Sand Hill Road

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Alpha Girls: The Women Upstarts Who Took on Silicon Valley's Male Culture and Made the Deals of a Lifetime by Julian Guthrie

Airbnb, Apple II, barriers to entry, blockchain, Bob Noyce, call centre, cloud computing, credit crunch, disruptive innovation, Elon Musk, equal pay for equal work, fear of failure, game design, glass ceiling, hiring and firing, Jeff Bezos, Louis Pasteur, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, Mitch Kapor, new economy, PageRank, peer-to-peer, pets.com, phenotype, place-making, Ronald Reagan, Rosa Parks, Sand Hill Road, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, Snapchat, software as a service, South of Market, San Francisco, stealth mode startup, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, TaskRabbit, Tim Cook: Apple, Travis Kalanick, uber lyft, unpaid internship, upwardly mobile, urban decay, web application, William Shockley: the traitorous eight, women in the workforce

ISBN 9780525573920 Ebook ISBN 9780525573937 Cover design: Lucas Heinrich Cover image: (gradient) A-Star/Shutterstock v5.4 ep To my mother, Connie Guthrie, an original Alpha Girl CONTENTS Prologue PART ONE: The Valley of Dreams PART TWO: Getting in the Game PART THREE: The Outsiders Inside PART FOUR: Survival of the Fittest PART FIVE: Girl Power Photo Insert PART SIX: Marriage, Motherhood, and Moneymaking PART SEVEN: Life, Death, and Picassos PART EIGHT: The Days of Reckoning PART NINE: The Awakening Author’s Note Acknowledgments PROLOGUE SAND HILL ROAD MENLO PARK, CALIFORNIA Mary Jane Elmore was giddy as she looked down at the rusted-out floorboards of her old green Ford Pinto. She could see the road rushing by below. But she wasn’t driving on just any road. She was making her way up Sand Hill Road, in the heart of Silicon Valley, about to start a new life intent on changing the world. A pretty young woman with brown hair and brown eyes, Mary Jane had graduated from Purdue University in 1976 with a degree in mathematics. She paid for her car by waitressing during college summers, wearing a small orange romper that prompted oversize tips.

Her beat-up Pinto, which leaked radiator fluid and still had its original Firestone 500 tires, had taken her nearly two thousand miles, from Kansas City to northern California, where she had landed a job at an eight-year-old technology company called Intel. Although Sand Hill Road was the center of the venture capital world, no bronze statue of a charging bull, no Gilded Age architecture, and no artificial canyons towered over by gleaming skyscrapers commemorated it. At that time it was a stretch of rolling land laced with scrub brush, sprawling oak trees, big pink dahlias, and buildings that stretched long and low like an old Lincoln Continental. The midcentury modern structures, with outer skins of cedar, redwood, and masonry, featured numbers but no names. Unlike other centers of commerce, Sand Hill Road is intentionally inconspicuous; it consciously resists contemporary symbols of money and power. Instead, it is country club hush.

* * * After graduating from Harvard, Sonja, at twenty-seven, was hired at Menlo Ventures, whose firm had offices adjacent to the Reid Dennis–founded IVP on Sand Hill Road. While Sonja could have remained on the East Coast, Sand Hill was her yellow brick road. It was here that the “traitorous eight” had left the manic but brilliant William Shockley to start Fairchild Semiconductor and later Intel. Here a marijuana- and hot-tub-loving Nolan Bushnell had met Sequoia Capital founder Don Valentine to fund Atari. Here Arthur Rock, at first reluctantly, had provided funds and advice to a scruffy and “very unappealing” Steve Jobs to build Apple. Here venture capitalist Tom Perkins and scientist Bob Swanson had started Genentech. It was on Sand Hill Road that Dave Marquardt’s early investment in Microsoft had yielded a bonus of a new red Ferrari, and where Larry Ellison incubated a start-up called Oracle, getting a loan from VC Don Lucas to keep the relational database company going.


pages: 269 words: 70,543

Tech Titans of China: How China's Tech Sector Is Challenging the World by Innovating Faster, Working Harder, and Going Global by Rebecca Fannin

Airbnb, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, blockchain, call centre, cashless society, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable:, cloud computing, computer vision, connected car, corporate governance, cryptocurrency, data is the new oil, Deng Xiaoping, digital map, disruptive innovation, Donald Trump, El Camino Real, Elon Musk, family office, fear of failure, glass ceiling, global supply chain, income inequality, industrial robot, Internet of things, invention of movable type, Jeff Bezos, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, megacity, Menlo Park, money market fund, Network effects, new economy, peer-to-peer lending, personalized medicine, Peter Thiel, QR code, RFID, ride hailing / ride sharing, Sand Hill Road, self-driving car, sharing economy, Shenzhen was a fishing village, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, smart cities, smart transportation, Snapchat, social graph, software as a service, South China Sea, sovereign wealth fund, speech recognition, stealth mode startup, Steve Jobs, supply-chain management, Tim Cook: Apple, Travis Kalanick, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, urban planning, winner-take-all economy, Y Combinator, young professional

Chapter 4 Few US Companies Crack the China Code It’s the rare American internet company that has succeeded behind the Great Wall of China, but Starbucks, Airbnb, WeWork, and LinkedIn keep trying harder with digitally savvy strategies borrowed from China and localized teams. PART TWO China’s Silicon Valley Venture Capitalists A core group of US-China leaders set high standards as a Silicon Dragon-style VC market rises to challenge Silicon Valley. A look at who’s scoring in China venture investing, and why. Chapter 5 Sand Hill Road Gets a Mega-Rival China’s red-hot venture capital market has risen to nearly match the US level and no longer looks to California’s Sand Hill Road for cues. Top VC firms in China are funding game-changing innovations at unicorn valuations and achieving high marks for performance. PART THREE Tech Sectors that Matter Most: China’s Grab for Superpower Status A look at key market sectors with strong potential to shake up leadership and overturn technology standards in the world as East and West vie for tech superpower status.

VC accelerators Sean O’Sullivan and William Bao Bean are putting their stamp on startups in China and Southeast Asia. part two CHINA’S SILICON DRAGON VENTURE CAPITALISTS A core group of US-China venture capital leaders set high standards as a Silicon Dragon-style VC market rises to challenge Silicon Valley. A look at who’s scoring in China venture investing, and why. CHAPTER 5 ________________ SAND HILL ROAD GETS A MEGARIVAL China’s red-hot venture capital market has risen to nearly match the US level, and no longer looks to California’s Sand Hill Road for cues. Top VC firms in China are funding game-changing innovations at unicorn valuations and achieving high marks for performance. Sequoia Capital China partner Glen Sun knows what it takes to get ahead in venture capital investing. It’s simple. “Make money,” he says. “That’s it.” His remarks on a Silicon Dragon panel I was moderating in Hong Kong drew knowing laughter.

They work long hours but enjoy fine wines and beach resorts and have more than enough money to pay tuition for their kids to go to the best private schools. They are chauffeured around by private drivers or Uber (Didi in China) and work in beautifully designed and spacious offices along Sand Hill Road close to Stanford University or city center towers in Beijing and Shanghai. It may sound cushy, but it takes hard work, commitment, and determination. Crosscurrents and Synergy China’s Silicon Valley owes much of its initial magic to a reliance on the United States for a cross-border flow of ideas and capital. A two-way highway runs from Beijing’s Zhongguancun Software Park to Menlo Park’s Sand Hill Road, raising capital and funding startups hinged from both coasts of the Pacific Ocean. This two-way channel creates synergy and speeds up startup launches, innovation, and scale across the United States and China, as well as globally.


pages: 146 words: 43,446

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

Albert Einstein, Andy Kessler, business climate, creative destruction, data acquisition, family office, high net worth, invention of the steam engine, invisible hand, Jeff Bezos, Marc Andreessen, Menlo Park, pre–internet, risk tolerance, Sand Hill Road, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, the new new thing, Thorstein Veblen, wealth creators, 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.


eBoys by Randall E. Stross

barriers to entry, business cycle, call centre, carried interest, cognitive dissonance, disintermediation, edge city, high net worth, hiring and firing, Jeff Bezos, job-hopping, knowledge worker, late capitalism, market bubble, Menlo Park, new economy, old-boy network, passive investing, performance metric, pez dispenser, railway mania, rolodex, Sand Hill Road, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Y2K

Hearst professed an immediate liking, but he could not impel Doerr and the other partners to move; one month, two months, three months went by. For the entrepreneur, a wait so long would have been intolerable were it not for the consoling thought that the leading venture capital firm in the galaxy was saying it might invest in his company. By the time Kleiner Perkins finally got around to tendering an offer, the entrepreneur had been wooed by another venerable Sand Hill Road firm, Mohr Davidow Ventures, founded in 1983. Seeing the entrepreneur hesitate in accepting Kleiner Perkins’s offer, Mohr Davidow, in turn, contacted two other venture firms to see if either would be willing to be a co-investor. One was Benchmark, founded fewer than three years previously and chosen because Mohr Davidow viewed the Benchmark partners as a hardworking, aggressive group that would love nothing more than the opportunity to beat Kleiner Perkins in winning over the entrepreneur.

Beige and white, constructed of glass, wood, stucco, and more glass, perched on a hillside amid sheltering oak and eucalyptus, the small office building in which Benchmark resides would look quite at home at Pebble Beach. Two stories, each flanked with flower-edged terraces on the sides and rear, create a Mediterranean effect, undisturbed by the lower parking level, which is hidden at the rear of the hill. By the late 1990s, these offices and the others like it along Sand Hill Road commanded the highest commercial rents in the country. The first venture capital firm to take up residency in that stretch had been Kleiner Perkins, in 1972, when Interstate 280 was newly opened and the nearby land behind Stanford University was still undeveloped. Since then it had become exceedingly valuable as elsewhere the last remaining orchards of Silicon Valley gave way to condominiums, offices, and strip malls.

When he laughs, which he does readily, it is a chuckle that comes from deep in the gut. While Dave Beirne projects power, Bob Kagle projects empathy. From his previous experience as a venture capitalist, he was at Benchmark’s formation already extremely wealthy, but material success was a garment he refused to wear. He was determined to remain unchanged, as hungry to learn, to connect with you, as he’d ever been. Benchmark’s mahogany-and-art-appointed office on Sand Hill Road was an unlikely destination for a working-class student from a single-parent household in Flint, Michigan. Like Beirne’s family in New York, Kagle’s relatives in every direction were employed by General Motors, but their careers lacked the happy ending. Kagle’s great-grandfather was killed at the age of thirty-eight in the great 1937 Buick sit-down strike. For the family’s later generations, the comforts enjoyed by other members of the unionized working class were scant.


pages: 302 words: 95,965

How to Be the Startup Hero: A Guide and Textbook for Entrepreneurs and Aspiring Entrepreneurs by Tim Draper

3D printing, Airbnb, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, basic income, Berlin Wall, bitcoin, blockchain, Buckminster Fuller, business climate, carried interest, connected car, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, Deng Xiaoping, discounted cash flows, disintermediation, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, Ethereum, ethereum blockchain, family office, fiat currency, frictionless, frictionless market, high net worth, hiring and firing, Jeff Bezos, Kickstarter, low earth orbit, Lyft, Mahatma Gandhi, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, Metcalfe's law, Metcalfe’s law, Mikhail Gorbachev, Minecraft, Moneyball by Michael Lewis explains big data, Nelson Mandela, Network effects, peer-to-peer, Peter Thiel, pez dispenser, Ralph Waldo Emerson, risk tolerance, Robert Metcalfe, Ronald Reagan, Rosa Parks, Sand Hill Road, school choice, school vouchers, self-driving car, sharing economy, short selling, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart contracts, Snapchat, sovereign wealth fund, stealth mode startup, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Tesla Model S, Uber for X, uber lyft, universal basic income, women in the workforce, Y Combinator, zero-sum game

Most people, my father included, wanted to stay in Palo Alto, where they would have more of a “status” address. No one had heard of Menlo Park, but Palo Alto was considered one of the big cities of the peninsula. But Tom kept at it and finally recruited some top venture capitalists to come work at the Sand Hill Road location. It became known as the place for venture capitalists. The press wrote it up regularly as the venture capitalist’s equivalent of Wall Street. Tom was a big success. The property is probably worth nearly $1 billion today. Walking around 3000 Sand Hill Road with Tom Ford was enlightening. He showed me around the property with great pride. Four times he bent down to pick up cigarette butts. He made mental notes of a drain that had been bent and some paint that had unwittingly covered a square centimeter of a window.

We tried many business pursuits that were either unheard of or just frowned upon by the industry. We were the first venture capitalist to advertise, first to build a network of venture capitalist s, first Silicon Valley venture capitalist to set up outside the US, and first to focus on the Internet. When we decided to move our offices to Sand Hill Road, where most of the venture capitalist gravity was, we threw a party. We called it the “There Goes the Neighborhood Party.” We invited all our brethren and neighbors from Sand Hill Road. The party had a safari theme and we had monkeys and various other animals in cages. I rode in on an elephant. The landscape was perfectly manicured in our new location. But when I rode in on the elephant, he took a slight detour, wrapped his trunk around a nice-sized elm tree, ripped the tree out of the dirt and ate it.

Entrepreneurship is often thankless, and when an entrepreneur fails it can be tragic. But maybe I can help you think about your journey in a new way. To better help you think about what a Startup Hero does and the impact he or she creates, whether in a success or a failure. I provide you here with a story. The Tesla Story Ian Wright came to pitch his new business, Wright Motors. We met at DFJ’s offices on Sand Hill Road in Menlo Park, California. He brought with him an invention that was strung together with tires, PVC pipes, some fabric, and magic Lithium Ion batteries. It was a new kind of electric car. He asked me to sit in the machine and get strapped in with a five-point harness. I asked why I needed to be strapped in since the only electric cars I had seen were golf carts and the original Chevy Volt that George Schultz drove, and none of them had much in the way of scary pickup.


pages: 385 words: 48,143

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

Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, barriers to entry, belly landing, discounted cash flows, estate planning, Jeff Bezos, Network effects, new economy, Pepto Bismol, 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.


The Code: Silicon Valley and the Remaking of America by Margaret O'Mara

"side hustle", A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, accounting loophole / creative accounting, affirmative action, Airbnb, AltaVista, Amazon Web Services, Apple II, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, autonomous vehicles, back-to-the-land, barriers to entry, Ben Horowitz, Berlin Wall, Bob Noyce, Buckminster Fuller, Burning Man, business climate, Byte Shop, California gold rush, carried interest, clean water, cleantech, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, commoditize, computer age, continuous integration, cuban missile crisis, Danny Hillis, DARPA: Urban Challenge, deindustrialization, different worldview, don't be evil, Donald Trump, Doomsday Clock, Douglas Engelbart, Dynabook, Edward Snowden, El Camino Real, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, Frank Gehry, George Gilder, gig economy, Googley, Hacker Ethic, high net worth, Hush-A-Phone, immigration reform, income inequality, informal economy, information retrieval, invention of movable type, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, Joan Didion, job automation, job-hopping, John Markoff, Julian Assange, Kitchen Debate, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, market bubble, mass immigration, means of production, mega-rich, Menlo Park, Mikhail Gorbachev, millennium bug, Mitch Kapor, Mother of all demos, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, mutually assured destruction, new economy, Norbert Wiener, old-boy network, pattern recognition, Paul Graham, Paul Terrell, paypal mafia, Peter Thiel, pets.com, pirate software, popular electronics, pre–internet, Ralph Nader, RAND corporation, Richard Florida, ride hailing / ride sharing, risk tolerance, Robert Metcalfe, Ronald Reagan, Sand Hill Road, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, shareholder value, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Silicon Valley startup, skunkworks, Snapchat, social graph, software is eating the world, speech recognition, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, supercomputer in your pocket, technoutopianism, Ted Nelson, the market place, the new new thing, There's no reason for any individual to have a computer in his home - Ken Olsen, Thomas L Friedman, Tim Cook: Apple, transcontinental railway, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, Unsafe at Any Speed, upwardly mobile, Vannevar Bush, War on Poverty, We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters, Whole Earth Catalog, WikiLeaks, William Shockley: the traitorous eight, Y Combinator, Y2K

Gary Kildall, Computer Connections: People, Places, and Events in the History of the Personal Computer Industry, unpublished manuscript in the possession of Scott and Kristen Kildall, reproduced online with permission by the Computer History Museum at http://www.computerhistory.org/atchm/in-his-own-words-gary-kildall/, archived at https://perma.cc/NU3B-M47B. 6. Rinearson, “Young Students.” 7. Burt McMurtry, interview with the author, January 15, 2015; Leena Rao, “Sand Hill Road’s Consiglieres: August Capital,” TechCrunch, June 14, 2014, https://techcrunch.com/2014/06/14/sand-hill-roads-consiglieres-august-capital/, archived at https://perma.cc/6DN4-DERQ. 8. Charles Simonyi, interview with the author, October 4, 2017, Bellevue, Wash.; Michael Hiltzik, Dealers of Lightning: Xerox PARC and the Dawn of the Computer Age (New York: HarperBusiness, 1999), 194–210; Michael Swaine and Paul Freiberger, Fire in the Valley: The Birth and Death of the Personal Computer, 3rd ed.

Boston may have had MIT and Harvard and leading companies of the postwar electronics world, but it didn’t have that cheap land and abundant infrastructure and local people willing to capitalize upon it to such an unfettered degree. New York and Philadelphia may have had the capital and the big electronics makers and some of the universities as well, but these places didn’t have the relentless focus on nurturing start-ups. Nowhere else but the Valley had the entrepreneurial and opportunistic Stanford, the thrusting bulldozers and hustling law firms, and the young money men opening up shop along Sand Hill Road. Nowhere else had the people. The California Gold Rush had been over for a century, but the Golden State remained a destination for the adventurous young from elsewhere, arriving with little to lose and an appetite for reinvention. Arrivals NEW YORK HARBOR, 1965 The bill we sign today is not a revolutionary bill,” President Lyndon B. Johnson said. “It does not affect the lives of millions.

His name was Steve Wozniak, and his buddy’s name was Steve Jobs.4 Part swap meet, part intelligence gathering, part networking session, the biweekly Homebrew meetings quickly morphed into a local phenomenon. The second meeting moved from French’s garage to John McCarthy’s Stanford artificial-intelligence operation, then spilled out to the auditorium at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center on Sand Hill Road, attracting hundreds of people each month. Conversations that started in meetings continued over beers and burgers down the road at The Oasis (or “The O”), the well-worn college dive on El Camino Real. It took a while to settle on a name for the club. Steam Beer Computer Club, 8-Bit Byte Bangers, and Tiny Brains all got rejected before the group arrived at Homebrew.5 French ran the first two meetings, but his droning delivery wasn’t the right match for the restless crowd.


pages: 319 words: 90,965

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

Albert Einstein, barriers to entry, Bayesian statistics, Berlin Wall, business cycle, business intelligence, carbon-based life, Claude Shannon: information theory, complexity theory, David Heinemeier Hansson, declining real wages, deliberate practice, discrete time, disruptive innovation, double helix, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Downton Abbey, Drosophila, Firefox, Frank Gehry, Google X / Alphabet X, informal economy, invention of the printing press, inventory management, John Markoff, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, low skilled workers, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, 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, Ruby on Rails, 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, uber lyft, 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: 340 words: 100,151

Secrets of Sand Hill Road: Venture Capital and How to Get It by Scott Kupor

activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, Airbnb, Amazon Web Services, asset allocation, barriers to entry, Ben Horowitz, carried interest, cloud computing, corporate governance, cryptocurrency, discounted cash flows, diversification, diversified portfolio, estate planning, family office, fixed income, high net worth, index fund, information asymmetry, Lean Startup, low cost airline, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Myron Scholes, Network effects, Paul Graham, pets.com, price stability, ride hailing / ride sharing, rolodex, Sand Hill Road, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, software as a service, sovereign wealth fund, Startup school, Travis Kalanick, uber lyft, VA Linux, Y Combinator, zero-sum game

And a better world is one in which everyone is represented and served well by the companies and systems we create. That’s why Secrets of Sand Hill Road is so valuable, and so timely. It’s for people interested in venture capital, of course, but it’s also for anyone who cares about the ability of the US to remain competitive, create new jobs, and continue on the path of economic growth. Those people include policy makers, academics, government officials in the US and elsewhere, civic leaders in startup hubs around the country and globe—who are already helping to democratize startups geographically—and people who work in corporate innovation (who can look to the VC world for inspiration on how to fund and grow projects within their organizations). Finally, Secrets of Sand Hill Road is for all the entrepreneurs who might not see themselves as a part of Silicon Valley—everyone who might not be considering trying to start a company based on their crazy concept, but really should be thinking about it.

I believe Scott’s book is destined to change the equation when it comes to who gets funded. It’s leading us into a fairer, more robust future, and I can’t think of a wiser person to take us there. Eric Ries, author of The Lean Startup and The Startup Way Introduction I am writing this book from my office on Sand Hill Road, the hallowed Silicon Valley street that holds as much promise for entrepreneurs as Hollywood Boulevard does for actors, Wall Street does for investment bankers, and Music Row does for country music artists. And, as with most of the storied streets, it’s not much to write home about—Sand Hill Road is a drab collection of modest, low-rise office buildings, upstaged by its much more famous neighbor, Stanford University. But I’m not writing it from on high. This is no sermon, no stone tablet passed down. This book isn’t intended to be the venture capital (VC) bible.

The Deal Dilemma: Which Deal Is Better? 12. Board Members and the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval 13. In Trados We Trust 14. Difficult Financings: When Bad Things Happen to Good People 15. Exit Stage Left (The Good Kind) Conclusion: The World Is Flat Appendix: Sample Term Sheet Acknowledgments Notes Index About the Author FOREWORD Scott Kupor’s Secrets of Sand Hill Road: Venture Capital and How to Get It is motivated by the desire to democratize opportunity. It demystifies venture capital, laying out how this crucial part of the startup ecosystem works for anyone who picks it up. It examines the VC startup life cycle from every angle, including how VCs decide where to invest, how to pitch, and all the many, many legal and financial details and players involved in forming and growing a startup.


pages: 359 words: 110,488

Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup by John Carreyrou

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, bioinformatics, corporate governance, Donald Trump, El Camino Real, Elon Musk, Google Chrome, John Markoff, Jony Ive, Kickstarter, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Mars Rover, medical malpractice, Menlo Park, obamacare, Ponzi scheme, ride hailing / ride sharing, Right to Buy, Sand Hill Road, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, stealth mode startup, Steve Jobs, supply-chain management, Travis Kalanick, ubercab

Bettie Fleischmann, Charles’s daughter, married her father’s Danish physician, Dr. Christian Holmes. He was Elizabeth’s great-great-grandfather. Aided by the political and business connections of his wife’s wealthy family, Dr. Holmes established Cincinnati General Hospital and the University of Cincinnati’s medical school. So the case could be made—and it would in fact be made to the venture capitalists clustered on Sand Hill Road near the Stanford University campus—that Elizabeth didn’t just inherit entrepreneurial genes, but medical ones too. Elizabeth’s mother, Noel, had her own proud family background. Her father was a West Point graduate who planned and carried out the shift from a draft-based military to an all-volunteer force as a high-ranking Pentagon official in the early 1970s. The Daousts traced their ancestry all the way back to the maréchal Davout, one of Napoleon’s top field generals.

