Sand Hill Road

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pages: 146 words: 43,446

The New New Thing: A Silicon Valley Story by Michael Lewis

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Albert Einstein, Andy Kessler, business climate, Chance favours the prepared mind, data acquisition, family office, high net worth, invention of the steam engine, invisible hand, Jeff Bezos, Menlo Park, pre–internet, risk tolerance, Sand Hill Road, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Thorstein Veblen, Y2K

Any other human being would have been tossed into an asylum for thinking such grandiose thoughts. Clark had invented Jim Clark, and so he was taken seriously. Page 101 7 Throwing Sand in Capitalist's Eyes Not long after he drew the Magic Diamond with himself at the center of the U.S. health care industry, Clark drove up to Sand Hill Road to see the venture capitalists. The venture capitalists advertised themselves as the great financial risk takers of the Valley, but you could learn everything you needed to know about their attitudes toward risk, simply by driving up Sand Hill Road. Sand Hill Road was where the venture capitalists clustered together for safety, like ducks in a park waiting for the bread crumbs to fall. Each time Clark made this trip, the ducks came out of it worse than the time before. The price of the crumbs rose; and they had to quack louder for them.

The Page 40 Internet service companies now layering themselves over the old Internet software companies: Clark had created the most outlandishly ambitious, Healtheon, with which he hoped essentially to seize control of the $1.5 trillion-a-year U.S. health care industry. It was an extraordinary performance, and it wasn't over yet. Clark's lack of nostalgia for the history beneath us was nearly complete. Actually, as we circled overhead, what he said was "They need to tear it all down and start over. It's a ridiculous waste of space." He pointed out that offices on Sand Hill Road were going for twice the rents of space in midtown Manhattan. Sand Hill Road had the most expensive commercial real estate in the United States. And they were still putting two-story buildings on it! "One day it'll all be skyscrapers," he said. The thought pleased himhe became less irritated by the crashed plane. The impermanence of the place allowed him, and it, to remain suspended in a state of pure possibility. He was fully occupied only by what had not yet happened.

Kramlich called John Doerr, who worked a few yards up Sand Hill Road, hoping that Doerr might help him talk some reason into Clark. Instead, Doerr invited Clark to his office and gave him exactly what he asked for. His firm, Kleiner Perkins, purchased a 15 percent stake in Netscape that valued the company at $18 million, and left Clark still holding 25 percent of the company. "That moment," says Alex Slusky, "was the defining moment for this period in the Valley. No engineer had ever cut such a deal." (Clark, who had grown fond of the young man assigned to sleep under his bed, offered Slusky a job at Netscape. Slusky turned it down. "He was just too volatile for me," he says. "I couldn't live like that.") Dick Kramlich, who came up empty-handed, was upset. But the venture capitalist up on Sand Hill Road who called Clark most often, and who sounded the most upset, was Glenn Mueller.


pages: 385 words: 48,143

The Monk and the Riddle: The Education of a Silicon Valley Entrepreneur by Randy Komisar

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Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, barriers to entry, discounted cash flows, estate planning, Jeff Bezos, Network effects, new economy, Sand Hill Road, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Steve Jobs

Giving the pitch is a fellow named Lenny. Something about using the Internet to sell items most people buy at a funeral home when someone dies, items that arouse as many varied and complex feelings as sex toys. We are seated in the Konditorei, a comfy coffee shop nestled in bucolic Portola Valley. With the Santa Cruz Mountains to the west and Palo Alto and Route 280 to the east, we are but one exit away from Sand Hill Road, the famous home to Silicon Valley venture capital. The Konditorei is where I meet people like Lenny, the pitchmen of the Internet era. Here, or in a couple of restaurants in the same rustic strip mall. This is my office. (Forget Buck's Restaurant in next-door Woodside. That's where venture capitalists prefer to meet supplicants and huddle around deals under a giant painting of Roy Rogers on Trigger rampant.

Consequently most VCs (even if they insist otherwise) simply don't have the time to give close management attention to the companies they've funded. In addition, in contrast to the original VCs, who often gathered years of operating experience prior to becoming venture capitalists, many partners in today's firms have no executive management experience. They could be working on Wall Street as easily as on Sand Hill Road. With frenetic energy and a natural penchant for risk taking, these armies of prospectors are smart, hardworking, and aggressive. They do bring connections and contacts to the aid of the companies they fund, in addition to money. Often stereotyped as ''vulture" capitalists who drive expensive cars, drink pricey wines, collect extravagant toys, and wish they had the time to indulge in their expensive hobbies, they are reminiscent of Wall Street masters of the universe, or L.A. playersexcept for one thing: their bets build the future in remarkably tangible ways.

On the motorcycle, I bobbed and weaved around the grumbling commuters, remembering an episode of the ''Twilight Zone" in which the character finds himself meandering through a crowd of stone-frozen people stuck fast in the middle of their daily routines. I cut up the highway one exit, fields of golden grass on both sides, fingers of fog stretching down the pleats in the Santa Cruz Mountains to the west. I scooted across Sand Hill Road to the complex at 3000, the original Sand Hill address. No spaces, so I jumped the curb and popped the stand. First up, I sat in on a deal pitch at one of the VC firms where some good friends wanted my opinion. The plan was to sell pet supplies on the Net. The would-be entrepreneurs called their venture PetUniverse.com. Lenny's presentation was polished, but this one positively gleamed.


pages: 398 words: 108,889

The Paypal Wars: Battles With Ebay, the Media, the Mafia, and the Rest of Planet Earth by Eric M. Jackson

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bank run, business process, call centre, disintermediation, Elon Musk, index fund, Internet Archive, iterative process, Joseph Schumpeter, market design, Menlo Park, moral hazard, Network effects, new economy, offshore financial centre, Peter Thiel, Sand Hill Road, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, telemarketer, The Chicago School, Turing test

But before work on the user acquisition campaign shifted into high gear, the company paused to collect its breath. If “world domination” was to be the eventual outcome, Peter realized camaraderie and teamwork were necessary ingredients. He scheduled an afternoon for the company’s holiday offsite party so employees could relax and bond away from the office before making a final pre-holiday push. Employees caravanned over from the office to the party, held at a meeting facility on Sand Hill Road in adjacent Menlo Park. For anyone not familiar with the reference, Sand Hill is to venture capital what Wall Street is to the stock market. A broad, ambling road in the undeveloped foothills behind Stanford University, Sand Hill houses many of Silicon Valley’s top venture capital firms and provided four-fifths of the funds that poured into California startups during the late 1990s. This might be hard to guess just by looking at the road itself; most of the buildings nestled along it could not be called noteworthy.

Peter and Max fielded the conference call from Max’s apartment in Palo Alto, periodically shooing away Reid and Luke who paced nervously in Luke’s neighboring apartment down the hall. The directors acknowledged many of the problems cited by the dissident officers, but some of them hedged on giving the Confinity side of the company effective control by returning Peter to power. Max and Peter held fast to their position, though, and after breaking for lunch the duo traveled to the Sand Hill Road offices of Peter’s hedge fund to resume the call. Upon arriving, though, they realized that the office lacked a speakerphone, prompting Max to rig Peter’s fax machine to serve as a makeshift substitute. The fax-speakerphone somehow worked, and when the call resumed Confinity’s founders continued to press their demands. The word finally came in the early afternoon while Beatrice and I stood next to the Macy’s sunglasses counter—PayPal was saved!

In just over a month it published a string of articles highlighting Elon’s departure, complaints from upset customers reacting to the forced upsell,12 and a notice that our Web site suffered a brief outage following Thanksgiving weekend.13 CNET had plenty of company. Rafe Needleman from The Red Herring had earlier named Confinity his “catch of the day.” Now, in an article titled “Baby, You Can Crash My Car,” he mused about the delicious irony of an incident from March.14 Elon was giving Peter a ride to a meeting with Mike Moritz at Sequoia Capital’s office on Sand Hill Road in his now-famous McLaren F1. When he attempted to take a freeway off-ramp at a fast speed, his Formula One-caliber car launched into an airborne spin. It thudded to the earth adjacent to the ramp with both occupants dazed but miraculously unhurt, prompting Elon to exclaim, “Dude, that was intense!” Peter dusted himself off and hitched a ride to the venture capitalists’ office, while Elon waited for a flatbed truck to haul away his precious vehicle.


pages: 319 words: 90,965

The End of College: Creating the Future of Learning and the University of Everywhere by Kevin Carey

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Albert Einstein, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, business intelligence, carbon-based life, Claude Shannon: information theory, complexity theory, declining real wages, deliberate practice, discrete time, double helix, Douglas Engelbart, Downton Abbey, Drosophila, Firefox, Frank Gehry, Google X / Alphabet X, informal economy, invention of the printing press, inventory management, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, low skilled workers, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, meta analysis, meta-analysis, natural language processing, Network effects, open borders, pattern recognition, Peter Thiel, pez dispenser, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ronald Reagan, Sand Hill Road, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, social web, South of Market, San Francisco, speech recognition, Steve Jobs, technoutopianism, transcontinental railway, Vannevar Bush

But two other people did: Bill Gates and Steve Jobs, who used windows, word processing, and the mouse, among other things, to become the defining IT businessmen of their time. Apple’s initial public offering in 1980 valued the company at over $1 billion, making instant millionaires of hundreds of employees and investors and establishing Silicon Valley as the source of not just innovation but dramatic wealth. Venture capitalists looking for the next Apple began setting up shop on a winding stretch of asphalt a few miles from Stanford University called Sand Hill Road. Meanwhile, ARPANET continued to expand. By 1995 it had been replaced by the Internet, which was no longer restricted to academic and military uses. That was the year that a recent graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign named Marc Andreessen founded the Web browser company Netscape, based on the Mosaic software program he had helped develop. Netscape’s IPO created a $2.9 billion company and launched the dot-com boom that would consume financial imaginations for the next six years.

