Main menu


Why can't technology solve gender issues?

Thousands of women who worked in Silicon Valley’s microchip factories and other manufacturing facilities in the 1960s and early 1980s did not compete in the Olympics, but they contributed to the industry’s success. . Among them were working-class Asian-Americans and Mexican-Americans whose mothers and grandmothers worked in orchards and fruit canneries in the pre-war Valley. Others were white recent immigrants from the East and Midwest, often college-educated, in need of income, and interested in technical work.

Women are able to work for less because there are few other technical jobs available to them in the Valley. kept to a low standard. Most factories are now thousands of miles apart, yet women continue to dominate the high-tech assembly lines. In 1970, an early US-owned Mexican production line employed her 600 workers, nearly 90% of whom were women. Half a century later, the pattern continued. In 2019, women made up 90% of her workforce at her giant iPhone assembly plant in India. Female production workers make up her 80% of Vietnam’s total skilled workforce.

Venture: “The Boys Club”

The fierce competition and highly demanding management culture of chip manufacturing has proven to be very influential as first-generation semiconductor billionaires extend their wealth and managerial experience to other companies. rice field. But venture capital has been where semiconductor culture casts its longest shadow.

The Valley’s original venture capitalists were a close-knit group, mostly young men who controlled the money of older and much wealthier men. Very few at first, so I booked a restaurant in San Francisco and called up the founder to pitch everyone all at once. There were so many opportunities flowing that it didn’t really matter if the deal went to someone else. Charter members like Silicon Valley venture capitalist Reid Dennis called it “The Group.” Other observers, such as journalist John W. Wilson, called it a “boys club.”

The people who left Silicon Valley’s first silicon chip maker, Shockley Semiconductor, to found Fairchild Semiconductor in 1957 were known as the “Eight Traitors.”

Wayne Miller/Magnum Photography

The venture business was expanding by the early 1970s, but a downturn in the market made it a difficult time to raise capital. But companies founded and led by semiconductor veterans during this period became industry-defining companies. Gene Kleiner left his Fairchild Semiconductor to co-found Kleiner Perkins. Kleiner Perkins’ long list of hits included Genentech, Sun Microsystems, AOL, Google and Amazon. A crafty blackmailer, Don Valentine founded Sequoia Capital, in the early stages he invested in Atari and he Apple, then Cisco, Google, Instagram, Airbnb and more.

Generation: “Pattern Recognition”

Silicon Valley venture capitalists have left their mark not only by choosing where to invest, but by advising and shaping their business acumen. They weren’t just bankers. They were mentors, professors, and fathers to young, inexperienced men. They knew a lot about technology and nothing about how to start and grow a business.

Silicon Valley historian Leslie Berlin writes: The tech leader agrees with Berlin’s assessment. Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, who learned most of what he knows about business from a man in the semiconductor industry, likened it to passing the baton in a relay race.