Except Avie didn’t think it was good corporate governance to do what Elizabeth wanted. Since she would control the foundation, she would also control the voting rights associated with the new stock, which would increase her overall voting stake. Avie didn’t think it was in other shareholders’ interest to give the founder more power. He objected. Two weeks later, he received a call from Don asking if they could meet. Avie drove to the old man’s office on Sand Hill Road. Elizabeth was really upset, Don informed him when he got there. She felt he was behaving unpleasantly during board meetings and didn’t think he should be on the board anymore. Don asked if he wanted to resign. Avie expressed surprise. He was just fulfilling his duties as a director; asking questions was one of them. Don agreed and said he thought Avie was doing an excellent job. Avie told Don he wanted to take a few days to think things over.

Coming just months after Avie Tevanian had raised similar concerns, Lucas took the matter seriously this time. In a way, he couldn’t afford not to: Todd was the son-in-law of one of Theranos’s investors, the venture capitalist B. J. Cassin. Cassin and Lucas were longtime friends. They had both invested in Theranos at the same time, during the startup’s Series B round in early 2006. Lucas convened an emergency meeting of the board in his office on Sand Hill Road. Elizabeth was asked to wait outside the door while the other directors—Lucas, Brodeen, Channing Robertson, and Peter Thomas, the founder of an early stage venture capital firm called ATA Ventures—conferred inside. After some discussion, the four men reached a consensus: they would remove Elizabeth as CEO. She had proven herself too young and inexperienced for the job. Tom Brodeen would step in to lead the company for a temporary period until a more permanent replacement could be found.


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

bank run, business process, call centre, creative destruction, disintermediation, Elon Musk, index fund, Internet Archive, iterative process, Joseph Schumpeter, market design, Menlo Park, Metcalfe’s law, money market fund, moral hazard, Network effects, new economy, offshore financial centre, Peter Thiel, Robert Metcalfe, Sand Hill Road, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, telemarketer, The Chicago School, the new new thing, 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: 252 words: 78,780

Lab Rats: How Silicon Valley Made Work Miserable for the Rest of Us by Dan Lyons

Airbnb, Amazon Web Services, Apple II, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, basic income, bitcoin, blockchain, business process, call centre, Clayton Christensen, clean water, collective bargaining, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, creative destruction, cryptocurrency, David Heinemeier Hansson, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, Ethereum, ethereum blockchain, full employment, future of work, gig economy, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, hiring and firing, housing crisis, income inequality, informal economy, Jeff Bezos, job automation, job satisfaction, job-hopping, John Gruber, Joseph Schumpeter, Kevin Kelly, knowledge worker, Lean Startup, loose coupling, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, McMansion, Menlo Park, Milgram experiment, minimum viable product, Mitch Kapor, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, new economy, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, Paul Graham, paypal mafia, Peter Thiel, plutocrats, Plutocrats, precariat, RAND corporation, remote working, RFID, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ronald Reagan, Rubik’s Cube, Ruby on Rails, Sam Altman, Sand Hill Road, self-driving car, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, six sigma, Skype, Social Responsibility of Business Is to Increase Its Profits, software is eating the world, Stanford prison experiment, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Stewart Brand, TaskRabbit, telemarketer, Tesla Model S, Thomas Davenport, Tony Hsieh, Toyota Production System, traveling salesman, Travis Kalanick, tulip mania, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, universal basic income, web application, Whole Earth Catalog, Y Combinator, young professional

They’ve seen other big old companies get killed off by Silicon Valley, and they would rather not have this happen to them. They seem to believe that some magic elixir exists here, some recipe for innovation that floats in the air and can be absorbed if you drive around with your windows open, smelling the eucalyptus trees. They see people getting rich on things they don’t even understand. Blockchain? Ethereum? Initial coin offerings? So they fly out and have drinks at the Rosewood Hotel on Sand Hill Road in Menlo Park, where venture capitalists hang around, as do expensive “companions,” many with Eastern European accents. They eat lunch at the Battery, a members-only private club for social-climbing parvenus in San Francisco. They wangle an invitation to a Bitcoin party and rub shoulders with the scammers, hustlers, Ponzi schemers, and obnoxious knobs who are trying to cash in on a modern-day tulip mania based around a cryptocurrency that Warren Buffett describes as “rat poison squared.”

But in the next chapter I’m going to introduce you to a pair of investors who are using their investment dollars to build companies that focus from the beginning on treating workers well. CHAPTER THIRTEEN KAPOR CAPITAL: CONSCIOUS CAPITALISTS Kapor Capital is based in Oakland. That one fact says a lot about what makes this venture capital firm different from all of the top VC investors in Silicon Valley. Most of the VC powerhouses have their headquarters forty-five miles away, on a two-mile stretch of Sand Hill Road in Menlo Park, California. They are nestled into sleepy, leafy little office parks, clustered right next to one another, in dead-quiet, understated Northern California buildings. To visit them, you drive way up in the hills above Stanford University, where the parking lots are filled with Teslas, birds chirp in the eucalyptus trees, and skinny spandex-clad techies zip around on exotic carbon-fiber racing bikes that cost more than what some people pay for a car.

For a long time black people were the biggest ethnic group in Oakland, and while demographics have shifted recently, African Americans still represent about a quarter of the population. By setting up shop here in Oakland, Mitch Kapor and Freada Kapor Klein, the husband-and-wife team behind Kapor Capital, were sending a message—they were not part of that other world. Unlike those big venture capital firms over on Sand Hill Road, the Kapors are not trying to make as much money as possible by any means necessary. Instead, they have a social mission. Some call it impact investing. Or diversity-focused investing. Or mission-driven versus money-driven investing. The Kapors call their model “gap-closing investing,” meaning they will only invest in companies that are “serving low-income communities and/or communities of color to close gaps of access, opportunity, or outcome,” Freada says.


pages: 403 words: 87,035

The New Geography of Jobs by Enrico Moretti

assortative mating, Bill Gates: Altair 8800, business climate, call centre, cleantech, cloud computing, corporate raider, creative destruction, desegregation, Edward Glaeser, financial innovation, global village, hiring and firing, income inequality, industrial cluster, Jane Jacobs, Jeff Bezos, Joseph Schumpeter, knowledge economy, labor-force participation, low skilled workers, manufacturing employment, Mark Zuckerberg, mass immigration, medical residency, Menlo Park, new economy, peer-to-peer lending, Peter Thiel, Productivity paradox, Richard Florida, Sand Hill Road, Silicon Valley, Skype, special economic zone, Startup school, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, thinkpad, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, Wall-E, Y Combinator, zero-sum game

In 2010, I decided to take a sabbatical from my job at the University of California at Berkeley to spend the year at Stanford as a visiting professor. Every morning on my way to work, I would drive along Sand Hill Road in Menlo Park. Sand Hill Road contains the largest concentration of venture capital firms in the world. All major VC firms are located there, including the mythical Sequoia Capital and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, early backers of the most iconic startups in the history of high tech: Google, Apple, Amazon, Oracle, Yahoo, YouTube, PayPal, Netscape, and Cisco. I often saw young entrepreneurs with big dreams entering one of those low-rise buildings, presumably to pitch their ideas. Those low-rises on Sand Hill Road are where venture capitalists determine the future of commercial innovation. The aspect of the VC industry that I find most remarkable is how local it still is.

Jose Luis Agell, who leads the business development of a Spanish startup called 3scale Networks, based in both Barcelona and California, says that “it is tough to get funding as a foreign company.” People have remarked for decades that one of the secrets of the success of Silicon Valley is its deep and articulated venture capital base. But what does proximity have to do with funding? Why, in a world of fast communication and cheap plane tickets, should venture capitalists on Sand Hill Road favor startups near them? Bill Draper has the answer. He is one of the most experienced venture capitalists in Silicon Valley, with forty years on the job. In his view, money is only one of many things that venture capitalists provide to startups. “There’s a lot of support, a lot of team building, a lot of organization, and relationships between entrepreneurs and venture capitalists that are key in making a successful startup,” he said in a recent interview.


pages: 373 words: 112,822

The Upstarts: How Uber, Airbnb, and the Killer Companies of the New Silicon Valley Are Changing the World by Brad Stone

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, Amazon Web Services, Andy Kessler, autonomous vehicles, Ben Horowitz, Boris Johnson, Burning Man, call centre, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable:, collaborative consumption, East Village, fixed income, Google X / Alphabet X, housing crisis, inflight wifi, Jeff Bezos, Justin.tv, Kickstarter, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, Mitch Kapor, Necker cube, obamacare, Paul Graham, peer-to-peer, Peter Thiel, race to the bottom, rent control, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ruby on Rails, Sand Hill Road, self-driving car, semantic web, sharing economy, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, South of Market, San Francisco, Startup school, Steve Jobs, TaskRabbit, Tony Hsieh, transportation-network company, Travis Kalanick, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, ubercab, Y Combinator, Y2K, Zipcar

Amazon had acquired Zappos in June 2009, but its slightly madcap vibe remained intact. Around this time, Airbnb returned to Sand Hill Road, the seat of the venture capital industry, to raise more money. Blecharczyk’s productive Facebook and Google ads were expensive, and Chesky had to keep the coffers full. Seeing the company’s growing market opportunity, McAdoo wanted Sequoia to supply the entire round of funding itself, but Chesky had learned at Y Combinator to be wary of giving too much control to venture capitalists, and he insisted on bringing in another firm. He found a willing investor in Reid Hoffman, the co-founder and chairman of LinkedIn and a partner at Greylock Capital. Hoffman says he was skeptical at first. Ugh, couch-surfing is not that interesting, he thought. Then Chesky met him at Greylock’s offices on Sand Hill Road over a weekend and spun a compelling vision of Airbnb as the largest hotel chain in the world but one without the expensive burden of maintaining actual buildings or hiring workers like bellhops and maids.

Andreessen liked to say that the goal of their firm, Andreessen Horowitz, was to identify the fifteen or so tech startups every year that actually mattered and back as many of them as possible.13 The firm took a long look at Airbnb and whiffed. “Marc struggled with the idea that this would be mainstream,” Chesky says. Andreessen Horowitz would rectify the oversight the following year and lead the Series B, a less lucrative but still hugely profitable investment. Another venture capitalist that passed was across Sand Hill Road at a firm called August Capital. Howard Hartenbaum, an investor in the online video-calling service Skype, met with Chesky repeatedly that fall and took the founders to dinner at Alexander’s Steakhouse near the new office in San Francisco. Chesky impressed Hartenbaum; he seemed to have poise, intelligence, and a fierce determination to succeed. But Hartenbaum couldn’t wrap his head around the numbers.

Gurley had identified a big opportunity but he was also fortunate. He had tried and failed with Taxi Magic and Cabulous, two investments in rival companies that would have precluded his backing Uber. Now he recognized that Uber, free from the regulation and price controls that governed the operation of yellow cabs, was the larger prize. Benchmark almost scuttled the deal with a practical joke. Kalanick was on Sand Hill Road in Menlo Park to visit rival Sequoia Capital before a scheduled meeting with Benchmark’s partnership. As they waited for Kalanick to arrive, Gurley and his partner Matt Cohler looked at the Uber app and saw a single Uber car in front of Sequoia’s office a mile away. Because Uber did not yet operate down in Silicon Valley, they guessed this oddly idle car was Kalanick’s ride. Cohler summoned the car with the Uber app on his phone, and when Kalanick came out of his meeting, it was gone.


pages: 354 words: 118,970

Transaction Man: The Rise of the Deal and the Decline of the American Dream by Nicholas Lemann

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, airline deregulation, Albert Einstein, augmented reality, basic income, Bernie Sanders, Black-Scholes formula, buy and hold, capital controls, computerized trading, corporate governance, cryptocurrency, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, dematerialisation, diversified portfolio, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, financial deregulation, financial innovation, fixed income, future of work, George Akerlof, gig economy, Henry Ford's grandson gave labor union leader Walter Reuther a tour of the company’s new, automated factory…, index fund, information asymmetry, invisible hand, Irwin Jacobs, Joi Ito, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Arrow, Kickstarter, life extension, Long Term Capital Management, Mark Zuckerberg, mass immigration, means of production, Metcalfe’s law, money market fund, Mont Pelerin Society, moral hazard, Myron Scholes, new economy, Norman Mailer, obamacare, Paul Samuelson, Peter Thiel, price mechanism, principal–agent problem, profit maximization, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, Ralph Nader, Richard Thaler, road to serfdom, Robert Bork, Robert Metcalfe, rolodex, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, Sand Hill Road, shareholder value, short selling, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Silicon Valley startup, Social Responsibility of Business Is to Increase Its Profits, Steve Jobs, TaskRabbit, The Nature of the Firm, the payments system, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, transaction costs, universal basic income, War on Poverty, white flight, working poor

Big pools of capital, such as insurance and pension funds and university and foundation endowments, impressed by the spectacular returns produced by Silicon Valley’s successes and newly freed from the investing constraints that the old prudent man rule had imposed on them, began pouring money into venture capital. By the twenty-first century, Silicon Valley venture capital was a small industry with an unofficial headquarters, Sand Hill Road, a strip of low-rise office parks across the street from the Stanford campus, where dozens of firms entertained thousands of pitches from people who wanted to start technology companies. Arthur Rock, by now retired, looked at the venture capital industry with bewilderment. Rock worked in San Francisco’s financial district, the traditional West Coast outpost of American finance; he came to work every day in a suit and tie, and often had lunch at his club. On Sand Hill Road, the style was ferociously casual, as if there were a competition for who could come across as the most low-key or the most culturally opposite to the old Organization Man.

Performance bicycles hung from hooks on the walls. People talked about their lives in terms of “chapters,” not careers. And nobody seemed to want to invest in anything physical anymore, like chips or computers, only in software—instruction sets. Nobody’s idea seemed to require conventional plants and equipment; or distribution systems, supply chains, or physical products. Everything happened on the Internet. The ideal that Sand Hill Road devoted itself to pursuing was a company that would turn out to be like Facebook, which had, only a few years after its founding, a total value on the stock market of more than $400 billion, with fewer than twenty-five thousand employees. General Motors by now was worth only $50 billion, and even in its reduced and post-glorious state, it still had more than two hundred thousand employees. And Facebook had thought it wise to acquire even newer potential rivals, for prices like $1 billion for Instagram, when it had thirteen employees, and $19 billion for WhatsApp, when it had fifty-five employees, when both were years away from being profitable or even from producing significant revenues.

Ever since the sale of PayPal, Hoffman had been actively investing in start-ups, usually as the “angel investor”—the first person to write a check and therefore the investor likely to get the highest return if the company succeeded. It was through this part of his life that he had met Zuckerberg. Just before LinkedIn went public, Hoffman joined Greylock, one of the top-tier venture capital firms on Sand Hill Road, as a partner. He began spending part of every week at Greylock and part at LinkedIn, where he worked in an office next to Jeff Weiner’s. This put him more formally in the position he’d been in informally for years, with as much access to deal flow, the lifeblood of Silicon Valley, as anybody. As he casually remarked to a visitor once, “If there’s anything in the Valley, I’m going to know about it.”


pages: 220

Startupland: How Three Guys Risked Everything to Turn an Idea Into a Global Business by Mikkel Svane, Carlye Adler

Airbnb, Ben Horowitz, Burning Man, business process, call centre, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable:, cloud computing, credit crunch, David Heinemeier Hansson, Elon Musk, housing crisis, Jeff Bezos, Kickstarter, Menlo Park, remote working, Ruby on Rails, Sand Hill Road, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, software as a service, South of Market, San Francisco, Steve Jobs, subscription business, Tesla Model S, web application

I had read the over-the-top stories on the blogs—how this was the event where deals were made, where companies were founded, invested in, and acquired. I’d also read about how people passed out and how the police were called. It sounded like fun. The party had grown so big that it was now held on VC firm August Capital’s giant outdoor deck on Sand Hill Road in Menlo Park. I had never been to Sand Hill Road. I knew it was 69 Page 69 Svane c04.tex V3 - 10/28/2014 7:36 P.M. S TA R TU P L A N D renowned, but didn’t know what to expect. By this point I did know that I didn’t know anything about how the Valley worked. I had been in the city a few days for meetings and drove down to Sand Hill Road. This was the first time I really experienced the climate difference between San Francisco and Silicon Valley. San Francisco had been cold and foggy, but thirty minutes south on 280 it was 20 degrees warmer, and in the gardens, hummingbirds flew around.


pages: 209 words: 53,236

The Scandal of Money by George Gilder

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, bank run, Bernie Sanders, bitcoin, blockchain, borderless world, Bretton Woods, capital controls, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Carmen Reinhart, central bank independence, Claude Shannon: information theory, Clayton Christensen, cloud computing, corporate governance, cryptocurrency, currency manipulation / currency intervention, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, Deng Xiaoping, disintermediation, Donald Trump, fiat currency, financial innovation, Fractional reserve banking, full employment, George Gilder, glass ceiling, Home mortgage interest deduction, index fund, indoor plumbing, industrial robot, inflation targeting, informal economy, Innovator's Dilemma, Internet of things, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, John von Neumann, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Rogoff, knowledge economy, Law of Accelerating Returns, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, Metcalfe’s law, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, mortgage tax deduction, obamacare, Paul Samuelson, Peter Thiel, Ponzi scheme, price stability, Productivity paradox, purchasing power parity, quantitative easing, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, Ray Kurzweil, reserve currency, road to serfdom, Robert Gordon, Robert Metcalfe, Ronald Reagan, Sand Hill Road, Satoshi Nakamoto, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, secular stagnation, seigniorage, Silicon Valley, smart grid, South China Sea, special drawing rights, The Great Moderation, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Tim Cook: Apple, time value of money, too big to fail, transaction costs, trickle-down economics, Turing machine, winner-take-all economy, yield curve, zero-sum game

Capped by such regulatory tolls and encumbrances as the accounting mazes of Sarbanes-Oxley, Fair Disclosure’s code of omertà, and the EPA’s “cautionary principle” barring innovative manufacturing, the new Silicon Valley confines ascendant companies beneath a glass ceiling. From Apple to Google, a few public giants dominate this private-company market since they are the only potential buyers. Within this confined space, every titan is more eager to purchase his start-up rivals than to compete with them. Whitewashed and fitted out with shiny horns, the aspiring “unicorns” shuffle through the corrals of Sand Hill Road and the carrels of Cupertino, seeking sustenance from smart-set venture capitalists and international tech tycoons. With their high-calorie burn rates and weak revenues, these creatures survive on a continued boom in reveries. The tycoons swipe left or swap right, sending the nags off to the races or back to the stables—or perhaps the glue factory. Whether this one-horn hippodrome of venture capital constitutes an expanding “bubble” or a balky bottleneck, it is a bad circulatory system for finance: a traffic jam on Route 101 with no easy exit to Wall Street.

Treasury by banks, never touching MAIN STREET. Main Street: The symbol of the real economy of workers paid hourly or monthly and sealed off from the circular loops of WALL STREET moneymaking. Perhaps the street where you live, Main Street is the site of local businesses and jobs. Silicon Valley: A symbol of the high-tech entrepreneurial economy, centered in Santa Clara County, California, and largely funded by venture capital from SAND HILL ROAD in Palo Alto and Menlo Park. The high-tech economy is increasingly based on INFORMATION THEORY, which governs its infrastructure of communications and computing, particularly software. Silicon Valley sustains both MAIN STREET and WALL STREET by supplying them with new technology. Through Wall Street, Silicon Valley provides Main Street with opportunities for sharing in the equity of the ascendant sectors of the world economy.

Through Wall Street, Silicon Valley provides Main Street with opportunities for sharing in the equity of the ascendant sectors of the world economy. In recent years, Silicon Valley has suffered from the HYPERTROPHY OF FINANCE, become bloated with MONOPOLY MONEY, and been bent by controls from the Wall Street–Washington axis. Like Wall Street, Silicon Valley has bypassed Main Street, which has remained trapped in its pedestrian time-based compensation and mindless index fund investments. Sand Hill Road: The arboreal abode of California venture capitalists and their “unicorns,” stretching from the Camino Real near Stanford to Route 280 and into the clouds and wealth of Woodside and SILICON VALLEY. Expansionary fiscal and monetary policy: The attempt by central banks to stimulate economic activity by selling government securities to pay for a governmental deficit. Keynesians believe that selling securities will impart a fiscal stimulus by enabling more government spending.


pages: 103 words: 24,033

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

card file, corporate governance, crowdsourcing, Elon Musk, immigration reform, Marc Andreessen, open economy, pattern recognition, Ray Kurzweil, Sand Hill Road, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, software as a service, the new new thing, 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: 304 words: 91,566

Bitcoin Billionaires: A True Story of Genius, Betrayal, and Redemption by Ben Mezrich

"side hustle", airport security, Albert Einstein, bank run, Ben Horowitz, bitcoin, blockchain, Burning Man, buttonwood tree, cryptocurrency, East Village, El Camino Real, Elon Musk, family office, fault tolerance, fiat currency, financial innovation, game design, Isaac Newton, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, Metcalfe’s law, new economy, offshore financial centre, paypal mafia, peer-to-peer, Peter Thiel, Ponzi scheme, QR code, Ronald Reagan, Ross Ulbricht, Sand Hill Road, Satoshi Nakamoto, Schrödinger's Cat, self-driving car, side project, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart contracts, South of Market, San Francisco, Steve Jobs, transaction costs, zero-sum game

In any event, Tyler and Cameron didn’t believe they were on the earth to exist; they were here to create, to build. And there was no greater place to build the future than Silicon Valley. It was more than a place filled with entrepreneurs toting pitch decks: Silicon Valley was a living, breathing organism. It had a circulatory system, represented by the big name VCs in their low-rise California ranch-style office parks, lined up along nearby Sand Hill Road: first settled by Kleiner Perkins in 1972, the proverbial “Sand Hill” was now home to the likes of Sequoia, Accel, Founders Fund, and Andreessen Horowitz, to name a few. Sand Hill pumped cash into the veins of fetal startups, helping them uncurl their tiny fingers and toes. It had its vital organs, the megacompanies that had taken that lifeblood and grown viable and strong: Google, up in Mountain View, with its massive campus called the Googleplex, sixty buildings teeming with engineers and software developers and AI experts; Apple in Cupertino, on its way to becoming the most valuable company in the world, in the midst of constructing a new headquarters built to look like a massive spaceship that had crashed down to Earth; Facebook, of course, which had first opened its doors just blocks away from where Cameron was standing, and was now located at 1 Hacker Way, spitting out newly minted millionaires every week, inflating the local housing market to the top of the national charts and making the zip codes around Sand Hill the wealthiest in the United States; Intel and Tesla, and Twitter, on and on and on, each as important to the system as a liver or a kidney or a lung.

