How Germany’s radar in WW2 contributed to the creation of Silicon Valley

15 Jun 2015 - 15:45

A fascinating lecture by Steve Blank in 2008 looked at the Secret History of Silicon Valley:

“Today, Silicon Valley is known around the world as a fount of technology innovation and development fueled by private venture capital and peopled by fabled entrepreneurs. But it wasn’t always so. Unbeknownst to even seasoned inhabitants, today’s Silicon Valley had its start in government secrecy and wartime urgency.

In this lecture, renowned serial entrepreneur Steve Blank presents how the roots of Silicon Valley sprang not from the later development of the silicon semiconductor but instead from the earlier technology duel over the skies of Germany and secret efforts around (and over) the Soviet Union.

World War II, the Cold War and one Stanford professor set the stage for the creation and explosive growth of entrepreneurship in Silicon Valley. The world was forever changed when the Defense Department, CIA and the National Security Agency acted like today’s venture capitalists funding this first wave of entrepreneurship.

Steve Blank shows how these groundbreaking early advances lead up to the high-octane, venture capital fueled Silicon Valley we know today.”

The first of the stories he tells, as he paints the historical backdrop to the creation of Silicon Valley is titled “WWII – the first electronic war“, in which he focuses on the vital role played by various types of German radar systems during the Second World War. It makes for fascinating viewing.

You can find it here: YouTube video.