Decades of increasingly powerful technology married to capital and the best minds of the research university had created a distinct and powerful culture in the converted industrial buildings south of Market Street in San Francisco and the storefronts and garages around the academic and industrial giants of Silicon Valley. It was a belief system in which people were not just augmented but liberated by technology—a place where people could discard the compromises and confusions of human living and build something more rational and enlightened in their place. — NETSCAPE WAS QUICKLY overwhelmed by Microsoft, and Andreessen went from entrepreneur to venture capitalist, setting up shop on Sand Hill Road. It was clear to him and the other VCs where the next great fortunes would be made. “Software,” Andreessen wrote in a 2011 Wall Street Journal op-ed, “is eating the world.” By allowing people to purchase computer processing and storage services remotely, over the Internet, instead of investing in expensive hardware, the “cloud” had made it incredibly cheap to start new software businesses. The growth of mobile computing on inexpensive commodity hardware was rapidly putting the number of potential customers for software on a growth path toward every man, woman, and child on earth.

Under the elective system, the university doesn’t need to concern itself with how exactly those transactions are conducted, which courses are offered, or whether they’re any good. That’s up to the buyer and seller. The hybrid university just used the best available technology—printed books and air-conditioned lecture halls with microphones—to build a platform, and took a percentage of every sale. The money guys out on Sand Hill Road understood all of this. The hard part was bypassing all of the regulatory and public subsidy barriers that had been built around the cathedrals of learning, and overcoming the ingrained cultural belief that only colleges and universities as we know them today can provide a true higher education. They could see the blue ocean shimmering with the possibilities of a multitrillion-dollar market.


pages: 103 words: 24,033

The Immigrant Exodus: Why America Is Losing the Global Race to Capture Entrepreneurial Talent by Vivek Wadhwa

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3D printing, card file, corporate governance, crowdsourcing, Elon Musk, immigration reform, labour mobility, open economy, pattern recognition, Ray Kurzweil, Sand Hill Road, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, software as a service, Y2K

ShanghaiBio does have a strong business development team and a wet R&D lab presence in the US, but most of the technical and research work is performed back in China. Jin also lectures at a number of leading Chinese universities and life sciences conferences, providing valuable intellectual capital to Chinese scholars who, until recently, had to travel to the United States to study with professors of that caliber. Jin has recruited other expat Chinese scientists to return to their country of birth and work as researchers and scientists. Beyond Sand Hill Road Immigrant entrepreneurs now have many options besides the United States. For the report “America’s Loss Is the World’s Gain”, which was published by Kauffman Foundation in 2008, my research team surveyed 1,203 Indian and Chinese immigrants who had worked in or been educated in the United States and later returned to their home countries.22 Our inquiries found that while immigration policies had caused some returnees to depart, the most significant factors in their decision to return home were career opportunities, family ties, and quality of life.

Table of Contents Acknowledgments Contents Introduction Back to School The Immigrant Exodus In This Book My Commitment Chapter 1: Why the Future of America Depends on Skilled Immigrants The Economic Impact The Innovation Impact The Shifting Tide Chapter 2: The Rise and Decline of the Immigrant-Powered Startup Machine The Immigrant Entrepreneur Tide Peaks Chapter 3: The Innovator’s Dilemma: Leaving America for Greener Pastures Beyond Sand Hill Road The Decline of Silicon Valley Entrepreneurship: Why the IIT Grads Are Going Home Chapter 4: H-1B Visas and Immigration Limbo How the H-1B Harms the US Economy and Sours Immigrants on America The History of the H-1B Visa The Program Nobody Likes: Death Threats and H-1Bs Good for America, Good for Innovation First-Class Minds, Second-Class Citizens Chapter 5: How the World Is Trying to Steal Silicon Valley’s Thunder The Race to Capture Entrepreneurial Talent and Skilled Immigrants Chapter 6: Seven Fixes to Slow the Immigrant Exodus 1.


pages: 270 words: 79,180

The Middleman Economy: How Brokers, Agents, Dealers, and Everyday Matchmakers Create Value and Profit by Marina Krakovsky

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Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, Al Roth, Black Swan, buy low sell high, Credit Default Swap, cross-subsidies, crowdsourcing, disintermediation, diversified portfolio, experimental economics, George Akerlof, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, income inequality, index fund, Jean Tirole, Lean Startup, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, market microstructure, Martin Wolf, McMansion, Menlo Park, moral hazard, multi-sided market, Network effects, patent troll, Paul Graham, Peter Thiel, pez dispenser, ride hailing / ride sharing, Sand Hill Road, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, social graph, supply-chain management, TaskRabbit, The Market for Lemons, too big to fail, trade route, transaction costs, two-sided market, Uber for X, ultimatum game, Y Combinator

But what Ann and I are seeing are new types of entrepreneurs emerging,” he says. “In the last decade, to be an entrepreneur you had to raise money, and Sand Hill Road had a preconceived idea of what a tech entrepreneur looked like—they were usually an early-twenties white dude, who was an alpha-geek computer hacker. And that was kind of the canonical person you’d invest in.” In B2B ventures, companies that sell products to other companies, the prototypical entrepreneur looked a little different, but it was still typically a he. “We believe that the low cost of starting a company is democratizing entrepreneurship itself,” Maples says, “and now entrepreneurs can emerge from any location and they can be any gender and any ethnicity, and so rather than a high priest on Sand Hill Road deciding what a start-up entrepreneur is, people can just do entrepreneurship, and whoever gets traction is an entrepreneur.

The cost of starting a tech company has plunged in recent years, thanks to free and low-cost development tools and an distribution methods. Anybody with an idea, a laptop, and an Internet connection can give it a go, and many do, leading to an abundance of entrants, many of them still living in college dorm rooms. Although these founders do eventually need to raise money to fuel growth, they have many more sources of funding beyond the big firms with posh offices along Menlo Park’s Sand Hill Road. Some need expert guidance and trusted connections as much as they need capital. VC firms have always provided a combination of all these services, but these services are increasingly becoming unbundled: as the competition among investors to back the next Facebook or Dropbox has intensified, the most promising entrepreneurs can pick and choose what they most want in an investor. As a result of these developments, even the most prestigious VC firms, like Sequoia, can no longer sit back and wait for the pitches to roll in.5 Nozad saw that he could provide value to these VCs by connecting them to investment opportunities they might not otherwise have known about.


pages: 559 words: 155,372

Chaos Monkeys: Obscene Fortune and Random Failure in Silicon Valley by Antonio Garcia Martinez

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Airbnb, airport security, Amazon Web Services, Burning Man, Celtic Tiger, centralized clearinghouse, cognitive dissonance, collective bargaining, corporate governance, Credit Default Swap, crowdsourcing, death of newspapers, El Camino Real, Elon Musk, Emanuel Derman, financial independence, global supply chain, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, hive mind, income inequality, interest rate swap, intermodal, Jeff Bezos, Malcom McLean invented shipping containers, Mark Zuckerberg, Maui Hawaii, means of production, Menlo Park, minimum viable product, move fast and break things, Network effects, Paul Graham, performance metric, Peter Thiel, Ponzi scheme, pre–internet, Ralph Waldo Emerson, random walk, Sand Hill Road, Scientific racism, second-price auction, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, Snapchat, social graph, social web, Socratic dialogue, Steve Jobs, telemarketer, urban renewal, Y Combinator, éminence grise

Locked behind the ghetto’s walls at night, the Jews plied their moneylending trade during the day, with Christians traveling to the otherwise rancid part of the city to borrow cash. The modern-day Silicon Valley ghetto, though sadly without the moneymen living behind locked gates as in erstwhile Venice, is Sand Hill Road. A meandering stretch of two-lane blacktop that wends its way from Palo Alto to Menlo Park, this uninspiring piece of suburban scenery is swarmed by aspiring entrepreneurs with a laptop in hand and a sly pitch in mind. In New York, the old joke is that Wall Street starts in a graveyard and ends in the river. In Silicon Valley, just as symbolically, Sand Hill Road starts in a shopping mall and ends at a particle accelerator. The shopping mall is the Stanford Shopping Center, a suburban monument to upscale consumption built on land formerly occupied by Senator Leland Stanford’s vineyards.

The resulting shopping mall, standing proudly alongside the Valley’s preeminent academic institution, is an excellent reminder of the values underlying Silicon Valley (not to mention Stanford students and staff). The particle accelerator is the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center, SLAC for short. As venture capitalists and wealthy alums prefer funding Googles to winning Nobel Prizes (of which SLAC has several), the facility is funded by the US Department of Energy. The runway for its accelerated particles travels alongside Sand Hill Road, under Interstate 280, and into the foothills of the Santa Cruz Mountains, which define the western border of Silicon Valley. Lastly, there’s a high-class brothel: the Rosewood Sand Hill, a posh restaurant and hotel complex wedged in between SLAC and the Sand Hill–Interstate 280 intersection. Thursday nights at Sand Hill are famous for serving as “cougar nights,” where older, lonely women (and younger ones explicitly on the clock) congregate to ensnare Sand Hill’s wealthy denizens.