With Bitcoin, you don’t have to trust a-n-y-b-o-d-y. Because, like I said, it’s all based on math.” Tyler glanced at his brother, who seemed as focused on the salesman and his pitch as he was. This was something that neither of them had ever heard of before; not in any of the startup pitch decks they’d been sent, not during any of those Silicon Valley meetings. Not at the Oasis, not anywhere on Sand Hill Road. It wasn’t clear, yet, how this … cryptocurrency worked—or how math was involved. But a system that didn’t rely on trust, that didn’t involve an authority—it seemed too good to be true. “Tyler! Over here! I thought I saw you guys at Pacha last night! Come join us for a drink!” Tyler looked past Azar, in the direction of where the voice was coming from, and recognized a group of Americans waving at him from four daybeds down.

“You can scan the bar code on the back, and buy it with bitcoin. It’s freaking brilliant.” To Cameron, this introduction to Charlie and his company was part funny, part WTF. The kid was something else; he was clearly smart and scrappy but a total whirling dervish. One thing was for sure, this wasn’t some startup in the Valley looking to court seed funding from the cabal of pleated khaki pants on Sand Hill Road—this was different. “Bitcoin, the digital currency, with a lowercase b,” Voorhees said, pointing to the miniature barrel. “As Charlie implied, you send bitcoin with a lowercase b from your digital wallet to the address embedded in the QR code printed on the side of the can. It’s that simple, but that’s only a tiny part of the story.” Cameron knew from his research that the first documented time bitcoin had ever been used to purchase a product happened on May 22, 2010.


Microserfs by Douglas Coupland

car-free, computer age, El Camino Real, game design, hive mind, Kevin Kelly, Maui Hawaii, means of production, Menlo Park, postindustrial economy, RAND corporation, Ronald Reagan, Sand Hill Road, Silicon Valley, Stephen Hawking, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, telemarketer, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, white picket fence

* * * unraveled brown cassette tape on the freeway Staples CK-one PIN number basketball hoop If we were machines, we'd have the gift of being eternal and I want you to understand TUESDAY Everybody's flu-ridden today except for Ethan and me. Ethan asked me to accompany him up to Electronic Arts in San Mateo, and then down to a VC meeting out at the Venture Capital mall at the corner of the 280 and Sand Hill Road - in his ruby red Ferrari. "The Ferrari is like a rite of passage here for new money. You buy one at 26, get it out of your system, flip it for a gray Lexus or Infiniti, and then you drive gray sedans the rest of your life. I keep mine because I can't afford anything else at the moment, and I can't afford the capital gains taxes if I sold it. I should get one of those 'DON'T LAUGH: AT LEAST IT'S PAID FOR' bumper stickers.

Saint Helens erupted and that old guy who lived on top of the mountain, who was all crotchety, and wouldn't leave, and everybody thought he was a real individual - and then he got creamed when the mountain blew. And this got me thinking of all the people at IBM, and I got to thinking about Dad and . . . * * * This is my first-ever VC meeting. Ethan has attended hundreds of them during his Valley career. Apparently, the Monday Partner's Meeting is a Silicon Valley tradition, according to Ethan. They mostly occur up at the venture capital "mall" at the corner of Sand Hill Road and Interstate 280. Monday is when partners agree to agree. And Tuesday is when the decisions are acted upon. Fifteen years in the business have loaned Ethan a rote tour-guidish quality. Humming up the 280, he further briefed me on the situation: "Initial presentations are made by capital seekers. If their idea seems promising, then there's a callback for a broader presentation - not unlike Broadway.

* * * This reminds me, the lower your employee number down here, the higher your status - and the more likely you are to hold equity. * * * Later on in the day, our lives devolved into an Itchy & Scratchy cartoon. We all decided we needed sunlight - we've all been working so hard lately and our internal clocks are somewhere in the Eastern Bloc nations - so we went for a drive in the Microbus up through Stanford, up to the linear particle accelerator that passes underneath the 280 by the Sand Hill Road exit. It was the core team from the old Redmond geek house: Karla, Michael, Todd, Bug, and Susan - as well as Ethan. Dusty didn't come because everything makes her sick these days. She's set her workstation up by the bathroom door. She craves instant "Mr. Noodles," and is constantly sending Todd out for food runs to Burger King. Michael gave her his collection of international airline sickness bags as a "fertilization present."


pages: 332 words: 97,325

The Launch Pad: Inside Y Combinator, Silicon Valley's Most Exclusive School for Startups by Randall Stross

affirmative action, Airbnb, AltaVista, always be closing, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, barriers to entry, Ben Horowitz, Burning Man, business cycle, California gold rush, call centre, cloud computing, crowdsourcing, don't be evil, Elon Musk, high net worth, index fund, inventory management, John Markoff, Justin.tv, Lean Startup, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, medical residency, Menlo Park, Minecraft, minimum viable product, Paul Buchheit, Paul Graham, Peter Thiel, QR code, Richard Feynman, Richard Florida, ride hailing / ride sharing, Sam Altman, Sand Hill Road, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, social graph, software is eating the world, South of Market, San Francisco, speech recognition, Stanford marshmallow experiment, Startup school, stealth mode startup, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, TaskRabbit, transaction costs, Y Combinator

” • The MongoHQs, Jason McCay and Ben Wyrosdick, are out in the hall. Word about their startup has been circulating among angel investors and venture capitalists in advance of Demo Day. They have been spending recent days in a blurry succession of meetings with prospective investors, including some of the Valley’s leading venture capitalists on Sand Hill Road. The informality of YC’s own screening process when interviewing finalists and YC’s hacker culture, valuing technical skill above all else, does not prepare founders for the starchy culture of Sand Hill Road. Before his meetings, McCay had thought the venture capitalists would look past a rough presentation and lack of polish, and now he sees he was wrong. Appearances clearly do matter. So too does preparation. “You’ve got to be focused,” McCay says. The questions in these meetings had come fast and furiously.

This adjoined a high-ceilinged room large enough to accommodate one thirty-foot-long table and benches, large enough to seat everyone in the batch. There was nothing about the facilities or the location that resembled a sylvan college campus. The street happened to be named Pioneer Way and it was located in a light industrial area, a forlorn triangle bordered on two edges by highways. It was about a twenty-minute drive from where the posh offices of venture capitalists on Sand Hill Road were concentrated, near Stanford, on the leafy west side of Menlo Park. The neighborhood of Pioneer Way belonged to a separate galaxy. YC sat among small manufacturers, and auto repair and body shops. The architecture in the neighborhood was strictly no-frills utilitarian—a good setting for lean startups. YC was there every other winter until 2009, when Graham and Livingston decided to make the Valley their permanent home and run the program there for both the winter and summer batches.4 Two years after YC’s founding, a seed fund named TechStars sprang up in Boulder, Colorado.

See also Kalvins Ries, Eric, 55, 77, 147 RocketMail, 151 RocketSpace, 136 Rolnitzky, David, 89–90, 134 Ruby, 31, 124, 148, 193 Rushkoff, Douglas, 267n1 Russell, Andy, 127–28 Sacca, Chris, 57, 61 Said Business School, 57 Salesforce.com, 31, 204 Salt Lake City, UT, 42 San Diego, CA, 20 San Francisco, CA, 41, 54 CampusCred, 111 hipsters, 36, 211 living in, 9, 35–36 Mission, 165 MobileWorks, 90 MUNI, 153 rideshare listings, 120–21 Russian Hill, 165 South of Market, 163 Standard Chartered Bank office, 90 Taylor Street, 223–24 Y Scraper, 223–24 YC founders in, 58, 71, 133–34, 141, 142, 163, 229 San Francisco Gray Line, 1 Sand Hill Road, Menlo Park, 41–42, 202–3 Santa Barbara, CA, 20 Sapient, 29 Say It Visually, 101–2 Schmidt, Geoff, 234 Science Exchange, 46, 163, 171–82 Scott, Riley, 51 Scribd, 166, 224, 230 Seattle, WA, 71 Securities Act of 1933, 205 Seibel, Michael, 142, 144, 228, 229 Sequoia Capital, 3, 66, 74, 86, 87, 153, 157 Seyal, Omar, 66, 151 Shah, Sagar, 110–14, 117, 136–37 Sharpie, 165 Shazam, 81 Shear, Emmett education, 15 Kan, Daniel, 229 Kan, Justin, 162–63 Kiko, 14, 16, 23 Justin.tv, 141–44 Rap Genius, 201 Twitch.tv, 144–47, 228 2005, summer batch, 14–16 YC partner, 63, 150 Shen, Jason, 68, 69, 163–64, 266n3 AnyAsq, 166 Art of Ass-Kicking blog, 9 Demo Day, 211 finalist interview, 10 Prototype Day, 120–21 Rehearsal Day, 187–88 Shirky, Clay, 105 Shpilman, Felix, 88, 222 Siberian ginseng, 134 Sift Science, 70–76, 121, 134, 138, 210 Silicon Valley Australian view of, 267n6 failure, forgiving of, 220 image, 114 merit over seniority, 60 programmers, 212 startups, 56–57, 58–59 Taggar, Harj, 58–60 tours, 1 uniqueness of, 237, 238 women in, 54 YC, 40 Silicon Valley Comes to Oxford, 57 Silver Tail, 54 Sims, Zach, 124–25, 147–49, 192–93, 194–96, 215–16, 227 Singapore, 154, 238 Skype, 17, 38, 124, 223, 265n1 Snapjoy, 43–44, 103, 130–33, 186–87, 194 Socialcam, 144, 147, 228 software is eating the world, 1–2, 6, 216, 238, 239 South Africa, 17 Spain, 238 Spanish (language), 213 Splitterbug, 123, 187, 209 Square, 91 Stamatiou, Paul, 219 Standard Chartered Bank, 90 Stanford Artificial Intelligence Lab, 47 Bing Nursery School, 52 computer science students, 47, 60, 66, 256n6 dorms, 52 Google, 86 graduates of, 9, 29, 68, 91, 214, 261n1, 266n3 photo books, 10 Stanford Daily, 163 students, current, 213 Start Fund, 43, 95, 137, 169, 219, 233 Andreesen Horowitz, 230 beginnings, 4, 28 Clerky, 126 Graham, Paul, 35, 87–88 Science Exchange, 179 Shpilman, Felix, 88 Tagstand, 154 Steiner, Chris, 51, 191, 208–9, 264n2 Stigsen, Alexander, 51, 103 Stripe, 64–66 Stypi, 194 Su, Andy, 52–53 Sunnyvale, CA, 125, 130, 149 SuperValu, 209 Suzman, Ted, 164–65, 224 Suzman, Tim, 164–68, 223–24 SV Angel, 137, 219, 233 Andreesen Horowitz, 230 Clerky, 126 Conway, Ron, 88–89 Lee, David, 88–89, 91 MongoHQ, 95 Science Exchange, 179 Stripe, 66 Tagstand, 154 Sweden, 168, 238 Swedish, 214 Taggar, Harj (Harjeet) AnyAsq, 166 Auctomatic, 60–63, 204 Boso, 57–58 coding, 58, 60 Kalvins/Ridejoy, 68 Rap Genius, 80–85, 127, 196 Sift Science, 71–75 Silicon Valley, 58–60 speaking style, 81 on startups, 59, 61, 66, 161–62 2007, winter, 58–61 YC partner, 62–63, 150, 166, 256–57n3, 263n13 Taggar, Kulveer, 151–60 Auctomatic, 60–62, 159, 204 Boso, 57–58 coding, 58, 60 Demo Day, 210, 264n1 Tagstand, 66 YC, 58–61, 66, 154, 160 Tagstand, 66, 151–60 Taiwan, 238 Tam, Chris, 98–100 Tamagotchi, 156 Tamplin, James, 134–36, 138 Tan, Garry Science Exchange, 171, 180–81 Tagstand, 151, 155 YC partner, 63, 64, 150 Tan, Jason, 71–76, 121, 134–36, 210 TapEngage, 187, 192, 209 Target, 169 TaskRabbit, 54 Tech Wildcatters, 41 TechCrunch, 93, 197 Codecademy, 195, 227 Snapjoy, 131 Socialcam, 147 women, 48 YC, 194 TechStars, 41, 42–44, 53, 169, 255n5–6, 255n10, 261n2 10gen, 30, 93 Thiel, Peter, 66, 140, 261n1 Thing Marks, 148 Thomas, Eric, 106, 108 TightDB, 51, 103, 223 Toontastic, 127–28 Topps, 152 Traf-O-Data, 16 Transition School, 15 Trott, Mena, 46 Tumblr, 147 Turkey, 17 Twitch.tv, 145–47, 228 Twitter, 57, 58, 91 Codecademy, 195, 227 Conway, Ron, 87 female users, 256n10 NowSpots, 168 Socialcam, 147 280 North, 64 UC Davis, 20 UCLA, 20 UC San Diego, 20 UC Santa Cruz, 20 UK, 17, 57, 59, 61, 184, 238 Union Square Ventures, 267n1 United Nations, 162, 214 University of Maryland, 39 University of Miami, 171 University of Southern California, 20, 88 University of Texas, Austin, 112 University of Washington, 15, 70, 71 U.S.


pages: 270 words: 79,180

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

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, Al Roth, Ben Horowitz, Black Swan, buy low sell high, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable:, Credit Default Swap, cross-subsidies, crowdsourcing, disintermediation, diversified portfolio, experimental economics, George Akerlof, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, income inequality, index fund, information asymmetry, Jean Tirole, Joan Didion, Kenneth Arrow, Lean Startup, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, market microstructure, Martin Wolf, McMansion, Menlo Park, Metcalfe’s law, moral hazard, multi-sided market, Network effects, patent troll, Paul Graham, Peter Thiel, pez dispenser, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Metcalfe, 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, uber lyft, 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: 615 words: 168,775

Troublemakers: Silicon Valley's Coming of Age by Leslie Berlin

AltaVista, Apple II, Asilomar, Asilomar Conference on Recombinant DNA, beat the dealer, Bill Gates: Altair 8800, Bob Noyce, Byte Shop, Clayton Christensen, cloud computing, computer age, discovery of DNA, don't be evil, Donald Knuth, double helix, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Dynabook, Edward Thorp, El Camino Real, fear of failure, Fellow of the Royal Society, financial independence, game design, Haight Ashbury, hiring and firing, industrial robot, informal economy, Internet of things, inventory management, John Markoff, Kickstarter, Kitchen Debate, Leonard Kleinrock, manufacturing employment, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, Minecraft, Mother of all demos, packet switching, Ralph Nader, Robert Metcalfe, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, Sand Hill Road, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Snapchat, software as a service, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, Ted Nelson, union organizing, upwardly mobile, William Shockley: the traitorous eight, women in the workforce

Kleiner & Perkins had invested in a shoe-resoling business (Tred 2, whose founder, Rory Fuerst, would found Keen shoes three decades later), a motorcycle-cum-snowmobile (Snow Job), a medical device company (Andros Analyzers), and a nearly fail-safe minicomputer firm (Tandem Computers).VII Shortly before Swanson joined Kleiner & Perkins, the firm moved from 3000 Sand Hill Road, where Kleiner had had a private office before the partnership began, to the twenty-ninth floor of Two Embarcadero Center in San Francisco. The move had been Perkins’s idea. Other venture capital firms, such as Don Valentine’s Sequoia, were moving onto Sand Hill Road, which today is home to the largest concentration of venture capitalists in the Valley, if not the world. Perkins did not want other venture capitalists to see who he and Kleiner were taking to lunch, and, as he put it, “We didn’t want to be considered part of the flock.

He found that figure—the precise amount was $2,944.91,14 all but $44.40 of which had come from Professor William Hansen’s patent for an “automatic power bridge”—incredible. How could inventions coming from throughout Stanford together yield only $226 per year for the university? Reimers began compiling a list of ideas and another list of anyone on campus who had anything to do with patents. An attorney in the business affairs office did occasional patent work. The new SLAC Linear Accelerator Laboratory on Sand Hill Road near the southwest edge of campus employed a full-time patent counsel. An outside attorney worked one day per week for the Hansen Experimental Physics Laboratory.15 That was it. Reimers was not an attorney, and his knowledge of patent law was limited. But he thought Stanford could do more with its intellectual property. He knew that Crest toothpaste, for example, had been formulated in a lab at the University of Indiana, which had earned large sums after licensing the product exclusively to Procter & Gamble, the company that had sponsored the university’s research.16 He was also aware of the cautionary tale of the University of Florida’s having declined one of its physician’s offers to give the school all rights to a hydrating drink he had formulated for the football team: Gatorade.II17 Reimers thought that Stanford should create a group focused entirely on licensing inventions and moving them into commercial markets.

In 1975, with the encouragement of Capital Group, Valentine spun the Sequoia fund into an independent venture capital firm of the same name and with a similar group of investors—not individuals but deep-pocketed institutions such as pension funds and universities with large endowments. (“Go where the money is,” Valentine likes to say, quoting his mentor Bob Kirby and the bank robber Willie Sutton.) The independent Sequoia Capital also retained a focus on high-risk, high-reward investments. Valentine rented an office on Sand Hill Road, near the venture firm Kleiner & Perkins, started by Fairchild cofounder Eugene Kleiner and Hewlett-Packard alumnus Tom Perkins. Sequoia Capital and Kleiner & Perkins were pioneers in a trend that would later prove an essential element of Silicon Valley’s longevity: an older generation of successful tech entrepreneurs and executives mentoring and funding later generations. Between them, Sequoia Capital and Kleiner & Perkins would go on to fund, among others, Amazon, Apple, Cisco, Dropbox, Electronic Arts, Facebook, Genentech, Google, Instagram, Intuit, and LinkedIn–and that is just the first half of the alphabet.


pages: 284 words: 92,688

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

activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, Airbnb, Ben Horowitz, Bernie Madoff, bitcoin, call centre, cleantech, cloud computing, corporate governance, disruptive innovation, dumpster diving, fear of failure, Filter Bubble, Golden Gate Park, Google Glasses, Googley, Gordon Gekko, hiring and firing, Jeff Bezos, Lean Startup, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, 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, Stanford prison experiment, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, telemarketer, tulip mania, uber lyft, 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: 359 words: 96,019

How to Turn Down a Billion Dollars: The Snapchat Story by Billy Gallagher

Airbnb, Albert Einstein, Amazon Web Services, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, augmented reality, Bernie Sanders, Black Swan, citizen journalism, Clayton Christensen, computer vision, disruptive innovation, Donald Trump, El Camino Real, Elon Musk, Frank Gehry, Google Glasses, Hyperloop, information asymmetry, Jeff Bezos, Justin.tv, Lean Startup, Long Term Capital Management, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, minimum viable product, Nelson Mandela, Oculus Rift, paypal mafia, Peter Thiel, QR code, Sand Hill Road, Saturday Night Live, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Snapchat, social graph, sorting algorithm, speech recognition, stealth mode startup, Steve Jobs, too big to fail, Y Combinator, young professional

Twitter and Square founder Jack Dorsey spoke on campus to convince students to join his companies. The guest speaker lineups at the myriad entrepreneurship and technology-related classes each quarter rival those of multithousand-dollar business conferences. Even geographically, Stanford is smack in the middle of Silicon Valley. Facebook sits just north of the school. Apple is a little farther south. Google is to the east. And just west, right next to campus, is Sand Hill Road, the Wall Street of venture capital. Silicon Valley has always had an influence on Stanford, and vice versa. But starting in the late 2000s, tech started to dominate the university. In the fall of 2010, as Evan began his junior year, I arrived on campus as a freshman. Coming from the East Coast, I knew that Stanford and Silicon Valley were closely linked and that tech companies were a big deal out there on the West Coast.

Not coincidentally, many of the members of the PayPal Mafia had studied at Stanford, often as classmates. Duplan received some money from his parents and a $15,000 grant from a summer program at the venture capital firm Highland Capital. It had become quite easy for students to raise initial funding for their startup ideas. Venture capitalists were frequently on campus, often as professors or guest lecturers. Sand Hill Road, which runs from the 280 highway right past the edge of Stanford University in Menlo Park bordering Palo Alto, is home to the world’s major venture capital firms; think of it as Wall Street for venture capital. In the summer of 2011—the same summer that Evan, Reggie, and Bobby moved in to the Spiegels’ house to start Picaboo—Lucas and ten members of team Clinkle rented a house in Palo Alto to build the company’s first product.

Evan wasn’t interested in a quick payday or a steady job at a big tech company. And Mark Zuckerberg would soon give him good reason to rule out working at Facebook. But most of all, Evan wanted to be a founder and a CEO—the captain of his own company that he could grow to be the next Apple. Evan’s attitude and Snapchat’s traction made the company’s next fundraising, a Series A round, the hottest deal on Sand Hill Road. There were plenty of questions surrounding Snapchat: Is this really a full-fledged company or just a feature that Facebook, Apple, Google, or someone else can copy? Isn’t every other company in the Valley moving toward collecting more data, not zero data? How will they make money? And, of course, isn’t this for sexting? But the other side of the fear/greed coin was even more compelling: teenagers were using this app with a frequency investors hadn’t seen since Instagram or Facebook.


Britannia Unchained: Global Lessons for Growth and Prosperity by Kwasi Kwarteng, Priti Patel, Dominic Raab, Chris Skidmore, Elizabeth Truss

Airbnb, banking crisis, Carmen Reinhart, central bank independence, clockwatching, creative destruction, Credit Default Swap, demographic dividend, Edward Glaeser, eurozone crisis, fear of failure, glass ceiling, informal economy, James Dyson, Kenneth Rogoff, knowledge economy, long peace, margin call, Mark Zuckerberg, Martin Wolf, megacity, Mexican peso crisis / tequila crisis, Neil Kinnock, new economy, North Sea oil, oil shock, open economy, paypal mafia, pension reform, price stability, profit motive, Ronald Reagan, Sand Hill Road, Silicon Valley, Stanford marshmallow experiment, Steve Jobs, Walter Mischel, wealth creators, Winter of Discontent, working-age population, Yom Kippur War

This is not in itself unique of course; after all, Britain is hardly bereft of world-class universities. A number of other factors have been studied, including, but not limited to, a high-skilled workforce; a creative, risk-taking culture; complementary legal and financial institutions, and the high quality of life.34 So Silicon Valley benefits more than anything from a ready access to venture capital – which allows for the harnessing of risk in the interests of innovation. Sand Hill Road has become as synonymous with private 94 Britannia Unchained equity investment as Wall Street is with the stock market. Each year, billions of dollars are invested in new start-ups – capitalism in its rawest, most primordial form. Instead of the tinkering around the edges of enterprise zones, or government-subsidised green technology, we see the unrivalled power of the market in picking winners and backing innovation.

