Silicon Valley owes its existence to a Frenchman living in Boston. Born in France in 1899, Georges Doriot graduated from the University of Paris in 1920 and matriculated at the Harvard Business School in 1921. Four years after graduation, he became the assistant dean and associate professor of industrial management at Harvard.1 Five years later, he would be promoted to full professor, in large part due to his beloved manufacturing course that graduated more than 7,000 students during his tenure through 1966. The year-long course tested the general management skills of second-year MBA students, and the final reports of students often exceeded 600 pages.2 In Creative Capital, Doriot biographer Spencer E. Ante summarized his interviews of former Doriot students:
“His lectures were so memorable and controversial—he once lectured students on how to pick a wife—that many former students who have forgotten most of what they learned at business school still remember Doriot vividly.”3
A sinewy 5 feet 10 inches tall, with incisive blue eyes, a thin mustache, and a penchant for fine tobacco to stuff his iconic pipe, Doriot was highly decorated by the U.S. military. In 1940, he became a U.S. citizen to assume a military post created for him by a former student, Major General Edmund Gregory. Appointed lieutenant colonel and chief of the Military Planning Division, Doriot managed all the procurement for the U.S. Army, from trucks to uniforms to rations.
In the jungles of Southeast ...