Dave Cochran grew up in Palo Alto, and at the onset of the Vietnam War, he enlisted in the Navy. Upon signing up, he was asked if he wanted to go to electronics school to become an electronics technician, which was an offer he accepted. Upon finishing his military service, he enrolled at Stanford University, majoring in electrical engineering. Cochran only remained there for a year, citing financial reasons for his departure. He decided to apply for a job at Hewlett-Packard, and he received a job on the production line, testing wave analyzers. After working at HP for some time, the company agreed to let him work part-time while he completed his degree at Stanford. After receiving his degree, he worked... more.

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<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url=https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/people/1158857179/ |title=Dave Cochran |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=6 October 2022 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>