In general, either the CEO or the smooth-tongued founder designated for the purpose should be involved in the fund-raising, and that person alone. Fund-raising is an operatic drama on the order of a Latin American telenovela. Avoid the company-wide noise, and contain the pointless din of the begathon to yourself (or someone) at all costs. Sequoia was ensconced in one of the regulation two-story, poured-concrete-and-wood-trim, open-courtyard structures that dotted the manicured slopes around Sand Hill Road between Stanford and the 280. The impression was that of understated corporate efficiency, with Palo Alto’s supernaturally pleasant climate lending a certain Elysian quality. If you didn’t know the context, you might think it the bland corporate headquarters of some national insurance company, or perhaps the high school classrooms in a moderately affluent LA suburb. Inside, however, the décor was sleek and California minimalist modern: dark hardwood tables, cream-colored wood floors gleaming with fresh wax, conference room chairs of contrasting exposed steel and light-colored fabric, and recessed halogen lighting everywhere.


pages: 284 words: 92,688

Disrupted: My Misadventure in the Start-Up Bubble by Dan Lyons

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Airbnb, Bernie Madoff, bitcoin, call centre, cleantech, cloud computing, corporate governance, dumpster diving, fear of failure, Filter Bubble, Golden Gate Park, Google Glasses, Googley, Gordon Gekko, hiring and firing, Jeff Bezos, Lean Startup, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, minimum viable product, new economy, Paul Graham, pre–internet, quantitative easing, ride hailing / ride sharing, Rosa Parks, Sand Hill Road, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, Snapchat, software as a service, South of Market, San Francisco, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, telemarketer, tulip mania, Y Combinator, éminence grise

Soon come the scandals and lawsuits and criminal cases, with tales of sleazy founders sexually harassing female employees or, in one extreme case, allegedly beating up a girlfriend. These are the people who now run tech companies, who have been entrusted with huge sums of other people’s money. It would be nice to think that when everything falls apart, the only ones who get hurt will be venture capitalists on Sand Hill Road in Menlo Park. But a lot of the money being thrown at these kids originally came from pension funds. The pain, when it comes, will not be confined to Sand Hill Road. Walking around San Francisco, it strikes me that this cannot end well, that the combination of magical thinking, easy money, greedy investors, and amoral founders represents a recipe for disaster. My first response is to feel the same kind of righteous indignation that I felt back in the late 1990s. (Journalists are really good at righteous indignation.

Forming the Glass Collective in 2013 was just another attempt to latch on to something trendy. In the end Doerr got nothing out of Google Glass except some publicity, but maybe that was the point all along. In the old days, Silicon Valley venture capitalists embraced a California version of clubby East Coast white-shoe culture. All of the top VC firms literally sit beside one another on the same street, a big boulevard called Sand Hill Road in Menlo Park. For decades these firms resembled snooty private gentlemen’s clubs—in the British upper class sense of the word. They were almost exclusively male and were run by former engineers who shunned publicity and quietly voted Republican. Today generating hype has become a central part of the venture capital business. There are so many new firms and so much new money floating around that VC firms feel pressure to raise their profile.


pages: 197 words: 60,477

So Good They Can't Ignore You: Why Skills Trump Passion in the Quest for Work You Love by Cal Newport

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Apple II, bounce rate, Byte Shop, Cal Newport, capital controls, cleantech, Community Supported Agriculture, deliberate practice, financial independence, follow your passion, Frank Gehry, job satisfaction, job-hopping, knowledge worker, Mason jar, medical residency, new economy, passive income, Paul Terrell, popular electronics, renewable energy credits, Results Only Work Environment, Richard Bolles, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, rolodex, Sand Hill Road, side project, Silicon Valley, Skype, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, web application, winner-take-all economy

He then set out with the intensity once reserved for debate prep to acquire this capital as fast as possible. What this story lacks in pizazz, it makes up in repeatability: There’s nothing mysterious about how Alex Berger broke into Hollywood—he simply understood the value, and difficulty, of becoming good. The Most Desirable Job in Silicon Valley Mike Jackson is a director at the Westly Group, a cleantech venture capital firm on Silicon Valley’s famous Sand Hill Road. To say that Mike has a desirable job is an understatement. “I have a friend who recently had dinner with the dean in charge of a top-tier business school,” he told me. “And at this dinner, the dean said that everyone in their graduating class right now wants to be a cleantech VC.” Mike has experienced this firsthand: He receives dozens of e-mails from business school students asking him about his path.

This strategy paid off as his scriptwriting improved quickly, eventually earning him his first produced scripts, which in turn earned him his first staff writing jobs, which led to him cocreating a show with Michael Eisner. This is a classic example of career capital theory in action. To get a job he loved, Alex needed to first become so good that he couldn’t be ignored. MIKE JACKSON (introduced in Rule #2) Current job: Mike is a director at the Westly Group, a cleantech venture capital firm on Silicon Valley’s famous Sand Hill Road. Why he loves what he does: Clean-energy venture capital is a hot field. It offers a way to help the world while at the same time, as Mike admitted, “You make a lot of money.” How he applied the rules described in this book to get this job: Mike didn’t start with a clear vision of what he wanted to do with his life. He did understand, however, the basics of career capital theory: The more rare and valuable skills you have to offer, the more interesting opportunities will become available.

The Man Behind the Microchip: Robert Noyce and the Invention of Silicon Valley by Leslie Berlin

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Apple II, collective bargaining, computer age, George Gilder, informal economy, laissez-faire capitalism, low skilled workers, means of production, Menlo Park, Murray Gell-Mann, open economy, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Ronald Reagan, Sand Hill Road, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, union organizing, War on Poverty, women in the workforce, Yom Kippur War

I’ll eat the losses.”17 After a bit more discussion, Hwoschinsky agreed to oversee Noyce’s angel investing through a partnership that Hwoschinsky suggested they call the Callanish Fund. Callanish is the name of a Stonehenge-like structure in Scotland that some believe represents an ancient use of binary logic. Noyce established the Callanish Fund with about $1 million. Hwoschinsky rented an office on Sand Hill Road for $70 per month. The office held nothing more than a desk and chair, but it was the Sand Hill Road address that was important. Over the past few years, Sand Hill Road office complexes, a stone’s throw away from a major highway but nestled among lovely trees atop one of the highest hills rimming Silicon Valley, 240 THE MAN BEHIND THE MICROCHIP had become the epicenter of the region’s venture capital industry, which by 1975 included some 150 firms. Among the Callanish Fund’s new neighbors was Eugene Kleiner, who in 1972 partnered with an engineer-turned-Harvard-MBA named Tom Perkins to launch a venture capital company called Kleiner Perkins.

By the mid-1980s, Andy Grove was calling Silicon Valley a “business machine,” implying that the region churned out companies the way that Intel churned out chips.60 Zoning laws, venture capital companies, and course offerings—unrelated as they may seem—were predicated on a common assumption in Silicon Valley: that high-tech entrepreneurship was the best way to assure personal and regional vitality. Venture capitalists on Sand Hill Road, entrepreneurs in their garages or plotting defections in their low-walled cubicles, planners in City Hall, and students picking their way through course offerings made decisions based on a faith that the cycle of success would con- Renewal 255 tinue to perpetuate itself, that the innovations would continue to flow and the markets to develop and grow. At the heart of this assumption stands the entrepreneur.


pages: 394 words: 108,215

What the Dormouse Said: How the Sixties Counterculture Shaped the Personal Computer Industry by John Markoff

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Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, Apple II, back-to-the-land, Bill Duvall, Bill Gates: Altair 8800, Buckminster Fuller, California gold rush, card file, computer age, computer vision, conceptual framework, cuban missile crisis, Douglas Engelbart, Dynabook, El Camino Real, general-purpose programming language, Golden Gate Park, Hacker Ethic, hypertext link, informal economy, information retrieval, invention of the printing press, Jeff Rulifson, John Nash: game theory, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, knowledge worker, Mahatma Gandhi, Menlo Park, Mother of all demos, Norbert Wiener, packet switching, Paul Terrell, popular electronics, QWERTY keyboard, RAND corporation, RFC: Request For Comment, Richard Stallman, Robert X Cringely, Sand Hill Road, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, South of Market, San Francisco, speech recognition, Steve Crocker, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, Ted Nelson, Thorstein Veblen, Turing test, union organizing, Vannevar Bush, Whole Earth Catalog, William Shockley: the traitorous eight

He spent the next several years refining the language to the point where student programmers were unneeded. It was excellent training for a path that would ultimately lead Tesler directly to the modern personal computer. Lying west of Stanford are the Santa Cruz Mountains, which are frequently shrouded in fog and covered with a redwood forest that, though spotty, still wanders down to the coast in places. To reach the ocean, it was necessary only to drive past the university out Sand Hill Road to La Honda Road, a winding artery that makes its way from the elite Woodside mansions into a more rustic and rugged world, peopled by a mix of urban refugees thrown together with a rural community of artists, farmers, and bohemians. Anyone driving to the coast in August 1966 would have been surprised to see a large banner reading “Welcome Beatles!” while passing through the mountain hamlet of La Honda.

