“I was actually a student at Columbia in New York. I had no idea what Silicon Valley was; I grew up in the ‘People’s Republic of Berkeley’. Berkeley is about as far from Silicon Valley as it can be, at least culturally,” says Ben Horowitz. That was in the 80s, while he was a student at Berkeley, studying for a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science (before later picking up an master’s degree in Computer Science at UCLA).

In the early 90s, Silicon Graphics was expanding quickly and he spent summers working there in the late until he finished school. Silicon Graphics had just build the first microprocessor, and was considered “the ‘gee whiz’ company in the late 80s,” says Ben.

Ben continues, “We were trying to get the operating systems work with the multi-processor machines, and it was just like, ‘Wow, this is unbelievable. We hadn’t even talked about it at school.'”

After finishing his master’s at UCLA, Ben began his career as an engineer at Silicon Graphics. In 1995, Horowitz joined Marc Andreessen at Netscape as one of its first product managers, and rose to VP before Netscape was bought by AOL in 1998.

“It was starting to build up, Silicon Graphics campus itself – it’s a Google campus now– it was awesome.”

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