Steve Ballmer

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pages: 390 words: 114,538

Digital Wars: Apple, Google, Microsoft and the Battle for the Internet by Charles Arthur

activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, AltaVista, Build a better mousetrap, Burning Man, cloud computing, commoditize, credit crunch, crowdsourcing, disintermediation, don't be evil, en.wikipedia.org, Firefox, gravity well, Jeff Bezos, John Gruber, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, Network effects, PageRank, pre–internet, Robert X Cringely, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, skunkworks, Skype, slashdot, Snapchat, software patent, speech recognition, stealth mode startup, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, the new new thing, the scientific method, Tim Cook: Apple, turn-by-turn navigation, upwardly mobile

Therefore, in determining the level of Microsoft’s market power, the relevant market is the licensing of all Intel-compatible PC operating systems world-wide. Findings of fact, United States of America v Microsoft Corporation, Civil Action 98-1232 (Issued November 1999) (the document is available in Adobe PDF, WordPerfect 5.1 and HTML formats, but no Microsoft-proprietary ones) Steve Ballmer Life changed at Microsoft in 2000. On 13 January Steve Ballmer, who in June 1980 had become its 30th employee, was promoted from heading its sales and support operations to chief executive. Bill Gates was still the chairman and ‘chief software architect’, with oversight of how the company should build its tools and products. He would still be involved in key decisions. But Ballmer took over day-to-day responsibility for the company; he would have to embody the qualities that the company now stood for to governments and businesses and individuals.

The rest, around $3 billion, came from software and ‘services’ – such as the iTunes Music Store, the smallest but fastest growing, which had generated almost $1 billion on its own. Zune Billion-dollar digital businesses tend to attract Steve Ballmer’s attention – especially if Microsoft isn’t getting a thick slice of them. Inside Microsoft at the beginning of 2006, the rising tide of iPods, and more importantly the continuing failure of PlaysForSure and subscription services based around it to attract customers away from Apple’s little boxes, had people concerned. ‘There was this big debate about whether we should build [music features] into phones, or go full frontal into battle with the iPod’, recalls Pieter Knook, who was at Microsoft for nearly 20 years and ran the Windows Mobile team from 2001 until spring 2008. ‘Steve [Ballmer] and Robbie [Bach, head of the Entertainment and Devices division, which included the Xbox and Windows Mobile businesses] really favoured that.

This ebook published in 2014 by Kogan Page Limited 2nd Floor, 45 Gee Street London EC1V 3RS UK www.koganpage.com © Charles Arthur, 2012, 2014 E-ISBN 978 0 7494 7204 7 Full imprint details Contents Introduction 01 1998 Bill Gates and Microsoft Steve Jobs and Apple Bill Gates and Steve Jobs Larry Page, Sergey Brin and Google Internet search Capital thinking 02 Microsoft antitrust Steve Ballmer The antitrust trial The outcome of the trial 03 Search: Google versus Microsoft The beginnings of search Google Search and Microsoft Bust Link to money Boom Random access Google and the public consciousness Project Underdog Preparing for battle Do it yourself Going public Competition Cultural differences Microsoft’s relaunched search engine Friends Microsoft’s bid for Yahoo Google’s identity The shadow of antitrust Still underdog 04 Digital music: Apple versus Microsoft The beginning of iTunes Gizmo, Tokyo iPod design Marketing the new product Meanwhile, in Redmond: Microsoft iPods and Windows Music, stored Celebrity marketing iTunes on Windows iPod mini The growth of iTunes Music Store Apple and the mobile phone Stolen!


pages: 391 words: 71,600

Hit Refresh: The Quest to Rediscover Microsoft's Soul and Imagine a Better Future for Everyone by Satya Nadella, Greg Shaw, Jill Tracie Nichols

"Robert Solow", 3D printing, Amazon Web Services, anti-globalists, artificial general intelligence, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, basic income, Bretton Woods, business process, cashless society, charter city, cloud computing, complexity theory, computer age, computer vision, corporate social responsibility, crowdsourcing, Deng Xiaoping, Donald Trump, Douglas Engelbart, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, equal pay for equal work, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, fault tolerance, Gini coefficient, global supply chain, Google Glasses, Grace Hopper, industrial robot, Internet of things, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Markoff, John von Neumann, knowledge worker, Mars Rover, Minecraft, Mother of all demos, NP-complete, Oculus Rift, pattern recognition, place-making, Richard Feynman, Robert Gordon, Ronald Reagan, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, side project, Silicon Valley, Skype, Snapchat, special economic zone, speech recognition, Stephen Hawking, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, telepresence, telerobotics, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, Tim Cook: Apple, trade liberalization, two-sided market, universal basic income, Wall-E, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, young professional, zero-sum game

Hit Refresh The Quest to Rediscover Microsoft’s Soul and Imagine a Better Future for Everyone Satya Nadella with Greg Shaw and Jill Tracie Nichols Photo On the morning of February 4, 2014, I was introduced to employees as Microsoft’s third CEO alongside Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer, the only CEOs in Microsoft’s forty-year history. Dedication To the two families that have shaped my life: Anu, our parents and our children; and my Microsoft family Contents Cover Title Page Photo Dedication Foreword Chapter 1: From Hyderabad to Redmond Chapter 2: Learning to Lead Chapter 3: New Mission, New Momentum Chapter 4: A Cultural Renaissance Chapter 5: Friends or Frenemies? Chapter 6: Beyond the Cloud Chapter 7: The Trust Equation Chapter 8: The Future of Humans and Machines Chapter 9: Restoring Economic Growth for Everyone Afterword Acknowledgments Sources and Further Reading Index About the Author Copyright About the Publisher Foreword By Bill Gates I’ve known Satya Nadella for more than twenty years.

Chris Capossela, our chief marketing officer, who grew up in a family-run Italian restaurant in the North End of Boston, and joined Microsoft right out of Harvard College the year before I joined. Kevin Turner, a former Wal-Mart executive, who was chief operating officer and led worldwide sales. Harry Shum, who leads Microsoft’s celebrated Artificial Intelligence and Research Group operation, received his PhD in robotics from Carnegie Mellon and is one of the world’s authorities on computer vision and graphics. I had been a member of the SLT myself when Steve Ballmer was CEO, and, while I admired every member of our team, I felt that we needed to deepen our understanding of one another—to delve into what really makes each of us tick—and to connect our personal philosophies to our jobs as leaders of the company. I knew that if we dropped those proverbial guns and channeled that collective IQ and energy into a refreshed mission, we could get back to the dream that first inspired Bill and Paul—democratizing leading-edge computer technology.

That course, those decisions, is what I’ve set out to describe. In these pages, you will follow three distinct storylines. First, as prologue, I’ll share my own transformation moving from India to my new home in America with stops in the heartland, in Silicon Valley, and at a Microsoft then in its ascendancy. Part two focuses on hitting refresh at Microsoft as the unlikely CEO who succeeded Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer. Microsoft’s transformation under my leadership is not complete, but I am proud of our progress. In the third and final act, I’ll take up the argument that a Fourth Industrial Revolution lies ahead, one in which machine intelligence will rival that of humans. We’ll explore some heady questions. What will the role of humans become? Will inequality resolve or worsen? How can governments help? What is the role of multinational corporations and their leaders?


pages: 260 words: 67,823

Always Day One: How the Tech Titans Plan to Stay on Top Forever by Alex Kantrowitz

accounting loophole / creative accounting, Albert Einstein, AltaVista, Amazon Web Services, augmented reality, Automated Insights, autonomous vehicles, Bernie Sanders, Clayton Christensen, cloud computing, collective bargaining, computer vision, Donald Trump, drone strike, Elon Musk, Firefox, Google Chrome, hive mind, income inequality, Infrastructure as a Service, inventory management, iterative process, Jeff Bezos, job automation, Jony Ive, knowledge economy, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, new economy, Peter Thiel, QR code, ride hailing / ride sharing, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Skype, Snapchat, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Tim Cook: Apple, uber lyft, wealth creators, zero-sum game

“Microsoft’s ‘Lost Decade’? Vanity Fair Piece Is Epic, Accurate and Not Entirely Fair.” GeekWire. GeekWire, July 4, 2012. https://www.geekwire.com/2012/microsofts-lost-decade-vanity-fair-piece-accurate-incomplete. “What began as a lean competition machine”: Eichenwald, Kurt. “How Microsoft Lost Its Mojo: Steve Ballmer and Corporate America’s Most Spectacular Decline.” Vanity Fair. Vanity Fair, July 24, 2012. https://www.vanityfair.com/news/business/2012/08/microsoft-lost-mojo-steve-ballmer. Ballmer stepped down: Bishop, Todd. “Microsoft Names Satya Nadella CEO; Bill Gates Stepping Down as Chairman to Serve as Tech Adviser.” GeekWire. GeekWire, February 4, 2014. https://www.geekwire.com/2014/microsoft-ceo-main. a $13 billion business: Fontana, John. “Microsoft Tops $60 Billion in Annual Revenue.”