From the start, Felsenstein encouraged this gift economy, urging the hackers, “Bring back more than you take.” In the hobbyist’s culture, software was not business. In fact, the idea that the codes were intellectual property was actually laughable to the experimenters. The instructions were simply necessary to imbue the machines with life. Eventually, the Homebrew meetings settled at the Stanford Linear Accelerator auditorium, located west of the university along Sand Hill Road, where at roughly the same time Silicon Valley’s venture capitalists were beginning to take up residence. The meetings just grew and grew until routinely as many as four hundred people showed up for each one. For the first six meetings, Fred Moore sat up front, took notes, and afterward sent out the club newsletter. With another member, he drove up to San Francisco in early April to see about starting a spin-off.


pages: 323 words: 92,135

Running Money by Andy Kessler

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Andy Kessler, Apple II, bioinformatics, British Empire, business intelligence, buy low sell high, call centre, Corn Laws, family office, full employment, George Gilder, happiness index / gross national happiness, interest rate swap, invisible hand, James Hargreaves, James Watt: steam engine, joint-stock company, joint-stock limited liability company, knowledge worker, Long Term Capital Management, mail merge, margin call, market bubble, Maui Hawaii, Menlo Park, Network effects, packet switching, pattern recognition, pets.com, railway mania, risk tolerance, Sand Hill Road, Silicon Valley, South China Sea, spinning jenny, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Toyota Production System

“Well, in that case, I don’t like to say nobody’s in the deal. I prefer to say that there are a bunch of nobodies in the deal.” I should have been offended at that, but oddly I wasn’t. This was white-guy trash talk—you gotta take it to be able to dish it out. Plus, we were struggling and not destined to be top-tier venture capitalists with an A-list of portfolio companies and fancy offices on Sand Hill Road. But you don’t have to be a so-called player to make money in Silicon Valley, just smart enough to find a few good companies and avoid the fashionable ones. Like public investors, VCs are notorious momentum investors—each one often investing in two or three companies in the same market, hoping something works. This was a big reason for the boom-bust cycle in the valley: VCs fund 30 plus companies in each hot segment, and after a run-up and boom in taking companies public, a shakeout is almost inevitable.

It’s our conference room. We met with a company there yesterday—passing the bag lady sitting on a bench at the bus stop in front of our building. 152 Running Money Palo Alto is a strange town. Not much is over two stories tall, so it feels like a middle-American town: drugstore, stationery store, Chinese restaurant. Except there are subtle clues that something is different. Stanford University is next door. Sand Hill Road, home to almost every venture capital firm, is a few miles away. A typical walk down the block finds a beat-up old Volkswagen Beetle parked behind a brand-new Ferrari F355. Next to a frozen yogurt store is a bike shop with selections that start at $1,299. There is money infused in the sinews of Palo Alto, although the place is by no means glitzy. Some prospective investors insist on seeing our space, and we begrudgingly have them come on up.


pages: 326 words: 103,170

The Seventh Sense: Power, Fortune, and Survival in the Age of Networks by Joshua Cooper Ramo

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Airbnb, Albert Einstein, algorithmic trading, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, bitcoin, British Empire, cloud computing, crowdsourcing, Danny Hillis, defense in depth, Deng Xiaoping, Edward Snowden, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Firefox, Google Chrome, income inequality, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, job automation, market bubble, Menlo Park, natural language processing, Network effects, Norbert Wiener, Oculus Rift, packet switching, Paul Graham, price stability, quantitative easing, RAND corporation, recommendation engine, Republic of Letters, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, road to serfdom, Sand Hill Road, secular stagnation, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Skype, Snapchat, social web, sovereign wealth fund, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Stewart Brand, Stuxnet, superintelligent machines, technological singularity, The Coming Technological Singularity, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, Vernor Vinge, zero day

Or are mystery, inscrutability, and opacity the nature of truth, as the rabbis said? We are children of the Enlightenment, after all, so we want to know what goes on inside the machines. We want them, at least, to be accountable to us. This tension is one reason why places such as Silicon Valley often leave a visitor with an uneasy feeling. Go drive along the anodyne strip of asphalt that runs in front of Sand Hill Road in Menlo Park, home of the greatest venture capital funds of our age. Inside those offices, revolutions are dreamed up, debated, and funded. You might expect to see, as a result, something as magnificent as the Vatican for these high priests of technology. But what you pass in that two-mile strip resembles nothing so much as a row of mildly prosperous dental practices. Black boxes. Perhaps you’ve heard of this famous manufacturing trilemma, that you can have something made with two of these three characteristics: good, fast, and cheap.

Our world shuffles into a new order now and Macht is expressed by all kinds of in-or-out borders. What the Seventh Sense reveals as it feels our new power arrangements is gates. Everywhere. The world is not one big, flat equally connected topology. It is filled with closed and gated worlds. Facebook. Bitcoin users. Doctors with privileged access to genetic databases. Members of the New Caste. Those revolutionary investors disguised as dentists’ offices on Sand Hill Road. These are all are gated, in-or-out worlds. Look around and see how many gates enclose you or your family or your company. The Internet. The FTSE 100. Your Apple or Android operating system. In our connected age, the act of drawing lines between points is also an act of drawing a line around those points. It is not simply that we’re enmeshed in networks now; no, we’re enclosed, even entrapped, by them.


pages: 286 words: 82,065

Curation Nation by Rosenbaum, Steven

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Amazon Mechanical Turk, Andrew Keen, barriers to entry, citizen journalism, cognitive dissonance, crowdsourcing, disintermediation, en.wikipedia.org, future of journalism, Jason Scott: textfiles.com, means of production, PageRank, pattern recognition, postindustrial economy, pre–internet, Sand Hill Road, Silicon Valley, Skype, social graph, social web, Steve Jobs, Tony Hsieh, Yogi Berra

This would solve one problem and create a new one: no longer would public speech be limited to those who could afford a TV broadcast antenna or a printing press. The sheer increase in content made every moment would create an urgent need for both alpha organizers (curators) and curation tools. My first attempt to share this vision was hardly encouraging. I traveled up and down the infamous Sand Hill Road of Silicon Valley with a PowerPoint under my arm. I was out raising money for a curation solution, a technology-enabled human-powered series of filters. Quickly, the best and the brightest in Valley venture funds reviewed the idea and found it out of sync with the future. Curation was a bad word because it suggested humans, and the Valley isn’t about humans; it’s about using microprocessors and heavy iron to replace human behaviors with content-publishing robots.

Then, as we began to grow and add more complex tools, we added a pro and an enterprise version. And we added a “freemium” solution, so you could start at free and then grow into pro. Today we’ve got more than 83,000 channels on the platform. And amazing choices of channels for the arts, music, theater, computer, and created-by-content curators around the world. There’s a sweet pleasure in being able to look back on those meetings on Sand Hill Road and know that I was right and they were wrong. Computers will win in data processing and e-commerce and lots of things. But for content creation and content curation, humans will win. It will be a man-and-machine partnership for sure. Magnify makes it possible for channel creators to be alerted whenever a video appears on the Web that could be appropriate for your site. But once you’re alerted, the next step is up to you: publish or delete, curate for the right fit—that’s a human job.


pages: 194 words: 36,223

Smart and Gets Things Done: Joel Spolsky's Concise Guide to Finding the Best Technical Talent by Joel Spolsky

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

Build a better mousetrap, knowledge worker, linear programming, nuclear winter, Sand Hill Road, Silicon Valley, sorting algorithm, Superbowl ad, the scientific method, type inference, unpaid internship

Think of it this way. As soon as your team consists of more than one person, you’re going to have different people with different agendas. They want different things than you want. If you’re a startup founder, you might want to make a lot of money quickly so you can retire early and spend the next couple of decades going to conferences for women bloggers. So you might spend most of your time driving around Sand Hill Road talking to VCs who might buy the company and flip it to Yahoo!. But Janice the Programmer, one of your employees, doesn’t care about selling out to Yahoo!, because she’s not going to make any money that way. What she cares about is writing code in the latest coolest new programming language, because it’s fun to learn a new thing. Meanwhile your CFO is entirely driven by the need to get out of the same cubicle he has been sharing with the system administrator, Trekkie Monster, and so he’s working up a new budget proposal that 134 Smart and Gets Things Done shows just how much money you would save by moving to larger office space that’s two minutes from his house (what a coincidence!).


pages: 549 words: 116,200

With a Little Help by Cory Doctorow

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autonomous vehicles, big-box store, Burning Man, call centre, carbon footprint, death of newspapers, don't be evil, game design, Google Earth, high net worth, margin call, offshore financial centre, packet switching, Ponzi scheme, rolodex, Sand Hill Road, sensible shoes, skunkworks, Skype, traffic fines, traveling salesman, Turing test, urban planning, Y2K

The Bookseller, Britain's oldest publishing trade magazine, commissioned a story from me for its 150th anniversary issue -- three parts, depicting the future of bookselling in 50, 100 and 150 years. 503 ~~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~ With a Little Help, Cory Doctorow 504 Other Peoples' Money 505 Gretl's stall in the dead WalMart off the I-5 in Pico Rivera was not the busiest spot in the place, but that was how she liked it. Time to think was critical to her brand of functional sculpture, and reflection was the scarcest commodity of all in 2027. 506 Which is why she was hoping that the venture capitalist would just leave her alone. He wasn't a paying customer, he wasn't a fellow artist -- he wanted to buy her, and he was thirty years too late. 507 "You know, I pitched you guys in 1999. On Sand Hill Road. One of the founding partners. Kleiner, I think. The guy ate a salad all through my slide-deck. When I was done, he wiped his mouth, looked over my shoulder, and told me he didn't think I'd scale. That was it. He didn't even pick up my business card. When I looked back as I was going out the door, I saw him sweep it into the trash with the wrapper from his sandwich." 508 The VC -- young, with the waxy, sweaty look of someone who ate a lot of GM yogurt to try to patch his biochemistry -- shook his head.

