On our second day up north, we had plans to visit a handful of high tech companies in Silicon Valley, famous for being the heart of the world's high tech industry. Not a regular tourist draw, it was my techie husband's idea to pursue a visit up here and to check out this area as a potential work environment in the future.
Just 45 miles from downtown San Francisco, you will find the center of Silicon Valley, which spans 25 miles in length and 10 miles in width. The term Silicon Valley was actually coined in 1971 by a journalist who was referring to the Computer Revolution booming in this region. However, technology companies had in fact begun calling this area home starting in the 1930s.
Our first stop was at the Facebook Headquarters in Palo Alto, California. Their current campus is actually on the Stanford University campus, however, they are currently in the process of moving into a huge property in nearby Menlo Park. At the Stanford site, we saw busloads full of people coming into the busy Facebook offices and it definitely looked like the place "to be".
After checking out Facebook, I insisted that we step onto the nearby campus grounds. Here we are at Stanford University, checking out the beautiful campus which had more bike riders than I have ever seen on any other college campus anywhere. We had to be careful not to be run down by a biker.
Next, we headed over to the Google Headquarters in nearby Mountain View, California. We got into a bit of trouble here by walking onto the Google campus, which unbeknownst to us, was a closed campus. From what we saw, it looked like an awesome place to work, with Google bikes available for rent, sandy beach volleyball courts and colorful offices.
A short drive away will get you to the Yahoo Headquarters in Sunnyvale, California. We found them to be a very friendly campus, letting us in to shop in the Yahoo store and to take a look inside the cafeteria and open areas.
Next up was the Apple Infinite Loop campus in Cupertino, California. We just so happened to be visiting there just a few days after Steve Jobs's death, as you will see in the images below. The complete Apple campus went on for blocks and blocks and we were very impressed with this facility as compared to others nearby. Just a short ways away, a new Apple campus is under construction.
If you haven't picked up a copy of Walter Isaacson's biography to the legacy of the late Steve Jobs, I highly recommend you do so today. I haven't been able to put it down since I opened the first page on my Kindle. This man was more of mystery than I ever imagined or knew him to be.
The highlight of the day for my husband was visiting Santa Clara's Intel Headquarters, where he was able to enter the facilities with his ID badge as an Israeli employee for Intel. My husband began programming for Intel as a student worker one year ago and is a self-proclaimed computer nerd. He dreams of being able to work in and around Silicon Valley in the near future. (As for me, I'm still getting used to the idea. Silicon Valley is not exactly the type of suburbia I had in mind for my future, but neither one of us truly knows at this point what the future will really hold.)
At Intel, they have an Intel Museum where you can see the history of this famous company that has been so pivotal in the rapid rise of the computer industry.
And that brings our Silicon Valley tour to an end. You could spend days and weeks touring each and every one of the high tech companies in town as there are literally thousands of companies in the entirety of the surrounding valley. Others on my husband's wish list included YouTube, Hewlett-Packard, eBay, Cisco, Oracle, Intuit and Xerox, just to name a few. Those will all have to wait for next time. We had to hone our visits down to a handful which we would be able to do in one day (with my request for visiting Stanford thrown in for fair measure). In the next few days, I'll share with you our stopovers in Europe on our way back to Israel, before finally catching up to speed.