PBS's Silicon Valley Gives You an Inside Look At the Startup World Before It Became Terrible

Silicon Valley wasn't always the buzzword-flinging, startup-sprouting tech Mecca it is today. And PBS's latest installment of the "American Experience" series looks back 10 years before the phrase "Silicon Valley" had even been coined, when eight young physicists decided to shed their corporate shackles and found the Valley's first startup, Fairchild Semiconductor.

The documentary mainly focuses on Fairchild Semiconductor's (and later, also Intel's) founder, Robert Noyce, and the eventual creation of the microprocessor, the little piece of tech that enabled modern technology as we know it. Along the way, though, you get a peek at the beginnings of so many of the little staples that make up Silicon Valley's corporate culture: open offices, direct communication between management and staff, and the dangling of stock options to lure in employees all started here.

It's a refreshingly earnest look at a place that's essentially become a caricature of itself. You can watch a 16-minute preview of the documentary, which airs tonight, below. [All Things D]

Watch Silicon Valley Chapter 1 on PBS. See more from American Experience.