The Something Ventured Interviews & Stanford's Silicon Valley Archives

August 6, 2018
Photograph showing a man wearing a "KPCB VII World Tour '94" shirt

This is a guest post from Special Collections Processing Assistant Brian Bethel.


Last month, Stanford Special Collections digitized and made available the collected interview footage  of Something Ventured, a 2011 documentary on the history of venture capital in Silicon Valley. The product of directors Dayna Goldfine and Daniel Geller, Something Ventured features extensive interviews with Silicon Valley luminaries such as Gordon Moore, Don Valentine, Arthur Rock, Sandy Lerner, and Nolan Bushnell. Stanford's Something Ventured collection (M2289) contains over 50 hours of raw interview footage with the film’s 15 interviewees, all available to stream on the Special Collections website.
The Something Ventured collection is one of the latest projects of the Stanford Libraries' Silicon Valley Archives, the world’s most significant repository of materials related to the history and development of Silicon Valley. With hundreds of archival holdings, the Silicon Valley Archives contains historic firsthand material on topics such as personal computing, microprocessors, integrated circuits, recombinant DNA, and video game technology, all available to Stanford affiliates and the general public alike. For more information on the Silicon Valley Archives, contact Henry Lowood, Curator for History of Science & Technology Collections.
Anyone interested in learning more about the history of Silicon Valley would do well to check out Silicon Valley Archives Project Historian and Stanford alumna Leslie Berlin’s 2017 Troublemakers: Silicon Valley’s Coming of Age, a history of Silicon Valley’s technological and entrepreneurial innovations of the 1970s and 1980s. Additionally, the book features Something Ventured interviewees such as Mike Markkula, Nolan Bushnell, Don Valentine, and Arthur Rock.
For those interested in diving even deeper into the history of Silicon Valley innovation and venture capital, Stanford holds additional archival and bibliographic materials for a number of the venture capitalists and entrepreneurs interviewed in Something Ventured. Below are nine Something Ventured interviewees with additional materials held by the Silicon Valley Archives and Stanford University Libraries.
Continue reading for profiles of selected interviews.
Gordon Moore
Gordon Moore was one of the original ‘Traitorous Eight’, a group of eight Shockley Semiconductor Laboratory employees who left to found the seminal San Jose company Fairchild Semiconductor. A few years later, Moore and fellow ‘Traitor’ Robert Noyce co-founded Intel, the overwhelmingly successful microchip maker, of which he later became president and CEO. Moore is additionally known for coining ‘Moore’s Law’, his so-far accurate prediction that the number of transistors used in an integrated circuit would double approximately every two years.
Stanford Special Collections holds Moore’s collected papers (M1965), which include Gordon Moore’s personal notebooks, correspondence, and company memoranda from his time at Fairchild and Intel, as well as Moore’s Fairchild patent notebooks from 1957 – 1968 (M2226), which have been digitized by SUL and are viewable online. Additionally, Stanford Libraries holds the collections of Robert Noyce (M1490), who co-founded Intel with Moore, as well as several collections related to Fairchild Semiconductor, including the Fairchild Semiconductor Technical and Progress Reports collection (M1055), the Fairchild Semiconductor Corporation Files of Steve Allen (M1038), and the Ricardo Alfaro Collection of Fairchild Materials (M1916)

Nolan Bushnell
Nolan Bushnell and fellow engineer Ted Dabney formed Atari in 1972, installing the first Pong arcade game in a bar in Sunnyvale later that year. The company would go on to revolutionize the world of video games and home gaming, while Bushnell himself would later go on to found the Chuck E. Cheese’s franchise of family entertainment centers in 1977. 
Stanford Special Collections holds a number of relevant Atari collections, such as the Michael Jang Collection of Atari Materials (M2299), the David Cook Personal Archive on Atari Cabinet Design (M2269), the Munoz Family Atari Collection(M2010), and the Atari, Inc. Business Plans (M1641). And, of course, if you’d like to see Atari arcade consoles in action, look no further than Ira Nowinski’s Bay Area video arcade photographs from 1980-1981 (MSS0309).