Starting as an online directory, the company reinvented itself with the News Feed, and it’s reinventing today by moving from broadcast sharing to intimate sharing: giving the News Feed over to Facebook Groups—a series of smaller networks—and treating messaging as a first-class citizen. In the most fickle of all industries, social media, Facebook still leads. Until recently, it seemed like Microsoft’s inventing days were over. The company was so attached to Windows it almost let the future pass it by. But with a leadership change from Steve Ballmer to Satya Nadella, the company returned to Day One and embraced cloud computing, a threat to desktop operating systems like Windows, and became the world’s most valuable company once again. Apple under Steve Jobs developed the iPhone, a device that rendered desktop computers like the Mac and portable music players like the iPod less relevant but also set the company up for years of success.

Apple is a company lacking democratic invention, constraint-free hierarchy, free-flowing collaboration, and useful internal technology. It’s stuck in Day Two, and as iPhone sales slow, it’s going to have to adjust. We’ll head to Microsoft for chapter five, where Satya Nadella is using the Engineer’s Mindset to spark a new era of invention inside the company. Nadella’s approach is a departure from that of his predecessor, Steve Ballmer, a case study in favor of implementing the systems outlined in this book. The Engineer’s Mindset isn’t exclusively the territory of those who can code. It is, after all, a mindset, not a set of computer skills. Nor is it the province of the tech giants alone. Smaller companies can apply it just as effectively. But for now, the tech giants are ahead, especially among their tech peers. Netflix, for instance, has a feedback culture, but not one meant to spark invention.


Big Blues: The Unmaking of IBM by Paul Carroll

accounting loophole / creative accounting, full employment, John Markoff, Mitch Kapor, popular electronics, Robert Metcalfe, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, six sigma, software patent, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, thinkpad, traveling salesman

They w ent through the usual rigmarole, with Gates having to sign BIG BLUES 9 nondisclosure agreem ents that said he wouldn’t think of using any infor­ mation IBM disclosed to him; that IBM could use whatever Gates happened to say; that Gates would, when pressed, insist he had never heard of a company with the initials IBM and that, even if he had, he would certainly never sue it. Gates then brought to the meeting Steve Ballmer, a college pal with a strong Nordic face and tiny icy blue eyes. Ballmer figures he was invited because his one year at business school meant that he was the only one at the company who knew how to wear a suit. The three-hour meeting was informal, with the four just chatting about opportunities in small com puters. Gates and Ballmer rocked back and forth, as they always did in those days— Gates going forward and backward, Ballmer side to side.

O ne of the first big meetings Estridge faced as he took over from Lowe in the fall of 1980 was with Bill Gates and his small band from Micro­ soft. Estridge needed to have people push Gates hard to make sure that he could really deliver an operating system in time. W ithout an op­ erating system, there would be no interesting software. W ithout soft­ ware, the PC would make a nice paperweight. W hen Gates was sum m oned to Boca Raton for the first time at the end of Septem ber, he and Steve Ballmer worked for days on their proposal. Jack Sams, still the IBM liaison to Microsoft, got involved, too, offering avuncular advice on how IBM meetings tended to go, how to behave, who the im portant players at the meeting would be, and so forth. Sams also offered some advice that IBM now may wish he hadn’t: H e suggested that Microsoft raise its asking price in its proposed con­ tract with IBM. W hile Sams didn’t know what the two were planning, he knew IBM w anted to be sure the little company supplying its op­ erating system was healthy for years to come.

The programm ers at M icro­ soft found it odd that, even though the PC was IBM ’s smallest project, it still had m ore people writing specs for Microsoft’s operating system than Microsoft had actually writing the operating system. Estridge also dispatched people to Microsoft to make sure it was keeping its work secret. H e may have been a cowboy, but even he was enough of a product of the IBM culture that he couldn’t avoid the penchant for secrecy at all costs. Steve Ballmer got a call one day from an IB M er who said he w anted to arrange a visit. Ballmer said, “Sure, maybe in a few days when things settle down.” Then he casually in­ quired about the w eather in Florida. The IBM er said he didn’t have a clue, because he was calling from a pay phone across the street from BIG BLUES 35 the Microsoft offices in Bellevue, Washington, and really wanted to come by immediately to check up on how Microsoft had filed certain docum ents.


pages: 459 words: 140,010

Fire in the Valley: The Birth and Death of the Personal Computer by Michael Swaine, Paul Freiberger

1960s counterculture, Amazon Web Services, Apple II, barriers to entry, Bill Gates: Altair 8800, Byte Shop, cloud computing, commoditize, computer vision, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Dynabook, Google Chrome, I think there is a world market for maybe five computers, Internet of things, Isaac Newton, Jaron Lanier, job automation, John Markoff, John von Neumann, Jony Ive, Loma Prieta earthquake, Marc Andreessen, Menlo Park, Mitch Kapor, Mother of all demos, Paul Terrell, popular electronics, Richard Stallman, Robert Metcalfe, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, stealth mode startup, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Stewart Brand, Ted Nelson, Tim Cook: Apple, urban sprawl, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, Whole Earth Catalog

Our primary debt is to the people who lived this story and graciously granted us entry into what is in fact their personal history—through hundreds of hours of interviews and generous access to documents, records, letters, diaries, time lines, telexes, and photographs. Among others, we are grateful to the following individuals: Scott Adams, Todd Agulnick, David Ahl, Alice Ahlgren, Bob Albrecht, Paul Allen, Dennis Allison, Bill Anderson, Bill Baker, Steve Ballmer, Rob Barnaby, John Barry, Allen Baum, John Bell, Tim Berners-Lee, Tim Berry, Ray Borrill, Stewart Brand, Dan Bricklin, Keith Britton, David Bunnell, Nolan Bushnell, Maggie Canon, David Carlick, Douglas Carlston, Mark Chamberlain, Hal Chamberlin, Roger Chapman, Alan Cooper, Sue Cooper, Ben Cooper, John Craig, Andy Cunningham, Eddie Curry, Steve Dompier, John Draper, John Dvorak, Doug Engelbart, Chris Espinosa, Gordon Eubanks, Ed Faber, Federico Faggin, Lee Felsenstein, Bill Fernandez, Todd Fischer, Richard Frank, Bob Frankston, Paul Franson, Nancy Freitas, Don French, Gordon French, Howard Fulmer, Dan Fylstra, Mark Garetz, Harry Garland, Jean-Louis Gassee, Bill Gates, Bill Godbout, John Goodenough, Chuck Grant, Wayne Green, Dick Heiser, Carl Helmers, Kent Hensheid, Andy Hertzfeld, Ted Hoff, Thom Hogan, Rod Holt, Randy Hyde, Peter Jennings, Steve Jobs, Bill Joy, Philippe Kahn, Mitch Kapor, Vinod Khosla, Guy Kawasaki, Gary Kildall, Joe Killian, Dan Kottke, Barbara Krause, Tom Lafleur, Jaron Lanier, Phil Lemons, Phil Levine, Andrea Lewis, Bill Lohse, Mel Loveland, Scott Mace, Regis McKenna, Marla Markman, Mike Markkula, Bob Marsh, Patty McCracken, Dorothy McEwen, Patrick McGovern, Scott McNealy, Roger Melen, Seymour Merrin, Edward Metro, Vanessa Mickan, Jill Miller, Dick Miller, Michael Miller, Fred Moore, Gordon Moore, Lyall Morrill, George Morrow, Jeanne Morrow, Theodor Holm Nelson, Robert Noyce, Tom and Molly O’Neill, Terry Opdendyk, Adam Osborne, Chuck Peddle, Harvard Pennington, Joel Pitt, Fred “Chip” Poode, Frank and Susan Raab, Jeff Raikes, Janet Ramusack, Jef Raskin, Ed Roberts, Roy Robinson, Tom Rolander, Phil Roybal, Seymour Rubinstein, Sue Runfola, Chris Rutkowski, Paul Saffo, Art Salsberg, Wendell Sanders, Ed Sawicki, Joel Schwartz, John Sculley, Jon Shirley, John Shoch, Richard Shoup, Michael Shrayer, Bill Siler, Les Solomon, Deborah Stapleton, Alan Stein, Barney Stone, Don Tarbell, George Tate, Paul Terrell, Larry Tesler, Glenn Theodore, John Torode, Jack Tramiel, Bruce Van Natta, Jim Warren, Larry Weiss, Randy Wigginton, Margaret Wozniak, Steve Wozniak, Larry Yaeger, Greg Yob, and Pierluigi Zappacosta.

IBM wanted to send some researchers from its Boca Raton, Florida, facility to chat with Gates about Microsoft. Gates agreed without hesitation. “How about next week?” he asked. “We’ll be on a plane in two hours,” said the IBM man. Gates proceeded to cancel his next day’s appointment with Atari chairman Ray Kassar. “IBM is a pretty big company,” he explained sheepishly. Because IBM was indeed a pretty big company, he decided to turn to Steve Ballmer, his advisor in business matters and a former assistant product manager at Procter & Gamble. Gates had known Ballmer when he attended Harvard in 1974. In 1979, when Gates decided that Microsoft was getting difficult to manage, he hired Ballmer. Ballmer was brash and ambitious. After Harvard, he had entered Stanford University’s MBA program but had dropped out to start making money sooner. Ballmer had been glad to join Microsoft.

