Silicon Valley in 1991: A Throwback

Silicon Valley in 1991: A Throwback

Occasionally Reddit is a great source for some really cool content, and such was the case recently when user “Ambamja” posted an entry called “Silicon Valley in 1991.” The post linked to a screencap of a calendar released by Seagate in that year. Above the month-to-month breakdown on the calendar is a lavish cartoon version of the Silicon Valley cityscape at the turn of the 1990s, replete with a listing of all the major companies active in the area at the time. Needless to say, the enterprise presence has changed significantly in the intervening years, and many of the companies on the 1991 calendar are now either defunct or heading that way. For nostalgia’s sake, though, we thought we’d take a look at some of the enterprises on this early 90’s map to see what became of them:

  • Computer Literacy Bookshop: Launched in 1983, Computer Literacy Bookshops made their mark as a provider of computer books that were, well, not on the computer. “Unlike most online ‘bookstores’, Computer Literacy Bookshops are real places, not just a virtual space!” the company’s website effused in 1996. The bookstores first cropped up when the world was really being ushered into the computer age. In 1983, for instance, the first Macintosh hadn’t even debuted. While the California-area stores retained an audience for almost 15 years before being purchased by an online bookstore called CBooks Express in 1996. Frankly, it’s pretty awesome that a print book store lasted so long in such a cyber-infused place. Props to them for that achievement, and here’s hoping the print book never dies.
  • Oracle: A tech company with locations around the globe, Oracle is still going strong 23 years after the calendar debuted. The enterprise has a vast repository of services encompassing engineered systems, server storage, applications and many other tech assets. The company was founded by Larry Ellison, who “saw an opportunity other companies missed: a description of a working prototype for a relational database,” according to the organization’s website. Thanks to the originality of his idea and a persistent effort, Ellison managed to make Oracle a tech leader and mainstay for over three decades. He is now Forbes’ third-richest person in America. In September 2014 he stepped down as CEO of the company he founded, according to Forbes.
  • Xybergraphics: We’ve gotta give props to any company besides Xerox that successfully starts its name with an “X,” but unfortunately, Xybergraphics’ xcellent name wasn’t enough to sustain the business. Launched in 1979, the company’s status is now listed as suspended, according to California Corporates. A basic search for the company on Google returns very few results, so unfortunately there’s not much to say about this business, except that some dude named Jim Boyd worked there for a year starting in 1985. Yeah, we’re really straining for information here.
  • Children’s Discovery Museum of San Jose: Definitely the most fun entry on the map, the Children’s Discovery Museum of San Jose is just as full of wonder and, well, discovery as it was back in 1991. A hub of treasures among the techies, we’d imagine this is the place where tech workers drop their kids off during the summer. The museum’s website reveals some awesome interactive exhibits, The one that we’re most eager to try out ourselves is an exhibit called Bubbles, which enables you to create your own bubble-icious shapes. “You’ll marvel at the changing rainbow of colors and the fascinating properties of bubbles,” the website states. Well that settles it. Book us a one-way ticket to Silicon Valley.
  • Apple: Apparently they’re still around and making stuff.