509 Gretl tossed her tablet with a crash on top of an overflowing barrel of primo plastics and wiped her hands on the cunningly stitched dress quilted from back pockets of vintage bootleg Levis, their frayed, misspelled red tags on proud display. "Son, that was 1999. Within a year, VCs weren't writing term-sheets. They were doing cram-downs on anything halfway decent in their portfolios, forcing out the founders, trying to flip them before the market cratered. But it wasn't that pitch that soured me on Sand Hill Road --" 510 "We're in Inglewood." 511 "Yes, you said." What the hell, it was Wednesday and she had all her week's commissions done already. The VC was at least pretty, if you liked them young. He had good teeth -- they all had good teeth now -- and a cute bump in the bridge of his nose that spoke of a little bit of brawling before his B-school days. "OK, here's the thing. I had running code, a half-million users.


pages: 532 words: 139,706

Googled: The End of the World as We Know It by Ken Auletta

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

23andMe, AltaVista, Anne Wojcicki, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, bioinformatics, Burning Man, carbon footprint, citizen journalism, Clayton Christensen, cloud computing, Colonization of Mars, corporate social responsibility, death of newspapers, disintermediation, don't be evil, facts on the ground, Firefox, Frank Gehry, Google Earth, hypertext link, Innovator's Dilemma, Internet Archive, invention of the telephone, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, Kevin Kelly, knowledge worker, Long Term Capital Management, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, Network effects, new economy, Nicholas Carr, PageRank, Paul Buchheit, Peter Thiel, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Sand Hill Road, Saturday Night Live, semantic web, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Skype, slashdot, social graph, spectrum auction, stealth mode startup, Stephen Hawking, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, strikebreaker, telemarketer, the scientific method, The Wisdom of Crowds, Upton Sinclair, X Prize, yield management

For $1,700 a month, the just-formed company sublet new office space: the two-car Menlo Park garage and two downstairs spare rooms of an 1,800-square-foot house in Menlo Park. The owners were friends: Susan Wojcicki, an engineer at Intel, and her husband Dennis Troper, a product manager at a tech company. The newly constituted Google had found its way to them because Sergey had dated Susan’s roommate at Stanford Business School. The house was not located in the upscale sections of Menlo Park, near the Sand Hill Road offices made famous by the venture capitalists whose offices are there, or in nearby Atherton, where many of these venture capitalists live and in 2008 an acre of land could sell for $3 million. Rather, it was on a dreary flag lot at 232 Santa Margarita Avenue. A concrete driveway led up to the garage, where a whiteboard had been attached with the legend, “Google Worldwide Headquarters.” Inside were three tables, three chairs, a dirty turquoise shag carpet, a tiny refrigerator, an old washer and dryer, and a Ping-Pong table that was kept folded because there wasn’t space to leave it open.

They set out to recruit two of the most prominent VC firms in the Valley, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, whose senior partner John Doerr was a trained engineer who had helped fund such start-ups as Amazon, Netscape, and AOL, and Sequoia Capital, where Oxford-educated former Time magazine reporter Michael Moritz was a partner and an early backer of Yahoo and PayPal. Doerr remembers the meeting vividly. They met in the conference room next to his glassed office on Sand Hill Road. Page and Brin made a brief PowerPoint presentation to establish the most telling facts: by the end of 1998 they had indexed twenty-six million Web pages and were now doing half a million searches a day. Doerr was impressed. Instead of a long-winded explanation of their mission, Page and Brin made a high-concept pitch consisting of eight words: “We deliver the world’s information in one click.”


pages: 538 words: 147,612

All the Money in the World by Peter W. Bernstein

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Albert Einstein, anti-communist, Berlin Wall, Bill Gates: Altair 8800, call centre, corporate governance, currency peg, David Brooks, Donald Trump, estate planning, family office, financial innovation, George Gilder, high net worth, invisible hand, Jeff Bezos, job automation, job-hopping, Long Term Capital Management, Martin Wolf, Maui Hawaii, means of production, Menlo Park, Mikhail Gorbachev, new economy, PageRank, Peter Singer: altruism, pez dispenser, popular electronics, Renaissance Technologies, Rod Stewart played at Stephen Schwarzman birthday party, Ronald Reagan, Sand Hill Road, school vouchers, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, traveling salesman, urban planning, William Shockley: the traitorous eight, women in the workforce

In 1999, when David Kaplan15 published The Silicon Boys and Their Valley of Dreams, an account of the astounding accumulation of wealth achieved in the Valley, he calculated that the companies there had a market value of almost $1 trillion, more than either Hollywood or Detroit; and that if the Valley seceded from the United States, it would have the twelfth-largest economy in the world. Venture capitalist John Doerr (2006 net worth: $1 billion) describes the Valley as the site responsible for the “greatest legal accumulation of wealth in the history of the planet.” Aside from its stunning scenery, the Valley does not advertise its riches. With the country’s top venture-capital firms and its thriving high-tech companies, Sand Hill Road, the Valley’s main strip, is a sort of New Economy version of Wall Street. The four-lane highway runs through a hilly landscape from the town of Menlo Park past the mission-style buildings of Stanford University’s campus to the edge of Palo Alto. There are no iconic financial towers dominating the surrounding landscape; nor are there legions of briefcase-toting workers rushing by. Instead, there are views of the mountains and the Horse Park at Woodside, an enormous facility devoted to a variety of equestrian events.

Sergey Brin Larry Page August 1, 1973 December 1,1972 Google 2004 The Google guys weren’t rich enough to make the Forbes list when they were 30, but at 31 and 32, respectively, they were each worth $4 billion. In 2006, Brin, 33, and Page, 34, were each worth $14.1 billion. * * * Before long, everyone at Stanford was Googling. And it was not much longer before the venture capitalists, many of whom were headquartered just a few miles up the road from Stanford on Sand Hill Road, came knocking with proposals in hand. One of them, Vinod Khosla50 of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, showed up with an offer from Excite, a company in which he was invested, to buy Google for $750,000. But Brin and Page held out for $1.6 million, and the deal fell through. In 1998, however, they got $100,00051 in start-up capital from another Silicon Valley investor, Andreas von Bechtolsheim, a cofounder of Sun Microsystems, and moved their company from Brin’s dorm room into a bedroom that they rented in a friend’s house.


pages: 413 words: 119,587

Machines of Loving Grace: The Quest for Common Ground Between Humans and Robots by John Markoff

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A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, AI winter, airport security, Apple II, artificial general intelligence, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, Bill Duvall, bioinformatics, Brewster Kahle, Burning Man, call centre, cellular automata, Chris Urmson, Claude Shannon: information theory, Clayton Christensen, clean water, cloud computing, collective bargaining, computer age, computer vision, crowdsourcing, Danny Hillis, DARPA: Urban Challenge, data acquisition, Dean Kamen, deskilling, don't be evil, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Hofstadter, Dynabook, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, factory automation, From Mathematics to the Technologies of Life and Death, future of work, Galaxy Zoo, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, Grace Hopper, Gödel, Escher, Bach, Hacker Ethic, haute couture, hive mind, hypertext link, indoor plumbing, industrial robot, information retrieval, Internet Archive, Internet of things, invention of the wheel, Jacques de Vaucanson, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Conway, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, knowledge worker, Kodak vs Instagram, labor-force participation, loose coupling, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, medical residency, Menlo Park, Mother of all demos, natural language processing, new economy, Norbert Wiener, PageRank, pattern recognition, pre–internet, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Stallman, Robert Gordon, Rodney Brooks, Sand Hill Road, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, semantic web, shareholder value, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Singularitarianism, skunkworks, Skype, social software, speech recognition, stealth mode startup, Stephen Hawking, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, strong AI, superintelligent machines, technological singularity, Ted Nelson, telemarketer, telepresence, telepresence robot, Tenerife airport disaster, The Coming Technological Singularity, the medium is the message, Thorstein Veblen, Turing test, Vannevar Bush, Vernor Vinge, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, Whole Earth Catalog, William Shockley: the traitorous eight

The previous spring Jobs had acquired Siri, a tiny developer of a natural language software application that was designed to act as a virtual assistant, in effect a software assistant, on the iPhone. The acquisition had drawn a great deal of attention in Silicon Valley. Apple acquisitions, particularly large ones, are extremely rare. When word circulated that the firm had been acquired, possibly for more than $200 million, it sent shock waves up and down Sand Hill Road and within the burgeoning “app economy” that the iPhone had spawned. After Apple acquired Siri, the program was immediately pulled from the App Store, the iPhone service through which programs were screened and sold, and the small team of programmers who had designed Siri vanished back into “stealth mode” inside the Cupertino campus. The larger implications of the acquisition weren’t immediately obvious to many in the Valley, but as one of his last acts as the leader of Apple, Steve Jobs had paved the way for yet another dramatic shift in the way humans would interact with computers.

