Stanford is the real center of Silicon Valley. This university has so much to do with most things that have happened here! Companies like Cisco, Google, HP, Netscape or SUN would not exist if it were not for Stanford. Its close relationship with companies and VCs is behind some of the most successful IT projects in the world.
That explains why Mark Zuckerberg moved from Harvard to the Stanford outskirts when he realized that the site was starting to grow really quickly. Google was born as a research project at Stanford, where Sergey Brin and Larry Page were doing their Phd. SUN and Cisco have a lot to do with the Stanford’s private network being used commercially.
Even the Internet, the first ARPAnet, was born here, as Stanford was one of the 4 universities that first got connected. This university is right in the center of Silicon Valley and I think its existance is one of the main reasons why the Silicon Valley is here and not somewhere else.
If you want to know more about the relationship between Stanford, the US Military and Silicon Valley, this video is very interesting. It highlights the role of Frederick Terman, who encouraged David Packard and Bill Hewlett to create HP (Hewlett Packard) and later became dean of engineering:
And the presentation:
BTW, even Steve Jobs considers Stanford the best university in the world:
Text found at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View: “When two Stanford graduates, William Hewlett and David Packard, decided to form their own company, Stanford professor Fred Terman gave them facilities on campus and loaned them $500. Hewlett-Packard (HP) became a model for productive links between industry and academia. In its early days, the company relied on defense contracts and later moved into the civilian electronics field. HP developed a reputation for excellence in its contruction of electronic test equipment, which nearly every other electronics company needed and relied upon to design and build its own products. In the 1980s, HP came to dominate the global laser printer market and now is a major computer manufacturer.
Perhaps most important to Silicon Valley culture however, was the hands-on leadership of Packard and Hewlett. Under their management philosophy, known as the “HP Way”, employees are assumed to be honest, hard-working and possessing a genuine desire to do good work; in return the company offers rewards such as profit-sharing, flexible hours and telecommuting.”