Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Silicon Valley Where Past & Present Collides: Do You Remember National Semiconductor?

Early Silicon Valley History with our Semiconductor Industry 

I am active reading local articles in the Mercury News about our Silicon Valley history because of our new neighborhood center construction in Mountain View, CA, The Village at San Antonio Center.  On this land of the new neighborhood plan lies an old, neglected, one story building, which holds the story of a significant event of our technology history. (Editor's Note: this building was torn down - 2016 - we are glad we created this video)

Today, Silicon Valley is a blend of companies.  Don't forget that our region was coined Silicon Valley from a journalist because of the many semiconductor companies created through 1940s to 1970s.  

I was on my way home from an event in San Francisco last week, when I looked at the time on my car clock, there was still time to make it, so I decided to go undercover to a city council meeting because I was curious of what was happening with these plans.  I went to the Mountain View City Council Study Meeting. I walked away with a new understanding of their plans.

I listened closely to the members of this City Council as they made valid comments, concerns, and approaches about how the building plans should go forward. They listened to architect planners and to the public.  Most of the members seem to want to keep the same quaint Mountain View flavor and with local retail businesses even as they enter into the new modern neighborhood.

My only focus is to save this one building. I learned a great deal about this awesome new neighborhood transition that is coming and that there were many other concerns too.

I do know there is a way to save and protect one piece of Silicon Valley history, and revitalize the old building of Shockley Semiconductor - keep as a museum where people may learn essential ingredients of how this Valley began - and still build our new neighborhood around our history.  Let people walk and ride their bikes past it everyday. (See photos and video of this site in link above)

The activities on this location led to several developments in the semiconductor industry.  Workers left Shockley Semiconductor and created Fairchild Semiconductor as the second generation of this industry.  Several familiar corporate companies were created from business people who worked at Fairchild.  Three significant companies were Advanced Micro, Intel, and National Semiconductor.

A company I recently watched transition in the past few years is National Semiconductor. It was acquired by yet another company.  I took pictures to remember this. 

From National Semiconductor to Texas Instruments - Image by D West

The National Semiconductor corporate campus is still the same, has new paint and fresh updates, and now a new sign change with new owners. 

Early Days of Technology and Semiconductor Industry

National Semiconductor actually started in 1959 in Danbury, CT, to provide transistors for second generation computers.  They moved to the west coast because of an acquisition of a small integrated circuit company, Molectro. 

A year later, a former executive of Fairchild Semiconductor, Charles Sporck, became CEO and moved into a single-building with a leaking roof in Santa Clara.  Sporck led the team through this early period which made him the CEO with the longest tenure (during this period). 

National Semiconductor on Kifer - Image by D West

Highlights of 1968 - 1983 period
  • Increased revenues to $1 billion by 1983, making National Semiconductor the first Silicon Valley company to surpass the $1 Billion milestone
  • Expansion in Europe and Malaysia
  • Move to the current site on Kifer Road, Santa Clara

Insiders interest: 
National Semiconductor acquired Fairchild Semiconductor sites located in Maine and State of Washington in 1987 

The company was reorganized and transformed in the 1990s.  Today: National Semiconductor was acquired by Texas Instruments in 2011.   

Will our Past and Present get to collide and stay together
 in Silicon Valley? ~ The Fun Tour Guru 

Comments are welcome... 

Silicon Valley history dates and stories are from the book "The Making of Silicon Valley : A One Hundred Year Renaissance".

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Still Remembering Santa Cruz, CA: Just Because I Can

Santa Cruz is an escape for me and not a tourist destination.

It is a fun region where I go to explore all of the unfamiliar nooks and crannies that I can find. I have done this for ... well...let's say for many years.  (Remember, I am not a day over 39, and yes, I am borrowing this line from Jack Benny's famous joke).

On my last trip over to Santa Cruz at the end of March, I followed my own advice, and I stepped off my own beaten path or route of my favorite things to do.

On this day I found the streets congested with traffic as it was the Friday before Easter weekend.  I know this community grows beyond its 60,000 residents and happy to share with any of them their fun activities on days like this.  

I followed the local news stories of the passing of our two Santa Cruz police officers, and heros, and there is something which spoke to me this time.  I don't recall any incidents like this through the years I have been going to this small community of Santa Cruz.  I feel safe on these streets.  Even though I may not know everyone directly - I feel I am welcomed to stop to talk to  the locals.   

I saw reminders during this trip.  I took the time to stop at the Santa Cruz Police Department and found these reminders that are still being shared by the public in front.

Santa Cruz Police Dept Tribute

Flags were still lowered ...

Santa Cruz Police Department

Surfers Lighthouse

Would you, as a stranger who is unfamiliar of visiting this region, know what had happened and think to ask someone about this?

What made this trip so different for me this time?

"Remember, we only have today, tomorrow is not here, and yesterday is gone.  I believe we should enjoy every moment and experience that we can.  We have choices, I choose to be happy everyday," as spoken by Jean Jennings Bartik, Eniac Women Pioneer, at the Computer History Museum.

I will share later some of the other fun things I did it did, ~ The Fun Tour Guru