Neville 38 PriceWaterhouseCoopers 94 private enterprise, used for social ends 26–7 Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) (OECD) 36, 38, 39–41, 44, 57, 105, 115 prudence 24, 27–9, 33 public services, investment in 12, 28–9, 31 ‘quants’ 44, 45, 47–8 Reagan, Ronald 38–9 reality television 75–6, 115 142 Britannia Unchained Recent Work Capability Assessments 70 The Red Paper on Scotland 26 Reich, Robert 25 Reilly, Cait 74 Reinhart, Carmen M. 21, 22 resources, running out 9 risk 99 and innovation 91–2 risk-aversion 86–8, 91, 92 see also failure Robinson, Derek (‘Red Robbo’) 8 Rogoff, Kenneth S. 21, 22, 29 Rolls Royce 8 Romer, Christina 22 Rossli, Ashraf 1 Rousseff, Dilma 101 Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts (RSA) 61 Sahami, Mehran 60 Sainsbury’s, and migrant workers 64 Samuels, Tim 64 Sand Hill Road 93–4 Saragoza, Eric 54 Sarkozy, Nicholas 66 SAT (Standard Assessment Tasks) tests 39 Save the Children 71 Scandinavia, labour market reform 4 Schleicher, Andreas 38, 39, 40, 41 Science Museum, London 56 science and technology 38–60 attitudes to 48–51 securitisation 35 Sedi 103 seed capital 84, 98 see also venture capital Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme 98 Seedrs 98 Sela, Yonatan 86 Sequoia Capital 98 Silicon Roundabout (London) 55, 97, 112 Silicon Valley 93–4, 95, 97, 554 Simon, Leslie 48 Singapore 5, 66, 113 smart phones 55 Smith, Adam 20 Snow, C.P. 46 social mobility 11, 76–7 The Social Network (film) 48 solar energy sector, subsidies 85 Songkick 98 South Korea 4–5, 113 education 43–4, 55 working hours 66 Soviet Union 86, 89, 105 collapse of 10 SpaceX 95 Spain 3, 41, 52, 66 Spotify 98 Standard & Poor’s 47 Stanford University (US) 60, 93, 97 Stephens, Philip 28 strikes 8–9, 66, 69, 114–15 Stringer, Sir Howard 58 Süddeutsche Zeitung 40 Suez crisis (1956) 8 Sugar, Alan 75, 76 Summers, Larry 25 sustainable development 4, 10 see also economic growth Sweden 30, 32 Switzerland 30, 32, 52 Tang, Jessie 72 Tata, Ratan 64 taxation 12, 28–9, 31, 37, 88, 109, 110 impact on working hours 68–9 increases under New Labour 29 taxi drivers, work ethic 61–3 Tech City (London) 97 tech industry 51–5 international collaboration 53–4 low-wage workers 54 and tech skills 54–5 Technological Incubators Program (Israel) 79, 83–4 technology see science and technology; tech industry Index Thatcher, Margaret 9, 10, 11, 114–15 Toynbee, Polly 31 trade unions 8, 9, 63, 69 Trudeau, Pierre Elliot 14–15 True Flash Filing System 81 Tug, Tuggy 72 TweetDeck 55, 98 Twitter 93 unemployment 20, 23 Canada 14, 16, 18, 34 Europe 66 UK 70, 73, 74, 77, 87 Unison union 70 United Kingdom (UK) attitudes to academic achievement 45–7, 59 debt 10, 12, 30–3, 115 and deficit 19–21, 27, 29–33 economic decline 7–11, 12–13, 115 economic growth 9–10, 12, 114, 115 education 4–5, 12, 31, 42–3, 44–8, 51–60 failure of 57–8, 115 maths teaching methods 56–7 and parental aspiration 57, 59 performance in PISA tests 40, 41, 57, 115 and science and technology 51–3, 54–60, 115 tuition fees 60 end of empire 4, 8, 10, 114 and entrepreneurship 76, 91, 97–8 and European Union 10 government subsidies 85 graduate jobs market 44–5 innovation 98, 114 intellectual capital 52, 53, 112 patent applications 95–7 pensions 3, 63, 69–70, 110 population growth 100, 107–8 productivity 61, 66–7, 77 public spending 3, 27–8, 31, 114, 115 143 regulation and red tape 5, 30, 37, 87–8, 98, 109 relationship with US 8, 10, 90 research and development 88 and risk-aversion 86–8, 91, 92 strikes 8–9, 69, 114–15 taxation 12, 28–9, 31, 37, 88, 109, 110 technology companies 97–8 trade union power 8, 9, 63, 69 universities 52–3, 57, 58, 97 rise in science and tech applicants 59–60 venture capital 94, 98 welfare policies 109, 110 and dependency 2, 67, 68, 70–1, 77, 109 unsustainability of 106 Winter of Discontent (1978) 9, 114 and work ethic 2, 61–77, 111–12 working hours 65, 66, 68, 77 young Britons 75, 108–11 and entrepreneurship 76 unemployment 74, 77 United States (US) attitude to bankruptcy 91 cost of patent process 96 and debt 22, 24, 31 Declaration of Independence 90 and economic freedom 36 education 12, 38–9, 40, 42, 46, 57 entrepreneurial spirit 90, 93–4, 96–7 and global financial crisis (2007–08) 19, 32, 37 investment in IT sector 93–4 women in tech careers 49 worker productivity 57, 67 working hours 65, 66, 68 universities non-courses 43, 46–7 see also United Kingdom (UK), universities urban riots (2011) 1, 75 USB flash drive 80–1 144 Britannia Unchained Varga, Getúlio 104 Velez, Leila 103–4 venture capital 5, 80, 84–5, 93–5, 98 see also seed capital Vietnam 54, 89 vocational training 74 Wall Street Journal 9, 14, 36, 96 Wanless report 29 Wei, Nat 59 Weizmann, Chaim 83 Wenzhou, China 95 Willetts, David 67 Wilshaw, Sir Michael 59 Wilson, Harold 114 Wolf, Martin 26 Wolley, Trevor 45 women and tech careers 48–9, 50–1 working and cost of childcare 71 Woos, Jaejoon 22 work ethic 2, 5, 13, 61–77 and entrepreneurship 67–8 Europeans 65–6 impact of childcare costs 71 impact of welfare system 68, 70–1, 74, 77 Japan 106 migrant workers 63–4 and role models 74–7 role of schools 73–4 worklessness 67 Workers’ Party (Brazil) 101 working hours 65, 66 effect of unionisation 69 impact of tax rates 68–9 World Economic Forum 35, 87 Wriston, Walter 20 X Factor 45, 75 Yes Minister 47 Yom Kippur War (1973) 83 YouTube 1, 95 Yozma programme (Israel) 83, 84–6 Zappos 98 Zhou, Biyan 42 Zuckerberg, Mark 76 Zynga 95


pages: 559 words: 155,372

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

Airbnb, airport security, always be closing, Amazon Web Services, Burning Man, Celtic Tiger, centralized clearinghouse, cognitive dissonance, collective bargaining, corporate governance, Credit Default Swap, crowdsourcing, death of newspapers, disruptive innovation, drone strike, El Camino Real, Elon Musk, Emanuel Derman, financial independence, global supply chain, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, hive mind, income inequality, information asymmetry, interest rate swap, intermodal, Jeff Bezos, Kickstarter, Malcom McLean invented shipping containers, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Maui Hawaii, means of production, Menlo Park, minimum viable product, MITM: man-in-the-middle, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, Network effects, orbital mechanics / astrodynamics, Paul Graham, performance metric, Peter Thiel, Ponzi scheme, pre–internet, Ralph Waldo Emerson, random walk, Ruby on Rails, Sam Altman, Sand Hill Road, Scientific racism, second-price auction, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, Snapchat, social graph, social web, Socratic dialogue, source of truth, Steve Jobs, telemarketer, undersea cable, urban renewal, Y Combinator, zero-sum game, 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: 190 words: 62,941

Wild Ride: Inside Uber's Quest for World Domination by Adam Lashinsky

"side hustle", Airbnb, always be closing, Amazon Web Services, autonomous vehicles, Ayatollah Khomeini, business process, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable:, cognitive dissonance, corporate governance, DARPA: Urban Challenge, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, gig economy, Golden Gate Park, Google X / Alphabet X, information retrieval, Jeff Bezos, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, megacity, Menlo Park, new economy, pattern recognition, price mechanism, ride hailing / ride sharing, Sand Hill Road, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, Snapchat, South of Market, San Francisco, sovereign wealth fund, statistical model, Steve Jobs, TaskRabbit, Tony Hsieh, transportation-network company, Travis Kalanick, turn-by-turn navigation, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, ubercab, young professional

The center of gravity for computer science is 350 miles north, in Silicon Valley, its epicenter on the campus of Stanford University in Palo Alto. Stanford alumni Jerry Yang and David Filo had already started Yahoo, a wildly popular compilation of searchable Web pages. Larry Page and Sergey Brin were Stanford graduate students fiddling with an algorithm that would soon become Google. The world’s leading venture capitalists, investors who make risky bets on unproven technology companies, nearly all had their offices on Sand Hill Road in Menlo Park, minutes from the Stanford campus. The proximity was no coincidence: the financiers recognized the value of staying close to the people dreaming up investable ideas at Stanford’s venerable computer science and engineering schools. This isn’t to say UCLA’s programs were an engineering backwater. For decades the university had pumped out rocket scientists and other engineers to serve the defense and aerospace industries that had grown up nearby after World War II.

And unless we can figure out a way for you to fund this, you’re not going to be able to play with this toy.’” Cable & Wireless bit, signing a $150,000 deal with Red Swoosh. “Then I could pay people again,” says Kalanick. And so it continued. In early 2002, Kalanick says he succeeded in attracting the interest of August Capital, which planned to invest $10 million in Red Swoosh. August was the type of firm Kalanick had long coveted. An established, pedigreed firm on Sand Hill Road in Menlo Park, California, August was best known for having made an early and extremely lucrative investment in Microsoft. Landing an investment from August would confer legitimacy on the upstart company. But August had two conditions in return for its investment. First, it wanted Red Swoosh to find another, similar firm to coinvest alongside it. Second, it suggested that Kalanick cede the CEO position to a more seasoned executive, a common VC demand known as requiring “adult supervision.”


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

Apple II, bounce rate, business cycle, Byte Shop, Cal Newport, capital controls, cleantech, Community Supported Agriculture, deliberate practice, financial independence, follow your passion, Frank Gehry, information asymmetry, 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, 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

Apple II, Bob Noyce, business cycle, collective bargaining, computer age, George Gilder, informal economy, John Markoff, Kickstarter, laissez-faire capitalism, low skilled workers, means of production, Menlo Park, Murray Gell-Mann, open economy, 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: 286 words: 82,065

Curation Nation by Rosenbaum, Steven

Amazon Mechanical Turk, Andrew Keen, barriers to entry, citizen journalism, cognitive dissonance, commoditize, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, disintermediation, en.wikipedia.org, future of journalism, Jason Scott: textfiles.com, means of production, PageRank, pattern recognition, post-work, 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.


We Are the Nerds: The Birth and Tumultuous Life of Reddit, the Internet's Culture Laboratory by Christine Lagorio-Chafkin

4chan, Airbnb, Amazon Web Services, Bernie Sanders, big-box store, bitcoin, blockchain, Brewster Kahle, Burning Man, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, David Heinemeier Hansson, Donald Trump, East Village, game design, Golden Gate Park, hiring and firing, Internet Archive, Jacob Appelbaum, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, Joi Ito, Justin.tv, Kickstarter, Lean Startup, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, medical residency, minimum viable product, natural language processing, Paul Buchheit, Paul Graham, paypal mafia, Peter Thiel, plutocrats, Plutocrats, QR code, recommendation engine, RFID, rolodex, Ruby on Rails, Sam Altman, Sand Hill Road, Saturday Night Live, self-driving car, semantic web, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Silicon Valley startup, slashdot, Snapchat, social web, South of Market, San Francisco, Startup school, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, technoutopianism, uber lyft, web application, WikiLeaks, Y Combinator

Learning what the heck a “Y combinator” is would be a little Easter egg to every applicant who Googled it—so much so that for a while YC’s blog included a tagline only a nerd could adore: “Y Combinator: Not your standard fixed-point combinator.” Y Combinator would be not your standard startup incubator. It would start tiny, intended to help a handful of little companies get their legal framework set up, get a product established, and then introduce the founders to bigger, real investors. It would focus on very, very early-stage companies, typically ignored by Sand Hill Road’s investment firms, giving them just $6,000 per founder for the summer—enough for rent and pizza, not enough to bloat them or bog them down. It would be a friend and an inspiration, allowing the founders autonomy all week, not chaining them to desks. The founders would gather each Tuesday for a supportive social dinnertime meet-up session. Livingston remembers adoring the little plan, but thinking it so odd that she pondered, “How do we even tell people about this?”

The tour wrapped in Lexington, Kentucky, where team Reddit hosted a big event along with their buddy Drew Curtis, the founder of the weird-news aggregation website Fark. Thanks to this massive road trip, Ohanian had collected inspiring stories of the Internet, and entrepreneurship, having changed the lives of individuals who never graduated from an Ivy League school nor pitched an investor on Sand Hill Road. Now he had another idea: a book. He’d taken it to literary agents, and a year after the tour, he would publish a hardcover book about the democratizing force of the World Wide Web, and how to start a startup, all inspired by his own story of founding Reddit. * * * A couple years earlier, a junior partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, one of the world’s largest and most established venture capital firms, which had backed 850 startups with hundreds of millions in funding, had reached out to Wong.

Throughout her legal tribulations, Wong was a friend to Pao. After she’d left Kleiner, she began formally advising him on transforming Reddit into a profitable company. She was one of several experienced executives whom Wong brought on initially as contractors. Members of the Reddit team were still irked that Wong had been hired without their consent; they saw Pao, with her Harvard degrees and her Sand Hill Road pedigree, as extremely buttoned-up and overly professional. To them she wasn’t a real Redditor, she was a poseur. Pao read the employees as passionate—they were youthfully enthusiastic, but wildly stubborn. They seemed simply unwilling to change the way they’d been doing things. This was a team that had exerted so much of their energy putting out fires that it seemed they’d lost the bigger picture: They were unable to focus their attention on something new, such as building new products.


pages: 323 words: 92,135

Running Money by Andy Kessler

Andy Kessler, Apple II, bioinformatics, Bob Noyce, British Empire, business intelligence, buy and hold, buy low sell high, call centre, Corn Laws, Douglas Engelbart, 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, Leonard Kleinrock, Long Term Capital Management, mail merge, Marc Andreessen, margin call, market bubble, Maui Hawaii, Menlo Park, Metcalfe’s law, Mitch Kapor, Network effects, packet switching, pattern recognition, pets.com, railway mania, risk tolerance, Robert Metcalfe, Sand Hill Road, Silicon Valley, South China Sea, spinning jenny, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Toyota Production System, zero-sum game

“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: 1,373 words: 300,577

The Quest: Energy, Security, and the Remaking of the Modern World by Daniel Yergin

"Robert Solow", addicted to oil, Albert Einstein, Asian financial crisis, Ayatollah Khomeini, banking crisis, Berlin Wall, bioinformatics, borderless world, BRICs, business climate, carbon footprint, Carmen Reinhart, cleantech, Climategate, Climatic Research Unit, colonial rule, Colonization of Mars, corporate governance, cuban missile crisis, data acquisition, decarbonisation, Deng Xiaoping, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, diversification, diversified portfolio, Elon Musk, energy security, energy transition, Exxon Valdez, facts on the ground, Fall of the Berlin Wall, fear of failure, financial innovation, flex fuel, global supply chain, global village, high net worth, hydraulic fracturing, income inequality, index fund, informal economy, interchangeable parts, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), James Watt: steam engine, John von Neumann, Kenneth Rogoff, life extension, Long Term Capital Management, Malacca Straits, market design, means of production, megacity, Menlo Park, Mikhail Gorbachev, Mohammed Bouazizi, mutually assured destruction, new economy, Norman Macrae, North Sea oil, nuclear winter, off grid, oil rush, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, Paul Samuelson, peak oil, Piper Alpha, price mechanism, purchasing power parity, rent-seeking, rising living standards, Robert Metcalfe, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, Sand Hill Road, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, smart grid, smart meter, South China Sea, sovereign wealth fund, special economic zone, Stuxnet, technology bubble, the built environment, The Nature of the Firm, the new new thing, trade route, transaction costs, unemployed young men, University of East Anglia, uranium enrichment, William Langewiesche, Yom Kippur War

Merely mentioning their name tells a story and evokes an entire culture: Wall Street. Pennsylvania Avenue. The Champs-Élysées. Whitehall. And, of course, Rodeo Drive. And then there is Sand Hill Road, which slides down the western edge of Stanford University in Palo Alto, California. On one side of the road is Stanford’s Linear Accelerator, used for advanced nuclear experiments. On the other, partly hidden by leafy trees, is a series of mostly three- or four-story buildings that discreetly descend the hillside. The name Sand Hill may not be as widely resonant as those other streets, but to those who do know it, Sand Hill Road is synonymous with Silicon Valley and the innovation and technology that are changing the world. For it is on Sand Hill Road that are headquartered many VCs—venture capitalists—that are the ignition switch for new business formation, formerly mainly for Silicon Valley but now for the whole world.

It was through Terman that a couple of Stanford graduates got to know one another—one named William Hewlett and the other, David Packard. Out of which came Hewlett-Packard, eventually HP, the largest computer company in the world.12 From Terman’s vision emerged the distinctive and highly interconnected ecosystem of Silicon Valley that encompasses Stanford and the University of California at Berkeley; the venture capitalists of Sand Hill Road and University Avenue and San Francisco; and the scientists and engineers and entrepreneurs who surround them. One of the first venture capital firms that shaped the Silicon Valley system was Kleiner Perkins (later Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers), which was founded in 1972. The original partners were Eugene Kleiner, who had fled Vienna with his family to escape the Nazis and later joined an early Silicon Valley start-up, and Tom Perkins, an MIT engineering and Harvard Business School graduate and a Hewlett-Packard veteran, who had been a student in Georges Doriot’s Manufacturing class at the Harvard Business School.

They should be analyzed and assessed in terms of impact and scale and cost-benefit analysis, assuring access to energy, with appropriate environmental safeguards. The whole sweep of Carnot’s great revolution—from the steam engine start-up of James Watt in the eighteenth century and the oil start-up of Colonel Edwin Drake in the nineteenth century to the latest cleantech start-ups to be spun out of Sand Hill Road and whatever is currently bubbling in the lab—demonstrates that the advances of energy are the result of innovation and conviction. Developing new knowledge and “applying science” come with a price tag. But without sustained long-term support for the entire innovation chain, the world will pay a much larger price. As we have seen in these pages, there are many parts to the quest. But fundamental to it, and underpinning everything else, is the search for knowledge, which advances technology and promotes innovation.


pages: 326 words: 103,170

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

Airbnb, Albert Einstein, algorithmic trading, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, bitcoin, British Empire, cloud computing, crowdsourcing, Danny Hillis, defense in depth, Deng Xiaoping, drone strike, Edward Snowden, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Firefox, Google Chrome, income inequality, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, job automation, Joi Ito, market bubble, Menlo Park, Metcalfe’s law, Mitch Kapor, 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, road to serfdom, Robert Metcalfe, 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: 349 words: 102,827

The Infinite Machine: How an Army of Crypto-Hackers Is Building the Next Internet With Ethereum by Camila Russo

4chan, Airbnb, algorithmic trading, altcoin, always be closing, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, Asian financial crisis, bitcoin, blockchain, Burning Man, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, distributed ledger, diversification, Donald Trump, East Village, Ethereum, ethereum blockchain, Flash crash, Google Glasses, Google Hangouts, hacker house, Internet of things, Mark Zuckerberg, Maui Hawaii, mobile money, new economy, peer-to-peer, Peter Thiel, pets.com, Ponzi scheme, prediction markets, QR code, reserve currency, RFC: Request For Comment, Richard Stallman, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Sand Hill Road, Satoshi Nakamoto, semantic web, sharing economy, side project, Silicon Valley, Skype, slashdot, smart contracts, South of Market, San Francisco, the payments system, too big to fail, tulip mania, Turing complete, Uber for X

Gavin got his wish of becoming CTO, while Charles had been named CEO in the very early days when the group gathered via Skype. A long list of contributors and advisors was also listed on Ethereum’s website. There was no shortage of people wanting to be a part of it, and Vitalik was happy to bring everyone in. Vitalik wasn’t thinking about impressing VCs. He wasn’t thinking about company equity, either. In this brave new world of token sales, Ethereum could ditch startups’ mandatory trek to Silicon Valley’s Sand Hill Road. Ethereum didn’t need VC money because they could access investors from all over the world without them. Vitalik didn’t want VC money because, to him, Ethereum should be free and open for anyone to use, not owned by anyone. Post-Miami, the team’s priority was deciding where to set up either a company or a foundation. The question hadn’t been decided and two factions were forming. While they discussed different structures, the main ones being seriously considered were a for-profit company supporting and building the application layer for an open source Ethereum protocol developed under a nonprofit foundation, or a nonprofit foundation to support development of the open source network, while the wider community would build applications and infrastructure on top of it.

