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Silicon Valley: The Untold Story

Silicon Valley: The Untold Story

  • Premiered: 
    March 19, 2018
    (Click date to see TV listings for that day)

  • Network: Science
  • Category: Series
  • Genre: Documentary
  • Type: Live Action
  • Concept: 
  • Subject Matter: Historical
  • Tags: science, engineering, technology

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Plot Synopsis

SILICON VALLEY: THE UNTOLD STORY is a three-part documentary series provides a comprehensive look at the century-and-a-half history of a region just south of San Francisco that has spawned not just new products but whole new industries, and the three-hour program reveals how and why it became such a fertile ground for technological breakthroughs. Silicon Valley has been often imitated but never duplicated. Home to Apple and Facebook, Intel and Google, there is simply no other place on earth that can rival its remarkable record of innovation -- from vacuum tubes to radio, microchips to personal computers, mobile devices, apps and social media. This series features interviews with some of the Valley's most prominent innovators -- including Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak -- who helped make the region what it is today, and the tech entrepreneurs -- WhatsApp co-founder Jan Koum among them -- who are leading the Valley into the future. Koum, who grew up on food stamps and later sold WhatsApp to Facebook for $19 billion, says that "I could not have built WhatsApp outside of Silicon Valley. No chance." While Silicon Valley prides itself on disrupting old ways of doing things, it has largely failed to dismantle its barriers to women. Women have long been excluded from the valley's top jobs, even though they've been essential to its history. Kim Polese, a leading Silicon Valley entrepreneur and innovator, and currently chairman of CrowdSmart, and Heidi Roizen, a venture capitalist, corporate director and entrepreneur who co-founded the software company T/Maker, both relay stories about the challenges that women have faced in the Valley. Other industry leaders featured in the three-parter include Atari co-founder Nolan Bushnell, who turned down an offer from his former employee Steve Jobs, to become a one-third partner of Apple for $50,000; Alphabet Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt, who helps explain what made Google so much better than other early search engines; and Sun co-founder Andy Bechtolsheim, who reminisces about his first encounter with Google co-founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page and explains why he wrote them a check for $100,000 on the spot, before the company even had a name. Page and Brin currently have a combined net worth of nearly $100 billion. SILICON VALLEY: THE UNTOLD STORY also includes interviews with Y-Combinator founders Paul Graham and Jessica Livingston; who granted the producers rare access to their prestigious boot camp for entrepreneurs; Kyle Vogt, whose 4-person self-driving car startup was bought by General Motors for $1 billion; Intel co-founder Gordon Moore; as well as historians and journalists including John Markoff, who covered the tech industry for The New York Times; Margaret O'Mara of the University of Washington; Michael Malone, who has written numerous books about Silicon Valley; and Stanford University historian Leslie Berlin. Originally scheduled to debut on Sunday, January 28, 2018, SILICON VALLEY: THE UNTOLD STORY had its official series premiere two months later on Monday, March 19 from 8-11pm ET/PT, as Science Channel broadcast all three episodes the same night.

Production & Distribution

  • Produced by Kikim Media
  • With support from Alfred P. Sloan Foundation