Non Competes & Creating Culture
I just started reading the Valley of Genius by Adam Fisher & one chapter in, I’m hooked. While the book itself is amazing & I could get into the details of the stories, I’ll save them for another day, instead talking about one particular thing that stood out to me from the first chapter.
Incidentally, this is what led to a lot of the culture that we see today at Silicon Valley. William Shockley, who invented the transistor came back to Palo Alto with some of the brightest physicists & chemists & started Shockley Semiconductors. After a little while, some people in the team didn’t feel like they were being treated fairly & left. They went to a funder, Fairchild, who setup Fairchild Semiconductor, which was probably the second most important company in the Valley after Hewlett Packard. Following this, Gordon Moore & Bob Noyce left Fairchild to start Intel. This, wouldn’t have happened anywhere except for the Valley, all due to a small difference in Labour Laws.
I wouldn’t go so far as stating that the ENTIRE culture of innovation that is so evident in Silicon Valley came about because of this difference of Labour Laws, but I do think it had a lot to do with it. The mentality of leaving big, safe companies & starting small ones of your own without the fear of being sued would encourage people to take more risks & build things.
It’s pretty amazing to me that the technology that you’re using to read this, came about in part because a Labor Law made its way from Spain to Mexico to California & enabled possibly the biggest technological advancements of modern times.