The special sauce that drives Silicon Valley

Tuesday night on PBS was Silicon Valley night and featured a series of fascinating programs that shone some light on the history of this hotbed of innovation and startup culture.

Tuesday night on PBS was Silicon Valley night and featured a series of fascinating programs that shone some light on the history of this hotbed of innovation and startup culture.

The centerpiece of the evening was a documentary in the broadcaster's American Experience series about the first startup in the area, Fairchild Semiconductor. Fairchild was a breakaway venture by the “Traiterous Eight” in 1957 from Nobel prize-winning physicist William Shockley that would end up putting the silicon in Silicon Valley.

Fairchild was headed by Robert Noyce, who went on to found Intel and who was one of the prime movers behind the invention of the microprocessor. The grainy black and white pictures from the documentary could not hide the pioneering spirit of the times and the sense of innovation and discovery that drove the eight on.

The Fairchild story was followed by Something Ventured, a program about the venture capitalists who underpinned the business and technological revolution in the Valley. Don Valentine, Tom Perkins, Eugene Kleiner, Arthur Rock, and Dick Kramlich backed some of the most innovative companies in the world, including Apple (though to their eternal regret, several of them passed on this opportunity), Noyce's Intel, Tandem Computers, Atari, Oracle, Genentech, Electronic Arts, PowerPoint, Juniper Networks, Cisco, and Macromedia.

Their funds, Kleiner Perkins, Sequoia Capital, and Davis & Rock provided the fuel that drove a new approach to business that still defines the Valley today, with its characteristics of entrepreneurialism, a can-do attitude, employee engagement, and a striving for the next big thing.

The spirit of Robert Noyce lives on in the modern Valley-based entrepreneurs such as Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg, Google's Larry Page and Sergei Brin, eBay's Pierre Omidyar, and many others.

And it is this spirit that PRWeek wants to tap into for a new sub brand we are launching that will reflect the innovation, creativity, content creation, social media, and technology that drives the new generation of Fairchild Semiconductors such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Square.

I am spending a couple of months in the Bay Area to set up this sub brand and am reaching out to engage the communications, startup, VC, and creative communities to make sure what we are doing is in line with what the market wants.

I will also be recruiting a senior editor to head up this sub brand, which while it is physically based in San Francisco and Silicon Valley is certainly not restricted to this geographic area. Innovation, entrepreneurialism, and creativity are the bedrock of the business scene here, but of course these values exist in many other places in the US and beyond - and PRWeek's new sub brand will reflect all of this.

The sub brand will encompass online and mobile content, content curation, events, awards, networking opportunities, and a new section in our monthly print edition, so watch this space for more details - and do reach out to me if you would like more information or want me to come and talk to you about it.

Our ambition is to be the one-stop shop for engaging content about the businesses shaping the innovation that drives the modern US and global economies - and to tap into the entrepreneurial and innovative spirit that drove the likes of Robert Noyce to put Silicon Valley on the map all those years ago.

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