In Victory: Magnanimity

“In War: Resolution. In Defeat: Defiance. In Victory: Magnanimity. In Peace: Goodwill.”  Winston Churchill


In March I was the keynote at the In-Q-Tel Venture Capital Conference, giving a talk on the Secret History of Silicon Valley. (In-Q-Tel is the Central Intelligence Agency’s Venture Capital firm in Silicon Valley.)

The gist of the talk was that the needs of electronic intelligence in the midst of the Cold War and a single Stanford Professor was a key catalyst for entrepreneurship in Silicon Valley.

There were about 300 people in the audience, about 150 from the U.S. intelligence community.

Last week I was the keynote at the American Business Association of Russian Speaking Professionals.

There were about 300 people in the audience, almost all from the old Soviet Union.

I presented the same Secret History talk, pointing out that the launch of the first Soviet satellite (Sputnik) galvanized the U.S. government to accidentally contribute to the start the Venture Capital industry as we know it.

Afterwards a few of the audience came up and told me stories about Soviet weapons systems that could have won someone an intelligence medal 30 years earlier.

I would have loved to have given the talk to both audiences at the same time.

Close enough.

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5 Responses

  1. A majority of ppl at AMBAR are PhysTech graduates. A lot of weapons systems were designed there, and anyone over 40 was likely to participate as a student. So there is no surprise they have stories from behind the curtain.

    It is also very likely that someone from InQTel was at AMBAR – they usually attend Russian tech conferences.

  2. […] Valley ninja and startup guru Steve Blank posted a great video lecture on his blog about the Secret History of Silicon Valley. This is part his ongoing series of blog posts and lectures. I love history, especially the […]

  3. Steve, I was one of the guys who talked to you at SVOD after your outstanding talk. And I am very impressed that as a link to Soviet weaponry you included a link to the page about UR100 (aka 8k84 aka SS11) 🙂 We worked with it at military training in the 80s while studying at PhyzTeh (menioned by Yuri above)

    Thank you !

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