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Birthplace Of Silicon Valley – The HP Garage

Birthplace Of Silicon Valley - Hewlett Packard

With only $538 as investment in 1938, a time when the long fingers of the Great Depression still stuck the nation by its financial gullet, two aspiring entrepreneurs named Bill Hewlett and David Packard used a one-car garage as a part-time workshop in Palo Alto, California, to birth a company intended to become a world leader in engineering measurement and computer technology. From such unpretentious beginnings, the two Stanford University alumnae and close friends molded an organization that for half a century would outpace its competitors through groundbreaking products, progressive employee policies, and an enduring commitment to quality and customer satisfaction.

In 1938, Dave Packard left his job at General Electric in New York and returned to Palo Alto while Hewlett looked for a place to set up shop. Hewitt found a great place in suburbs, with the 12×18 foot garage the main selling point of the property on Addison Avenue. The home had a three-room, ground floor flat for Packard and his wife Lucille, while Hewlett got the shed out back. The rent was $45 per month.

In 1989, during the 50th anniversary of the recognized Hewlett-Packard corporation, the State of California termed the one-car garage first used as a workspace by Bill Hewlett and David Packard in Palo Alto as the “birthplace of Silicon Valley.” This historic landmark also represents the beginning of innovation, chance taking, and common sense policies in a company that would bourgeon as few have before or since.

367 Addison Avenue in Palo Alto - Hewlett Packard.jpg

367 Addison Avenue in Palo Alto, California, is the house and one-car garage—dubbed the “birthplace of Silicon Valley”—where William (Bill) Hewlett and David Packard began making their first product in 1939. Mr. Packard died in 1996, Mr. Hewlett in 2001. HP bought the property in 2000, 13 years after the garage was designated California Registered Landmark No. 976.


This garage is the birthplace of the world’s first high-technology region, “Silicon Valley.” The idea for such a region originated with Dr. Frederick Terman, a Stanford University professor who encouraged his students to start up their own electronics companies in the area instead of joining established firms in the East. The first two students to follow his advice were William R. Hewlett and David Packard, who in 1938 began developing their first product, an audio oscillator, in this garage.

California Registered Historical Landmark No. 976

California Registered Historical Landmark No. 976 - Birthplace Of Silicon Valley

Plaque placed by the State Department of Parks and Recreation in cooperation with Hewlett-Packard Company, May 19, 1989.

The Hewlett-Packard House and Garage is also National Register Listing 07000307.

Although the garage has become Silicon Valley legend, Hewlett and Packard only stayed at the garage a mere 18 months. The company was officially founded in 1939, with HP outgrowing the garage by 1940. The company moved to a larger property nearby on Page Mill Road. The garage was bestowed the honour of the birthplace of Silicon Valley in 1989, with HP buying the property in 2000.

Posted in Business and Strategy Travels and Journeys

The Rise and Fall of Theranos

The Rise and Fall of Theranos

Elizabeth Holmes, CEO of Theranos Two years ago, the blood-testing startup Theranos was one of the hottest assets in Silicon Valley. Valued at $9 billion, it guaranteed nothing short of a paradigm shift in medicine with its groundbreaking, needle-free test process. CEO Elizabeth Holmes, a 32-year-old Stanford dropout, was effusively profiled in the business press as the world’s youngest self-made female billionaire. But now, the company is fighting for its survival, in the midst of claims that its tests are “at best, fundamentally flawed and, at worst, unsafe.” The disturbance began six months ago, when The Wall Street Journal reported that the company’s breakthrough technology, which could reasonably run hundreds of tests with blood from a finger prick, couldn’t really deliver. Not long after, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, which regulates lab testing, said that Theranos put patients’ lives at risk with faulty tests at its California lab. The latest blow: The Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) lately began independent criminal investigations into whether Theranos deceived investors about its technology.

Nothing is proven yet. It’s very unusual for the SEC to investigate a privately held company like Theranos, but it could begin to happen more often. SEC Chair Mary Jo White wants to give more enquiry to the growing number of so-called unicorn startups, which are valued at more than $1 billion, “because they pose a high risk to investors.” The company’s fate is now in the hands of its charismatic founder—as the company’s leader, chairwoman, and majority stakeholder, Holmes can command what she wants done at her company. It’s a common procedure in Silicon Valley’s startup philosophy, where boards have “little real power.” Many venture capitalists are willing to take the risk, hoping to get in with the next Mark Zuckerberg, but “if trouble brews,” the cult encircling a founder can become a obligation. That’s largely because there is no such thing as investigative journalism in Silicon Valley. Journalism here is largely confused with, and deliberately conflated with, public relations, but they’re not the same thing.

So far, Theranos has never been able to establish its testing technology really works. Rather than publishing research in peer-reviewed journals, or letting its blood-testing machines to be assessed by external experts, the company has continually kept its methods cloaked in secrecy. Theranos has reasoned that it was guarding trade secrets, but testing openness is customary routine in the medical industry. Even drug companies, which function in a exceedingly aggressive segment, issue adequate results of their drug trials to establish that a medicine actually works, whilst even keeping sufficient details secret to make their product proprietary. Blood testing is a $73-billion-a-year commerce set for disruption—as any person who’s had blood drawn can confirm, it’s laborious, uncomfortable, and pricey.

Theranos is under investigation for fraud, which is weird for a private company. Theranos is performing tests on patients without having published peer reviewed research—a cardinal sin in science—and with minimal federal oversight. Theranos should have attracted scrutiny long before it did.

Posted in Business and Strategy Leaders and Innovators