Speaker Profile

Jamis MacNiven

Owner, Buck’s Restaurant of Woodside

For nearly three decades Buck’s has been a place where entrepreneurs meet. Due to an accident of geography combined with the bizarre interior (and some say pretty good food) this Silicon Valley restaurant has had a steady stream of locals as well as countless groups of academics, business tourists, political associations and a constant flow of startups.

In that time the founder, Jamis MacNiven, has spoken hundreds of times to these visitors about how Buck’s came to be and more broadly how Silicon Valley became synonymous with technological innovation. Due to the differing requirements of the groups and the talk can stretch or shrink from five to thirty minutes. The longer lecture has been presented many times to Singularity University, Draper University, Stanford University groups, Silicon Valley venture associations as well as foreign business groups and universities from Germany to Saudi Arabia. He is a regular lecturer to the Oxford University MBA program candidates.

The full talk covers the discovery of California and the quest for gold in the 16th century and continues through the Gold Rush in California which is where the boomtown spirit of California and ultimately the risk-taking attitude of Silicon Valley originated. The talk covers the inception of the electronic age and focuses on critical Silicon Valley inventions from the vacuum tube to the microprocessor.

The talk is peppered with anecdotes about the many luminaries of the Valley from Jamis’ close relationship with Steve Jobs to his ringside seat at the founding of firms such as Netscape, Hotmail, PayPal and Tesla, as well as arm wrestling Mike Tyson and ‘stealing’ Warren Buffet’s wallet.

Using 80 slides and a good deal of humor Jamis tells the story of what makes Silicon Valley unique with a couple of minor exaggerations such as how he holds himself responsible for the internet stock market crash of 2,000.

There is only one chart in the presentation: