In a recent discussion about taking California out of the United States (obviously a bunch of idiot lefties in the conversation) the point was made about how rich California is.
I found myself saying the reason for the financial success of California was one sexy woman, Jane Stanford.
Nearly all the wealth of California comes from the San Francisco peninsula and nearly all of that wealth over 60 years has come from the men who graduated from Stanford University and created businesses.
Stanford University was created by Jane Stanford who funded and ran the university for the decade after its founding in 1891.
Her husband, Leland Stanford, was one of the four founders of the great railroad fortunes of the Central and Southern Pacific Railroads. Most biographies of the four founders make Leland the intellectual wimp of the four. But the other three liked him and kept him in the group. A convivial man who appears to me to have been controlled by his brilliant wife. I call her ‘sexy’ with no evidence other than Leland’s intense loyalty to her, her great influence over him and their long life together with no apparent disruptions.
Jane demanded that her university have top-flight faculty. In her mind it was the Harvard of the West and she solicited and hired on that basis. She was also a political pro commerce person and fired the prominent Lefty economist on the faculty.
To this day the University has a far more politically conservative faculty than any other top school and is deeply intertwined with The Hoover Institution a leading pro commerce attachment to Stanford.
Stanford has also been a technological powerhouse. With the first big operational computer center. SPIRES that I have often talked about using.
The nexus of the peninsula tech power came from Stanford graduates Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard. Also important were Vinod Khosla, Scott McNealy, Andy Bechtolsheim, Reid Hoffman, Alan Liu, Evan Spiegel, the great Peter Thiel, Brian Acton, Jawed Karim (YouTube), the Yahoo co-founders and the Google founders Page/Brin, Reed Hastings and the Cisco founders.
You can read this list and see that Stanford graduates are the nexus of the great wealth of California. For that Stanford deserves credit. These men and women wanted to stay near their happy college memories and hire the highly competent techies they knew from their alma mater.
Full credit for the wealth of California goes to one person: Jane Lathrop Stanford. There are many other places on the planet with good weather, beautiful scenery and fertile soil. But California is wealthy at an exceptional level. Thank you Jane.