Gates liked Ballmer, too. Gates had played poker during the evenings in the Harvard dorms, and after being cleaned out, he often went to Ballmer to describe the game. As they started working together at Microsoft in 1980, Gates found he still enjoyed discussing things with his friend, who quickly became one of his closest business confidants, and he naturally turned to him after IBM’s call. * * * Figure 85. Steve Ballmer and Bill Gates Gates’s ebullient college buddy would go on to replace him as Microsoft CEO. (Courtesy of Sarah Hinman, Microsoft Museum) “Look, Steve,” Gates said, “IBM is coming tomorrow. We better show those guys a little depth. Why don’t we both sit in on the meeting?” Neither of them could be sure that the call was anything special, but Gates couldn’t help getting worked up over it. “Bill was superexcited,” Allen later recalled.


pages: 310 words: 91,151

Leaving Microsoft to Change the World: An Entrepreneur's Odyssey to Educate the World's Children by John Wood

airport security, British Empire, call centre, clean water, corporate social responsibility, Deng Xiaoping, Donald Trump, fear of failure, glass ceiling, high net worth, income per capita, Jeff Bezos, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Marc Andreessen, microcredit, Own Your Own Home, random walk, rolodex, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Skype, Steve Ballmer

“Beep. You…have…no…new…messages,” the mechanical voice announced. It might as well have added the word “loser” at the end. With the software industry doubling every year, and Microsoft fighting to capture market share in every major category, the stakes seemed high enough to justify self-sacrifice. The corporate culture reinforced this mania. It wasn’t until I finished a set of meetings with Steve Ballmer, Microsoft’s hard-charging, demanding, and voluble second-in-command, that I convinced myself that I had earned a break. Ballmer was in Sydney reviewing our work in Asia. When we finished his business-review meetings, a two-day-long event where Ballmer tended to shout and harangue, a colleague—Ben—suggested we unwind by going to a slide show about trekking in Nepal given by a local adventure travel company.

I was long overdue for a holiday. When the presenter mentioned that the Annapurna Circuit was a “classic trek that takes three weeks, covers two hundred miles, and gets you as far out in the Himalayas as you could imagine,” I mentally began booking the time off. Next stop, Nepal. Over a Mongolian hot-pot dinner with Ben, I joked that maybe if you went high enough into the Himalayas, you could not hear Steve Ballmer screaming at you. BACK IN NEPAL, CROWING ROOSTERS WOKE ME JUST BEFORE SUNRISE. The Timex Ironman read six o’clock. I debated snoozing a bit longer before meeting with Pasupathi for tea. The Himalayan dawn was cold; the four-season North Face bag felt like a pizza oven. But excitement over finally being in Nepal won out. I put on a warm thermal layer before leaving the bag. Fog blanketed the river valley.

.* The message this sent to employees was that if the company did well in the long term, they would also. But there were no guarantees, and only hard work and smart strategic thinking would increase the odds of this calculated risk paying off. Like much of history, it seems obvious in retrospect that this was a fantastic trade-off, but at the time none of us knew. By 1999, those of us who had been at the company for a long time had done quite well. I give most of the credit to Bill and Steve Ballmer for their visionary leadership and their tenacious attention to detail. The two of them reminded me of a theory of Warren Buffett’s that I had read—whom you work for makes a big difference. Buffett recalled that a long time ago, baseball players like Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig voted a full share of their World Series proceeds to their batboy. “The key to life,” said Buffett, “is to figure out who to be the batboy for.”


pages: 261 words: 79,883

Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action by Simon Sinek

Apple II, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, Black Swan, business cycle, commoditize, hiring and firing, John Markoff, low cost airline, Nick Leeson, RAND corporation, risk tolerance, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, The Wisdom of Crowds, trade route

Homes Have Outhouses than TiVos”: Bradley Johnson, “Analysts Mull Future Potential of PVR Ad-Zapping Technology,” Advertising Age, November 4, 2002, http://people.ischool.berkeley.edu/~hal/Courses/StratTech09/Lectures/Networks/Articles/tivo-losing-money.html. 128 “There are two types of laws”: Martin Luther King Jr., “Letter from a Birmingham Jail,” http://www.thekingcenter.org/prog/non/Letter.pdf. Chapter 8: Start with Why, but Know How 133 Steve Ballmer, the man who replaced Bill Gates as CEO of Microsoft: “Steve Ballmer Going Crazy,” March 31, 2006, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wvsboPUjrGc. 134 the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation: http://www.gatesfoundation.org/Pages/home.aspx. 135 Raised in Ohio, sixty miles from Dayton, Neil Armstrong grew up: Nick Greene, “Neil Armstrong Biography: First Man of the Moon,” About.com, http://space.about.com/od/astronautbiographies/a/neilarmstrong.htm. 138 What Ralph Abernathy lent the movement was something else: “Abernathy, Ralph David (1926–1990),” Martin Luther King, Jr., Research and Education Institute, http://mlk-kpp01.stanford.edu/index.php/kingpapers/article/abernathy_ralph_david_1926_1990/. 140 The pessimists are usually right: Thomas Friedman, The World Is Flat: A Brief History of the 21st Century.

Everyone at the Mall that day shared a set of values and beliefs. And everyone there that day, regardless of skin color or race or sex, trusted each other. It was that trust, that common bond, that shared belief that fueled a movement that would change a nation. We believed. We believed. We believed. PART 4 HOW TO RALLY THOSE WHO BELIEVE 8 START WITH WHY, BUT KNOW HOW Energy Excites. Charisma Inspires. RAH!!!! With a roar, Steve Ballmer, the man who replaced Bill Gates as CEO of Microsoft, bursts onto the stage of the company’s annual global summit meeting. Ballmer loves Microsoft—he says so in no uncertain words. He also knows how to pump up a crowd. His energy is almost folkloric. He pumps his fists and runs from one end of the stage to the other, he screams and he sweats. He is remarkable to watch and the crowd loves it.

When people describe the value they perceive with visceral, excited words like “love,” that is a sure sign that a clear sense of WHY exists. Good Successions Keep the WHY Alive There were three words missing from Bill Gates’s goodbye speech when he officially left Microsoft in June 2008. They are three words he probably doesn’t even realize need to be there. “I’ll be back.” Though Gates abdicated his role as CEO of Microsoft to Steve Ballmer in 2000 to lend more time and energy to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, he still maintained a role and a presence at the Microsoft headquarters in Redmond, Washington. His plan was always to completely leave the company in the care of others, but like a lot of founders, Gates forgot to do one thing that would allow his plan to work. This one oversight could have a devastating impact on Microsoft and may even require him to come back someday to right the ship he built.


pages: 317 words: 101,074

The Road Ahead by Bill Gates, Nathan Myhrvold, Peter Rinearson

Albert Einstein, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, Berlin Wall, Bill Gates: Altair 8800, Bob Noyce, Bonfire of the Vanities, business process, California gold rush, Claude Shannon: information theory, computer age, Donald Knuth, first square of the chessboard, first square of the chessboard / second half of the chessboard, glass ceiling, global village, informal economy, invention of movable type, invention of the printing press, invention of writing, John von Neumann, knowledge worker, medical malpractice, Mitch Kapor, new economy, packet switching, popular electronics, Richard Feynman, Ronald Reagan, speech recognition, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, Ted Nelson, telemarketer, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, transaction costs, Turing machine, Turing test, Von Neumann architecture

Such meetings will become very popular because they save time and money and are often more productive than audio-only phone conferences or even face-to-face meetings, because people seem to be more attentive if they know they are on-camera. I've noticed that it does take some getting used to, though. If one person is on a videoconference screen, he or she tends to get much more attention than others in the meeting. I first noticed this when a bunch of us in Seattle were videoconferencing with Steve Ballmer, who was in Europe. It was as if we were all glued to The Steve Ballmer Show. If Steve took off his shoes, we'd all look at each other's reactions. When the meeting was over I could have told you all about Steve's new haircut but I might not have been able to name the other people who'd been in the room with me. I think this distortion will go away as videoconferences become commonplace. It's currently fairly expensive to set up a videoconference room—it costs at least $40,000.

For everything from conception to marketing, and lots of stops along the way, thanks to Jonathan Lazarus and his team: Kelli Jerome, Mary Engstrom, Wendy Langen, and Debbie Walker. Without Jonathan's guidance and persistence this book never would have happened. For their helpful suggestions throughout the project, special thanks to Tren Griffin, Roger McNamee, Melissa Waggener, and Ann Winblad. For their incisive review comments, thanks to Stephen Arnold, Steve Ballmer, Harvey Berger, Paul Carroll, Mike Delman, Kimberly Ellwanger, Brian Fleming, Bill Gates, Sr., Melinda Gates, Bernie Gifford, Bob Gomulkiewicz, Meg Greenfield, Collins Hemingway, Jack Hitt, Rita Jacobs, Erik Lacitis, Mich Matthews, Scott Miller, Craig Mundie, Rick Rashid, Jon Shirley, Mike Timpane, Wendy Wolf, Min Yee, and Mark Zbikowski. For help with research, transcription, and resource material, my gratitude to Kerry Carnahan, Ina Chang, Peggy Gunnoe, Christine Shannon, Sean Sheridan, and Amy Dunn Stephenson.

