Dec 4, 2023

In 1956, William Shockley, Stanford professor and winner of the Nobel Prize in Physics for his work on semiconductors, recruited a team of young Ph.D. graduates to product a new company. The company would be called Shockley Semiconductor.

But Shockley was a terrible manager, and the students left to form their own company the next year, Fairchild Semiconductor. They would be later known as the “traitorous eight”.

The founders of Fairchild Semiconductor were: Gordon Moore, C. Sheldon Roberts, Eugene Kleiner, Robert Noyce, Victor Grinich, Julius Blank, Jean Hoerni, and Jay Last.

Fairchild Semiconductor became the proto-company of Silicon Valley. Many major technology companies can somehow trace their founding or story to Fairchild.

Intel - Founded by Robert Noyce and Gordon Moore, both former employees of Fairchild Semiconductor.

AMD (Advanced Micro Devices) - Founded by Jerry Sanders, another Fairchild alumnus.

Kleiner Perkins - A venture capital firm co-founded by Eugene Kleiner, a former Fairchild employee.

Sequoia Capital— Don Valentine worked at Fairchild Semiconductor for seven years before moving to National Semiconductor (another Fairchild). Then, he started Sequoia Capital.

Other companies founded by Fairchild employees: SanDisk, National Semiconductor, Altera, LSI Logic, Amelco, Applied Materials, and more.