4 verk 213 medlemmar 3 recensioner

Om författaren

Leslie Berlin is Project Historian for the Silicon Valley Archives at Stanford University. A frequent commentator on Silicon Valley in the national media, she has two adult children and lives in Silicon Valley with her husband, whom she has known since they were both twelve years old.

Verk av Leslie Berlin


Allmänna fakta

Stanford University (Ph. D|History)



If, like me, you are love with the technology industry, you will love this book and you will find many surprising stories. The author does a wonderful job of going beyond the obvious cheerleading.

I will focus this review on some surprises.

First it is surprising how recent some laws were.
1. Women could not work overtime before 1984 in California. So they could not earn higher overtime hourly rate, unlike their male coworkers.
2. People could not buy Apple IPO shares in Massachusetts because the state only allowed buying companies where the valuation was less than 5x book value. That would rule out the biggest and fastest technology companies today.
3. Atari arcade machines were not legal New York and Chicago because video game machines counted as pinball machines and pinball machines were not legal.

On the other side key legislation to enable high technology companies came about in the 1980s:
1. Capital gains tax was halved from previously matching income tax rate of 45%.
2. Pension funds were allowed to invest in risky assets ie venture capital funds. VCs were able to raise orders of magnitude more money and channel it into fast tracking disruptive innovators.
3. Bayh-Dole private recipients of public funding to patent invention and innovations from the funding.
4. Biotechnology techniques and genome sequences were made patentable, including fundamental techniques invented over many years by many scientists

Big companies make smart decisions that looks like stupid decisions from the perspective of innovators
1. Xerox is often derided for frittering away the innovations it had funded at the Xerox PARC lab. But Xerox made all its money back and more from the laser printer, invented at PARC.
2. IBM is often accused of having handed over its monopoly to Microsoft and its dominance to 100s of PC manufacturers by making its PCs an open hardware standard, open to any operating system. But the PC’s crushing defeat of Apple’s first-mover advantage was only possible because of these decisions, and IBM made a lot of money very quickly from its own PCs.
3. Warner bought and bankrupted Atari by not halting all investment in innovations and focusing on sales and marketing. But it made plenty of money from Atari just by bringing onboard Steven Spielberg to create an Atari game, which then pulled him to continue making highly profitable movies for the studio.

It is an extraordinary time to recount: even as the world was in crisis and stagflation, the innovators she picked out - each rarely reported on - was going through incredible journeys. It’s a pleasure to read.
… (mer)
idiopathic | 1 annan recension | Dec 13, 2020 |
It is rather embarrassing, but I had never heard of Robert Noyce before I read The Man Behind the Microchip by Leslie Berlin. I am somewhat familiar with the history of video games, and in that came a mention of Fairchild Semiconductor, and you would have to be living under a rock of some kind to not have heard of Intel Corporation. So it is rather sad that I had not heard of one of the brightest stars of Silicon Valley before this point in time.

Robert “Bobby” Noyce was born on December 12, 1927, to Ralph and Harriet Noyce of Iowa. Ralph was a Christian Pastor for a small community and Harriet helped out with the day to day running of the Church. When the Great Depression struck in 1929 the Noyce family did not immediately feel its effects, Harriet was even able to give sandwiches to hobos for a time. Eventually, a drought came along though and the family moved to Grinnell, Iowa, where Robert would stay until he graduated from College.

Being the third son had an effect on Robert, mainly in his feeling that he had to go and match or surpass their accomplishments. With his older brothers netting excellent grades and having other virtues, Bobby grew up to be quite a perfectionist. From the very earliest memories of Robert, people could tell that he was smart or at least handy. He would constantly build things out of spare parts, though I suppose the biggest one was the Glider that he built when he was 12 or so. Even with all that, it seems that a great many people thought he was too down to earth to be the Valedictorian or whatever.

Upon reaching Graduate School for his Doctorate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Robert found himself to be a Frog Croaking in a Well, if you will excuse the metaphor. He had to take some remedial classes just to get himself up to speed with the other students in his class. However, once he did get up to the level of everyone else, he started blowing them away.

The book goes on to discuss his professional career and private life; his work at Shockley Semiconductor under William Shockley, the support of Fairchild and the founding of Fairchild Semiconductor, the founding of Intel, and his last years as a person that passed the torch to the next generation. All throughout we meet many luminaries and shining stars of those companies. Noyce died on June 3, 1990, at the age of 62. His accomplishments and the companies that he founded live on, however. As far as I know, people still use microchips for things and Intel still exists even though it fell out of first place in chip sales.

I really liked the book. As with most books of this nature, there are plenty of photographs related to Noyce and his family. Several images show latency graphs and other things related to semiconductors and other things.
… (mer)
Floyd3345 | Jun 15, 2019 |
I reviewed this on computing reviews.com.
gmicksmith | 1 annan recension | May 31, 2018 |

Du skulle kanske också gilla


½ 3.6

Tabeller & diagram