In poker, a player collects different shards of information—who's betting boldly, what cards are showing, what's this guy's pattern of betting and bluffing—and then crunches all that information together to devise a plan for his own hand. I got pretty good at this kind of information processing. The experience of poker strategizing—and the money—were helpful when I got into business, but the other game I was playing, the postponing one, didn't serve me well at all. But I didn't know that then. In fact, I was encouraged that my dilatory practices were shared by a new friend, Steve Ballmer, a math major whom I met freshman year, when we lived in the same student dorm, Currier House. Steve and I led very different lives, but we were both trying to pare down to the minimum the course time needed to get top grades. Steve is a man of endless energy, effortlessly social. His activities took a lot of his time. By his sophomore year he was a manager of the football team, the advertising manager for the Harvard Crimson, the school newspaper, and president of a literary magazine.


pages: 317 words: 100,414

Superforecasting: The Art and Science of Prediction by Philip Tetlock, Dan Gardner

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, availability heuristic, Black Swan, butterfly effect, buy and hold, cloud computing, cuban missile crisis, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, desegregation, drone strike, Edward Lorenz: Chaos theory, forward guidance, Freestyle chess, fundamental attribution error, germ theory of disease, hindsight bias, index fund, Jane Jacobs, Jeff Bezos, Kenneth Arrow, Laplace demon, longitudinal study, Mikhail Gorbachev, Mohammed Bouazizi, Nash equilibrium, Nate Silver, Nelson Mandela, obamacare, pattern recognition, performance metric, Pierre-Simon Laplace, place-making, placebo effect, prediction markets, quantitative easing, random walk, randomized controlled trial, Richard Feynman, Richard Thaler, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, Saturday Night Live, scientific worldview, Silicon Valley, Skype, statistical model, stem cell, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, the scientific method, The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Bayes, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!

Bryan Glick, “Timing Is Everything in Steve Ballmer’s Departure—Why Microsoft Needs a New Vision,” Computer Weekly Editor’s Blog, August 27, 2013, http://www.computerweekly.com/blogs/editors-blog/2013/08/timing-is-everything-in-steve.html. 3. “Starr Report: Narrative.” Nature of President Clinton’s Relationship with Monica Lewinsky (Washington, DC: US Government Printing Office, 2004), footnote 1128. 4. Sameer Singh, Tech-Thoughts, November 18, 2013, http://www.tech-thoughts.net/2013/11/smartphone-market-share-by-country-q3-2013.html#.VQM0QEJYW-Q. 5. Barry Ritholtz, “2010 Reminder: QE = Currency Debasement and Inflation,” The Big Picture, November 15, 2013, http://www.ritholtz.com/blog/2013/11/qe-debasement-inflation/print/. 6. A similar problem bedevils Steve Ballmer’s iPhone prediction. The iPhone market-share numbers I presented are from six years after its launch and they were higher after seven years.

It is a tablespoon of doubt. 3 Keeping Score When physicians finally learned to doubt themselves, they turned to randomized controlled trials to scientifically test which treatments work. Bringing the rigor of measurement to forecasting might seem easiesr to do: collect forecasts, judge their accuracy, add the numbers. That’s it. In no time, we’ll know how good Tom Friedman really is. But it’s not nearly so simple. Consider a forecast Steve Ballmer made in 2007, when he was CEO of Microsoft: “There’s no chance that the iPhone is going to get any significant market share. No chance.” Ballmer’s forecast is infamous. Google “Ballmer” and “worst tech predictions”—or “Bing” it, as Ballmer would prefer—and you will see it enshrined in the forecasting hall of shame, along with such classics as the president of Digital Equipment Corporation declaring in 1977 that “there is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home.”

Note also that Ballmer didn’t say the iPhone would be a bust for Apple. Indeed, he said, “They may make a lot of money.” But still there is ambiguity: how much more than 2% or 3% of the global mobile phone market would the iPhone have to capture to be deemed “significant”? Ballmer didn’t say. And how much money was he talking about when he said Apple could earn “a lot of money”? Again, he didn’t say. So how wrong was Steve Ballmer’s forecast? His tone was brash and dismissive. In the USA Today interview, he seems to scoff at Apple. But his words were more nuanced than his tone, and too ambiguous for us to declare with certainty that his forecast was wrong—much less so spectacularly wrong it belongs in the forecasting hall of shame. It is far from unusual that a forecast that at first looks as clear as a freshly washed window proves too opaque to be conclusively judged right or wrong.


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Dogfight: How Apple and Google Went to War and Started a Revolution by Fred Vogelstein

Apple II, Ben Horowitz, cloud computing, commoditize, disintermediation, don't be evil, Dynabook, Firefox, Google Chrome, Google Glasses, Googley, John Markoff, Jony Ive, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Peter Thiel, pre–internet, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, software patent, spectrum auction, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Tim Cook: Apple, web application, zero-sum game

Windows CE smartphones were still a niche market, but if consumers took to the platform en masse as they did later with the iPhone, Google’s entire business could be in jeopardy. This wasn’t an exaggeration. Back then, Microsoft and Google were in the midst of a nasty battle of their own for dominance in search, and for top dog in the tech world. After two decades of being the first-choice workplace of top engineering talent, Microsoft was now losing many of those battles to Google. Chairman Bill Gates and CEO Steve Ballmer had made it clear they took Google’s challenge personally. Gates seemed particularly affected by it. Once or twice he made fun of the way Page and his Google cofounder Sergey Brin dressed. He said their search engine’s popularity was “a fad.” Then, in the same breath, he would issue the ultimate compliment, saying that of all his competitors over the years, Google was the most like Microsoft.

Key features of the iPhone were far from perfected. Its memory and the virtual keyboard, already one of its most controversial features, still didn’t work right. Touching the letter e—the most frequently used letter in the alphabet—often caused other letters to pop up around the keyboard. Instead of appearing instantly after being “typed,” letters would emerge after annoying lags. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer had been among the many declaring the iPhone a failed product because it didn’t have a physical keyboard. Apple executives were worried too. They weren’t comfortable using the keyboard either. “Everyone was concerned about touching on something that doesn’t have any physical feedback,” one of the executives said. But Jobs was unyielding on the issue. “Steve’s rationale was just what he said onstage.

And, of course, BlackBerry was quite strong [with a lock on almost every corporation in the world].” So, while Brin, Page, and Schmidt were pushing the Android team hard, they were also beefing up the Google iPhone team. Most notably, they put Vic Gundotra, a newly hired but well-known executive from Microsoft, in charge of running it. Gundotra, who was thirty-seven, had spent his entire career working for Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer, becoming their point person for the company’s relationship with all external Windows software developers—tens of thousands of geeks worldwide. Gundotra was well-known for his technical acumen, his near-Steve-Jobs-quality presentations, and his willingness to take risks and be controversial. Microsoft’s incredible growth and dominance during the 1990s was in no small part the result of his tireless evangelism, convincing legions of programmers worldwide to write software for Windows when few thought it would succeed.


pages: 504 words: 126,835

The Innovation Illusion: How So Little Is Created by So Many Working So Hard by Fredrik Erixon, Bjorn Weigel

"Robert Solow", Airbnb, Albert Einstein, American ideology, asset allocation, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, Basel III, Bernie Madoff, bitcoin, Black Swan, blockchain, BRICs, Burning Man, business cycle, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Cass Sunstein, Clayton Christensen, Colonization of Mars, commoditize, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, creative destruction, crony capitalism, dark matter, David Graeber, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, discounted cash flows, distributed ledger, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, fear of failure, first square of the chessboard / second half of the chessboard, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, George Gilder, global supply chain, global value chain, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, Gordon Gekko, high net worth, hiring and firing, Hyman Minsky, income inequality, income per capita, index fund, industrial robot, Internet of things, Jeff Bezos, job automation, job satisfaction, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, Just-in-time delivery, Kevin Kelly, knowledge economy, laissez-faire capitalism, Lyft, manufacturing employment, Mark Zuckerberg, market design, Martin Wolf, mass affluent, means of production, Mont Pelerin Society, Network effects, new economy, offshore financial centre, pensions crisis, Peter Thiel, Potemkin village, price mechanism, principal–agent problem, Productivity paradox, QWERTY keyboard, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, rent-seeking, risk tolerance, risk/return, Robert Gordon, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, savings glut, Second Machine Age, secular stagnation, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, sovereign wealth fund, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, technological singularity, telemarketer, The Chicago School, The Future of Employment, The Nature of the Firm, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, total factor productivity, transaction costs, transportation-network company, tulip mania, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, uber lyft, University of East Anglia, unpaid internship, Vanguard fund, Yogi Berra

Simon & Schuster, 2000. WTO, “World Trade Report 2008.” World Trade Organization, 2008. Xie, Ye, “Goldman’s BRIC Era Ends as Fund Folds after Years of Losses.” Bloomberg, Nov. 8, 2015. At http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-11-08/goldman-s-bric-era-ends-as-fund-closes-after-years-of-losses. Yarow, Jay, “Here’s What Steve Ballmer Thought about the iPhone Five Years Ago.” Business Insider, June 29, 2012. At http://www.businessinsider.com/heres-what-steve-ballmer-thought-about-the-iphone-five-years-ago-2012-6?IR=T. Zenger, Todd R., Teppo Felin, and Lyda Bigelow, “Theories of the Firm–Market Boundary.” Academy of Management Annals, 5.1 (2011): 89–133. Zhou, Yue Maggie, “Coordination Costs, Organization Structure and Firm Growth.” Diss., University of Michigan, 2008. Zingales, Luigi, A Capitalism for the People: Recapturing the Lost Genius of American Prosperity.

