Artifact Details


Blank, Steve oral history, part 2 of 3

Catalog Number





Steve Blank is a serial entrepreneur, author, professor, venture investor, and widely sought-after consultant to business, education and government. He provided an extensive oral history, in three parts, for the Computer History Museum over the period July – November 2019. What sets Steve apart from so many other Silicon Valley entrepreneurs is not only the wide variety of startups he has been involved with, but his ability and willingness to digest these experiences into a set of “learnings” which he has cogently described in his many books, papers, and blog posts. He co-created the Lean Startup methodology and was the author of the National Science Foundation Innovation Corps.

In this, the second part of his 3-part oral history, Steve reflects on his career and the ways in which it has mirrored the evolution of Silicon Valley. He moved from ESL, a defense contractor, to Zilog, a semiconductor company, to Convergent, a workstation supplier. This progression has a clear parallel in how the Valley has evolved. Along the way he acknowledges and reflects on lessons learned, particularly from important mentors along the way.

During this session he describes his experiences, as well as the strengths, weaknesses, and lessons learned at several important companies, including MIPS, Ardent, Pixar, SuperMac and Rocket Science Games. At MIPS he learned first-hand the skills needed at different stages of growth. At Ardent he had painful lessons discovering the value of getting out of the building and talking to customers. And at Rocket Science he had his first experience as CEO and lessons about founder hubris. This broad arc of companies provided Steve a wide range of experiences, and his detailed accounts serve as valuable insights for the reader into the challenges of forming and running a high-tech startup.




Blank, Steve, Interviewee
Hancock, Marguerite Gong, Interviewer


Computer History Museum

Place of Publication

Mountain View, CA


42 p.






MIPS; Hennessy, John; Moussouris, John; Stritter, Skip; Ardent, John McCaskey; Michaels, Allen; Wegbreit, Ben; Bell, Gordon; Gould, Kathryn; Faggin, Federico; Moler, Cleve; Rubinstein, Jon; Miranker, Glen; Smith, Alvy Ray; Convergent technologies; Marketing; Silicon Graphics; SuperMac; Ubillos, Randy; Rocket Science Games; Barrett, Peter; Davidow, Bill

Collection Title

CHM Oral History Collection


Computer History Museum

Lot Number