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The Code: Silicon Valley and the Remaking of America

Long before Margaret O’Mara became one of our most consequential historians of the American-led digital revolution, she worked in the White House of Bill Clinton and Al Gore in the earliest days of the commercial Internet. There she saw firsthand how deeply intertwined Silicon Valley was with the federal government, and how shallow the common understanding of the Valley’s success actually was.

Now, after years of in-depth research, O’Mara has produced the definitive history of Silicon Valley for our time. THE CODE: Silicon Valley and the Remaking of America is a complete tour of the foundation of the digital age. Beginning with Silicon Valley’s initial boom in the postwar era at the hands of academic administrators and eccentric trust-funders, and spanning Ross Perot’s 1960s pioneering of data services, the influence of Reagan’s White House on the tech boom, Jeff Bezo’s lean operations in the early days of Amazon, and up through Steve Jobs’ private memorial service, O’Mara peels back the surprising stories behind the characters at the center of the technology revolution.

But THE CODE is not only a tale of the mavericks and visionaries of the tech boom. O’Mara also reveals how government contracts and defense spending played an enormous role in building Silicon Valley, and how powerful institutions like the Pentagon and Stanford University created a framework for innovation that allowed entrepreneurial juggernauts to rise. Throughout, O’Mara is on the ground at all the key companies of the tech sector, wrestling with its politics and its relation to the larger cultural narrative about tech as it has evolved over the years. Most impressively, she has penetrated the inner kingdom of tech venture capital firms - the insular and still remarkably old-boy world that has become the cockpit of American capitalism.

The transformation of big tech into the engine room of the American economy and the nexus of so many of our hopes and dreams - and, increasingly, our nightmares - can be understood in O’Mara’s masterful hands. As her lucid writing makes clear, the fate of this patch of land in Northern California is the fate of us all.

Speaker: Margaret O'Mara

Wednesday, 07/17/19

Contact:

Website: Click to Visit

Cost:

Free

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Computer History Museum

1401 N Shoreline Blvd
Mountain View, CA 94043