Galia and her brother Guy grew up in Silicon Valley, listening to their father, an engineer who immigrated from Israel, talk about tech and business. After college, they wanted to try their own hand at running a company, and between 2005 and 2011 they, together with other cofounders, built two startups geared toward smartphone games, Mytopia and Particle Code, and sold them both. After that, Galia worked as an entrepreneur in residence at Trinity Ventures, one of the oldest VC firms in Sand Hill Road, and became a venture partner at Peter Thiel’s Founders Fund. In 2012 Galia moved to Tel Aviv to be a bridge for Founders Fund and the technology that was coming out of Israel. There she discovered Bitcoin and how developers were starting to think about building different layers and applications on top of it. That journey led her to the works of Bernard Lietaer, an economist who championed alternative currencies before Bitcoin was even invented and advocated for the idea that communities can benefit from creating their own parallel, local currency.


pages: 406 words: 105,602

The Startup Way: Making Entrepreneurship a Fundamental Discipline of Every Enterprise by Eric Ries

activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, basic income, Ben Horowitz, Black-Scholes formula, call centre, centralized clearinghouse, Clayton Christensen, cognitive dissonance, connected car, corporate governance, DevOps, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, fault tolerance, Frederick Winslow Taylor, global supply chain, index card, Jeff Bezos, Kickstarter, Lean Startup, loss aversion, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, means of production, minimum viable product, moral hazard, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, obamacare, peer-to-peer, place-making, rent-seeking, Richard Florida, Sam Altman, Sand Hill Road, secular stagnation, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, six sigma, skunkworks, Steve Jobs, the scientific method, time value of money, Toyota Production System, Uber for X, universal basic income, web of trust, Y Combinator

It is the collection of mechanisms and methods that come together in a framework called innovation accounting, and it is the subject of the next chapter. WARNING: Do not try this at home until you have mastered the math that makes it possible. CHAPTER 9 INNOVATION ACCOUNTING In the early days of IMVU, the company I co-founded in 2004, we were attempting to raise money from some of the top venture capitalists in Silicon Valley. As we traveled up and down Sand Hill Road, we brought a pitch deck that summarized our progress to date. It included a few of the graphs I mentioned back in Chapter 3, when I told the story about how we were embarrassed by our very small numbers in spite of the fact that they showed clear progress, but we still earned the trust and investments of the VCs who not only understood our thinking as a team (it’s all about the team) but also knew how to read into those tiny numbers in a more sophisticated way.

Few of the policy makers I’ve been privileged to meet—both politicians and civil servants alike—think of themselves as entrepreneurs; I hope those who have read the preceding chapters will challenge this self-assessment. One recurring theme of this book has been the importance of seeing entrepreneurship as a tool for developing business ecosystems. Within a company, this means setting up structures and incentives to grow the next generation of entrepreneurial leaders. On Sand Hill Road, this means building a community of investing professionals who can identify and mentor the next generation of technology startup founders. In the preceding pages, I’ve argued that these two ecosystems are not as different as they seem. Now I’d like to add one more ecosystem to the mix: that of public policy. The entrepreneurial principles we’ve discussed can and should be used in developing policy as well.


pages: 394 words: 108,215

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

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, Apple II, back-to-the-land, beat the dealer, Bill Duvall, Bill Gates: Altair 8800, Buckminster Fuller, California gold rush, card file, computer age, computer vision, conceptual framework, cuban missile crisis, different worldview, Donald Knuth, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Dynabook, Edward Thorp, El Camino Real, Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, general-purpose programming language, Golden Gate Park, Hacker Ethic, hypertext link, informal economy, information retrieval, invention of the printing press, Jeff Rulifson, John Markoff, 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, The Hackers Conference, 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: 334 words: 102,899

That Will Never Work: The Birth of Netflix and the Amazing Life of an Idea by Marc Randolph

Airbnb, crowdsourcing, high net worth, inventory management, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, late fees, loose coupling, Mason jar, pets.com, recommendation engine, rolodex, Sand Hill Road, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Snapchat, Steve Jobs, Travis Kalanick

The food is very good, elevated comfort-food diner fare, but the atmosphere is what you go for. Probably the most notable piece of décor—and the place is packed to the gills with stuff—is a motorless car suspended from the ceiling. Remember Soap Box Derby? Home-built wooden cars that you roll down a hill to race, in Boy Scouts? Well, consider this Silicon Valley’s version. Every year, there was a motorless car race on Sand Hill Road in Palo Alto, with multimillion-dollar VC firms fighting for bragging rights. Instead of wooden cars, these were spaceships on wheels. Their sponsors had sought out cutting-edge, hi-tech, carbon-fiber composite materials. They had used their connections to get time in the Lockheed Martin wind tunnels. They had procured bearings that cost thousands of dollars apiece. Even the wheels were lighter, stronger, and more expensive than what you would find on a drag racer.

But to raise our Series B round of funding, we were going to have to convince some people that our business wasn’t just shiny and new, but that it had the potential to be profitable. Massively profitable. And fairly soon. We weren’t approaching friends and family this time. We were approaching professional investors. Real venture capitalists. And they would need more than a sincere look communicating how hungry I was. They needed data. Sounds easy, right? Wrong. Flash-forward to my Volvo station wagon idling in a parking space in front of the Sand Hill Road offices of Institutional Venture Partners, a prominent Silicon Valley venture capital firm. In just twenty minutes, we will be ushered into an opulent conference room, where we’ll make the case for why IVP should invest in us. We’re asking for $4 million. I’m freaking out, and even Reed, who normally isn’t one to show emotion, is visibly concerned. It is obvious to both of us that my numbers aren’t adding up.


pages: 194 words: 36,223

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

Build a better mousetrap, David Heinemeier Hansson, knowledge worker, linear programming, nuclear winter, Ruby on Rails, 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 Efram Doctorow, Jonathan Coulton, Russell Galen

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, lifelogging, margin call, Mark Shuttleworth, 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: 413 words: 119,587

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

"Robert Solow", A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, AI winter, airport security, Apple II, artificial general intelligence, Asilomar, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, basic income, 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 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, Gunnar Myrdal, 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 Markoff, 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, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, medical residency, Menlo Park, Mitch Kapor, 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, zero-sum game

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: 532 words: 139,706

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

23andMe, AltaVista, Anne Wojcicki, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, Ben Horowitz, bioinformatics, Burning Man, carbon footprint, citizen journalism, Clayton Christensen, cloud computing, Colonization of Mars, commoditize, corporate social responsibility, creative destruction, 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, John Markoff, Kevin Kelly, knowledge worker, Long Term Capital Management, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, Network effects, new economy, Nicholas Carr, PageRank, Paul Buchheit, Peter Thiel, Ralph Waldo Emerson, 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, zero-sum game

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: 370 words: 129,096

Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future by Ashlee Vance

addicted to oil, Burning Man, cleantech, digital map, El Camino Real, Elon Musk, global supply chain, Hyperloop, industrial robot, Jeff Bezos, Kickstarter, low earth orbit, Mark Zuckerberg, Maui Hawaii, Menlo Park, Mercator projection, money market fund, multiplanetary species, optical character recognition, orbital mechanics / astrodynamics, paypal mafia, performance metric, Peter Thiel, pre–internet, risk tolerance, Ronald Reagan, Sand Hill Road, self-driving car, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Steve Jobs, technoutopianism, Tesla Model S, transaction costs, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters, X Prize

Jim Clark, another billionaire who liked fast things, caught wind of the proposal and told a friend that he needed to rush over to the local Ferrari dealership to buy something that could compete. Musk had joined the big boys’ club. “Elon was super-excited about all of this,” said George Zachary, a venture capitalist and close friend of Musk’s. “He showed me the correspondence with Larry.” The next year, while driving down Sand Hill Road to meet with an investor, Musk turned to a friend in the car and said, “Watch this.” He floored the car, did a lane change, spun out, and hit an embankment, which started the car spinning in midair like a Frisbee. The windows and wheels were blown to smithereens, and the body of the car damaged. Musk again turned to his companion and said, “The funny part is it wasn’t insured.” The two of them then thumbed a ride to the venture capitalist’s office.

After talking to a number of people in the car dealership business, the Tesla team decided to avoid selling their cars through partners and sell direct. With these basics of a plan in place, the three men went hunting for some venture capital funding in January 2004. To make things feel more real for the investors, the Tesla founders borrowed a tzero from AC Propulsion and drove it to the venture capital corridor of Sand Hill Road. The car accelerated faster than a Ferrari, and this translated into visceral excitement for the investors. The downside, though, was that venture capitalists are not a terribly imaginative bunch, and they struggled to see past the crappy plastic finish of this glorified kit car. The only venture capitalists that bit were Compass Technology Partners and SDL Ventures, and they didn’t sound altogether thrilled.


pages: 444 words: 127,259

Super Pumped: The Battle for Uber by Mike Isaac

"side hustle", activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, always be closing, Amazon Web Services, Andy Kessler, autonomous vehicles, Ayatollah Khomeini, barriers to entry, Bay Area Rapid Transit, Burning Man, call centre, Chris Urmson, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable:, citizen journalism, Clayton Christensen, cloud computing, corporate governance, creative destruction, don't be evil, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, family office, gig economy, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, high net worth, Jeff Bezos, John Markoff, Kickstarter, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, mass immigration, Menlo Park, Mitch Kapor, money market fund, moral hazard, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, Network effects, new economy, off grid, peer-to-peer, pets.com, Richard Florida, ride hailing / ride sharing, Sand Hill Road, self-driving car, shareholder value, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, skunkworks, Snapchat, software as a service, software is eating the world, South China Sea, South of Market, San Francisco, sovereign wealth fund, special economic zone, Steve Jobs, TaskRabbit, the payments system, Tim Cook: Apple, Travis Kalanick, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, ubercab, union organizing, upwardly mobile, Y Combinator

Nearly overnight, the App Store became the Wild West. As had been the case when Jobs and Steve “Woz” Wozniak imagined the first Apple computer in their garage, the next great revolution in computing could come from anywhere, not just big publishers like Microsoft, Adobe—or even Apple. Hundreds of millions of dollars began to flow outward across San Francisco from the dozens of VC firms that lined the well-known stretch of Palo Alto’s Sand Hill Road. Armchair computer enthusiasts began to look at California with riches in their eyes. Venture funds began throwing money at twentysomethings, hoping to stumble into funding the next killer app. Doerr called it “the appification of the economy,” an era beyond the web and desktop that focused on mobility and independent creation, afforded by all the possibilities the iPhone had to offer. Those in venture capital, like Doerr, knew how it really worked.

Kala­nick would arrive home buzzing with excitement after a meeting with Levandowski, waving his phone in his girlfriend’s face. “Look how far we went this time!” Kalanick said, noting the steps his iPhone pedometer had tracked across the city. Levandowski would eventually create a separate company, Otto, right after leaving Google, as if he were interested in pursuing his own trucking startup. Then he would take venture investment meetings up and down Sand Hill Road—the famed home of top-tier Silicon Valley venture capitalists, including Andreessen Horowitz and Kleiner Perkins—to drum up money for the endeavor. But he would shrug those meetings off, opting instead to raise no outside capital. (Since they were operating independently mostly for appearance’s sake, it made no sense to fork over equity to outside investors.) Then came the coup: Uber would acquire Otto for millions, a grand proclamation of Uber’s intentions to pursue self-driving technology.


pages: 538 words: 147,612

All the Money in the World by Peter W. Bernstein

Albert Einstein, anti-communist, Berlin Wall, Bill Gates: Altair 8800, call centre, Charles Lindbergh, corporate governance, corporate raider, creative destruction, currency peg, David Brooks, Donald Trump, estate planning, family office, financial innovation, George Gilder, high net worth, invisible hand, Irwin Jacobs: Qualcomm, Jeff Bezos, job automation, job-hopping, John Markoff, Long Term Capital Management, Marc Andreessen, Martin Wolf, Maui Hawaii, means of production, mega-rich, Menlo Park, Mikhail Gorbachev, new economy, Norman Mailer, 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, the new new thing, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, traveling salesman, urban planning, wealth creators, 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.


Bleeding Edge by Pynchon, Thomas

addicted to oil, AltaVista, anti-communist, Anton Chekhov, Bernie Madoff, big-box store, Burning Man, carried interest, Donald Trump, double entry bookkeeping, East Village, Hacker Ethic, index card, invisible hand, jitney, late capitalism, margin call, Network effects, Ponzi scheme, prediction markets, pre–internet, QWERTY keyboard, RAND corporation, rent control, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, Sand Hill Road, Silicon Valley, telemarketer, Y2K

She must see a lot of this. Justin and Lucas met at Stanford. Kept running into each other within a tight radius of Margaret Jacks Hall, which in that day housed the Computer Science department and was affectionately known as Marginal Hacks. They primal-screamed their way together through one finals week after another, and by the time they graduated, they’d already put in weeks of pilgrimage up and down Sand Hill Road, pitching to the venture-capital firms which lined that soon-to-be legendary thoroughfare, arguing recreationally, trembling in performance anxiety, or, resolved to be Zenlike, just sitting in the traffic jams typical of that era, admiring the vegetation. One day they took a wrong turn and wound up caught in the annual Sand Hill soapbox derby. The roadside was lined with bales of hay and spectators who numbered up in the low five figures, watching a streetful of homemade racers barreling downhill at top speed toward the Stanford tower in the distance, allegedly powered by nothing but the earth’s gravity.

They’d heard this rumor that back east content was king, not just something to be stolen and developed into a movie script. They thought what they needed was a grim unforgiving workplace where the summer actually ended once in a while and discipline was a given daily condition. By the time they found out the truth, that the Alley was as much of a nut ward as the Valley, it was too late to go back. Having managed to score not only seed and angel money but also a series-A round from the venerable Sand Hill Road firm of Voorhees, Krueger, the boys, like American greenhorns of a century ago venturing into the history-haunted Old World, lost no time back east in paying the necessary calls, setting up shop around early ’97 in a couple of rooms sublet from a Website developer who welcomed the cash, down in the then still enchanted country between the Flatiron Building and the East Village. If content was still king, they got nonetheless a crash course in patriarchal subtext, cutthroat jostling among nerd princes, dark dynastic histories.


pages: 189 words: 57,632

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

AltaVista, 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, Mitch Kapor, moral panic, mutually assured destruction, new economy, optical character recognition, patent troll, pattern recognition, peer-to-peer, Ponzi scheme, post scarcity, QWERTY keyboard, Ray Kurzweil, RFID, Sand Hill Road, Skype, slashdot, social software, speech recognition, Steve Jobs, Thomas Bayes, 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: 199 words: 56,243

Trillion Dollar Coach: The Leadership Playbook of Silicon Valley's Bill Campbell by Eric Schmidt, Jonathan Rosenberg, Alan Eagle

Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, augmented reality, Ben Horowitz, cloud computing, El Camino Real, Erik Brynjolfsson, fear of failure, Jeff Bezos, longitudinal study, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Sand Hill Road, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, speech recognition, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Tim Cook: Apple

So when Bill stepped down as Intuit’s CEO in 2000 (he remained as chairman until 2016) and was looking for his next challenge, John Doerr invited him to come to Kleiner Perkins, the venerable venture capital firm, and become a coach for its portfolio companies. Venture firms often have “entrepreneurs in residence,” bright, usually young, technologists who work at the firms while they noodle over their next big idea. Why not have an executive in residence, John thought, someone who was seasoned in operations and strategy, to help the firm’s startups through the ups and downs of growth (or lack thereof)? Bill agreed and settled into life on Sand Hill Road. THE GOOGLE COACH One day in 2001 a local startup, run by a couple of brash kids from Stanford, decided to bring in a “professional” CEO: Eric Schmidt. Eric built the software operations at Sun Microsystems and served as CEO and chairman at Novell. John Doerr advised Eric that he needed Bill Campbell as his coach. Eric had met Bill when Sun CEO Scott McNealy tried to hire him and was impressed with his accomplishments and energy.


pages: 207 words: 63,071

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

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

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: 244 words: 66,977

Subscribed: Why the Subscription Model Will Be Your Company's Future - and What to Do About It by Tien Tzuo, Gabe Weisert

3D printing, Airbnb, airport security, Amazon Web Services, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, blockchain, Build a better mousetrap, business cycle, business intelligence, business process, call centre, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, connected car, death of newspapers, digital twin, double entry bookkeeping, Elon Musk, factory automation, fiat currency, Internet of things, inventory management, iterative process, Jeff Bezos, Kevin Kelly, Lean Startup, Lyft, manufacturing employment, minimum viable product, natural language processing, Network effects, Nicholas Carr, nuclear winter, pets.com, profit maximization, race to the bottom, ride hailing / ride sharing, Sand Hill Road, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, skunkworks, smart meter, social graph, software as a service, spice trade, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, subscription business, Tim Cook: Apple, transport as a service, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, Y2K, Zipcar

Ten to fifteen years ago, Adobe wasn’t the only software company in the doldrums. Growth across the entire industry was flat or down—the 2001 crash wiped out a decade of gains, and there was talk of a “Software Nuclear Winter.” Multibillion-dollar companies like Siebel were being acquired or went out of business. Venture capitalists refused to fund new software start-ups. Tumbleweeds were rolling down Sand Hill Road (metaphorically, anyway). Wall Street declared that the industry had permanently matured and that firms should start paying out dividends like (gasp!) regular old utilities. Financial analysts argued that the software industry should be viewed as an area of “discretionary” spending that businesses would seek to minimize if the economy took another southward turn. The title of a 2003 Harvard Business Review article summed up the prevailing mood at the time: “IT Doesn’t Matter.”


pages: 276 words: 64,903

Built for Growth: How Builder Personality Shapes Your Business, Your Team, and Your Ability to Win by Chris Kuenne, John Danner

Airbnb, Amazon Web Services, Berlin Wall, Bob Noyce, business climate, call centre, cloud computing, disruptive innovation, don't be evil, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Gordon Gekko, Jeff Bezos, Kickstarter, Lean Startup, Mark Zuckerberg, pattern recognition, risk tolerance, Sand Hill Road, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, supply-chain management, zero-sum game

You may fall too far or too long in love with your product or service baby. Product narcissism is the equivalent of the innovator’s dilemma for startups and can lead some Drivers to be one-hit wonders.3 A tendency to overreach with investors and customers: One of the Drivers we interviewed told us, “I will go to the end of the earth to get the money I need on the terms I deserve. I’ve told plenty of people on Sand Hill Road [the favored address for many Silicon Valley VCs] to f— off.” Your early market momentum can lead to an arrogance with investors—arrogance that can push your own valuation expectation so far above market you may not get the funding you need to continue to realize your dream of scale. Likewise, as growth and scale require expanding your customer base from tolerant and inventive innovators and early adopters to later-stage customers, you may have a hard time putting up with customers who aren’t as imaginative but who are far more demanding on pedestrian issues that may not inspire you.


pages: 222 words: 70,132

Move Fast and Break Things: How Facebook, Google, and Amazon Cornered Culture and Undermined Democracy by Jonathan Taplin

1960s counterculture, affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, Amazon Mechanical Turk, American Legislative Exchange Council, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, back-to-the-land, barriers to entry, basic income, battle of ideas, big data - Walmart - Pop Tarts, bitcoin, Brewster Kahle, Buckminster Fuller, Burning Man, Clayton Christensen, commoditize, creative destruction, crony capitalism, crowdsourcing, data is the new oil, David Brooks, David Graeber, don't be evil, Donald Trump, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Dynabook, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, equal pay for equal work, Erik Brynjolfsson, future of journalism, future of work, George Akerlof, George Gilder, Google bus, Hacker Ethic, Howard Rheingold, income inequality, informal economy, information asymmetry, information retrieval, Internet Archive, Internet of things, invisible hand, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Markoff, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, John von Neumann, Joseph Schumpeter, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, labor-force participation, life extension, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, Metcalfe’s law, Mother of all demos, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, natural language processing, Network effects, new economy, Norbert Wiener, offshore financial centre, packet switching, Paul Graham, paypal mafia, Peter Thiel, plutocrats, Plutocrats, pre–internet, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, rent-seeking, revision control, Robert Bork, Robert Gordon, Robert Metcalfe, Ronald Reagan, Ross Ulbricht, Sam Altman, Sand Hill Road, secular stagnation, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, smart grid, Snapchat, software is eating the world, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, technoutopianism, The Chicago School, The Market for Lemons, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, Tim Cook: Apple, trade route, transfer pricing, Travis Kalanick, trickle-down economics, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, universal basic income, unpaid internship, We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters, web application, Whole Earth Catalog, winner-take-all economy, women in the workforce, Y Combinator

Zuckerberg had written a music-recommendation engine while he was a senior at Exeter, and so Napster loomed large in his notion of hipness. When the two men got to Palo Alto in June, they ran into Parker, who was essentially homeless, having been thrown out of his latest company, Plaxo, an online address-book application. It is a tribute to Zuckerberg’s naive trust that he invited Parker to live in the house he and Moskovitz had rented. Parker promised to teach them about the shark tank known as Sand Hill Road—the center of the Valley’s venture capital business. In that role he did two important things. First, he kept Zuckerberg centered on Facebook, even though the young coder was spending a lot of time writing another program called Wirehog, which was essentially a version of Napster. Parker convinced him that it would be nothing but trouble in the form of lawsuits from the content community. The genius of Facebook was that the users provided all the content.


pages: 253 words: 65,834

Mastering the VC Game: A Venture Capital Insider Reveals How to Get From Start-Up to IPO on Your Terms by Jeffrey Bussgang

business cycle, business process, carried interest, digital map, discounted cash flows, hiring and firing, Jeff Bezos, Kickstarter, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, moveable type in China, pattern recognition, Paul Graham, performance metric, Peter Thiel, pets.com, risk tolerance, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, Sand Hill Road, selection bias, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Skype, software as a service, sovereign wealth fund, Steve Jobs, technology bubble, The Wisdom of Crowds

After graduating from Harvard Business School, John went to work for Intel in 1974, just as the company was bringing out the 8080 Microprocessor (essentially the first microchip). He went on to become an amazingly successful VC, investing at an early stage in Amazon, Google, Sun, and Intuit, among others. I was excited to meet this Silicon Valley legend. It was not my first time visiting the nondescript low-rise office buildings on famous Sand Hill Road in the heart of Silicon Valley, but it was my first time doing it with hat in hand, trying to raise money and delivering the pitch. When we arrived, the receptionist and support staff made us feel at home offering cold drinks, fresh fruit, magazines, and newspapers—all with warm smiles and welcoming words. I later learned that Kleiner Perkins, like many of the best VC firms, instructs their support staff to treat entrepreneurs like superstars rather than peons begging for money (which we were).


pages: 296 words: 76,284

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

Airbnb, big-box store, Burning Man, call centre, car-free, Celebration, Florida, clean water, collaborative consumption, Columbine, commoditize, crack epidemic, East Village, edge city, Edward Glaeser, extreme commuting, helicopter parent, Home mortgage interest deduction, housing crisis, Jane Jacobs, Kickstarter, low skilled workers, Mark Zuckerberg, McMansion, Menlo Park, mortgage tax deduction, negative equity, New Urbanism, peak oil, Peter Calthorpe, 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, white picket fence, 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.


