There were three inventors of the transistor, not one, two started on East Coast. In fact one of the inventors a transistor is one of the few people who won 2 Nobel Prizes. But why he didn't start Silicon Valley? Because society was different. William Shockley happened to open a lab in Palo Alto and in that society, it was okay to risk and it was ok to start a company. Most of the people work for him were not from the bay area, they were young immigrant. So there was something that was attracting them about the bay area. So everything that they tell you about the history of silicon valley is true. But you have to realize that East Coast had hundred times more potentially the hundred times more engineers a hundred times more money and there the big corporations with power you know. So the official history of Silicon Valley was true but it doesn't explain how we become number one. We should have been number twenty or number twenty five not number one.
In the seventies there were two very important research laboratories they never made money, but very important, Xerox PARC， SRI International. By the way one thing I didn't tell you is that Stanford is still a very small university. People exaggerate the importance of Stanford. It one Nobel prize until the fifties whatever and it was very difficult for Stanford to attract the good professors. Who wants to live in California? The big universities, Princeton Yale MIT Harvard, or at East Coast, all of them. SRI International was created by Stanford to do projects with with a military basically, and Xerox PARC was created by Xerox there was famous for cameras was a camera company. It was a research laboratory, do basic research, and Xerox never really believed in that laboratory. T he big laboratory of Xerox was on the East Coast. If you have a laboratory in the bay area, you get crazy people to work for you. You can look at the pictures of the engineers at Xerox PARC, blue jeans, t-shirt, long hair sitting on the floor, you know, the same picture at IBM or at the Chinese company, in those years, suit and tie, everybody very serious, very professional, right? So you really see that is different and Xerox PARC is the place where they started thinking of putting a computer on a desk. Today what's the big deal. When I grew up the computers of those days, they were monsters, very big very expensive. In fact, you could not touch them. Usually they were inside the room with big walls, there was a little window and there was a man in white like a priest in a Buddhist temple. You deliver your software on punched cards to this man，and this man is the only one who can touch the computer. Imagine this situation and now Xerox PARC, a group of young people decide, I want to put that thing on the desk, that was such a stupid idea. The only customers of computers were the government and the big corporations. Why you want to put a computer on a desk, for what? Their original application was schools, they wanted to give children a computer. Now if you try to think like a nineteen seventy five, this doesn't make any sense, nobody's thinking of that. In the bay area some young people decided this technology could be useful, maybe we should give it to children, totally crazy idea.
And SRI International was chosen as one of the nodes of the first internet. It was called ARPANET, that's the beginning the internet. When they chose the SRI as a node of the internet. Again, they ended up with some engineers who are not the normal engineer working for the military. One of them decided to do a famous demo at the end of nineteen sixty eight, where he was in one city, and then the other people were in other city and they were communicating with the computer, using the the Arpanet. Today you say oh what's the big deal, we do it with a smartphone. That's why you do it with your smart phone, because that day that guy had the idea to do this thing that nobody told him to do it, he just realized it and he was using a device called the mouse.
So you realize that the culture of risk that was there, the culture of doing something crazy and stupid the culture of experimenting in everything, have a huge impact on the technology. Because this was a place where any new technology would become a toy, you play with it, you see what you can do, what what kind of interesting things I could do? Then you explain Apple and Google and Facebook, so the rest of the history of Silicon Valley to me is easy. We tend to think oh Jobs, Zuckerberg， these are all such heroes. To me they're not, just the silicon valley was producing so many of these new ideas, some of them got rich, and of course these are probably the people were very determined. Steve Jobs was famous for being stubborn, but he also took a lot of risk. When I met Steve Jobs I think nineteen eighty four, it was a failure, he was fired by Apple. He was starting again with another crazy idea called Next, and he was not doing well, so even these people took a lot of risk.
The other thing is important people talk too much about Steve Jobs, and not enough about Steve Wozniak. That's another thing that is important, a lot of these people became famous. They started because they wanted something for themselves, they were not thinking this will become a big product, they were thinking I want this thing to exist that because I want to use it. So Wozniak build the Apple One was just to show it to his friends and to use it. It was his hobby. It is amazing because he built a hardware, the software all by himself. In those days it was really difficult to have the knowledge to do these things. He found out how to put a cassette recorder, and how to put the memory and the electronics, and then he wrote the software that you can use, and so on. He was not thinking some day we sell millions of copies of this. He was very happy to use it himself Mark Zuckerberg and his friends create Facebook, for what? For them. Larry Page and Sergey Brin create Google, why ? Because they didn’t like the existing search engines for them. So there's a lot of these stories that are about young people they just want something for them. It's more like a hobby. The difference is that in Silicon Valley people really like you for doing that, and you find a lot of support, you show it to your friends. Steve Wozniak was going to this club called the Homebrew Computer Club, and it was the meetings where Stanford linear accelerator hanged out, it's a place for a nuclear physicist it's not a place for venture capitalists, and it's not a place to sell computers. They were meeting there and they were showing the things. Steve Wozniak was showing his Apple One to his friends, not to the venture capitalist, not to the customers, to his friends. Jobs was the businessman, but we focus too much on Jobs The Salesman and not too much on Wozniak. He actually built it and he did it just for fun. So that's the spirit.
And social media I mean, when the internet came it was running on this operating system called Unix. It is still the most used operating system for the internet. Unix was invented by AT&T, the was the biggest company in the world luckily because it was so big the government told the AT&T you cannot make money with this thing, so the government basically forced it to give it away for free. So it gave a copy to Berkeley, and the most famous version of Unix became the Berkerly version of Unix. When I came here I started working on the Unix operating system, and why we young people like the Unix operating system? Because it was possible to exchange messages, email and they were groups where you could post news like social media. That's the beginning of social media. These people at UC Berkerly started using operating system as social media but that was been invented by the biggest corporation in the world, not as a social media tools. See there's so many of these examples. The man was in charge of the Berkeley Unix started a very important company called Sun. Sun was one of the most influential companies in the Silicon Valley. So there's so many examples where you see this attitude of the technology. Actually technologies, like personal computer were not invented here, it was somebody far away who invented, who was selling it by my mail. And the Internet was invented by the government in Washington, and then Boston. So all of this was invented somewhere else, but when it comes to Silicon Valley，this idea of technology, that “okay there is a new technology, what do I do with it now”.