Independently, the three Siri founders had already spent a lot of time pitching investors in the area for funding for earlier projects. In the past, this had been an onerous chore for Gruber, since it required countless visits to venture capitalists who were often uninterested, arrogant, or both. This time their connection to SRI opened the doors to the Valley’s blue-chip venture firms. Dag Kittlaus was a master showman, and on their tour of the venture capital firms on Sand Hill Road, he developed a witty and charming pitch. He would take Cheyer and Gruber in tow to each fund-raising meeting. The men would then be escorted into a conference room and after they introduced themselves, Kittlaus innocently asked the VCs, “Hey, do any of you have one of those newfangled smartphones?” The VCs thrust their hands in their pockets and almost always retrieved Apple’s then-brand-new iPhone.


pages: 189 words: 57,632

Content: Selected Essays on Technology, Creativity, Copyright, and the Future of the Future by Cory Doctorow

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book scanning, Brewster Kahle, Burning Man, en.wikipedia.org, informal economy, information retrieval, Internet Archive, invention of movable type, Jeff Bezos, Law of Accelerating Returns, Metcalfe's law, mutually assured destruction, new economy, optical character recognition, patent troll, pattern recognition, Ponzi scheme, post scarcity, QWERTY keyboard, Ray Kurzweil, RFID, Sand Hill Road, Skype, slashdot, social software, speech recognition, Steve Jobs, Turing test, Vernor Vinge

Bertelsmann bought Napster out of the ensuing bankruptcy, a pattern that was followed by other music giants, like Universal, who slayed MP3.com in the courts, then brought home the corpse on the cheap, running it as an internal project. After that, the record companies had a field day: practically every venture-funded P2P company went down, and millions of dollars were funneled from the tech venture capital firms to Sand Hill Road to the RIAA's members, using P2P companies and the courts as conduits. But the record companies weren't ready to replace these services with equally compelling alternatives. Instead, they fielded inferior replacements like PressPlay, with limited catalog, high prices, and anti-copying technology (digital rights management, or DRM) that alienated users by the millions by treating them like crooks instead of customers.


pages: 207 words: 63,071

My Start-Up Life: What A by Ben Casnocha, Marc Benioff

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affirmative action, Albert Einstein, barriers to entry, Bonfire of the Vanities, business process, call centre, David Brooks, don't be evil, fear of failure, hiring and firing, index fund, informal economy, Jeff Bezos, Lao Tzu, Menlo Park, Paul Graham, place-making, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Sand Hill Road, side project, Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, technology bubble, traffic fines

Even as I began slowly pulling away from the dayto-day minutia of my other teenage friends, I must have been doing something right. I later earned the top honor in my eighth-grade yearbook: “Most Popular.” (I also received “Most Likely to Be U.S. President,” but who cares about that?) CHAPTER 5.0 First Meeting with a VC (It’s All About the Network) My chief want in life is someone who shall make me do what I can. RALPH WALDO EMERSON For entrepreneurs, getting a meeting with a venture capitalist on the fabled Sand Hill Road, which runs through Menlo Park, and along the northern edge of the Stanford University campus, is a worthy accomplishment. If you don’t know a VC personally, it can take dozens of calls and emails to secure a meeting with someone who could fund your start-up. And dozens of calls and emails are no guarantee of an audience. For me, as lady luck would have it, I met with a venture capitalist early on: my very first meeting with an adult businessperson. >> The value of obtaining advice from experienced people in the field is one I cherished from the start and continue to hold as essential to successful entrepreneurship.


pages: 270 words: 75,803

Wall Street Meat by Andy Kessler

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accounting loophole / creative accounting, Andy Kessler, automated trading system, banking crisis, George Gilder, index fund, Jeff Bezos, market bubble, Menlo Park, pets.com, rolodex, Sand Hill Road, Silicon Valley, Small Order Execution System, Steve Jobs, technology bubble, Y2K

Eventually, we just took them from the mailman and immediately tossed them out. Not five years earlier, Morgan Stanley had four technology 187 Wall Street Meat analysts with Frank Quattrone and a small crew as technology investment bankers. Now they had over fifty analysts covering every technology industry segment, including “periph-reeals,” and over one hundred investment bankers in their Sand Hill Road office in Menlo Park, California, alone. I struggled with what made this whole system tick. I had friends who had growth funds with $10 billion, $20 billion, even $40 billion in assets. They did absolutely no fundamental research. No Hank Hermann-like Piranha tactics to figure out what analysts were saying and how the market would react to the next piece of news. They just sat in conference rooms and had IPOs pitched to them.


pages: 296 words: 76,284

The End of the Suburbs: Where the American Dream Is Moving by Leigh Gallagher

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Airbnb, big-box store, Burning Man, call centre, car-free, Celebration, Florida, clean water, collaborative consumption, Columbine, crack epidemic, East Village, edge city, Edward Glaeser, extreme commuting, helicopter parent, Home mortgage interest deduction, housing crisis, Jane Jacobs, low skilled workers, Mark Zuckerberg, McMansion, Menlo Park, mortgage tax deduction, New Urbanism, peak oil, Ponzi scheme, Richard Florida, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Sand Hill Road, Seaside, Florida, Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, the built environment, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, Tony Hsieh, transit-oriented development, upwardly mobile, urban planning, urban sprawl, Victor Gruen, walkable city, white flight, young professional, Zipcar

Nowhere is this more obvious than in San Francisco, where some of the hottest tech start-ups are forgoing Silicon Valley for the city itself. Twitter, Zynga, Airbnb, Dropbox, Uber, Pinterest, and Yelp are among those that have opted to build new headquarters in San Franciscos proper instead of the stretch of suburbs that make up the Bay Area peninsula. Several venture capital firms, too, longtime fixtures of Menlo Park’s Sand Hill Road, have recently announced plans to either relocate or open satellite offices in San Francisco. In the mornings, the traffic on the 101, the main commuting freeway out of San Francisco toward the Valley, is now heavier heading out of the city than the reverse. One of the more interesting company relocations these days is happening in Las Vegas, where Zappos, the online shoe giant, is getting ready to move from a cookie-cutter suburban office park off a highway interchange in Henderson, Nevada, to a brand-new headquarters in Las Vegas’s old city hall.


pages: 468 words: 233,091

Founders at Work: Stories of Startups' Early Days by Jessica Livingston

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8-hour work day, affirmative action, AltaVista, Apple II, Brewster Kahle, business process, Byte Shop, Danny Hillis, don't be evil, fear of failure, financial independence, Firefox, full text search, game design, Googley, HyperCard, illegal immigration, Internet Archive, Jeff Bezos, Maui Hawaii, Menlo Park, nuclear winter, Paul Buchheit, Paul Graham, Peter Thiel, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Sand Hill Road, side project, Silicon Valley, slashdot, social software, software patent, South of Market, San Francisco, Startup school, stealth mode startup, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, web application, Y Combinator

I can’t speak for every kind of startup, but for something involving technology—and even a lot of things involving content—it’s just so much easier to do it here. You have resources here and people who understand technology. There’s a high concentration of talent that you can draw on. You don’t have to relocate people to get them there. Steve Perlman 187 Then there’s Sand Hill Road with all the VCs and other potential investors, who are all clustered together. You literally might do two or three presentations to different VCs all in the cluster of buildings on Sand Hill Road. The other thing is that there’s kind of an attitude here that people should try things, and, if they fail, if they understand why they failed, they may actually be a better investment in the next round than somebody who quickly succeeded just by sheer luck. Livingston: Were there any powerful interests who did not like what you were doing and tried to stop WebTV?


pages: 297 words: 89,820

The Perfect Thing: How the iPod Shuffles Commerce, Culture, and Coolness by Steven Levy

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Apple II, British Empire, Claude Shannon: information theory, en.wikipedia.org, indoor plumbing, Internet Archive, Jeff Bezos, Jony Ive, Kevin Kelly, Sand Hill Road, Saturday Night Live, Silicon Valley, social web, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, technology bubble, Thomas L Friedman

A few months after Shawn Fanning, Napster's creator, invited the world to download his program—sort of like introducing an aggressive virus in the wild—millions of people were Napster nuts and the The Perfect Thing 142 program was consuming more than half the bandwidth on college computer networks nationwide. In March 1999, I wrote a column for Newsweek outlining the threat to the established order it represented, as well as the possibilities for glory if the music industry embraced the model. One of my readers showed the piece to her husband. He was Hank Barry, a copyright lawyer who was also a venture capitalist at Hummer, Winblad, one of the alpha dogs of Sand Hill Road, where Silicon Valley s top VC firms were located. Barry was so intrigued that he not only got Hummer to invest in Napster but became its CEO. Barry's job was to make Napster legit, first offering, then begging the record labels to help the company shift to selling songs legally. "We're trying to build a bridge to everybody involved in Napster, from music educators and users to record companies," he told me in 2000 after thanking me for cluing him in to the company.


pages: 292 words: 81,699

More Joel on Software by Joel Spolsky

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

barriers to entry, Black Swan, Build a better mousetrap, business process, call centre, Danny Hillis, failed state, Firefox, George Gilder, low cost carrier, Mars Rover, Network effects, Paul Graham, performance metric, place-making, price discrimination, prisoner's dilemma, Ray Oldenburg, Sand Hill Road, Silicon Valley, slashdot, social software, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Superbowl ad, The Great Good Place, type inference, unpaid internship, wage slave, web application, Y Combinator

Think of it this way. As soon as your team consists of more than one person, you’re going to have different people with different agendas. They want different things than you want. If you’re a startup founder, you might want to make a lot of money quickly so you can retire early and spend the next couple of decades going to conferences for women bloggers. So you might spend most of your time driving around Sand Hill Road talking to VCs who might buy the company and flip it to Yahoo!. But Janice the Programmer, one of your employees, doesn’t care about selling out to Yahoo!, because she’s not going to make any money that way. What she cares about is writing code in the latest coolest new programming language, because it’s fun to learn a new thing. Meanwhile, your CFO is entirely driven by the need to get out of the same cubicle he has been sharing with the system administrator, Trekkie Monster, and so he’s working up a new budget proposal that shows just how much money you would save by moving to larger office space that’s two minutes from his house, what a coincidence!


pages: 304 words: 88,495

The Powerhouse: Inside the Invention of a Battery to Save the World by Steve Levine

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colonial rule, Elon Musk, energy security, oil shale / tar sands, Ronald Reagan, Sand Hill Road, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Steve Jobs, Yom Kippur War

Kumar had not earned anyone hundreds of millions of dollars, but he had “done it”—he had helped to lead three previous start-ups, which again was the core credential. It was what made the difference. He could approach VCs and say, “Look, here is a new opportunity. I don’t have the license deal yet, but you have to act fast. Here are the terms we’ve agreed on with Argonne.” “And, bang,” Chamberlain said, “you have three million dollars. He got it immediately.” By comparison, Chamberlain had crawled Sand Hill Road just a couple of years before. When asked about his prior experience, Chamberlain replied that he “absolutely” had built a business from scratch—at Cabot. But venture capitalists felt differently about achievements within a big corporate setting. It wasn’t the same as success on a tight budget with a small staff and the risk on your own shoulders. Their reaction was “No, you haven’t done it.”