Technological Revolutions and Financial Capital: The Dynamics of Bubbles and Golden Ages by Carlota Pérez

agricultural Revolution, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Bob Noyce, Bretton Woods, business cycle, capital controls, commoditize, Corn Laws, creative destruction, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deindustrialization, distributed generation, financial deregulation, financial innovation, Financial Instability Hypothesis, financial intermediation, full employment, Hyman Minsky, informal economy, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, knowledge economy, late capitalism, market fundamentalism, new economy, nuclear winter, offshore financial centre, post-industrial society, profit motive, railway mania, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Sand Hill Road, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, South Sea Bubble, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Thorstein Veblen, trade route, tulip mania, Upton Sinclair, Washington Consensus

Among the proposals signaling the direction of change, see Chris Freeman’s (2001b) brief and powerful essay ‘If I ruled the world,’ Richard Jolly’s (2002) measures to confront inequality, the Sagasti and Bezanson report on Global Public Goods, Radosevic (1999) and Ostry (1992) on harmonizing global regulation of foreign investment and the reports of the UNU-WIDER Research Programme (http://www.wider.unu) to help overcome world poverty. Ambitious proposals to reform the global financial and trade institutions are George Soros (2002) and Stiglitz (1992:1997 and 2002). Bibliography 173 Bibliography Abraham, Paul and Daniels, Caroline (2001), ‘A Desert Wind Blows Over Sand Hill Road’, Financial Times, IT Review, October 3, p. 1. Abramovitz, Moses (1986), ‘Catching Up, Forging Ahead and Falling Behind’, Journal of Economic History, Vol. 46, pp. 385–406. Aglietta, Michel (1976:1979), A Theory of Capitalist Regulation, London: New Left Books. Altshuler, Alan, Anderson, Martin, Jones, Daniel, Roos, Daniel and Womack, James (1984), The Future of the Automobile, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.


pages: 243 words: 76,686

How to Do Nothing by Jenny Odell

Airbnb, augmented reality, back-to-the-land, Burning Man, collective bargaining, Donald Trump, Filter Bubble, full employment, gig economy, Google Earth, Internet Archive, Jane Jacobs, Jaron Lanier, Kickstarter, late capitalism, Mark Zuckerberg, market fundamentalism, means of production, Minecraft, peer-to-peer, Peter Thiel, Port of Oakland, Results Only Work Environment, Rosa Parks, Sand Hill Road, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Snapchat, source of truth, Steve Jobs, strikebreaker, technoutopianism, union organizing, white flight, Works Progress Administration

It is furthermore the cult of individuality and personal branding that grow out of such platforms and affect the way we think about our offline selves and the places where we actually live. * * * — GIVEN MY INSISTENCE on attending to the local and present, it’s important that this book is rooted in the San Francisco Bay Area, where I grew up and where I currently live. This place is known for two things: technology companies and natural splendor. Here, you can drive directly west from venture-capitalist offices on Sand Hill Road to a redwood forest overlooking the sea, or walk out of the Facebook campus into a salt marsh full of shorebirds. When I was growing up in Cupertino, my mom would sometimes take me to her office at Hewlett-Packard, where I once tried on a very early version of a VR headset. To be sure, I spent a lot of time inside on the computer. But on other days my family would go for long hikes among the oak trees and redwoods in Big Basin, or along the cliffs at San Gregorio State Beach.


pages: 270 words: 75,803

Wall Street Meat by Andy Kessler

accounting loophole / creative accounting, Andy Kessler, automated trading system, banking crisis, Bob Noyce, George Gilder, index fund, Jeff Bezos, market bubble, Menlo Park, Pepto Bismol, pets.com, Robert Metcalfe, rolodex, Sand Hill Road, Silicon Valley, Small Order Execution System, Steve Jobs, technology bubble, undersea cable, 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: 237 words: 74,109

Uncanny Valley: A Memoir by Anna Wiener

autonomous vehicles, back-to-the-land, basic income, blockchain, Burning Man, call centre, charter city, cloud computing, cognitive bias, cognitive dissonance, commoditize, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, Extropian, future of work, Golden Gate Park, housing crisis, Jane Jacobs, job automation, knowledge worker, Lean Startup, means of production, medical residency, new economy, New Urbanism, passive income, pull request, rent control, ride hailing / ride sharing, Sand Hill Road, self-driving car, sharing economy, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, social web, South of Market, San Francisco, special economic zone, technoutopianism, telepresence, telepresence robot, union organizing, universal basic income, unpaid internship, urban planning, urban renewal, women in the workforce, Y2K, young professional

Wherever money changed hands, enterprising technologists and MBAs were bound to follow. The word “disruption” proliferated, and everything was ripe for or vulnerable to it: sheet music, tuxedo rentals, home cooking, home buying, wedding planning, banking, shaving, credit lines, dry cleaning, the rhythm method. A website that allowed people to rent out their unused driveways raised four million dollars from elite firms on Sand Hill Road. A website taking on the kennel market—a pet-sitting and dog-walking app that disrupted neighborhood twelve-year-olds—raised ten million. An app for coupon-clipping enabled an untold number of bored and curious urbanites to pay for services they never knew they needed, and for a while people were mainlining antiwrinkle toxins, taking trapeze lessons, and bleaching their assholes, just because they could do it at a discount.


pages: 290 words: 83,248

The Greed Merchants: How the Investment Banks Exploited the System by Philip Augar

Andy Kessler, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Bonfire of the Vanities, business cycle, buttonwood tree, buy and hold, capital asset pricing model, commoditize, corporate governance, corporate raider, crony capitalism, cross-subsidies, financial deregulation, financial innovation, fixed income, Gordon Gekko, high net worth, information retrieval, interest rate derivative, invisible hand, John Meriwether, Long Term Capital Management, Martin Wolf, new economy, Nick Leeson, offshore financial centre, pensions crisis, regulatory arbitrage, Sand Hill Road, shareholder value, short selling, Silicon Valley, South Sea Bubble, statistical model, Telecommunications Act of 1996, The Chicago School, The Predators' Ball, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, transaction costs, tulip mania, value at risk, yield curve

This amount is approximately twice as large as the fees paid to investment bankers, and represents a substantial indirect cost to the issuing firm.’22 It is not as if the issuers are financially naive. Hard-bitten private equity firms have a hand in most IPOs and like other sellers, such as corporations spinning off divisions or governments privatizing companies, are regular users of the capital markets and should be able to use their experience and muscle to drive a hard bargain. But although a few in San Francisco’s Sand Hill Road venture capital community grumbled during the bubble, on the whole issuers were as quiescent about the money left on the table as they were about the 7 per cent spread. Academics use prospect theory to explain why vendors are prepared to accept underpricing. People and organizations on the point of selling something for tens, hundreds even thousands of million dollars appear reluctant to jeopardize the whole process by upsetting the advisers on price.


pages: 286 words: 87,401

Blitzscaling: The Lightning-Fast Path to Building Massively Valuable Companies by Reid Hoffman, Chris Yeh

activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, Airbnb, Amazon Web Services, autonomous vehicles, bitcoin, blockchain, Bob Noyce, business intelligence, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable:, cloud computing, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, database schema, discounted cash flows, Elon Musk, Firefox, forensic accounting, George Gilder, global pandemic, Google Hangouts, Google X / Alphabet X, hydraulic fracturing, Hyperloop, inventory management, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, Joi Ito, Khan Academy, late fees, Lean Startup, Lyft, M-Pesa, Marc Andreessen, margin call, Mark Zuckerberg, minimum viable product, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, Network effects, Oculus Rift, oil shale / tar sands, Paul Buchheit, Paul Graham, Peter Thiel, pre–internet, recommendation engine, ride hailing / ride sharing, Sam Altman, Sand Hill Road, Saturday Night Live, self-driving car, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, smart grid, social graph, software as a service, software is eating the world, speech recognition, stem cell, Steve Jobs, subscription business, Tesla Model S, thinkpad, transaction costs, transport as a service, Travis Kalanick, Uber for X, uber lyft, web application, winner-take-all economy, Y Combinator, yellow journalism

When people think of Silicon Valley, the first things that spring to mind—after the HBO television show, of course—are the names of famous start-ups and their equally glamorized founders: Apple, Google, Facebook; Jobs/Wozniak, Page/Brin, Zuckerberg. The success narrative of these hallowed names has become so universally familiar that people from countries around the world can tell it just as well as Sand Hill Road venture capitalists. It goes something like this: A brilliant entrepreneur discovers an incredible opportunity. After dropping out of college, he or she gathers a small team who are happy to work for equity, sets up shop in a humble garage, plays foosball, raises money from sage venture capitalists, and proceeds to change the world—after which, of course, the founders and early employees live happily ever after, using the wealth they’ve amassed to fund both a new generation of entrepreneurs and a set of eponymous buildings for Stanford University’s Computer Science Department.


pages: 282 words: 81,873

Live Work Work Work Die: A Journey Into the Savage Heart of Silicon Valley by Corey Pein

23andMe, 4chan, affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Anne Wojcicki, artificial general intelligence, bank run, barriers to entry, Benevolent Dictator For Life (BDFL), Bernie Sanders, bitcoin, Build a better mousetrap, California gold rush, cashless society, colonial rule, computer age, cryptocurrency, data is the new oil, disruptive innovation, Donald Trump, Douglas Hofstadter, Elon Musk, Extropian, gig economy, Google bus, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, hacker house, hive mind, illegal immigration, immigration reform, Internet of things, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, job automation, Kevin Kelly, Khan Academy, Law of Accelerating Returns, Lean Startup, life extension, Lyft, Mahatma Gandhi, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, minimum viable product, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, mutually assured destruction, obamacare, passive income, patent troll, Paul Graham, peer-to-peer lending, Peter H. Diamandis: Planetary Resources, Peter Thiel, platform as a service, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, post-work, Ray Kurzweil, regulatory arbitrage, rent control, RFID, Robert Mercer, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, Ross Ulbricht, Ruby on Rails, Sam Altman, Sand Hill Road, Scientific racism, self-driving car, sharing economy, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Singularitarianism, Skype, Snapchat, social software, software as a service, source of truth, South of Market, San Francisco, Startup school, stealth mode startup, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, TaskRabbit, technological singularity, technoutopianism, telepresence, too big to fail, Travis Kalanick, tulip mania, Uber for X, uber lyft, ubercab, upwardly mobile, Vernor Vinge, X Prize, Y Combinator

As a favor of sorts, I sent Kyle an email letting him know that even though he had apparently blown off his Friday afternoon commitments, I would still be open to the possibility of an investment from Greylock. Funny enough, he never wrote back. Perhaps I would have better luck establishing relationships with monied techies in a more intimate, well-lubricated, convivial setting? Acting on a tip, I ventured out to Sand Hill Road for what was described to me as the hottest night out in Menlo Park: Cougar Night. This, I learned, was a tradition at the Stanford University–owned Rosewood Hotel, dating to 2009, with several interruptions related to public accusations of prostitution. The men who showed up were too old to be classified as cougar bait, but I can confirm that the debauchery of Cougar Night lived up to the legend, with all the fervid groping of last call at a British nightclub combined with the hyperpreppy attire of a velvet-rope club in New York’s Meatpacking District and the tangible awkwardness of any Silicon Valley social event.


To Pixar and Beyond by Lawrence Levy

computerized trading, index card, Loma Prieta earthquake, risk tolerance, Sand Hill Road, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, spice trade, Steve Jobs, Wall-E

This was because it could take years for start-ups to sustain themselves with their own profitability. Without a steady influx of investment, they just ran out of money. For the employees of those start-ups that do go public, the promise of riches and the imprimatur of success can become a reality. This is why Silicon Valley was, in large measure, built around the promise of the IPO. Out of a hundred start-ups spawned by the plush venture capital firms that lined Silicon Valley’s famed Sand Hill Road, only a very few would be fit enough to make the rare but game-changing leap from being a private to a public corporation. Corporations are owned through pieces of paper called stock certificates. Stock is simply a share of a corporation. The ownership of a corporation can be divided into as many shares as the corporation wants. If it is divided into a hundred shares, each share represents a hundredth, or 1 percent, of the corporation.


pages: 274 words: 81,008

The New Tycoons: Inside the Trillion Dollar Private Equity Industry That Owns Everything by Jason Kelly

activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, call centre, carried interest, collective bargaining, corporate governance, corporate raider, Credit Default Swap, diversification, Fall of the Berlin Wall, family office, fixed income, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, Gordon Gekko, housing crisis, income inequality, late capitalism, margin call, Menlo Park, Occupy movement, place-making, Rod Stewart played at Stephen Schwarzman birthday party, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, Rubik’s Cube, Sand Hill Road, shareholder value, side project, Silicon Valley, sovereign wealth fund

The gift was designated to fund the construction of a new home for the business school, part of a $6.3 billion project to create a new Columbia campus in West Harlem.2 Kravis told me he’s opted to focus his philanthropy on groups tied to education, culture, and medicine, three categories that obviously give him a huge set of options. He’s increasingly interested in applying lessons learned in his day job to charity. “I love starting something new or fixing something,” he said. KKR’s Menlo Park office sits in a tidy low-rise building along Sand Hill Road, the thoroughfare where the world’s best-known venture capital firms are tucked into similarly unassuming structures, minutes from Stanford University, and less than an hour’s drive from San Francisco. The echoes of 9 West are unmistakable throughout, the office itself feels like the more relaxed California cousin to its New York counterpart. Fruit smoothies are served every afternoon. Roberts, while more reserved than Kravis, has a quiet folksiness to him.


pages: 297 words: 89,820

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

Apple II, British Empire, Claude Shannon: information theory, en.wikipedia.org, indoor plumbing, Internet Archive, Jeff Bezos, John Markoff, Joi Ito, 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

a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, barriers to entry, Black Swan, Build a better mousetrap, business process, call centre, Danny Hillis, David Heinemeier Hansson, failed state, Firefox, fixed income, George Gilder, Larry Wall, low cost airline, low cost carrier, Mars Rover, Network effects, Paul Graham, performance metric, place-making, price discrimination, prisoner's dilemma, Ray Oldenburg, Ruby on Rails, 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: 346 words: 89,180

Capitalism Without Capital: The Rise of the Intangible Economy by Jonathan Haskel, Stian Westlake

"Robert Solow", 23andMe, activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, Andrei Shleifer, bank run, banking crisis, Bernie Sanders, business climate, business process, buy and hold, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, cloud computing, cognitive bias, computer age, corporate governance, corporate raider, correlation does not imply causation, creative destruction, dark matter, Diane Coyle, Donald Trump, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Edward Glaeser, Elon Musk, endogenous growth, Erik Brynjolfsson, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, Fellow of the Royal Society, financial innovation, full employment, fundamental attribution error, future of work, Gini coefficient, Hernando de Soto, hiring and firing, income inequality, index card, indoor plumbing, intangible asset, Internet of things, Jane Jacobs, Jaron Lanier, job automation, Kenneth Arrow, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, laissez-faire capitalism, liquidity trap, low skilled workers, Marc Andreessen, Mother of all demos, Network effects, new economy, open economy, patent troll, paypal mafia, Peter Thiel, pets.com, place-making, post-industrial society, Productivity paradox, quantitative hedge fund, rent-seeking, revision control, Richard Florida, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Gordon, Ronald Coase, Sand Hill Road, Second Machine Age, secular stagnation, self-driving car, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, six sigma, Skype, software patent, sovereign wealth fund, spinning jenny, Steve Jobs, survivorship bias, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Tim Cook: Apple, total factor productivity, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, urban planning, Vanguard fund, walkable city, X Prize, zero-sum game

The Usefulness of Venture Capital, and Its Limits Given the limitations of bank financing for intangible-intensive businesses, and the problems of underinvestment that affect public companies, it is no surprise that many people look to venture capital to finance the new economy. After all, VC is a form of financing that developed alongside some of the world’s fastest growing intangible-intensive businesses. Most of the intangible-rich businesses of Silicon Valley, and many high-growth businesses beyond, got their earliest investments from the venture capital firms on Sand Hill Road. This form of financing has evolved together with businesses like Intel, Google, Genentech, and Uber, whose competitive advantages depend on intangibles: valuable R&D, novel product design, software, and organizational development. Indeed, like the beaks of Darwin’s Galapagos finches that evolved to feed on particular cacti, many of the distinctive features of venture capital relate directly to the unusual characteristics of intangible investments that VC-funded businesses tend to make.


pages: 304 words: 88,495

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

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: 290 words: 87,549

The Airbnb Story: How Three Ordinary Guys Disrupted an Industry, Made Billions...and Created Plenty of Controversy by Leigh Gallagher

Airbnb, Amazon Web Services, barriers to entry, Ben Horowitz, Bernie Sanders, cloud computing, crowdsourcing, don't be evil, Donald Trump, East Village, Elon Musk, housing crisis, iterative process, Jeff Bezos, Jony Ive, Justin.tv, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, medical residency, Menlo Park, Network effects, Paul Buchheit, Paul Graham, performance metric, Peter Thiel, RFID, Sam Altman, Sand Hill Road, Saturday Night Live, sharing economy, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, South of Market, San Francisco, Startup school, Steve Jobs, TaskRabbit, the payments system, Tony Hsieh, Travis Kalanick, uber lyft, Y Combinator, yield management

“The first person who told me about them pitched the business badly,” he says, adding that that person was “a little bit of a doofus when it came to these businesses.” But Jeremy Stoppelman, the cofounder of Yelp and an early Airbnb angel investor, told Hoffman it was an exciting idea and said he really needed to meet with its founders. Ten days later, the Airbnb founders drove down to the Greylock offices on Sand Hill Road in Menlo Park—the mecca for venture capital—to meet with Hoffman. Within a few minutes, Hoffman says, it became clear to him that the concept was not Couchsurfing at all; it was eBay for space, which he saw as an infinitely bigger and far more original idea. He stopped them midway and told them there was no need to keep pitching. “I said, ‘Look, I’m going to make you an offer to invest for sure,’” he says.


pages: 321 words: 92,828

Late Bloomers: The Power of Patience in a World Obsessed With Early Achievement by Rich Karlgaard

Airbnb, Albert Einstein, Amazon Web Services, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, Bernie Madoff, Bob Noyce, Brownian motion, Captain Sullenberger Hudson, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, deliberate practice, Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, experimental economics, fear of failure, financial independence, follow your passion, Frederick Winslow Taylor, hiring and firing, Internet of things, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, job satisfaction, knowledge economy, labor-force participation, longitudinal study, low skilled workers, Mark Zuckerberg, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Moneyball by Michael Lewis explains big data, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, pattern recognition, Peter Thiel, Sand Hill Road, science of happiness, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Snapchat, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, theory of mind, Tim Cook: Apple, Toyota Production System, unpaid internship, upwardly mobile, women in the workforce, working poor

Then there were the achievements we were secretly the proudest of. My secret achievement was almost insane. It was spring break at Stanford, and half the campus, it seemed, had lit out for skiing vacations. I’d never skied before and lacked the money anyway. But I was in the best shape of my running life. I was running about seventy miles a week. On this Saturday, I put on my running shoes and headed out Sand Hill Road west of the campus with the idea of running a fourteen-mile loop, then drinking some beer and finding a pickup softball game. But five miles into the run, I had a crazy idea. Maybe I could turn right and head up a steep hill with twisting roads to the Santa Cruz Mountains skyline. I began the thirteen-hundred-foot climb, expecting that my curiosity itch would be scratched, and I would shortly head back down.


pages: 340 words: 97,723

The Big Nine: How the Tech Titans and Their Thinking Machines Could Warp Humanity by Amy Webb

Ada Lovelace, AI winter, Airbnb, airport security, Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, artificial general intelligence, Asilomar, autonomous vehicles, Bayesian statistics, Bernie Sanders, bioinformatics, blockchain, Bretton Woods, business intelligence, Cass Sunstein, Claude Shannon: information theory, cloud computing, cognitive bias, complexity theory, computer vision, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, Deng Xiaoping, distributed ledger, don't be evil, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, Filter Bubble, Flynn Effect, gig economy, Google Glasses, Grace Hopper, Gödel, Escher, Bach, Inbox Zero, Internet of things, Jacques de Vaucanson, Jeff Bezos, Joan Didion, job automation, John von Neumann, knowledge worker, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, natural language processing, New Urbanism, one-China policy, optical character recognition, packet switching, pattern recognition, personalized medicine, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, ride hailing / ride sharing, Rodney Brooks, Rubik’s Cube, Sand Hill Road, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, SETI@home, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, skunkworks, Skype, smart cities, South China Sea, sovereign wealth fund, speech recognition, Stephen Hawking, strong AI, superintelligent machines, technological singularity, The Coming Technological Singularity, theory of mind, Tim Cook: Apple, trade route, Turing machine, Turing test, uber lyft, Von Neumann architecture, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, zero day

Alibaba sold to 515 million customers in 2017 alone, and that year its Singles’ Day Festival—a sort of Black Friday meets the Academy Awards in China—saw $25 billion in online purchases from 812 million orders on a single day.40 China has the largest digital market in the world regardless of how you measure it: more than a trillion dollars spent annually, more than a billion people online, and $30 billion invested in venture deals in the world’s most important tech companies.41 Chinese investors were involved in 7–10% of all funding of tech startups in the United States between 2012 and 2017—that’s a significant concentration of wealth pouring in from just one region.42 The BAT are now well established in Seattle and Silicon Valley, operating out of satellite offices that include spaces along Menlo Park’s fabled Sand Hill Road. During the past five years, the BAT invested significant money in Tesla, Uber, Lyft, Magic Leap (the mixed-reality headset and platform maker), and more. Venture investment from BAT companies is attractive not just because they move quickly and have a lot of cash but because a BAT deal typically means a lucrative entrée into the Chinese market, which can otherwise be impossible to penetrate.


pages: 362 words: 99,063

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

affirmative action, Black Swan, Burning Man, corporate governance, creative destruction, financial independence, follow your passion, future of work, hiring and firing, job automation, knowledge worker, lateral thinking, Lean Startup, Mark Zuckerberg, means of production, mega-rich, meta analysis, meta-analysis, new economy, Norman Mailer, Peter Thiel, profit motive, race to the bottom, Sand Hill Road, shareholder value, side project, Silicon Valley, Skype, social intelligence, Steve Ballmer, survivorship bias, 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.”


Mindf*ck: Cambridge Analytica and the Plot to Break America by Christopher Wylie

4chan, affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, availability heuristic, Berlin Wall, Bernie Sanders, big-box store, Boris Johnson, British Empire, call centre, Chelsea Manning, chief data officer, cognitive bias, cognitive dissonance, colonial rule, computer vision, conceptual framework, cryptocurrency, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, desegregation, Dominic Cummings, Donald Trump, Downton Abbey, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, Etonian, first-past-the-post, Google Earth, housing crisis, income inequality, indoor plumbing, information asymmetry, Internet of things, Julian Assange, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, Network effects, new economy, obamacare, Peter Thiel, Potemkin village, recommendation engine, Renaissance Technologies, Robert Mercer, Ronald Reagan, Rosa Parks, Sand Hill Road, Scientific racism, Shoshana Zuboff, side project, Silicon Valley, Skype, uber lyft, unpaid internship, Valery Gerasimov, web application, WikiLeaks, zero-sum game

Mosaic became Netscape, which became one of the earliest Internet super-successes with its IPO in 1995. Since then, Andreessen had made hundreds of millions of dollars investing in companies like Skype, Twitter, Groupon, Zynga…and Facebook. He also sat on Facebook’s board. I flew to San Francisco in the spring of 2016 to start briefing relevant parties on what I’d seen at Cambridge Analytica. Sheela set up a meeting at the Andreessen Horowitz offices, on Sand Hill Road in Menlo Park. From the outside, the building looked like a slightly upscale suburban dentist’s office, but inside, a rather bland lobby gave way to walls hung with fantastically expensive art. I met with Andreessen employees in a conference room and told them about Cambridge Analytica, the millions of Facebook profiles it had misappropriated, and the malicious way it was using the profiles to interfere with the election.


pages: 411 words: 98,128

Bezonomics: How Amazon Is Changing Our Lives and What the World's Best Companies Are Learning From It by Brian Dumaine

activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, AI winter, Airbnb, Amazon Web Services, Atul Gawande, autonomous vehicles, basic income, Bernie Sanders, Black Swan, call centre, Chris Urmson, cloud computing, corporate raider, creative destruction, Danny Hillis, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, future of work, gig economy, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, income inequality, industrial robot, Internet of things, Jeff Bezos, job automation, Joseph Schumpeter, Kevin Kelly, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, money market fund, natural language processing, pets.com, plutocrats, Plutocrats, race to the bottom, ride hailing / ride sharing, Sand Hill Road, self-driving car, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Snapchat, speech recognition, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, supply-chain management, Tim Cook: Apple, too big to fail, Travis Kalanick, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, universal basic income, wealth creators, web application, Whole Earth Catalog

It’s only a matter of time before Amazon’s ad operation reaches critical mass and starts to put serious heat on its rivals. While the advertising market is one of Amazon’s fastest-growing new segments, in the long run that business could pale next to another of the company’s undertakings—revolutionizing the health-care industry. John Doerr is one of the world’s most successful venture capitalists. As a partner at the Sand Hill Road powerhouse Kleiner Perkins, he was an early investor in both Google and Amazon. Doerr served on the Amazon board from 1995 to 2010 and is a friend of Bezos’s. In late 2018, he made a stunning prediction at a Forbes health-care conference in New York City. When asked about disruption in the health-care industry, he said: “Amazon has assembled an amazing asset with 120 million people who are Prime subscribers.


pages: 468 words: 233,091

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

8-hour work day, affirmative action, AltaVista, Apple II, Brewster Kahle, business cycle, business process, Byte Shop, Danny Hillis, David Heinemeier Hansson, don't be evil, fear of failure, financial independence, Firefox, full text search, game design, Googley, HyperCard, illegal immigration, Internet Archive, Jeff Bezos, Joi Ito, Justin.tv, Larry Wall, Maui Hawaii, Menlo Park, Mitch Kapor, nuclear winter, Paul Buchheit, Paul Graham, Peter Thiel, Richard Feynman, Robert Metcalfe, Ruby on Rails, Sam Altman, 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: 827 words: 239,762

The Golden Passport: Harvard Business School, the Limits of Capitalism, and the Moral Failure of the MBA Elite by Duff McDonald

activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Albert Einstein, barriers to entry, Bayesian statistics, Bernie Madoff, Bob Noyce, Bonfire of the Vanities, business cycle, business process, butterfly effect, capital asset pricing model, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Clayton Christensen, cloud computing, collateralized debt obligation, collective bargaining, commoditize, corporate governance, corporate raider, corporate social responsibility, creative destruction, deskilling, discounted cash flows, disintermediation, disruptive innovation, Donald Trump, family office, financial innovation, Frederick Winslow Taylor, full employment, George Gilder, glass ceiling, global pandemic, Gordon Gekko, hiring and firing, income inequality, invisible hand, Jeff Bezos, job-hopping, John von Neumann, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Arrow, Kickstarter, London Whale, Long Term Capital Management, market fundamentalism, Menlo Park, new economy, obamacare, oil shock, pattern recognition, performance metric, Peter Thiel, plutocrats, Plutocrats, profit maximization, profit motive, pushing on a string, Ralph Nader, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RAND corporation, random walk, rent-seeking, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, Sam Altman, Sand Hill Road, Saturday Night Live, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Skype, Social Responsibility of Business Is to Increase Its Profits, Steve Jobs, survivorship bias, The Nature of the Firm, the scientific method, Thorstein Veblen, union organizing, urban renewal, Vilfredo Pareto, War on Poverty, William Shockley: the traitorous eight, women in the workforce, Y Combinator

By 1990, enrollment in all related elective courses approached 1,500 students. Five years later, the School held its first annual HBS Business Plan contest for students, and a year after that, Stevenson and his colleagues finally got their due: Entrepreneurial Management was officially added as a faculty unit. In 1997, the School belatedly opened an outpost in Silicon Valley—the “California Research Center” on Menlo Park’s Sand Hill Road. In 2000, a new course, The Entrepreneurial Manager, was added to the required first-year curriculum in place of a curricular mainstay, General Management. Ten years before, the class had included cases on Bank One, General Electric, and Nokia. In 2000? Charles Schwab, Intuit, and Chemdex.com. By then, the entrepreneurship department offered a total of eighteen courses. And in 2003, a $25 million gift from Arthur Rock funded the creation of the Rock Center for Entrepreneurship.

Harvard today cannot be complacent but certainly need not be apologetic.”9 HBS may have been reluctant to accept criticism from the likes of BusinessWeek, but it was still attuned to the changing desires of its students, and in the mid-1990s realized that the pull of Silicon Valley—and the rise of its West Coast rival, Stanford’s Graduate School of Business—could no longer be ignored. Thus began what is undoubtedly the most important overhaul of its curriculum in the last half century, away from the needs of big business and toward the needs of a student body that increasingly had eyes on being their own boss, as entrepreneurs. In 1997, HBS opened a Research Center on Sand Hill Road in Menlo Park, California, and promptly began organizing job-hunting trips for MBAs to the West Coast. Just as it had argued almost a century before that going to HBS provided more experience than actual experience, the School began crafting an argument that going to HBS provided more entrepreneurial juice than working at an actual startup. While there was some truth to the claim—the venture capital presence in the HBS network is unrivaled—other parts of it rang as hollow (and nonsensical) as they had long ago.


pages: 403 words: 106,707

Endure: Mind, Body, and the Curiously Elastic Limits of Human Performance by Alex Hutchinson

airport security, animal electricity, experimental subject, Fellow of the Royal Society, Frederick Winslow Taylor, glass ceiling, Iridium satellite, medical residency, meta analysis, meta-analysis, placebo effect, randomized controlled trial, Sand Hill Road, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Stanford marshmallow experiment, technoutopianism, Walter Mischel

No one attributed their success to Halo’s tDCS headphones (which, a trainer for the team confirmed, an unspecified number of players had experimented with)—but the high-tech device fit in with the team’s techno-utopian storyline. Since the then-bumbling Warriors franchise was purchased by a group of Silicon Valley venture capitalists, in 2010, it has acquired a reputation as “tech’s team,” playing with the wonky, numbers-driven approach of Sand Hill Road venture capitalists. The Warriors have also been enthusiastic early adopters of technology ranging from “intelligent sleep masks” for countering jet lag to body-worn sensors that detect pressure on the knees and ankles. Now they were among the first to try brain stimulation—and, as their rivals (not to mention fans and amateur athletes) couldn’t help noticing, they were winning a lot of games.


pages: 382 words: 105,819

Zucked: Waking Up to the Facebook Catastrophe by Roger McNamee

4chan, Albert Einstein, algorithmic trading, AltaVista, Amazon Web Services, barriers to entry, Bernie Sanders, Boycotts of Israel, Cass Sunstein, cloud computing, computer age, cross-subsidies, data is the new oil, Donald Trump, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, Elon Musk, Filter Bubble, game design, income inequality, Internet of things, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, John Markoff, laissez-faire capitalism, Lean Startup, light touch regulation, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, market bubble, Menlo Park, Metcalfe’s law, minimum viable product, Mother of all demos, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, Network effects, paypal mafia, Peter Thiel, pets.com, post-work, profit maximization, profit motive, race to the bottom, recommendation engine, Robert Mercer, Ronald Reagan, Sand Hill Road, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, Snapchat, social graph, software is eating the world, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, The Chicago School, Tim Cook: Apple, two-sided market, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, Upton Sinclair, WikiLeaks, Yom Kippur War

The platform was limited to college students, graduates with an alumni email address, and high school students. News Feed, the heart of Facebook’s user experience, was not yet available. The company had only nine million dollars in revenue in the prior year. But Facebook had huge potential—that was already obvious—and I leapt at the opportunity to meet its founder. Zuck showed up at my Elevation Partners office on Sand Hill Road in Menlo Park, California, dressed casually, with a messenger bag over his shoulder. U2 singer Bono and I had formed Elevation in 2004, along with former Apple CFO Fred Anderson, former Electronic Arts president John Riccitiello, and two career investors, Bret Pearlman and Marc Bodnick. We had configured one of our conference rooms as a living room, complete with a large arcade video game system, and that is where Zuck and I met.


pages: 325 words: 110,330

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

Albert Einstein, business climate, buy low sell high, complexity theory, fear of failure, Golden Gate Park, iterative process, Johannes Kepler, Menlo Park, rolodex, Rubik’s Cube, 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: 380 words: 109,724

Don't Be Evil: How Big Tech Betrayed Its Founding Principles--And All of US by Rana Foroohar

"side hustle", accounting loophole / creative accounting, Airbnb, AltaVista, autonomous vehicles, banking crisis, barriers to entry, Bernie Madoff, Bernie Sanders, bitcoin, book scanning, Brewster Kahle, Burning Man, call centre, cashless society, cleantech, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, Colonization of Mars, computer age, corporate governance, creative destruction, Credit Default Swap, cryptocurrency, data is the new oil, death of newspapers, Deng Xiaoping, disintermediation, don't be evil, Donald Trump, drone strike, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, Etonian, Filter Bubble, future of work, game design, gig economy, global supply chain, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, income inequality, informal economy, information asymmetry, intangible asset, Internet Archive, Internet of things, invisible hand, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, job satisfaction, Kenneth Rogoff, life extension, light touch regulation, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Martin Wolf, Menlo Park, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, Network effects, new economy, offshore financial centre, PageRank, patent troll, paypal mafia, Peter Thiel, pets.com, price discrimination, profit maximization, race to the bottom, recommendation engine, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Bork, Sand Hill Road, search engine result page, self-driving car, shareholder value, sharing economy, Shoshana Zuboff, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, smart cities, Snapchat, South China Sea, sovereign wealth fund, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, subscription business, supply-chain management, TaskRabbit, Telecommunications Act of 1996, The Chicago School, the new new thing, Tim Cook: Apple, too big to fail, Travis Kalanick, trickle-down economics, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, Upton Sinclair, WikiLeaks, zero-sum game

It was a period when the last vestiges of the labor movement and the old-fashioned notion of retiring comfortably with a gold watch and a pension began to slip away, replaced by the glamorization of Gordon Gekko and soccer moms reading Money magazine and hoping to become stock-picking millionaires overnight. Wall Street guys were raking in money, but not nearly as much as the Silicon Valley geeks who had the trappings of money, and yet also somehow a greater sense of having earned it, by creating real value in the form of their companies. Yet most of that value would prove to be on paper only. Sand Hill Road venture capitalists were pouring millions into Silicon Valley’s dot-com companies; British investors tried to emulate them. Continental banks desperate for higher margins were also trying to get in on the easy money. European players like the Dutch bank ING, and Credit Suisse First Boston, a subsidiary of the Swiss financial giant, were aggressively going after new deals, even bringing in investment bankers from the United States to help them identify the hottest targets.


Bit Rot by Douglas Coupland

3D printing, Airbnb, airport security, bitcoin, Burning Man, delayed gratification, dematerialisation, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Google Glasses, Guggenheim Bilbao, index card, jimmy wales, Lyft, Marshall McLuhan, Maui Hawaii, McJob, Menlo Park, nuclear paranoia, Pepto Bismol, pre–internet, Ray Kurzweil, Sand Hill Road, Silicon Valley, Skype, Stanford marshmallow experiment, Ted Kaczynski, The Future of Employment, uber lyft, young professional

I think for most people, Silicon Valley is largely a state of mind more than it is a real place—a strip-malled Klondike of billionaires with proprioception issues, clad in khakis in groups of three, awkwardly lumbering across a six-lane traffic artery with a grass median, all to get in on the two-for-one burrito special at Chili’s before the promotion ends next Tuesday. I’ve many happy memories of the Valley. One afternoon, in a long-ago world called Before 9/11, I’d park my car just inside Menlo Park, the Valley’s venture-capital capital, on the other side of Interstate 280, just west of the Sand Hill Road exit. Walking through what seemed to be a Christmas-tree farm, I’d arrive at a chain-link fence with a Department of Energy warning sign, duck through one of its many breaches and sit beside the Stanford Linear Accelerator,* two miles long and operational until 1966. I don’t know what I was expecting to see, but it was nice to lie in the grass like Tom Sawyer and imagine baryon asymmetry and positrons committing suicide while a Cooper’s hawk soared high above, scoping out the 280 for roadkill.


pages: 339 words: 103,546

Blood and Oil: Mohammed Bin Salman's Ruthless Quest for Global Power by Bradley Hope, Justin Scheck

augmented reality, Ayatollah Khomeini, clean water, coronavirus, distributed generation, Donald Trump, Downton Abbey, Elon Musk, Exxon Valdez, Google Earth, high net worth, Jeff Bezos, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, MITM: man-in-the-middle, new economy, Peter Thiel, ride hailing / ride sharing, Sand Hill Road, Silicon Valley, South of Market, San Francisco, sovereign wealth fund, starchitect, Steve Jobs, Tim Cook: Apple, trade route, Travis Kalanick, Uber for X, urban planning, women in the workforce, young professional, zero day

Executives were eager to greet the prince. In pressed jeans and a blazer, Mohammed posed for photos with Mark Zuckerberg and visited Google’s founders. The reception was less effusive among the venture capitalists (VCs) whose ranks Mohammed wanted to join. While entrepreneurs were hungry for Saudi money, the VCs were a different breed. Often pompous, driving Teslas to their low-slung offices on Sand Hill Road in the hills above Palo Alto, they specialized in making small deals in early-stage start-ups that could pay giant returns in the unlikely event of success. Their industry was booming. The last thing the successful VCs needed was a prince with hundreds of billions of dollars inflating the valuations of new start-ups and telling them how to do their jobs. “We don’t need your money,” one prominent VC told an emissary of Mohammed’s ahead of his visit to California.


pages: 394 words: 117,982

The Perfect Weapon: War, Sabotage, and Fear in the Cyber Age by David E. Sanger

active measures, autonomous vehicles, Bernie Sanders, bitcoin, British Empire, call centre, Cass Sunstein, Chelsea Manning, computer age, cryptocurrency, cuban missile crisis, Donald Trump, drone strike, Edward Snowden, Google Chrome, Google Earth, Jacob Appelbaum, John Markoff, Mark Zuckerberg, MITM: man-in-the-middle, mutually assured destruction, RAND corporation, ransomware, Sand Hill Road, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Skype, South China Sea, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stuxnet, Tim Cook: Apple, too big to fail, undersea cable, uranium enrichment, Valery Gerasimov, WikiLeaks, zero day

What better way to hunt down dissidents and doubters, and break up the political opposition? Meanwhile, the tech companies became gradually aware of another international threat to their future: China’s carefully laid-out plan to become the world’s dominant economic and technological power by 2049, the hundredth anniversary of Mao’s revolution. To accomplish this goal, Beijing developed a new strategy—one in which Chinese investors, rather than the venture capitalists of Sand Hill Road, were quietly becoming a critical source of cash for a range of new start-ups. Suddenly, the valley’s billionaires discovered they needed something that they had never really thought about before: a foreign policy. * * * — In the spring of 2016, under pressure to reverse the Islamic State’s expansion in Syria and Iraq, the Pentagon announced for the first time that it was declaring cyberwar on a foreign entity.


pages: 457 words: 125,329

Value of Everything: An Antidote to Chaos The by Mariana Mazzucato

"Robert Solow", activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, bank run, banks create money, Basel III, Berlin Wall, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, bonus culture, Bretton Woods, business cycle, butterfly effect, buy and hold, Buy land – they’re not making it any more, capital controls, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Carmen Reinhart, carried interest, cleantech, Corn Laws, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, creative destruction, Credit Default Swap, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, debt deflation, European colonialism, fear of failure, financial deregulation, financial innovation, Financial Instability Hypothesis, financial intermediation, financial repression, full employment, G4S, George Akerlof, Google Hangouts, Growth in a Time of Debt, high net worth, Hyman Minsky, income inequality, index fund, informal economy, interest rate derivative, Internet of things, invisible hand, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Arrow, Kenneth Rogoff, knowledge economy, labour market flexibility, laissez-faire capitalism, light touch regulation, liquidity trap, London Interbank Offered Rate, margin call, Mark Zuckerberg, market bubble, means of production, money market fund, negative equity, Network effects, new economy, Northern Rock, obamacare, offshore financial centre, Pareto efficiency, patent troll, Paul Samuelson, peer-to-peer lending, Peter Thiel, profit maximization, quantitative easing, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, QWERTY keyboard, rent control, rent-seeking, Sand Hill Road, shareholder value, sharing economy, short selling, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, smart meter, Social Responsibility of Business Is to Increase Its Profits, software patent, stem cell, Steve Jobs, The Great Moderation, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, Tobin tax, too big to fail, trade route, transaction costs, two-sided market, very high income, Vilfredo Pareto, wealth creators, Works Progress Administration, zero-sum game

The creation of a highly liquid national market for more speculative corporate securities was important for attracting venture capitalists to invest in the IT industry, secure in the knowledge that there was now a feasible exit route from their investments.11 Venture capitalists typically look to exit from investments within three to five years, impatient to make a buck in one enterprise and start again elsewhere. In 1972, the Silicon Valley VC industry began to coalesce at 3000 Sand Hill Road in Palo Alto; a year later the National Venture Capital Association (NVCA) was formed. The NVCA quickly became an influential lobby. By the early 1980s it persuaded Congress to halve capital gains tax rates, arguing that it would be an incentive to greater VC investment. Warren Buffett became a lead critic of this policy, admitting that he and most investors don't look at tax, they look at opportunities.12 Indeed, the VC industry, from when it began, followed the opportunities created by direct ‘mission-oriented' government investments in areas like the Internet, biotech, nanotech and cleantech.


pages: 409 words: 112,055

The Fifth Domain: Defending Our Country, Our Companies, and Ourselves in the Age of Cyber Threats by Richard A. Clarke, Robert K. Knake

A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, Amazon Web Services, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, bitcoin, Black Swan, blockchain, borderless world, business cycle, business intelligence, call centre, Cass Sunstein, cloud computing, cognitive bias, commoditize, computer vision, corporate governance, cryptocurrency, data acquisition, DevOps, don't be evil, Donald Trump, Edward Snowden, Exxon Valdez, global village, immigration reform, Infrastructure as a Service, Internet of things, Jeff Bezos, Julian Assange, Kubernetes, Mark Zuckerberg, Metcalfe’s law, MITM: man-in-the-middle, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, Network effects, open borders, platform as a service, Ponzi scheme, ransomware, Richard Thaler, Sand Hill Road, Schrödinger's Cat, self-driving car, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, smart cities, Snapchat, software as a service, Steven Levy, Stuxnet, technoutopianism, Tim Cook: Apple, undersea cable, WikiLeaks, Y2K, zero day

Tanium raised another $200 million last fall at a valuation of $6.5 billion, to bring its total raise to $800 million. The trouble is that even $800 million in venture funding is not enough to build out all the capabilities on Sounil’s matrix. Venture Tourism and Thin Peanut Butter If anyone can be blamed for this state of affairs it is Silicon Valley. And if we reserve a special place in cybersecurity hell for the enablers of vice, then Sand Hill Road should burn. The tech start-up battle cry of “Move fast and break things,” originally coined by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, has been pushed by the venture capitalists of the Valley in an effort to build large, monolithic monopolies at the expense of consumers, regulations, ethics, and cybersecurity. And move fast and break things they did, from the now antiquated concept of stable employment to a free press to U.S. elections.


pages: 398 words: 120,801

Little Brother by Cory Doctorow

airport security, Bayesian statistics, Berlin Wall, citizen journalism, Firefox, game design, Golden Gate Park, Haight Ashbury, Internet Archive, Isaac Newton, Jane Jacobs, Jeff Bezos, mail merge, Mitch Kapor, MITM: man-in-the-middle, RFID, Sand Hill Road, Silicon Valley, slashdot, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Thomas Bayes, 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: 435 words: 127,403

Panderer to Power by Frederick Sheehan

"Robert Solow", Asian financial crisis, asset-backed security, bank run, banking crisis, Bretton Woods, British Empire, business cycle, buy and hold, 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, John Meriwether, margin call, market bubble, McMansion, Menlo Park, money market fund, mortgage debt, Myron Scholes, new economy, Norman Mailer, Northern Rock, oil shock, Paul Samuelson, 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, stocks for the long run, 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, zero-sum game

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

activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, asset allocation, banking crisis, Bonfire of the Vanities, business cycle, carried interest, collateralized debt obligation, corporate governance, corporate raider, 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.


pages: 520 words: 134,627

Unacceptable: Privilege, Deceit & the Making of the College Admissions Scandal by Melissa Korn, Jennifer Levitz

"side hustle", affirmative action, barriers to entry, blockchain, call centre, Donald Trump, Gordon Gekko, helicopter parent, high net worth, Jeffrey Epstein, Maui Hawaii, medical residency, Menlo Park, performance metric, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, Sand Hill Road, Saturday Night Live, side project, Silicon Valley, Snapchat, stealth mode startup, Steve Jobs, telemarketer, Thorstein Veblen, unpaid internship, upwardly mobile, yield management, young professional, zero-sum game

USC was tough to get into. Georgetown, extremely hard. Stanford, though, was in a different stratosphere. Just 4.7 percent of applicants for the fall 2017 entering class made the cut, 2,085 out of more than 44,000 who tried. By fall 2018, the admit rate was below 4.4 percent. The perfect weather and stunning campus were just part of the draw. Stanford sat a few miles from the venture capital firms of Sand Hill Road, where investors looked for the next Facebook or Uber. The engineering and computer science departments were among the best in the nation, and the faculty had an embarrassment of Nobel laureates and MacArthur geniuses. Bay Area companies clamored to be brought in on classroom projects. And the football team was pretty darn good. You needed to be close to perfect to gain entry to all that.


pages: 455 words: 133,322

The Facebook Effect by David Kirkpatrick

Andy Kessler, Burning Man, delayed gratification, demand response, don't be evil, global village, happiness index / gross national happiness, Howard Rheingold, Jeff Bezos, Marc Andreessen, 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

Albert Einstein, back-to-the-land, Black Swan, business climate, Claude Shannon: information theory, Clayton Christensen, complexity theory, corporate governance, cuban missile crisis, Edward Thorp, horn antenna, Hush-A-Phone, information retrieval, invention of the telephone, James Watt: steam engine, Karl Jansky, knowledge economy, Leonard Kleinrock, Metcalfe’s law, Nicholas Carr, Norbert Wiener, Picturephone, Richard Feynman, Robert Metcalfe, Sand Hill Road, Silicon Valley, Skype, Steve Jobs, Telecommunications Act of 1996, traveling salesman, undersea cable, 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: 464 words: 155,696

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

Albert Einstein, Apple II, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, Bill Gates: Altair 8800, Bob Noyce, Byte Shop, Charles Lindbergh, computer age, corporate governance, El Camino Real, Isaac Newton, John Markoff, Jony Ive, Kickstarter, Marc Andreessen, 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.


