The Origins and Development of Silicon Valley

Case Solution

Tom Nicholas, James Lee
Harvard Business School ()

On October 1, 1891, when Senator Leland Stanford cut the ribbon at the ceremony, he donated 8,000 acres of his cattle ranch in Palo Alto, California to a new college of 559 students that bears his name and seeks to also include the “cultured “as” useful “to produce. Graduates, most of the spectators were orange trees and wildflowers. As Gertrude Stein, from nearby Oakland in the Bay Area, commented almost 50 years later, “there was hardly any there, there.” In other words, it was a place with little social depth, identity or culture. But over time, the region has become synonymous with corporate culture and has become the world’s most important innovation hotspot. What factors, if any, made what would become known as “Silicon Valley” unique? Will Silicon Valley continue to be a vibrant community of technological innovation and economic growth, or will it decline like other previously prosperous US regions?

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