pages: 362 words: 99,063

The Education of Millionaires: It's Not What You Think and It's Not Too Late by Michael Ellsberg

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affirmative action, Black Swan, Burning Man, corporate governance, financial independence, follow your passion, future of work, hiring and firing, job automation, knowledge worker, Lean Startup, Mark Zuckerberg, means of production, meta analysis, meta-analysis, new economy, Peter Thiel, profit motive, race to the bottom, Sand Hill Road, shareholder value, side project, Silicon Valley, Skype, Steve Ballmer, telemarketer, Tony Hsieh

And then there is the most dangerous risk of all—the risk of spending your life not doing what you want on the bet you can buy yourself the freedom to do it later.”3 Randy is a partner at the legendary Silicon Valley venture firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. A serious meditator and student of Buddhism for many decades (and a fellow graduate of my alma mater, Brown), he’s one of the only people in Silicon Valley who could talk with equal authority on structuring multihundredmillion-dollar rounds of private equity financing and the finer points of Buddhist philosophy. I talked with Randy at his office on Sand Hill Road in Silicon Valley. He told me that, a lot of the time, people put off taking any steps toward living a more fulfilling life, with the idea of “keeping their options open.” Yet, according to Randy, the idea of “keeping your options open” is an illusion. Randy pointed out to me that the words “decision” and “decide” stem from the roots “cise” and “cide,” to cut off and to kill, also the roots of many other words related to cutting and killing, such as “incise,” “concise” (cutting out nonessentials), and “homicide.”


pages: 325 words: 110,330

Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration by Ed Catmull, Amy Wallace

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Albert Einstein, business climate, buy low sell high, complexity theory, fear of failure, Golden Gate Park, iterative process, Menlo Park, rolodex, Sand Hill Road, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Steve Jobs, Wall-E

Our offices were located in San Rafael, about an hour’s drive from Palo Alto, the heart of Silicon Valley—a moniker that was just gaining traction then, as the semiconductor and computer industries took off. That proximity gave me a front-row seat from which to observe the many emerging hardware and software companies—not to mention the growing venture capital industry—that, in the course of a few years, would come to dominate Silicon Valley from its perch on Sand Hill Road. I couldn’t have arrived at a more dynamic and volatile time. I watched as many startups burned bright with success—and then flamed out. My mandate at Lucasfilm—to merge moviemaking with technology—meant that I rubbed shoulders with the leaders of places like Sun Microsystems and Silicon Graphics and Cray Computer, several of whom I came to know well. I was first and foremost a scientist then, not a manager, so I watched these guys closely, hoping to learn from the trajectories their companies followed.


pages: 398 words: 120,801

Little Brother by Cory Doctorow

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airport security, Berlin Wall, citizen journalism, Firefox, game design, Golden Gate Park, Haight Ashbury, Internet Archive, Isaac Newton, Jane Jacobs, Jeff Bezos, mail merge, RFID, Sand Hill Road, Silicon Valley, slashdot, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, web of trust, zero day

Technically we were called Coalition of Voters for a Free America, but everyone called us the Xnetters. The organization -- a charitable nonprofit -- had been co-founded by Barbara and some of her lawyer friends right after the liberation of Treasure Island. The funding was kicked off by some tech millionaires who couldn't believe that a bunch of hacker kids had kicked the DHS's ass. Sometimes, they'd ask us to go down the peninsula to Sand Hill Road, where all the venture capitalists were, and give a little presentation on Xnet technology. There were about a zillion startups who were trying to make a buck on the Xnet. Whatever -- I didn't have to have anything to do with it, and I got a desk and an office with a storefront, right there on Valencia Street, where we gave away ParanoidXbox CDs and held workshops on building better WiFi antennas.


pages: 455 words: 133,322

The Facebook Effect by David Kirkpatrick

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Andy Kessler, Burning Man, delayed gratification, demand response, don't be evil, global village, happiness index / gross national happiness, Howard Rheingold, Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, Network effects, Peter Thiel, rolodex, Sand Hill Road, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, social graph, social software, social web, Startup school, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, the payments system, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Whole Earth Review, winner-take-all economy, Y Combinator

“They just wanted to do Facebook.” Sequoia, for its part, was so eager to get close to them that partner Roelof Botha willingly accepted the idea. The boys hatched a plan. On the appointed day, they overslept. They were supposed to meet at 8 A.M. Botha called at 8:05—“Where are you guys?” Zuckerberg and Andrew McCollum, his Wirehog partner, rushed over to Sequoia’s swanky offices on Menlo Park’s Sand Hill Road in pajama bottoms and T-shirts. Though they said they’d overslept, it was deliberate. “It was actually supposed to be worse,” says Zuckerberg. “We won’t even go there.” Then, as the stiff but attentive partners of Sequoia looked on, Zuckerberg made his presentation. He showed ten slides. He didn’t even make a pitch for Wirehog. It was a David Letterman–style list of “The Top Ten Reasons You Should Not Invest in Wirehog.”


pages: 550 words: 154,725

The Idea Factory: Bell Labs and the Great Age of American Innovation by Jon Gertner

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Albert Einstein, back-to-the-land, Black Swan, business climate, Claude Shannon: information theory, Clayton Christensen, complexity theory, corporate governance, cuban missile crisis, horn antenna, Hush-A-Phone, information retrieval, invention of the telephone, James Watt: steam engine, Karl Jansky, knowledge economy, Nicholas Carr, Norbert Wiener, Picturephone, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Sand Hill Road, Silicon Valley, Skype, Steve Jobs, Telecommunications Act of 1996, traveling salesman, uranium enrichment, William Shockley: the traitorous eight

As industrial science was evolving, a very different model for innovation arose. From the 1970s on, a host of Silicon Valley entrepreneurs proved that new ideas didn’t need to be attached to a large corporation to become world-altering technologies. A good idea could arise from a teacher or student at a school like Stanford, and the purveyor of that idea could then get funding from a venture capitalist on Sand Hill Road, the wide avenue that runs along the university’s western boundary. In turn, the idea purveyor—now simply labeled an entrepreneur—could launch his or her technology through a small start-up company in a nearby town like Palo Alto or Cupertino or Mountain View. Not incidentally, in the process of backing a winner, everyone involved could get very, very rich. Bell Labs invariably lent some of its genetic material to this process—a number of the new ideas for computers or software relied on transistors or lasers or the Unix programming language, for instance.


pages: 435 words: 127,403

Panderer to Power by Frederick Sheehan

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Asian financial crisis, asset-backed security, bank run, banking crisis, Bretton Woods, British Empire, call centre, central bank independence, collateralized debt obligation, corporate governance, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, crony capitalism, deindustrialization, diversification, financial deregulation, financial innovation, full employment, inflation targeting, interest rate swap, inventory management, Isaac Newton, Long Term Capital Management, margin call, market bubble, McMansion, Menlo Park, mortgage debt, new economy, Northern Rock, oil shock, place-making, Ponzi scheme, price stability, reserve currency, rising living standards, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, Sand Hill Road, savings glut, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, South Sea Bubble, supply-chain management, supply-chain management software, The Great Moderation, too big to fail, transaction costs, trickle-down economics, VA Linux, Y2K, Yom Kippur War

Silicon Valley is a tribute both to American ingenuity and to the financial system’s ever-increasing ability to supply venture capital to the entrepreneurs who are such a dynamic force in our economy.”16 Wall Street firms that had opened offices in Silicon Valley during the IPO mania could not have hired a better public relations representative. Their behavior was often scandalous (that, we knew at the time) and criminal (as the courts would decide, in due course). Greenspan capped off his ode to the venture capitalists who lined Sand Hill Road in Menlo Park, California, in a stellar summation: “More recent evidence remains consistent with the view that this capital spending has contributed to a noticeable pickup in productivity.”17 Within weeks, Michael Wolff, an entrepreneur who had taken full advantage of the pickup in productivity, published his memoir. He described Silicon Valley companies that had nothing to sell, other than common stock.


pages: 421 words: 128,094

King of Capital: The Remarkable Rise, Fall, and Rise Again of Steve Schwarzman and Blackstone by David Carey; John E. Morris; John Morris

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asset allocation, banking crisis, Bonfire of the Vanities, carried interest, collateralized debt obligation, corporate governance, credit crunch, diversification, diversified portfolio, fixed income, Gordon Gekko, margin call, Menlo Park, mortgage debt, new economy, Northern Rock, risk tolerance, Rod Stewart played at Stephen Schwarzman birthday party, Sand Hill Road, sealed-bid auction, Silicon Valley, sovereign wealth fund, The Predators' Ball, éminence grise

The programmers, chip makers, biotech researchers, Internet merchants, and the venture capitalists, or VCs, who financed them operated in their own universe, on another coast, playing by their own set of rules. The epicenter of the U.S. buyout industry is Midtown Manhattan, where Blackstone, KKR, Apollo, Warburg Pincus, and dozens of other firms are headquartered within a few blocks of one another in a world of starched shirts and Hermès ties, chauffeured Mercedes, and office towers. Ground zero of the venture world is Sand Hill Road, a landscaped boulevard rising into the gentle, suburban hills behind Palo Alto, California. There capital flows in a dress-down world of khakis and golf shirts, low-rise office compounds surrounded by groves of live oaks and towering eucalyptuses. Venture capitalists drive themselves to work in Ferraris and Porsches. The investment styles were as different as the dress codes. Venture investing involves an entirely different type of risk.