Many in the tech analyst community would say it prevented Microsoft from quickly seizing most of the defining trends in the past decade of ICT growth. Like many other firms, Microsoft had a clear (and, as it turned out, prescient) idea of how markets and products would evolve. In 2000, at the height of its antitrust problems in the United States, Microsoft explained what the future of computer software and hardware would look like. Steve Ballmer, the then newly minted heir to Bill Gates, described how Microsoft would create a “unified platform through which devices and services co-operate with each other.”7 Microsoft predicted the need for interconnected web services that could be used across platforms and shared between colleagues or family members. It understood what would come in location-aware devices, voice-control services, and photo sharing.

While other innovators deserted the operating system, Microsoft was too afraid of destroying the value of Windows by launching stand-alone products that worked in other ecosystems. It believed in a future based on a Windows-controlled ecosystem for all devices and services – one ring to rule them all.8 This philosophy helped shape a corporate culture that grew arrogant and missed many of the developments in the market. Steve Ballmer’s colorful speech just after the launch of the iPhone in 2007 is indicative of the culture that permeated Microsoft: There’s no chance that the iPhone is going to get any significant market share. No chance. It’s a $500 subsidized item. They may make a lot of money. But if you actually take a look at the 1.3 billion phones that get sold, I’d prefer to have our software in 60% or 70% or 80% of them, than I would to have 2% or 3%, which is what Apple might get.9 Six years after Ballmer’s prediction, only 3 percent of new mobile phones used Microsoft’s operating system while Apple’s iOS had close to 50 percent of the market.


pages: 56 words: 16,788

The New Kingmakers by Stephen O'Grady

AltaVista, Amazon Web Services, barriers to entry, cloud computing, correlation does not imply causation, crowdsourcing, David Heinemeier Hansson, DevOps, Jeff Bezos, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Netflix Prize, Paul Graham, Ruby on Rails, Silicon Valley, Skype, software as a service, software is eating the world, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Tim Cook: Apple, Y Combinator

Microsoft In a May 2001 address at the Stern School of Business entitled “The Commercial Software Model,” Microsoft Senior Vice President Craig Mundie said that the Gnu Public License (GPL)—the license that governs the Linux kernel, among other projects—posed “a threat to the intellectual property of any organization making use of it.” A month later, in an interview with the Chicago Sun-Times, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer characterized Linux as a “cancer that attaches itself in an intellectual property sense to everything it touches.” Six years later, Ballmer and Microsoft were on the offensive, alleging in an interview with Fortune that the Linux kernel violates 42 Microsoft patents. In 2009, Microsoft, calling it “the community’s preferred license,” released 20,000 lines of code under the GPL, intended for inclusion into the Linux kernel.

On the cloud, developers can employ Microsoft’s .NET stack or erstwhile competitors like Java, JavaScript, or PHP, and build software in the open source Eclipse development environment. And since 2008, Microsoft has been a sponsor of the Apache Software Foundation, an open source governance non-profit. In other words, the once-dominant Microsoft is adjusting to the shifting landscape; one in which the developers, not the vendors, are in charge. Steve Ballmer, famous for jumping up and down on a stage screaming, “DEVELOPERS! DEVELOPERS! DEVELOPERS!” finally seems to be putting them front and center with the company’s strategy. Netflix In an interview with Fortune in 2007, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings summed up his company’s future simply, saying “We named the company Netflix for a reason; we didn’t name it DVDs-by-mail. The opportunity for Netflix online arrives when we can deliver content to the TV without any intermediary device.”


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

They would have been even more perturbed to hear Eric Schmidt say that YouTube’s real challenge was to figure out how to sell advertising. “If that works,” he told me, “it will seem like the birth of the CBS network in 1927.” Because YouTube was making no money, there was a fair amount of sneering from media executives. Like Napster, they said YouTube would be hobbled by copyright lawsuits and would be unable to monetize its enormous traffic. “Right now,” Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer declared, “there’s no business model for YouTube that would justify $1.6 billion. And what about the rights holders? At the end of the day, a lot of the content that’s up there is owned by somebody else.” That “somebody else,” the broadcast and cable networks believed, was them. YouTube, they asserted, built its success on their backs; thirteen of the twenty most popular videos on the site, the Wall Street Journal reported in early 2007, were professionally made, not user generated.

Moore’s law was a statement saying, ‘We’re going to double the performance [of integrated circuits or computer chips] every eighteen months, and let’s get organized to do it.’ They spent billions of dollars doing that. If you didn’t have Moore’s law, you wouldn’t have that advancement. It’s actually causal in another way.” The management pressure to double performance helps assure it. IN SPITE OF GOOGLE’S RAPID GROWTH, or because of it, by 2007 the company had become a target for lawsuits and sneers. Leading the chorus was Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. In 2007, he had labeled Google “a one-trick pony,” and had derided the company at nearly every public opportunity since, telling reporters, “they have one product that makes all their money, and it hasn’t changed in five years.... Search makes ninety-eight percent of all their money.” Irwin Gotlieb, who is not in Ballmer’s adversarial camp, nevertheless shared the view that Google’s attempt to broaden its reach had been a failure.

Google’s revenues had surged 42 percent compared to the first quarter of 2007; its profits had jumped 30 percent, and as Varian had suggested, its ad clicks had risen 20 percent. “Google Inc’s Go-Go Era Apparently Isn’t Over,” said a report in the Wall Street Journal. The Times headline was: “Google Defies the Economy and Reports a Profit Surge.” As the report showed, Google hogged three quarters of all U.S. search advertising dollars, compared to only 5 percent for Steve Ballmer’s Microsoft. Yet Ballmer had a point. Google had not figured out how to make money on its surfeit of products. YouTube accounted for one of every three videos viewed online, three billion of the nine billion viewed in January 2008. The impact of this new medium would forever change the way politics are conducted. Seven of the sixteen candidates who ran for president in 2008 announced their candidacies on YouTube, and more people saw a taped version of the July 2007 Democratic presidential debate there than live on CNN.


pages: 211 words: 67,975

The Victory Machine: The Making and Unmaking of the Warriors Dynasty by Ethan Sherwood Strauss

Broken windows theory, collective bargaining, Donald Trump, hive mind, If something cannot go on forever, it will stop - Herbert Stein's Law, side project, Silicon Valley, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs

They were also the rumored free agency destination of Kawhi Leonard, a rumor that had the virtue of actually coming true. The Clippers were an ambitious operation, run by big-spirited macher Steve Ballmer. The former Microsoft CEO is a broad-shouldered six foot five, with a friar’s balding pattern and large hands. He doesn’t walk about the premises so much as he struts, his head jutted forward at all times. As his leaning dome bobs his large nose forward, he looks a little like if you stuffed a giant bald eagle into a collared shirt. This is an excellent look for a CEO, if slightly terrifying. A sizeable, aggressive balding man is the Fortune 500 prototype. Steve Ballmer’s vigor is well chronicled. There’s a YouTube clip titled “Steve Ballmer Going Crazy on Stage,” wherein the billionaire jumps around, yelping to the point of accreting massive pit stains. He takes to the mic and yells, “Who said sit down!?”


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

IBM corporate history, “The Birth of the IBM PC,” http://www-03.ibm.com/ibm/history/exhibits/pc25/pc25_birth.html. 90. Manes and Andrews, Gates, 3629. 91. Manes and Andrews, Gates, 3642; Steve Ballmer interview, “Triumph of the Nerds,” part II, PBS, June 1996. See also James Chposky and Ted Leonsis, Blue Magic (Facts on File, 1988), chapter 9. 92. Bill Gates and Paul Allen interview, by Brent Schlender, Fortune, Oct. 2, 1995. 93. Steve Ballmer interview, “Triumph of the Nerds,” part II, PBS, June 1996. 94. Jack Sams interview, “Triumph of the Nerds,” part II, PBS, June 1996. See also Steve Hamm and Jay Greene, “The Man Who Could Have Been Bill Gates,” Business Week, Oct. 24, 2004. 95. Tim Paterson and Paul Allen interviews, “Triumph of the Nerds,” part II, PBS, June 1996. 96. Steve Ballmer and Paul Allen interviews, “Triumph of the Nerds,” part II, PBS, June 1996; Manes and Andrews, Gates, 3798. 97.