"Pitch" Johnson
Franklin Pitcher “Pitch” Johnson, Jr., is a Silicon Valley venture capitalist known for his investments in biotechnology companies such as Amgen, Biogen and Applied Biosystems, as well as computer companies such as Tandem Computers, Qume, and Teradyne. Johnson additionally taught a course on venture capital and entrepreneurship at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business from 1979 – 1990, the first of its kind at the school.
Special Collections is currently in the process of completing the Franklin P. “Pitch” Johnson papers (M1939), which document endeavors such as Johnson’s Eastern European investments in the 1990s and his courses on venture capital taught at Stanford GSB.
Mike Markkula
Mike Markkula became an angel investor in Apple Computer in 1977 with a $250,000 investment, and went on to be Apple’s Chief Executive Officer from 1981-1983, and chairman of the board from 1985-1997.
Viewers interested in learning more about the history of Apple Computer can peruse Stanford’s 30+ archival collections of Apple-related material, such as the Apple Computer corporate records (M1007) and the collected papers of Macintosh developers Jef Raskin (M1147) and Andy Hertzfeld (M1258).
Tom Perkins 
Tom Perkins co-founded venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers in 1972, a seminal company in the growth of Silicon Valley’s biotech and computer technology industries. As a venture capitalist, Perkins helped to finance companies such as Google, Amazon, Genentech, Sun Microsystems, and Tandem Computers. 
Stanford’s Green Library holds a copy of Perkins’ memoirs, Valley Boy: The Education of Tom Perkins. Additionally, the recently-published Spotlight exhibit of Douglas Menuez photography includes an entire series of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers photographs from 1992-1996, including a number of pictures of Perkins himself. And of course, those who are primarily interested in Perkins for his ownership of the largest yacht in the world will obviously want to check out David Kaplan’s Mine’s Bigger: Tom Perkins and the Making of the Greatest Sailing Machine Ever Built.
Wilf Corrigan
As with a number of Something Ventured interviewees, Wilfred Corrigan is a veteran of Fairchild Semiconductor, where he rose to the role of Chief Executive Officer before later going on to found his own semiconductor company, LSI Logic, in 1981. Corrigan is associated with the rise of gate arrays and the use of application-specific integrated circuits in semiconductors. 
Those interested in learning more about LSI Logic and the history of integrated circuits can enjoy LSI Logic co-founder Rob Walker’s collected papers (M0742), which document his time at LSI. Walker also authored a history of LSI Logic entitled Silicon Destiny: The Story of Application Specific Integrated Circuits and LSI Logic Corporation, and Stanford Special Collections additionally holds theinterview tapes and videos  (M0794) used for the creation of the project.

Herbert Boyer
The biochemist Dr. Herbert Boyer played a pivotal role in the history of biotechnology with his discovery of the potential of recombinant DNA in 1973. Three years later, he founded the biotech firm Genentech with venture capitalist Bob Swanson. Genentech raised over $38 million in its initial public offering and has been one of the world’s leading biotechnology companies ever since.
Stanford University Libraries holds historian Sally Smith Hughes’ 2011 book Genentech: The Beginnings of Biotech, as well as Genentech co-founder Bob Swanson’s oral history interviews discussing his life, career, and Genentech. Alternately, viewers can watch former Genentech EVP Richard Scheller discuss biotechnology and innovation as part of the Stanford Technology Ventures Program’s Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders Seminar.
Don Valentine
Another alum of Fairchild Semiconductor and the founder of Menlo Park venture capital firm Sequoia Capital, Don Valentine has invested in famed Silicon Valley companies such as Atari, Apple Computer, Oracle, Cisco Systems, Electronic Arts, and LSI Logic. 
Viewers should be sure to check out Valentine’s participation in the Western Association of Venture Capitalists 2009 panel discussion featuring fellow Something Ventured interviewees Reid Dennis, Bill Draper, and Dick Kramlich. Additionally, over the years Valentine has spoken at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business several times, and Stanford affiliates can view recordings of events such as Valentine’s 2010 speech at Bishop Auditorium as part of the View from the Top series, and his 1997 GSB appearance with fellow Something Ventured interviewee John Morgridge. 

John Morgridge
An alumnus of Stanford’s Graduate School of Business, John Morgridge joined Cisco Systems in 1988 as president and CEO, taking the company public and growing its annual sales from $5 million to over $1 billion in the space of six years.
Over the years, Morgridge has spoken at a number of Stanford classes and events. A number of these talks and lectures have been recorded and are available for in-library use for Stanford affiliates, such as Morgridge’s appearances at the GSB in 19962001, and 2005.