50th Anniversary of Seminal Silicon Valley Firm

December 10, 2007

A lawyer I work with is the daughter of one of the Fairchild 8, so named because they were the eight men (most under 30) who founded Fairchild Semiconductor in 1957 and laid the foundation for Silicon Valley. The company was named for its principal investor (and Howard Hughes-like entrepreneur) Sherman Mills Fairchild.

(Click here for a larger version of the photo, with names.)

The San Jose Mercury News recently ran a series on Fairchild’s 50th anniversary, writing:

Many consider the men … to be the founding fathers of Silicon Valley. To be sure, other electronics companies had earlier starts, and others would prove even more successful than Fairchild, but much of what one associates with Silicon Valley – the innovations, glorious rises and spectacular flameouts, young employees going off on their own to pursue ideas their bosses ignore, savvy venture capitalists helping transform these ideas into viable companies, the creation of vast wealth – can be traced to Fairchild Semiconductor.

The articles include Fairchild at 50, Fairchild’s Birthday Celebrated and a PDF of the companies and innovations these men were responsible for. Co-founder Robert Noyce, for example, invented the integrated circuit (microchip) at Fairchild; Gordon Moore wrote Moore’s Law and, with Noyce, co-founded Intel in 1968.



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