I first moved to the Silicon Valley in 1984. That was before……..well………pretty much everything. No Twitter, Facebook, Google. No Internet. Steve Jobs was about a year away from getting kicked out of Apple. The most sophisticated computer users (like, err, myself) were on 1200 baud modems dialing up to the likes of CompuServe.
Even so, the Valley back then was the home of at least a few riches. Intel, Apple, Hewlett Packard, and other public firms had flooded new money into the area, but in spite of that, it still had very much a homespun college town feel to it. If you just dropped someone into any given neighborhood in Palo Alto – – even the nicest ones, like Crescent Park or Old Palo Alto – – they might guess they were strolling a pleasant suburb in Ohio or Illinois.
I was somewhat shaken, then, to see this on the front page of our town paper: