Future is Autonomous Cloud (Part-II): Fairchildren Fiefdom and rise of Silicon Valley

Avneesh Balyan
3 min readJun 30, 2020


Part- I https://medium.com/@avneeshbalyan/power-of-silicon-future-is-autonomous-cloud-part-i-c57a8e238f34

The move of Shockley to the west coast and split of “Traitorous eight” with Shockley Semiconductor didn’t just impact the single or few companies, but changed the landscape of industry. Fairchild started by “Traitorous eight” and its spin off led to the next generation of silicon revolution. These smart PhDs chiseled under Shockley ended up starting Intel, AMD, General Micro Electronics etc, more than 65 companies.

These companies were in a race for creating latest processors, fabrication techniques, discovering the next level of transistor technology (Integrated Circuit) and implementation of these new invention penetration to new domains from video games to microcontrollers based Industrialization to Personal Computers.

Along with technology, these events created seismic changes in the US high tech industry. For a century, from the Edison era, technological innovation as well as high tech industrialisation was mostly happening on the east coast. Bell Labs and most of the AT&T research infrastructure, IBM, Kodak, GE, etc were centered around NY/NJ/CT/MA state boundaries along with few mid western cities. “Fairchildren” created the “Silicon Valley” in Bay Area, CA and made the west coast a hub of high tech industry which would play a central role in the Internet revolution from ‘90s.

Another factors which fasten this change were, start up culture by Fairchildren and breaking the life-long bonding between corporation & employee by Fairchildren generation. The life long relationship between employer and employees was considered sacred and the culture of employees hoping to the new companies or starting their own were new concepts at that time. Local laws helped in flourishing this culture in the West Coast (on the other hand, Massachusetts did not allow joining the competitors under certain conditions).

The abstraction of processors, transistor/IC based computing devices along with other important factors started the era of adoption of “Software focussed” ecosystem. The Personal Computers with human readable input and output devices, the real time feedback of computing with a help of CRTs/screens, programmable microcontroller based automation in industry, the penetration of computing industry in medical, education, defence, auto, etc and the birth of the internet changed the world of the same scale as either SIlk route based trade did during medieval times or Industrial revolution did about 300 years back.

This era was dominated by the Fairchildren and the ecosystem around these companies. WINTEL (using Microsoft Windows-Intel architecture) companies, Apple, Enterprise companies including B2C & B2B, Siemens/GE/Honeywell Instrumentation divisions etc. The Fairchildren products were the key building block of innovation and Intel became the clear flag bearer for 2 decades.

The real birthplace of the transistor world missed the opportunity to be a key player in the consumer market, but they grew exponentially with this wave, initially using their own home grown silicon products and later on with third party products. But the internet was about to change the relationship between consumer and computing device vendors. The communication industry went through the openness and destruction of monopolies especially after the political changes in the late ’80s and falling of legal barriers for new players in the ’90s. With new players in communication domain and software centered services delivery, the consumer started becoming agnostic to delivery networks. Though the demand of data as well as initially voice increased exponentially. By this time, new players like Cisco and Juniper were able to provide the nuts and bolts of the internet and the network started evolving with unifocus vision of “Internet”. This started the decline of corporations which ruled the high tech industry for almost a century and fueled this explosive growth. The Fairchildren agility was eating the slow moving behemoths.

All the sectors which adopted the computerization (Personal Computing esp based on WINTEL, Industrial instrumentation, Consumer Electronics, Networking, Medical, Automobile, etc) prospered. These industries had the common requirements of the “raw computing power” availability, inattention towards energy utilization, adherence to Moore’s law with a thinking of never ending evolution of computing power per processor, focus on memory & storage optimization and acceptance of Client-server architecture which was distributing computational power budget to multiple points.

The clear winners for this era were who adopted Fairchildren products.

(Part-III): Mobility World and the fight for the Future https://medium.com/@avneeshbalyan/future-is-autonomous-cloud-part-iii-mobility-world-and-the-fight-for-the-future-a6d92e532904