Silicon Valley: From sand to chip




One of the perks of living in Silicon Valley is the brain power concentrated here. Silicon Valley is filled with some of the most intelligent, world-renowned technology innovators that  I have ever heard about (haha, and could ever dream of meeting). I am impressed every day by how talented the folks here are. In fact, it’s an impressive virtuous cycle: the more intelligent people in Silicon Valley, the more talented people are attracted to come here.

The first time I really ventured into Silicon Valley, I visited Intel. And I thought nothing of it.

There is a little museum attached to the main Intel offices that is dedicated to explaining the genesis and development of silicon chips from the time Intel was born to what microprocessors are capable of today.

The more I explored the museum, the more interesting things became.

I learnt about wafers, binary, what the factories that process the silicon look like (who knew the scientists were astronaut-like white outfits?), and even one of the old, old (I mean ancient) models of computers look like.

 

And it’s true, I don’t know a lot about computers and the hardware side of tech. But the museum was fascinating all the same.

So much so that I realised I’ve already taken 3 different friends, all of whom are foreigners, to this museum so they too can appreciate the beauty that is Silicon Valley. Yes, it is a different type of beauty. We’re not talking about the Mona Lisa or the Coliseum. I’ve seen both and they are beautiful. The beauty in Silicon Valley is about cutting-edge technology and the life-blood that is in front of you and me right now  – how else would I be able to blog and you be able to read my entries?

Anyway, the real reason I’m writing this post is not to talk about Intel. It’s to share my thoughts about living in this tech hub. I’ve recently hit a strange sense of gratitude for this curious place in which I have found myself. I can’t quite call this feeling home. It’s not familiar enough, yet? But I’ve certainly a new found…respect for the place. When I first arrived, I felt like Silicon Valley was suburbia. It’s the Orange County of Southern California. And I used to live in Los Angeles, the city, thank you very much. Ha. So moving to the ‘burbs really hit me hard. And it still hasn’t washed away. I drove up to San Francisco days within a 10 day period – that’s a lot considering they are 1 hours trips one way. And I hated it. But I love the city. So what to do? Well…I especially hated getting the $50 parking ticket, to be clear, but that’s another story. However, despite my clouded resentment, I’ve really begun to appreciate where I live. Where else can I find people who are not only at the forefront of anything tech related but also the ones driving that progress. More than that, I work at an office on Great America Parkway – which is also where Yahoo! Citrix and some other big name companies can be found, including a few other ones like Intel and Cisco just around the corner in Santa Clara or Sunnyvale or Milpitas or San Jose – in any of the little cities around, really.

Silicon Valley feels alive. I live in Mountain View also which means I’m surrounded by people (particularly engineers but folks here run the gamut from engineers to marketers to entrepreneurs) who work for big name companies like Google, Apple and Cisco. They’re my neighbours, my fellow farmers market shoppers, even the crazy person at Target who buys rolls and rolls of toilet paper (yeah it happened, and he had a Google t-shirt on, that’s how I know). And the people whom you and I don’t know yet, but they’re the start-up to-be thinkers who will produce the next Facebook. Or they’re just normal people like me, living off the intellectual brainwave passing around here.

Binary, baby

If nothing else. Thank goodness, Silicon Valley has better weather than San Francisco.

Who knows, maybe I’ll even start to like it. We’ll see in future posts.

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