At one point he gave his checkbook to Allen in order to prevent himself from squandering more money, but he soon demanded it back. “He was getting some costly lessons in bluffing,” said Allen. “He’d win three hundred dollars one night and lose six hundred the next. As Bill dropped thousands that fall, he kept telling me, ‘I’m getting better.’ ”53 In a graduate-level economics class, he met a student who lived down the hall of his dorm. Steve Ballmer was very different from Gates on the surface. Big, boisterous, and gregarious, he was the type of campus activity junkie who liked to join or lead multiple organizations. He was in the Hasty Pudding Club, which wrote and produced musical theater shows, and served with a cheerleader’s enthusiasm as manager of the football team. He was both the publisher of the Advocate, the campus literary magazine, and the advertising manager of the Crimson, the newspaper.

Given the one-year deadline, Sams knew that he would have to license software from outside vendors rather than have it written in-house. So on July 21, 1980, he placed a call to Bill Gates and asked to see him right away. When Gates invited him to fly to Seattle the following week, Sams replied that he was already heading for the airport and wanted to see Gates the next day. Sensing a big fish hungry to be hooked, Gates was thrilled. A few weeks earlier, Gates had recruited his Harvard dorm mate Steve Ballmer to Microsoft as the business manager, and he asked Ballmer to join him at the IBM meeting. “You’re the only other guy here who can wear a suit,” Gates pointed out.91 When Sams arrived, Gates was also wearing a suit, but he did not quite fill it. “This young fellow came out to take us back, and I thought he was the office boy,” recalled Sams, who was dressed in the IBM standard blue suit and white shirt.


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Tools and Weapons: The Promise and the Peril of the Digital Age by Brad Smith, Carol Ann Browne

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, AI winter, airport security, Albert Einstein, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, Boeing 737 MAX, business process, call centre, Celtic Tiger, chief data officer, cloud computing, computer vision, corporate social responsibility, Donald Trump, Edward Snowden, en.wikipedia.org, immigration reform, income inequality, Internet of things, invention of movable type, invention of the telephone, Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg, minimum viable product, national security letter, natural language processing, Network effects, new economy, pattern recognition, precision agriculture, race to the bottom, ransomware, Ronald Reagan, Rubik’s Cube, school vouchers, self-driving car, Shoshana Zuboff, Silicon Valley, Skype, speech recognition, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, Tim Cook: Apple, WikiLeaks, women in the workforce

Some of our engineering leaders were less than enthusiastic. Their concerns were understandable. Software development inherently involves choices between features, given the finite availability of engineering resources that can be applied on a feasible timeline. This encryption work required them to delay the development of other product features that customers were asking us to add. After some animated discussion, CEO Steve Ballmer and our senior leadership team made the decision to press forward quickly on the encryption front. Every other tech company did the same thing. That November, as these events were unfolding, President Barack Obama visited Seattle. He was attending a political fund-raiser, and the White House had invited a small group of area leaders and supporters to have a cocktail in a private suite at the Westin Seattle hotel after the formal event.

One of our own turning points came in early January 2003, just as everyone returned from the holidays. Our litigation team had hammered out an agreement in principle to settle what we knew would be the single biggest class-action lawsuit to result from our antitrust loss before the federal court of appeals in Washington, DC. It covered all the consumers in California. The price tag was a whopping $1.1 billion. It would be the largest litigation settlement in Microsoft’s history. I sent Steve Ballmer, then Microsoft’s CEO, an email to let him know that I wanted to move forward, and I held my breath waiting for his reaction. Steve walked down the hall and into my office on that same morning to talk about the proposed settlement. He understood, as almost all business executives do, that the lawyers who bring class action lawsuits always ensure that they do well for themselves as part of these settlements.

Jim Garland and his team at Covington & Burling then added a careful legal review of certain sensitive issues, as did Nate Jones, from his new consulting firm. A special thanks goes to Microsoft graphic designers Mary Feil-Jacobs and Zach LaMance, for moonlighting on the book’s cover art. We’re also indebted enormously to the many colleagues, peers, and friends inside and outside Microsoft who played vital roles in the events that are captured in the book. This starts with the extraordinary trio of Bill Gates, Steve Ballmer, and Satya Nadella, the three individuals who have served as CEO of a company that has had a truly remarkable history. Very few people have had the opportunity to work closely with all three. Each is different from the other, but they share the broad curiosity and passionate pursuit of excellence that it takes to truly make a difference in the world. And that’s just for starters. Especially important as well are the members of Microsoft’s Senior Leadership Team and Board of Directors, and the members of the Senior Leadership Team of the company’s Department of Corporate, External, and Legal Affairs.


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

To fight back and defend its turf, Microsoft was now going head to head with Google across the board in online advertising. As part of this effort, it was investing billions of dollars to improve its own online search software. Separately, it had in May made its biggest purchase ever—paying $6 billion for aQuantive, which distributed advertising across the Internet. Now that it owned this distribution engine, it badly needed additional inventory to sell through it. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer was fed up with losing deals to Google. He had recently lost both of the industry’s two biggest partnership opportunities after coming exquisitely close to agreement. Each time, Google swooped in at the last minute and stole the deal away. Ballmer had flown to New York in December 2005 to negotiate a major ad partnership with Time Warner’s AOL. He left town thinking he had a deal. Google unleashed its ad team headed by Tim Armstrong and came in with a better offer in days and sealed a contract with a $1 billion investment in AOL that valued it at $20 billion.

They noticed he kept pushing for very specific concessions on things like the size and shape of display ads—the kind of thing usually left to underlings to iron out. It seemed to them he might be seeking specific promises from Google in order to strong-arm Microsoft to concede the same points. For all the talk, the Google team knew that Microsoft’s prior relationship with Facebook gave it a big advantage. The chances of pulling Facebook away remained small. Microsoft had been carefully cultivating Zuckerberg. CEO Steve Ballmer had flown to Palo Alto to visit his young counterpart twice. Ray Ozzie, Microsoft’s Chief Software Architect, had also repeatedly visited Palo Alto. As Zuckerberg is wont to do, he took them on long walks. He told Ballmer that Facebook was raising money at a $15 billion valuation. But Ballmer had come with something very specific in mind. “Why don’t we just buy you for $15 billion?” he replied, according to a very knowledgeable source.

The Wall Street Journal called Facebook “the newest Internet darling” and said the deal was “reminiscent of the Internet bubble that ended in 2000.” The Los Angeles Times called the $15 billion figure “staggering.” “It tips the scales in terms of totally ridiculous valuations,” wrote the influential TechDirt blog. This was by far the highest valuation ever given to a private technology company, and one with no profits to boot! Either Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer was insane, or Facebook mattered more than anyone had realized. But if the f8 platform event five months earlier had firmly put Facebook once and for all onto the technology industry map, this investment did the same thing for Facebook on Wall Street. Microsoft’s stock jumped markedly. The ad deal that precipitated the investment was barely noticed in the hubbub over the valuation. Facebook’s timing on the deal could not have been better.


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

Bill Gates had the same approach to vacations as Fred Terman: the only break he took from Microsoft’s total immersion was one week per year at an intensely competitive tennis camp.2 Gates was still owl-eyed and skinny, but his self-assurance had grown along with his sales numbers. He wasn’t surprised that IBM was coming to call—his software was becoming the global standard, after all—but he was excited about the possibilities of scale that a partnership with Big Blue might bring. Only a few weeks earlier, he’d persuaded a friend of his from Harvard, an exuberant Detroiter named Steve Ballmer, to drop out of Stanford’s MBA program and take on some of the operational duties of his growing company. Microsoft was a land of sweatshirts and rumpled khakis; Ballmer was, as Gates put it, “a good suit-type guy.” Gates asked his more presentable colleague to join him at the table for the IBM pitch.3 Ballmer may have had the suit, but Gates ruled the room. The twenty-four-year-old reveled in the technical details, and IBM didn’t awe him.

Microsoft didn’t have its own Washington lobbying office until 1995, when the original antitrust investigation left it operating under a consent decree.3 Anyway, Bill Gates was too busy sparring with Silicon Valley to pay much attention to D.C. Despite the lovable-geek image so carefully cultivated by his PR team, Bill Gates remained the most competitive person on the planet when it came to matters involving his company. Steve Ballmer came in at number two. “At Microsoft,” marketing chief Jean Richardson remembered, “the whole idea was that we would put people under.” Their scorched-earth dominance of the software market had left competitors whimpering and dissuaded new entrants, contributing to Silicon Valley’s wholehearted embrace of the Internet in the first place. “My firm’s policy is never to back a venture that competes directly with Microsoft,” John Doerr quipped.

