How Counterculture Built Silicon Valley: A Conversation with Mitch Altman and Leslie Berlin
This event is part of our Technology & Conciousness Fall/Winter 2017/18 Series. Purchase series tickets here. The origins of Silicon Valley are mythic and mysterious. The whole world wants to unlock the secret of how Silicon Valley came to be. Many nations, including China and France are trying their best to replicate the magic, but Silicon Valley did not happen in a vacuum. It happened here. What was it about the Bay Area’s social and cultural environment that gave rise to the world’s tech giants? How did hippies and hackers build the largest center for innovation in the history of the planet? Do these countercultural communities fit in today’s world of corporatized technology? Join Project Historian for the Silicon Valley Archives at Stanford University Leslie Berlin with Mitch Altman, inventor of TV-B-Gone and co-founder of San Francisco’s Nosebridge hackerspace, as they dive into the history of Silicon Valley and how the Bay Area’s counterculture influenced the entrepreneurs and scientists who would change the world. Mitch Altman is a hacker and inventor, known for inventing TV-B-Gone, a keychain that turns off TVs in public places. He co-founded a successful Silicon Valley startup and did pioneering work in Virtual Reality. He is an author and teacher, and goes around the world giving talks and workshops. Mitch promotes hackerspaces, open source hardware, and mentors others wherever he goes. He is a co-founder of Noisebridge hackerspace in San Francisco, and is President and CEO of Cornfield Electronics. Leslie Berlin is Project Historian for the Silicon Valley Archives at Stanford University. She contributed the monthly “Prototype” column on innovation to the Sunday Business section of the New York Times and has commented on Silicon Valley for National Public Radio, PBS, The Atlantic, Wired, and other media. Former Google chairman Eric Schmidt has called publication of Troublemakers, her book exploring how Silicon Valley during the 1970s set the stage for our modern high-tech world, “a landmark event.” The Washington Post said that The Man Behind the Microchip, her definitive biography of microchip co-inventor and Intel co-founder Robert Noyce, “should be required reading for today’s entrepreneurs and executives.” Leslie has been a Fellow at the Center for Advanced Studies in the Behavioral Sciences and served on the advisory committee to the Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History. She received her PhD in History from Stanford and her BA in American Studies from Yale. She has two college-age children and lives in Silicon Valley with her husband, whom she has known since they were both twelve years old.