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Valley News

Don Hoefler
is credited with coining the phrase: "Silicon Valley"

by Gregory Gromov


Hoefler was having a hard time coming up with a good title for his series so he asked Ralph Vaerst, then president of Ion Equipment, for a suggestion. Vaerst gave him the idea of somehow using Silicon Valley because he had often heard people on the east coast refer to it that way. Hoefler , unaware of how well the name would stick, agreed with Vaerst and named his series "Silicon Valley USA," which was more than likely the first time the name was used in print.

 Digital Equipment Corporation, 1996


. "The term Silicon Valley was used occasionally mostly byeasterners who would mention making a trip to Silicon Valley,until 1971 when it was popularized in a series of articles, ``SiliconValley USA,'' written by Don Hoefler for Electronic News. Quitelikely it was the first time the term was used in print.(Note30).....

[...(30) Don C. Hoefler, publisher of Microelectronics News, telephone interview, 9 January 1985.]

    Hoefler was choosing a name for an article about the semiconductor industry that he was writing for Electronic News. Ralph Vaerst, then president of Ion Equipment, suggested Silicon Valley. Hoefler named his article, ``Silicon Valley USA;'' it was a series that ran for 3 weeks, beginning 11 January 1971."

~ Carolyn Tajnai, 1995


. In 1971, in a series of articles that Hoefler wrote for ELECTRONIC NEWS, a weekly tabloid, he first used the phrase "SiliconValley" to describe the congeries of electronics firms mushroomingin Santa Clara county. "He pioneered the coverage of Silicon Valley as a distinct community," - said Michael S. Malone,author of a book chronicling the industry called THE BIG SCORE."When we think of Silicon Valley as a collection of charactersand eccentrics, he's the one who put that whole idea in our minds,"- said Malone.

Hoefler began his career in electronics journalism as a publicist for Fairchild Semiconductor in Mountain View. He subsequently worked as a reporter for Fairchild Publications, owner of ELECTRONIC NEWS, and then held editorial positions with RCA Corp. and with McGrawHill.

Don C. Hoefler died in South San Francisco on April 15, 1986 at the ageof 63. He was publishing a weekly newsletter called MICROELECTRONICS NEWS at the time of his death, following a recent cerebrovascular accident

 Datamation ,1986, May 15, by Cahners Publishing Company

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  Don Hoefler  "was a publicist for Fairchild Semiconductor when the electronics industry was in its infancy"  ...

Los Angeles Times,: Apr 17, 1986

Mr. Silicon Valley: This issue from 1986 contained the last interview with Don Hoefler, who was best known for coining the phrase 'Silicon Valley,' but was equally important as a critical voice in a time of explosive growth... (read more

Metro, March 9-15, 2005


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