Investment: A History by Norton Reamer, Jesse Downing

activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, Albert Einstein, algorithmic trading, asset allocation, backtesting, banking crisis, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, break the buck, Brownian motion, business cycle, buttonwood tree, buy and hold, 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, dogs of the Dow, 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, information asymmetry, 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, money market fund, moral hazard, mortgage debt, Myron Scholes, negative equity, Network effects, new economy, Nick Leeson, Own Your Own Home, Paul Samuelson, 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, survivorship bias, 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: 585 words: 151,239

Capitalism in America: A History by Adrian Wooldridge, Alan Greenspan

"Robert Solow", 2013 Report for America's Infrastructure - American Society of Civil Engineers - 19 March 2013, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, agricultural Revolution, air freight, Airbnb, airline deregulation, American Society of Civil Engineers: Report Card, Asian financial crisis, bank run, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, Bonfire of the Vanities, Bretton Woods, British Empire, business climate, business cycle, business process, California gold rush, Charles Lindbergh, cloud computing, collateralized debt obligation, collective bargaining, Corn Laws, corporate governance, corporate raider, creative destruction, credit crunch, debt deflation, Deng Xiaoping, disruptive innovation, Donald Trump, edge city, Elon Musk, equal pay for equal work, Everybody Ought to Be Rich, Fall of the Berlin Wall, fiat currency, financial deregulation, financial innovation, fixed income, full employment, George Gilder, germ theory of disease, global supply chain, hiring and firing, income per capita, indoor plumbing, informal economy, interchangeable parts, invention of the telegraph, invention of the telephone, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Rogoff, Kitchen Debate, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, labor-force participation, Louis Pasteur, low skilled workers, manufacturing employment, market bubble, Mason jar, mass immigration, means of production, Menlo Park, Mexican peso crisis / tequila crisis, minimum wage unemployment, mortgage debt, Myron Scholes, Network effects, new economy, New Urbanism, Northern Rock, oil rush, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, Peter Thiel, plutocrats, Plutocrats, popular capitalism, post-industrial society, postindustrial economy, price stability, Productivity paradox, purchasing power parity, Ralph Nader, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RAND corporation, refrigerator car, reserve currency, rising living standards, road to serfdom, Robert Gordon, Ronald Reagan, Sand Hill Road, savings glut, secular stagnation, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Simon Kuznets, Social Responsibility of Business Is to Increase Its Profits, South Sea Bubble, sovereign wealth fund, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, strikebreaker, supply-chain management, The Great Moderation, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, total factor productivity, trade route, transcontinental railway, tulip mania, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, union organizing, Unsafe at Any Speed, Upton Sinclair, urban sprawl, Vannevar Bush, War on Poverty, washing machines reduced drudgery, Washington Consensus, white flight, wikimedia commons, William Shockley: the traitorous eight, women in the workforce, Works Progress Administration, Yom Kippur War, young professional

Shockley was a difficult customer—an egomaniac in fact—who both attracted and repelled talent. Fairchild Semiconductor was formed in 1957 when “the traitorous eight” left Shockley Conductor because they couldn’t take Shockley’s abusive management style any longer. The Valley had two other ingredients that proved essential for the commercialization of ideas: a large venture capital industry centered on Sand Hill Road and a ready supply of immigrants. Andy Grove, Intel’s long-term CEO, was a refugee from Hungary. Steve Jobs was the son of a Syrian immigrant (though he was adopted shortly after birth). According to AnnaLee Saxenian, 27 percent of the four thousand companies started between 1990 and 1996 were run by Chinese or Indians (double the proportion in the previous decade). The Valley also pioneered a particularly flexible form of capitalism.


pages: 666 words: 181,495

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

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, Donald Knuth, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, El Camino Real, fault tolerance, Firefox, Gerard Salton, Gerard Salton, Google bus, Google Chrome, Google Earth, Googley, HyperCard, hypertext link, IBM and the Holocaust, informal economy, information retrieval, Internet Archive, Jeff Bezos, John Markoff, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, one-China policy, optical character recognition, PageRank, Paul Buchheit, Potemkin village, prediction markets, recommendation engine, risk tolerance, Rubik’s Cube, Sand Hill Road, Saturday Night Live, search inside the book, second-price auction, selection bias, 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, turn-by-turn navigation, undersea cable, 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: 613 words: 181,605

Circle of Greed: The Spectacular Rise and Fall of the Lawyer Who Brought Corporate America to Its Knees by Patrick Dillon, Carl M. Cannon

accounting loophole / creative accounting, affirmative action, Bernie Madoff, buy and hold, collective bargaining, Columbine, computer age, corporate governance, corporate raider, desegregation, energy security, estate planning, Exxon Valdez, fear of failure, fixed income, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, illegal immigration, index fund, John Markoff, mandatory minimum, margin call, Maui Hawaii, money market fund, new economy, oil shale / tar sands, Ponzi scheme, Ralph Nader, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, Sand Hill Road, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Steve Jobs, the High Line, the market place, white picket fence, Works Progress Administration, zero-sum game

It was held at the San Francisco home of Sanford “Sandy” Robertson, one of Doerr’s fellow high-tech venture capitalists. Doerr had already vowed to his partner Brook Byers that he would “crush” Lerach and his initiative. Now he’d found someone—a Democrat, no less—who could help him do it. With Doerr’s blessing, Randlett virtually ran the anti-Lerach campaign out of Kleiner Perkins’s headquarters on the Sand Hill Road near Stanford University, which that summer and autumn featured a huge banner reading “NO ON 211.” The air war against Lerach was conducted by Goddard Claussen, the top-drawer Sacramento-based media campaign consultancy responsible for the “Harry and Louise” ads that helped derail then–first lady Hillary Clinton’s 1993–94 health care initiative. The firm’s first wave of television ads began with a scare tactic: “The wealthy East Coast lawyers are coming,” and the picture of some presumed shyster emerging from a Learjet.


pages: 720 words: 197,129

The Innovators: How a Group of Inventors, Hackers, Geniuses and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution by Walter Isaacson

1960s counterculture, Ada Lovelace, AI winter, Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, Albert Einstein, AltaVista, Apple II, augmented reality, back-to-the-land, beat the dealer, Bill Gates: Altair 8800, bitcoin, Bob Noyce, Buckminster Fuller, Byte Shop, c2.com, call centre, citizen journalism, Claude Shannon: information theory, Clayton Christensen, commoditize, computer age, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, Debian, desegregation, Donald Davies, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Hofstadter, Dynabook, El Camino Real, Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, en.wikipedia.org, Firefox, Google Glasses, Grace Hopper, Gödel, Escher, Bach, Hacker Ethic, Haight Ashbury, Howard Rheingold, Hush-A-Phone, HyperCard, hypertext link, index card, Internet Archive, Jacquard loom, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, John Markoff, John von Neumann, Joseph-Marie Jacquard, Leonard Kleinrock, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, Mitch Kapor, Mother of all demos, new economy, New Journalism, Norbert Wiener, Norman Macrae, packet switching, PageRank, Paul Terrell, pirate software, popular electronics, pre–internet, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, RFC: Request For Comment, Richard Feynman, Richard Stallman, Robert Metcalfe, Rubik’s Cube, Sand Hill Road, Saturday Night Live, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, slashdot, speech recognition, Steve Ballmer, Steve Crocker, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, technological singularity, technoutopianism, Ted Nelson, The Coming Technological Singularity, The Nature of the Firm, The Wisdom of Crowds, Turing complete, Turing machine, Turing test, Vannevar Bush, Vernor Vinge, Von Neumann architecture, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, Whole Earth Catalog, Whole Earth Review, wikimedia commons, William Shockley: the traitorous eight

“Those companies were worth hundreds of millions or more at the time,” Page later said. “It wasn’t that significant of an expense to them. But it was a lack of insight at the leadership level. A lot of them told us, ‘Search is not that important.’ ”162 As a result, Page and Brin decided to start a company of their own. It helped that within a few miles of the campus there were successful entrepreneurs to act as angel investors, as well as eager venture capitalists just up Sand Hill Road to provide working capital. David Cheriton, one of their professors at Stanford, had founded an Ethernet product company with one such investor, Andy Bechtolsheim, which they had sold to Cisco Systems. In August 1998 Cheriton suggested to Page and Brin that they meet with Bechtolsheim, who had also cofounded Sun Microsystems. Late one night, Brin sent him an email. He got an instant reply, and early the next morning they all met on Cheriton’s Palo Alto porch.


pages: 772 words: 203,182

What Went Wrong: How the 1% Hijacked the American Middle Class . . . And What Other Countries Got Right by George R. Tyler

8-hour work day, active measures, activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, bank run, banking crisis, Basel III, Black Swan, blood diamonds, blue-collar work, Bolshevik threat, bonus culture, British Empire, business cycle, business process, buy and hold, capital controls, Carmen Reinhart, carried interest, cognitive dissonance, collateralized debt obligation, collective bargaining, commoditize, corporate governance, corporate personhood, corporate raider, corporate social responsibility, creative destruction, credit crunch, crony capitalism, crowdsourcing, currency manipulation / currency intervention, David Brooks, David Graeber, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, declining real wages, deindustrialization, Diane Coyle, disruptive innovation, Double Irish / Dutch Sandwich, eurozone crisis, financial deregulation, financial innovation, fixed income, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, full employment, George Akerlof, George Gilder, Gini coefficient, Gordon Gekko, hiring and firing, income inequality, invisible hand, job satisfaction, John Markoff, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Rogoff, labor-force participation, laissez-faire capitalism, lake wobegon effect, light touch regulation, Long Term Capital Management, manufacturing employment, market clearing, market fundamentalism, Martin Wolf, minimum wage unemployment, mittelstand, moral hazard, Myron Scholes, Naomi Klein, Northern Rock, obamacare, offshore financial centre, Paul Samuelson, pension reform, performance metric, pirate software, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, precariat, price stability, profit maximization, profit motive, purchasing power parity, race to the bottom, Ralph Nader, rent-seeking, reshoring, Richard Thaler, rising living standards, road to serfdom, Robert Gordon, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, Sand Hill Road, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Social Responsibility of Business Is to Increase Its Profits, South Sea Bubble, sovereign wealth fund, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, The Chicago School, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, transcontinental railway, transfer pricing, trickle-down economics, tulip mania, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, union organizing, Upton Sinclair, upwardly mobile, women in the workforce, working poor, zero-sum game

They configured the challenge into an online puzzle video game called Fold.it and crowdsourced it to let global gamers figure it out (ask your teenage son or daughter). Nearly an infinite universe of tiny interactions: a perfect puzzle. A perfect game. MSNBC reports it took the gamers ten days in September 2011 to solve it.40 Innovation is the lifeblood of economic growth and future prosperity. Here is how Thomas Mason, director of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and Persis Drell, director of the SLAC National Accelerator laboratory atop Sand Hill Road overlooking Stanford, explained its importance: “Fully half of US economic growth since 1945 can be attributed to investments in science and technology…. Innovation—not trade policy or labor costs—is the most important factor in global economic competitiveness and continued American prosperity.”41 This statement clarifies why the narcissistic American business community that prioritizes mergers, stock buybacks, and quarterly earnings over R&D is America’s Achilles heel, deemphasizing innovation, which, “… is the most important factor in global economic competitiveness and continued American prosperity.”


pages: 706 words: 202,591

Facebook: The Inside Story by Steven Levy

active measures, Airbnb, Airbus A320, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, augmented reality, Ben Horowitz, blockchain, Burning Man, business intelligence, cloud computing, computer vision, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, don't be evil, Donald Trump, East Village, Edward Snowden, El Camino Real, Elon Musk, Firefox, Frank Gehry, glass ceiling, indoor plumbing, Jeff Bezos, John Markoff, Jony Ive, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, Lyft, Mahatma Gandhi, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, Metcalfe’s law, MITM: man-in-the-middle, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, natural language processing, Network effects, Oculus Rift, PageRank, Paul Buchheit, paypal mafia, Peter Thiel, pets.com, post-work, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, Robert Mercer, Robert Metcalfe, rolodex, Sam Altman, Sand Hill Road, self-driving car, sexual politics, Shoshana Zuboff, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, slashdot, Snapchat, social graph, social software, South of Market, San Francisco, Startup school, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Steven Pinker, Tim Cook: Apple, web application, WikiLeaks, women in the workforce, Y Combinator, Y2K

In the fall of 2011, Facebook’s CFO, David Ebersman, who had previously held the post at Genentech, began interviewing some of the banks. The process had quietly begun for what would be the biggest tech IPO ever. Facebook, unsurprisingly, chose Morgan Stanley to lead the effort. Its top banker, Michael Grimes, had been snaring the juiciest offerings with regularity. His office was not in New York City or even the financial district in San Francisco but on Sand Hill Road in Menlo Park, where the big VC firms made their bets. He had worked on the Google IPO and recently on LinkedIn’s. And he was friendly with Sheryl Sandberg. (As usual, other investment banks and advisers joined in, including Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan.) Zuckerberg had firm ideas about the way Facebook’s stock structure would operate. The key factor was keeping himself in control, presumably forever, by creating two levels of shareholders, with the top level—the one where he had the overwhelming majority of shares—given dominance in any vote.


pages: 795 words: 215,529

Genius: The Life and Science of Richard Feynman by James Gleick

Albert Einstein, American ideology, Arthur Eddington, Brownian motion, double helix, Douglas Hofstadter, Ernest Rutherford, gravity well, Gödel, Escher, Bach, Isaac Newton, John von Neumann, Menlo Park, Murray Gell-Mann, mutually assured destruction, Norbert Wiener, Norman Mailer, pattern recognition, Pepto Bismol, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman: Challenger O-ring, Ronald Reagan, Rubik’s Cube, Sand Hill Road, Schrödinger's Cat, sexual politics, Stephen Hawking, Steven Levy, the scientific method, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, uranium enrichment

As Feynman said, the hadron-hadron work was like trying to figure out a pocket watch by smashing two of them together and watching the pieces fly out. He began visiting SLAC regularly in the summer of 1968, however, and saw how much simpler was the interaction offered by electron-proton collisions, the electron tearing through the proton like a bullet. He stayed with his sister; she had moved to the Stanford area to work for a research laboratory, and her house was just across Sand Hill Road from the accelerator center. The physicists who would gather on the outdoor patio to listen to his stories that summer would see him slamming his open hands together in a boisterous illustration of a new idea he had. He was talking about “pancakes”—flat particle pancakes with hard objects embedded in them. The Caltech connection was important to experimenters at SLAC, and by the late sixties the connection meant Gell-Mann far more than Feynman.


pages: 801 words: 209,348

Americana: A 400-Year History of American Capitalism by Bhu Srinivasan

activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, American ideology, Apple II, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, bank run, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, blue-collar work, Bob Noyce, Bonfire of the Vanities, British Empire, business cycle, buy and hold, California gold rush, Charles Lindbergh, collective bargaining, commoditize, corporate raider, cuban missile crisis, Deng Xiaoping, diversification, diversified portfolio, Douglas Engelbart, financial innovation, fixed income, Ford paid five dollars a day, global supply chain, Gordon Gekko, Haight Ashbury, hypertext link, income inequality, invisible hand, James Watt: steam engine, Jane Jacobs, Jeff Bezos, John Markoff, joint-stock company, joint-stock limited liability company, Kickstarter, laissez-faire capitalism, Louis Pasteur, Marc Andreessen, Menlo Park, mortgage debt, mutually assured destruction, Norman Mailer, oil rush, peer-to-peer, pets.com, popular electronics, profit motive, race to the bottom, refrigerator car, risk/return, Ronald Reagan, Sand Hill Road, self-driving car, shareholder value, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, strikebreaker, Ted Nelson, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, the new new thing, The Predators' Ball, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, trade route, transcontinental railway, traveling salesman, Upton Sinclair, Vannevar Bush, Works Progress Administration, zero-sum game

Each received a compensation package of $65,000 and options on 100,000 shares of stock in the new venture—Andreessen had a much larger stake as a cofounder, with a total of one million shares. By the summer of 1994, Clark had started getting moderately nervous. The burn rate, the rate at which a start-up spends in its quest to become a viable business, was higher than Clark had anticipated. This was partly by design. Sensing the need to move as fast as possible, Clark spent freely to speed progress toward the first commercial Web browser. He then turned to Sand Hill Road, the famed road in Silicon Valley where the major venture capital firms were located. Kleiner Perkins, one of the pioneers in formal venture capital, agreed to put in $5 million for 20 percent of the company. With the money Netscape was able to launch its browser into the marketplace. It was immediately clear that Netscape had a hit. In the first three months, its revenues were nearly $5 million.


Rough Guide to San Francisco and the Bay Area by Nick Edwards, Mark Ellwood

1960s counterculture, airport security, back-to-the-land, Bay Area Rapid Transit, British Empire, Burning Man, California gold rush, carbon footprint, City Beautiful movement, El Camino Real, Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, glass ceiling, Golden Gate Park, Haight Ashbury, haute cuisine, Joan Didion, Kickstarter, Loma Prieta earthquake, Menlo Park, Nelson Mandela, period drama, pez dispenser, Port of Oakland, rent control, Ronald Reagan, Rosa Parks, Sand Hill Road, Silicon Valley, South of Market, San Francisco, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, strikebreaker, transcontinental railway, unpaid internship, upwardly mobile, urban decay, urban planning, urban renewal, white picket fence, Works Progress Administration, young professional

| South along the Bay  331 Nearby, history buffs will enjoy the Herbert Hoover Memorial Exhibit Pavilion (Tues–Sat 11am–4pm; free), which displays changing exhibits from the vast Hoover collection of posters, photographs, letters, and other documents. If you are more interested in the latest trends in subatomic behavior, you won’t want to miss the Stanford Linear Accelerator (visitor center Mon–Fri 9am–4pm; tours by appointment only; free; t 650/926-2204, w www.slac .stanford.edu), a mile west of the central campus on Sand Hill Road, where infinitesimally small particles are crashed into one another at very high speeds to see what happens. For a bird’s-eye view of the campus (and the rest of the Bay Area), head up one of the hiking trails that leads from the gate along Junípero Serra Boulevard at Stanford Avenue to Stanford’s giant communications dish atop the foothills to the west of the campus. The Pe n i ns ul a | South along the Bay 332 Eating For a college town, most eateries in downtown Stanford around University Avenue are on the chic side, though that’s not so surprising, given the exclusive nature of the university.


pages: 903 words: 235,753

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

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, basic income, Benevolent Dictator For Life (BDFL), 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, Douglas Engelbart, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Eratosthenes, Ethereum, 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, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), intermodal, Internet of things, invisible hand, Jacob Appelbaum, Jaron Lanier, Joan Didion, John Markoff, Joi Ito, Jony Ive, Julian Assange, Khan Academy, liberal capitalism, lifelogging, linked data, Mark Zuckerberg, market fundamentalism, Marshall McLuhan, Masdar, McMansion, means of production, megacity, megastructure, Menlo Park, Minecraft, MITM: man-in-the-middle, Monroe Doctrine, Network effects, new economy, offshore financial centre, oil shale / tar sands, packet switching, PageRank, pattern recognition, peak oil, peer-to-peer, performance metric, personalized medicine, Peter Eisenman, Peter Thiel, phenotype, Philip Mirowski, Pierre-Simon Laplace, place-making, planetary scale, RAND corporation, recommendation engine, reserve currency, RFID, Robert Bork, 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, undersea cable, universal basic income, urban planning, Vernor Vinge, Washington Consensus, web application, Westphalian system, 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.


Parks Directory of the United States by Darren L. Smith, Kay Gill

1919 Motor Transport Corps convoy, Asilomar, British Empire, California gold rush, clean water, cuban missile crisis, desegregation, Donner party, El Camino Real, global village, Golden Gate Park, Hernando de Soto, indoor plumbing, mass immigration, Maui Hawaii, oil shale / tar sands, Ronald Reagan, Sand Hill Road, Torches of Freedom, trade route, transcontinental railway, Works Progress Administration

These ponds are not fed by rivers or streams, but are completely dependent on groundwater and precipitation. An 8-mile bike path in the park connects to the 25-mile Cape Cod Rail Trail. ★2728★ NASHUA RIVER RAIL TRAIL 595 Main St Townsend, MA 01474 Web: www.mass.gov/dcr/parks/northeast/nash.htm Phone: 978-597-8802 Size: 11 miles. Location: Runs through Ayer, Groton, Pepperell, and Dunstable, with access at Ayer Center, Groton Center, Groton Sand Hill Road, and Dunstable at state line. Facilities: Scenic overlooks, rest stops; drinking water at Groton Town Hall; non-flush public toilets at trailhead in Ayer. Activities: ★2732★ NORWOTTUCK RAIL TRAIL c/o Connecticut River Greenway State Park 136 Damon Rd Northampton, MA 01060 Web: www.mass.gov/dcr/parks/central/nwrt.htm Phone: 413-586-8706 535 9. State Parks ★2727★ MYLES STANDISH STATE FOREST PO Box 66 South Carver, MA 02366 Web: www.mass.gov/dcr/parks/southeast/mssf.htm Phone: 508-866-2526 Size: 14,651 acres.