creating leading-edge semiconductor products. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency lead by Bob Taylor establishes The ARPANET (Advanced Research Projects Agency Network), the foundation for internet

The Silicon Valley Era

  • 1971: Journalist Don Hoefler publishes a three-part report on the rise of technological development in the region in Electronic News, titled “Silicon Valley, U.S.A.” He created and popularized the region’s name.
  • 1970s: Atari Corporation in 1972, Microsoft Corporation in 1975, Apple Inc. in 1976, Oracle Corporation in 1977 and other various technological companies emerged.
  • 1980s: Sun Microsystems in 1982, Adobe Systems Incorporation in 1982 and Cisco Systems in 1984, another wave of tech companies emerged.

The Social Media Era

  • 1990s: A wave of software tech companies also emerged, namely: Netscape Communications Corporation in 1994, Yahoo in 1994, Amazon.com Inc 1994, Netflix in 1997, Google LLC in 1998, and PayPal in 1998.
  • 2000s: Further founding of companies, namely: Meta Platforms in 2004, Twitter (now X) in 2006, and Uber in 2009.

The Bottom Line

The mere mention of Silicon Valley often conjures up ideas of research and innovation for many people. And that should come as no surprise since it is the world’s largest hub for technology. Another interesting phenomenon is a Silicon Valley unicorn. A private startup that values at over $1 billion in the venture capital industry. An example, the Zoom Video Communications founded in 2011. The company became a unicorn after valuing at $1 billion in 2017. It then went public in 2019.

Silicon Valley is also one of the richest areas in the world, although it is in third place, it is home to 84 billionaires, 285,000 millionaires, and 629 centi-millionaires. It is following Hong Kong with 112 billionaires, 129,500 millionaires, and 290 centi-millionaires. New York City is topping the list with 136 billionaires, 340,000 millionaires, and 724 centi-millionaires.

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