FEW PEOPLE remember Shockley Semiconductor Laboratory (SSL) in Mountain View, California. Truth be told, the lab is much more famous for what it could have been than for what it was. Founded in 1956 by William Shockley, a brilliant scientist from Bell Labs who coinvented the transistor, SSL was stocked with serious talent—some of the best minds in the electronics industry. But the lab was hardly the ideal workplace. Management was dysfunctional, and trust was in short supply. In one infamous incident, Shockley, who headed the lab, wanted employees to take lie-detector tests after one staffer suffered a minor injury on the job.1 Eventually, a group of SSL’s top scientists (later dubbed the “Traitorous Eight”) would ...

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