Investment: A History by Norton Reamer, Jesse Downing

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Albert Einstein, algorithmic trading, asset allocation, backtesting, banking crisis, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, Brownian motion, buttonwood tree, California gold rush, capital asset pricing model, Carmen Reinhart, carried interest, colonial rule, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, debt deflation, discounted cash flows, diversified portfolio, equity premium, estate planning, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, Fall of the Berlin Wall, family office, Fellow of the Royal Society, financial innovation, fixed income, Gordon Gekko, Henri Poincaré, high net worth, index fund, interest rate swap, invention of the telegraph, James Hargreaves, James Watt: steam engine, joint-stock company, Kenneth Rogoff, labor-force participation, land tenure, London Interbank Offered Rate, Long Term Capital Management, loss aversion, Louis Bachelier, margin call, means of production, Menlo Park, merger arbitrage, moral hazard, mortgage debt, Network effects, new economy, Nick Leeson, Own Your Own Home, pension reform, Ponzi scheme, price mechanism, principal–agent problem, profit maximization, quantitative easing, RAND corporation, random walk, Renaissance Technologies, Richard Thaler, risk tolerance, risk-adjusted returns, risk/return, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Sand Hill Road, Sharpe ratio, short selling, Silicon Valley, South Sea Bubble, sovereign wealth fund, spinning jenny, statistical arbitrage, technology bubble, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, time value of money, too big to fail, transaction costs, underbanked, Vanguard fund, working poor, yield curve

More New Investment Forms 279 table 8.2 Venture Capital Firms 1991 2001 2011 No. of VC Firms in Existence 362 917 842 No. of VC Funds in Existence 640 1,850 1,274 3,475 8,620 6,125 4 45 45 40 325 173 No. of Professionals No. of First Time VC Funds Raised No. of VC Funds Raising Money This Year VC Capital Raised this Year ($B) 1.9 39.0 18.7 VC Capital Under Management ($B) 26.8 261.7 196.9 Avg VC Capital Under Mgt per Firm ($M) 74.0 285.4 233.8 Avg VC Fund Size to Date ($M) 37.4 95.4 110.6 Avg VC Fund Raised this Year ($M) 47.5 120.0 108.1 1,775.0 6,300.0 6,300.0 Largest VC Fund Raised to Date ($M) Source: “2012 National Venture Capital Association Yearbook,” National Venture Capital Asso ciation and Thomson Reuters, last modified 2012, http://www.finansedlainnowacji.pl/wp-content/uploads /2012/08/NVCA-Yearbook-2012.pdf, 9. technology. The first Silicon Valley initial public offerings were of Varian in 1956, HP in 1957, and Ampex in 1958. Sand Hill Road, in Menlo Park, California, became the hub for venture capital institutions, with today’s quite recognizable firms (Sequoia Capital and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers) coming to life in 1972. Furthermore, California has almost four times more venture capital–backed companies than any other state, with a focus in all sectors, but especially consumer Internet.42 Compared to venture capital investment in the United States, the amount of venture capital funds invested in other areas of the world does not reach the same level.


pages: 464 words: 155,696

Becoming Steve Jobs: The Evolution of a Reckless Upstart Into a Visionary Leader by Brent Schlender, Rick Tetzeli

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Albert Einstein, Apple II, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, Bill Gates: Altair 8800, Byte Shop, computer age, corporate governance, El Camino Real, Isaac Newton, Jony Ive, market design, McMansion, Menlo Park, Paul Terrell, popular electronics, QWERTY keyboard, Ronald Reagan, Sand Hill Road, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, skunkworks, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, Tim Cook: Apple, Wall-E, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, Whole Earth Catalog

I was thoroughly fascinated, and equally wary; I didn’t want to get taken in by the notoriously charismatic Mr. Jobs. THE DRIVE SOUTH to Palo Alto is a trip through the history of Silicon Valley. From Route 92 in San Mateo over to Interstate 280, a “bucolic” eight-laner skirting San Andreas Lake and Crystal Springs Reservoir, which store drinking water for San Francisco piped in from the Sierras; past the blandly ostentatious venture-capitalist habitat along Sand Hill Road in Menlo Park and traversing the oblique, mile-long Stanford Linear Accelerator, which slashes like a hairline fracture through the landscape and beneath the freeway; past the “Stanford Dish” radio telescope, and the white-faced Herefords and ornate oak trees dotting the expansive greenbelt behind the university campus. The winter and spring rains had resurrected the prairie grass on the hills, turning them briefly as green as a golf course from their usual dull yellow, and peppering them with patches of orange, purple, and yellow wildflowers.


pages: 666 words: 181,495

In the Plex: How Google Thinks, Works, and Shapes Our Lives by Steven Levy

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23andMe, AltaVista, Anne Wojcicki, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, autonomous vehicles, book scanning, Brewster Kahle, Burning Man, business process, clean water, cloud computing, crowdsourcing, Dean Kamen, discounted cash flows, don't be evil, Douglas Engelbart, El Camino Real, fault tolerance, Firefox, Gerard Salton, Google bus, Google Chrome, Google Earth, Googley, HyperCard, hypertext link, IBM and the Holocaust, informal economy, information retrieval, Internet Archive, Jeff Bezos, Kevin Kelly, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, optical character recognition, PageRank, Paul Buchheit, Potemkin village, prediction markets, recommendation engine, risk tolerance, Sand Hill Road, Saturday Night Live, search inside the book, second-price auction, Silicon Valley, skunkworks, Skype, slashdot, social graph, social software, social web, spectrum auction, speech recognition, statistical model, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Ted Nelson, telemarketer, trade route, traveling salesman, Vannevar Bush, web application, WikiLeaks, Y Combinator

Originally an engineer at Intel, he joined KPCB in 1980 and rose to the top of the VC heap during the Internet craze, funding Amazon.com and Netscape, among others. At industry conferences, Doerr would speak so rhapsodically of technology’s potential to save the world that one might assume his work had been solely in nonprofits. He was indeed a businessman, though, and his judgment of the brainy, shaggy-haired supplicants who filed into his conference room in the glass-walled buildings in Menlo Park’s Sand Hill Road was astute. He’d seen plenty of smart nerds with good ideas, and was more than happy, on the recommendation of Andy Bechtolsheim, to see two more. Google’s idea, presented with Kamangar’s slides, was compelling. And its founders seemed straight out of the mold of previous winners from Stanford. The meeting was just ending when Doerr asked a final question: “How big do you think this can be?”


pages: 903 words: 235,753

The Stack: On Software and Sovereignty by Benjamin H. Bratton

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1960s counterculture, 3D printing, 4chan, Ada Lovelace, additive manufacturing, airport security, Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, algorithmic trading, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, Berlin Wall, bioinformatics, bitcoin, blockchain, Buckminster Fuller, Burning Man, call centre, carbon footprint, carbon-based life, Cass Sunstein, Celebration, Florida, charter city, clean water, cloud computing, connected car, corporate governance, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, dark matter, David Graeber, deglobalization, dematerialisation, disintermediation, distributed generation, don't be evil, Douglas Engelbart, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Eratosthenes, ethereum blockchain, facts on the ground, Flash crash, Frank Gehry, Frederick Winslow Taylor, future of work, Georg Cantor, gig economy, global supply chain, Google Earth, Google Glasses, Guggenheim Bilbao, High speed trading, Hyperloop, illegal immigration, industrial robot, information retrieval, intermodal, Internet of things, invisible hand, Jacob Appelbaum, Jaron Lanier, Jony Ive, Julian Assange, Khan Academy, linked data, Mark Zuckerberg, market fundamentalism, Marshall McLuhan, Masdar, McMansion, means of production, megacity, megastructure, Menlo Park, Minecraft, Monroe Doctrine, Network effects, new economy, offshore financial centre, oil shale / tar sands, packet switching, PageRank, pattern recognition, peak oil, performance metric, personalized medicine, Peter Thiel, phenotype, place-making, planetary scale, RAND corporation, recommendation engine, reserve currency, RFID, Sand Hill Road, self-driving car, semantic web, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Slavoj Žižek, smart cities, smart grid, smart meter, social graph, software studies, South China Sea, sovereign wealth fund, special economic zone, spectrum auction, Startup school, statistical arbitrage, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, Stuxnet, Superbowl ad, supply-chain management, supply-chain management software, TaskRabbit, the built environment, The Chicago School, the scientific method, Torches of Freedom, transaction costs, Turing complete, Turing machine, Turing test, universal basic income, urban planning, Vernor Vinge, Washington Consensus, web application, WikiLeaks, working poor, Y Combinator

For a characteristically misinformed contemporary take on Google, see Shoshanna Zuboff's “Dark Google” in Frankfurther Allgemeine, April 30, 2014, http://www.faz.net/aktuell/feuilleton/debatten/the-digital-debate/shoshanna-zuboff-dark-google-12916679.html?printPagedArticle=true. For those unfamiliar, Survival Research Laboratories is a Bay Area-based “industrial performing arts” collective famous for its pyrotechnic displays of machinic mayhem and which might typify a DIY engineering ethic often associated with the “California Ideology,” whereas Page Mill Road in Palo Alto (and Sand Hill Road in Menlo Park) have housed important clusters of important Silicon Valley venture capital firms. 21.  Nick Whitford-Dyer, “Red Plenty Platforms,” Culture Machine 14 (2013): 1–27, and Tiziana Terranova, “Red Stack Attack!” in #Accelerate: The Accelerationist Reader, ed. Robin Mackay and Armen Avanessian (Falmouth, Cornwall: Urbanomic and Merve Verlag, 2014), 379–400, both make explicit connections between Spufford's version of cybernetic planning, contemporary computing platforms, and my Stack thesis.