It was going to be one where the software was free, and where advertising brought in the revenue. Where the word processing programs and spreadsheets and everything else lived in the cloud, downloadable at a click of a button. Where desktop PCs and closet-sized server rooms gave way to enormous, energy-gobbling server farms processing terabyte upon terabyte of data. Where new companies using these models would disrupt the software money machine that Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer had presided over for two decades, derailing its business far more than any antitrust action ever could. THE GATES COMPUTER SCIENCE BUILDING Forty years since his fateful tour of duty at Shockley Semiconductor, Jim Gibbons was taking his victory lap. He’d remained at Stanford his entire career, rising through the faculty ranks to become Dean of Engineering. Taking on the job as the tsunami of PC-era wealth washed over the Valley, Gibbons became a champion rainmaker, raising money for his school from every generation of engineering alumni from Hewlett and Packard on down, and persuading a number of people who’d never darkened the door of a Stanford classroom to give money as well.


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

IT’S THE PEOPLE In August 2008, the website Gawker published an article titled “The 10 Most Terrible Tyrants of Tech.”6 “Here’s to the screaming ones,” the article started, in a parody of the 1997 Richard Dreyfuss–narrated “Think Different” Apple TV ad. “The chair-throwers. The death-threat makers. The imperious gazers. The ones who see things differently—and will stare you down until you do, too. They’re not fond of rules, especially those outlined by the human resources department on ‘treating your employees with respect.’” The article went on to list the most notorious of the tech industry’s villains: Steve Jobs, Steve Ballmer, Bill Gates, Marc Benioff, and there, second to last, the only Google representative on the list, our own Jonathan Rosenberg. Jonathan was ebullient. He was on a top-ten list featuring the biggest stars of the industry, a hard-ass hall of fame if there ever was one! A few days later, when he walked into his 1:1 with Bill, a printed copy of the article lay on the conference table. Jonathan grinned.

Probably not. Mike convened the team and laid out these principles. Everyone agreed that they were correct, since they had been foundational for the company for a long time. The decision practically made itself. The meeting concluded in less than an hour, and the deal was off.* Mike applied the same approach when he was negotiating the sale of Tellme to Microsoft in 2007. He was working directly with Steve Ballmer, the CEO of Microsoft at the time, and at one point the deal was on the verge of collapse because another company came in with an unsolicited offer that was higher than Microsoft’s. Mike talked to Bill, thought through the company’s first principles again, and realized that Microsoft was the best home for Tellme. He wanted to sell the company to Microsoft. He flew to Redmond, Washington, and walked into Ballmer’s office.


Fortunes of Change: The Rise of the Liberal Rich and the Remaking of America by David Callahan

affirmative action, Albert Einstein, American Legislative Exchange Council, automated trading system, Bernie Sanders, Bonfire of the Vanities, carbon footprint, carried interest, clean water, corporate social responsibility, David Brooks, demographic transition, desegregation, don't be evil, Donald Trump, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Edward Thorp, financial deregulation, financial independence, global village, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, high net worth, income inequality, Irwin Jacobs: Qualcomm, Jeff Bezos, John Markoff, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, market fundamentalism, medical malpractice, mega-rich, Mitch Kapor, Naomi Klein, NetJets, new economy, offshore financial centre, Peter Thiel, plutocrats, Plutocrats, profit maximization, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, Ralph Nader, Renaissance Technologies, Richard Florida, Robert Bork, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, school vouchers, short selling, Silicon Valley, Social Responsibility of Business Is to Increase Its Profits, stem cell, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, unpaid internship, Upton Sinclair, Vanguard fund, War on Poverty, working poor, World Values Survey

The William Flora Hewlett Foundation is now among the top c08.indd 193 5/11/10 6:24:56 AM 194 fortunes of change five foundations in the United States and supports a wide array of progressive organizations. Steve Jobs isn’t alone in his lack of philanthropy. Amazon’s Jeff Bezos hasn’t gotten around to giving away large chunks of his wealth, either. Nor has Larry Ellison of Oracle, the third-richest man in the United States, or Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer, who was worth $14.5 billion in 2010. Inevitably, though, these and other giant tech fortunes will one day be harnessed to some kind of public purpose, as they are too big to be disposed of privately. Only then will we have a full picture of how the technology sector’s vast new wealth is likely to affect the United States and the world. c08.indd 194 5/11/10 6:24:57 AM 9 Patrician Politicians hilanthropy and political giving are the most typical ways for the wealthy to influence how the country is run.

Zuckerberg’s fortune is just one of many that will be harnessed for public purposes in future years. Although the United States seems at the end of its second Gilded Age, we are still at the beginning of a golden era of philanthropy that taps the wealth created during this period. Some of today’s largest new fortunes have barely been touched for charitable or political causes—like the money of the Google Guys ($17.5 billion each in 2010), or the great wealth of people such as Steve Ballmer ($14.5 billion), Jeff Bezos ($12.3 billion), Abigail Johnson ($11.5 billion), James Simons ($8.5 billion), Steven Cohen ($6.4 billion), and on and on. By the time many of these people do get around to large-scale charity, their fortunes will likely be even bigger than they are today. Together, the Forbes 400 had a net worth of $1.5 trillion in 2008, a number that fell sharply after the crash but is now rebounding and will continue to go up as time goes on.

Obama is no FDR, but he has pushed reform in ways that have shocked some of his well-heeled big bundlers. A hedge fund manager who was a major Obama fund-raiser, speaking anonymously to a reporter, said, “I’m appalled at the anti–Wall Street rhetoric. It was okay on the campaign, but now it’s the real world. I’m surprised that Obama is turning out to be so left-wing. He’s a real class warrior.”2 Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer, who along with his wife contributed $100,000 to Obama’s inauguration committee, was openly critical of Obama’s offshore crackdown, a proposal that also reportedly angered Google’s high command and other Democratic donors in the tech world. This discontent cannot be ignored by the White House. If Obama faces a tough reelection bid, he will need the same crew of donors from corporations and finance to prevail, and they might not be there for him if he moves too far left.


pages: 236 words: 66,081

Cognitive Surplus: Creativity and Generosity in a Connected Age by Clay Shirky

Andrew Keen, Brewster Kahle, Burning Man, citizen journalism, corporate social responsibility, Dean Kamen, experimental economics, experimental subject, fundamental attribution error, invention of movable type, invention of the telegraph, Kevin Kelly, means of production, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Nelson Mandela, New Urbanism, Nicholas Carr, social software, Steve Ballmer, The Nature of the Firm, the scientific method, ultimatum game

The dramatically reduced cost of public address, and the dramatically increased size of the population wired together, means that we can now turn massive aggregations of small contributions into things of lasting value. This fact, key to our current era, has been a persistent surprise. At every turn, skeptical observers have attacked the idea that pooling our cognitive surplus could work to create anything worthwhile, or suggested that if it does work, it is a kind of cheating, because sharing at a scale that competes with older institutions is somehow wrong. Steve Ballmer of Microsoft denounced the shared production of software as communism. Robert McHenry, a former editor in chief of Encyclopedia Britannica, likened Wikipedia to a public rest room. Andrew Keen, author of The Cult of the Amateur, compared bloggers to monkeys. These complaints, self-interested though they were, echoed more broadly held beliefs. Shared, unmanaged effort might be fine for picnics and bowling leagues, but serious work is done for money, by people who work in proper organizations, with managers directing their work.

storyCode=401139&sectioncode=26 (accessed January 9, 2010). 151 an essay called “The Zagat Effect”: Steven Shaw’s “The Zagat Effect” appeared in Commentary Magazine (November 2000): 47-50. 154 Chris Anderson, author of Free: Chris Anderson, Free: The Future of a Radical Price (New York: Hyperion, 2009): 194-95. 156 The largest studies on PLS or PMA: “Charting the Course of PLS and PMA,” The PatientsLikeMe Blog, August 11, 2009, http://blog.patientslikeme.com/2009/08/11/charting-the-course-of-pls-and-pma (accessed January 9, 2010). 157 he got his neurologist to alter his 10mg dose of baclofen: Thomas Goetz tells the baclofen story in “Practicing Patients,” about the rising involvement of patients in all aspects of their diagnosis and care. The New York Times Magazine, March 23, 2008, http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/23/magazine/23patients-t.html (accessed January 9, 2010). 158 it also has an “openness philosophy”: “The Value of Openness,” The PatientsLikeMe Blog, December 13, 2007, http://blog.patientslikeme.com/2007/12/13/the-value-of-openness (accessed January 9, 2010). CHAPTER 6: Personal, Communal, Public, Civic 161 Steve Ballmer of Microsoft denounced the shared production of software: Lea Graham, “MS Ballmer: Linux Is Communism,” The Register, July 31, 2000, http://www.theregister.co.uk/2000/07/31/ms_ballmer_linux_is_communism/ (accessed January 10, 2010). 162 Robert McHenry, “The Faith-Based Encyclopedia,” Technology Commerce Society Daily, November 15, 2004, http://www.tcsdaily.com/article.aspx?id=111504A (accessed January 10, 2010). 162 compared bloggors to monkeys: Andrew Keen, The Cult of the Amatuer: How Blogs, MySpace, YouTube, and the Rest of Today’s User-Generated Media Are Destroying Our Economy, Our Culture, and Our Values (New York: Broadway Business, 2007): 2. 163 a slim volume called Experiences in Groups: W.


