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Hamad Pervaiz

Hamad Pervaiz

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History: How the Government Kick-Started Silicon Valley

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OneZero: Figures like Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg are considered practically superhuman for their impact on the tech landscape. But your book lays out how government investment has been instrumental in driving tech innovation. So why do these founder myths persist?

No one was sitting behind a desk in Washington saying, “Oh, this is how we’re going to build a tech industry.” But that is what happened.

How did federal contracts create those building blocks? How is Fairchild Semiconductor, an early, transformative Silicon Valley company that built semiconductors and circuits, an example of the collaboration between government and industry?

Why did the Santa Clara Valley become come the country’s tech hub, rather than Boston, where you have Harvard, MIT, and a plethora of researchers? What was special about California — and, specifically, this area?

The “Big Five” — Apple, Alphabet/Google, Amazon, Facebook, Microsoft — have a combined valuation of over $3 trillion. As a historian, what do you think of the size and scale of these companies? And what is the role of government in regulating them?

The industry made a convincing argument that they would self-regulate free speech.

Originally posted on Medium by Margaret O’Mara of OneZero.

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