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Netscape, Utopianism and the Future of Silicon Valley with Adam Fisher

Episode 200
Chad and Adam Fisher discuss the most important moments in Silicon Valley’s history and what Adam foresees for the Valley’s future.

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Welcome back for Part 2 of our interview with writer and historian Adam Fisher (Twitter: @AdamcFisher). His most recent book is Valley of Genius: The Uncensored History of Silicon Valley.

In the second portion of our interview, Chad and Adam discuss the most important moments in Silicon Valley’s history, the corrosive influences that have crept in in the past few decades, and what Adam foresees for the Valley’s future.

Listen to Part 1 here.

[0:55] Netscape And Its Impact On the Modern Web

  • Netscape created what we know of as ‘the web’ today.
  • Before creating Netscape, Jim Clark was putting the VR algorithm onto a chip which then became the GPU of a computer.
  • Jim Clark sold Silicon Graphics which was considered the Google of the time.
  • Jim Clark was an important part of creating computers in Silicon Valley and then moved into the cloud era we live in now. Jim Clark is the only one who has straddled this divide.

[5:50] Xerox PARC

  • The difference between business people and technologists.
  • The culture of Silicon Valley is about creating a huge amount of wealth that society at large can enjoy and is the inspiration for many people working in SV today.
  • Why Alan Kay is a genius and Adam’s personal hero.
  • Xerox PARC was an R+D lab where the first personal computer was created.
  • Alan Kay was the visionary behind the personal computer and had the respect of the tech community to build it.
  • All of the best companies that came out of Silicon Valley came out of utopian ideas.
  • “Utopianism in itself is a driver for change. It starts companies and makes things happen.”
  • The only way out of our problems towards a better future is for everybody to rediscover the kind of utopianism that created SV in the first place.

[15:20] What’s Corrupting Idealism?

  • Student culture in SV is not as utopian as it has been in the past.
  • People who think they are going to get rich quick has dominated the utopian culture of SV.
  • What motivated the young people in SV, such as Steve Jobs, was rebellious in nature.
  • We still have large, monopolistic companies, such as Apple and Facebook, like we did back in the 80s with Microsoft.
  • The young vs the old culture in SV today.
  • Blockchain, as the future of the internet, is largely adopted by young people today.
  • The young, modern people of SV are aware that many of the biggest companies are owned and run by the previous generations still.

[23:20] The Future Of Silicon Valley

  • Adam wants the best parts of SV to spread across the world.
  • In SV today people are branching out into other technological frontiers outside of the cloud.
  • Space travel is just starting in SV.
  • Adam believes the whole world will be run a lot more like SV and will push our technological development faster than it has for the last 50 years.

To check out Valley of Genius, go here and to follow Adam on Twitter, go here.

 

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