Brain Pickings

The Dawn of the Microprocessor and the Birth of Venture Capital


“Announcing a new era of integrated electronics.”

From the Santa Clara Valley Historical Association, the same folks who brought us the secret of life from Steve Jobs in 46 seconds, comes this short documentary segment on the birth of the microprocessor and the dawn of the venture capital industry in Silicon Valley in the 1970s, featuring interviews with Steve Jobs, microprocessor inventor Marcian Edward “Ted” Hoff, and other trailblazing entrepreneurs.

We had nothing to lose, and we had everything to gain. And we figured even if we crash and burn, and lose everything, the experience will have been worth ten time the cost.” ~ Steve Jobs

The excerpt comes from the 1998 PBS documentary Silicon Valley: A 100 Year Renaissance, produced by the Institute for History of Technology the narrated by Walter Cronkite, which was subsequently adapted into a book of the same name.

A notable piece of tech-history ephemera makes a cameo in the film — the 1971 Intel ad announcing the very first commercial microprocessor:

For a related treat, don’t miss this charming minimalist 8-bit animation about the titans of Silicon Valley.

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