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The Self-Made Billionaire Effect: How Extreme Producers Create Massive Value by John Sviokla, Mitch Cohen

business cycle, Cass Sunstein, Colonization of Mars, corporate raider, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, Elon Musk, Frederick Winslow Taylor, game design, global supply chain, James Dyson, Jeff Bezos, John Harrison: Longitude, Jony Ive, loss aversion, Mark Zuckerberg, market design, old-boy network, paper trading, RAND corporation, randomized controlled trial, Richard Thaler, risk tolerance, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, smart meter, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Tony Hsieh, Toyota Production System, young professional

While these partnerships are necessary, the exact makeup of the Producer-Performer pair may change depending on the skills needed to take advantage of an opportunity. As Mark Cuban attests, the complement he needed for MicroSolutions was Martin Woodall, but the Broadcast.com dream team included Todd Wagner. Bill Gates started out with Paul Allen, but he also had a long-term Producer-Performer partnership with Steve Ballmer, during which Microsoft created most of its value. Jobs and Wozniak created the iconic computer maker, but Jobs and Jony Ive, Apple’s chief designer, were the team behind the beauty and sensibility of the iMac, the iPod, the iPhone, and the iPad. John Paul DeJoria and Paul Mitchell founded John Paul Mitchell Systems, but years later DeJoria started another venture with his friend Martin Crowley, a talented architect who went bankrupt trying to make a business designing buildings.8 DeJoria pointed him in a different direction and set him up as an architecture buyer supplying materials from Mexico for high-end renovations.

At the time, the Carnival Cruise Lines was a three-ship company, but Arison had a vision of turning cruising into a mainstream vacation option. He purchased smaller companies and invested in more boats. The Carnival parent today owns nearly a dozen cruise lines, including Cunard, Holland America Line, and Princess Cruises. Arison is also the owner of the Miami Heat basketball team. Steven Ballmer b. 1956, United States Microsoft In 1980, two years after graduating from Harvard, Steve Ballmer was invited by fellow student Bill Gates to join a fledgling Microsoft as its manager of operations. Within a year, Microsoft signed its breakthrough deal with IBM to design an operating system for the company’s new product, the personal computer. Ballmer became the marketing and sales guru, and was key to realizing Gates’s vision. As second in command, he accumulated significant equity in the company that made him a billionaire.


pages: 265 words: 70,788

The Wide Lens: What Successful Innovators See That Others Miss by Ron Adner

barriers to entry, call centre, Clayton Christensen, inventory management, iterative process, Jeff Bezos, Lean Startup, M-Pesa, minimum viable product, mobile money, new economy, RAND corporation, RFID, smart grid, smart meter, spectrum auction, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, supply-chain management, Tim Cook: Apple, transaction costs

Moreover, Apple warned that attempts to unlock the phone from the AT&T network would “cause irreparable damage to the iPhone’s software, which will likely result in the modified iPhone becoming permanently inoperable when a future Apple-supplied iPhone software update is installed.” Apple threatened to turn your $499 iPhone into a $499 iBrick! And it did! Asked to react to the announcement of the iPhone, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer literally laughed out loud, “Five hundred dollars fully subsidized with a plan! I said that’s the most expensive phone in the world, and it doesn’t appeal to business customers because it doesn’t have a keyboard, which makes it not a very good e-mail machine. . . . We have great Windows Mobile devices on the market today. . . . I look at that [the iPhone] and I say I like our strategy. I like it a lot.”

CNET.com, July 12, 2002, http://news.cnet.com/2100-1040-943519.xhtml. 210 iPod, boasting 100 million customers: Steven Levy, “Why We Went Nuts About the iPhone,” Newsweek, July 16, 2007. 210 Apple’s stock shot up 44 percent: Matt Krantz, “iPhone Powers up Apple’s Shares,” USA Today, June 28, 2007. 211 “four times the number of PCs that ship every year”: Morris, “Steve Jobs Speaks Out.” 211 Ericsson released the R380: Dave Conabree, “Ericsson Introduces the New R380e,” Mobile Magazine, September 25, 2001. 211 Palm followed up with its version: Sascha Segan, “Kyocera Launches First Smartphone in Years,” PC Magazine, March 23, 2010, http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2361664,00.asp#fbid=C81SVwKJIvh. 211 “one more entrant into an already very busy space”: “RIM Co-CEO Doesn’t See Threat from Apple’s iPhone,” InformationWeek, February 12, 2007. 212 the phone was exclusively available from only one carrier: In a handful of markets regulators ruled the exclusivity arrangement illegal. 212 “The bigger problem is the AT&T network”: David Pogue, “The iPhone Matches Most of Its Hype,” New York Times, June 27, 2007. 212 priced at a mere $99 in 2007: Kim Hart, “Rivals Ready for iPhone’s Entrance; Pricey Gadget May Alter Wireless Field,” Washington Post, June 24, 2007. 212 “cause irreparable damage to the iPhone’s software”: Apple, press release, September 24, 2007. 213 “I say I like our strategy”: Steve Ballmer interviewed on CNBC, January 17, 2007. 213 They ran out of the older model six weeks before the July 2008 launch: Tom Krazit, “The iPhone, One Year Later,” CNET.com, June 26, 2008, http://news.cnet.com/8301-13579_3-9977572-37.xhtml. 213 60 percent went to buyers who already owned at least one iPod: Apple COO Tim Cook’s comments at Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet Conference, cited in JPMorgan analyst report, “Strolling Through the Apple Orchard: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly Scenarios,” March 4, 2008. 215 the average iPhone user paid AT&T $2,000: Jenna Wortham, “Customers Angered as iPhones Overload AT&T,” New York Times, September 2, 2009. 215 as high as $18 per user per month: Tom Krazit, “Piper Jaffray: AT&T Paying Apple $18 per iPhone, Per Month,” CNET.com, October 24, 2007, http://news.cnet.com/8301-13579_3-9803657-37.xhtml. 216 Apple announced its 10 billionth app download: Apple.com, “iTunes Store Tops 10 Billion Songs Sold,” February 25, 2010, http://www.apple.com/pr/library/2010/02/25iTunes-Store-Tops-10-Billion-Songs-Sold.xhtml.


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Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell

affirmative action, Bill Gates: Altair 8800, computer age, corporate raider, crew resource management, medical residency, old-boy network, Pearl River Delta, popular electronics, Silicon Valley, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, union organizing, upwardly mobile, why are manhole covers round?

He also hung out in the computer room with Gates and shared those long evenings at ISI and C-Cubed. Allen went on to found Microsoft with Bill Gates. When was Paul Allen born? Paul Allen: January 21, 1953 The third-richest man at Microsoft is the one who has been running the company on a day-to-day basis since 2000, one of the most respected executives in the software world, Steve Ballmer. Ballmer's birth date? Steve Ballmer: March 24,1956 Let's not forget a man every bit as famous as Gates: Steve Jobs, the cofounder of Apple Computer. Unlike Gates, Jobs wasn't from a rich family and he didn't go to Michigan, like Joy. But it doesn't take much investigation of his upbringing to realize that he had his Hamburg too. He grew up in Mountain View, California, just south of San Francisco, which is the absolute epicenter of Silicon Valley.


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

“It’s a company without revenue but asking for a billion dollars,” he said to Lee. “Those two kids are crazy!” After it became clear that Google was not just an innovator but a financial powerhouse with resources to take on Microsoft, the rivalry took on a bloodlust. Just how intensely Microsoft’s CEO, Steve Ballmer, despised his competitor to the south became clear in depositions that would be filed in the Lee lawsuit. The year before, in November 2004, a top Microsoft executive named Mark Lucovsky had gone to Steve Ballmer with the unwelcome news that he was leaving Microsoft. “Just tell me it’s not Google,” said Ballmer, according to Lucovsky’s sworn testimony. Lucovsky confirmed that it was indeed Google. Lucovsky testified that Ballmer went ballistic: “Fucking Eric Schmidt is a fucking pussy! I’m going to fucking bury that guy!

“We use a fair amount of energy,” says Bill Weihl, a computer science PhD who came to Google in 2005 to become its conservation czar. “Some people say ‘massive amounts.’ I try to avoid ‘massive.’ But it’s a lot.” He would not put a number on it. “The fact that we’re not transparent about it causes us embarrassment,” he says, explaining that “competitive reasons” justify the reticence. By not knowing what Google is spending, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, for instance, will have no target to aim at when apportioning his own cost estimates for infrastructure. “If I’m Ballmer, I’m probably going to pick a number that’s too high, in which case it bankrupts Microsoft—and that’s good for Google,” says Weihl. “Or he’ll pick a number that’s too low, in which case it can’t really compete. And that’s good for Google.” One of the most power-intensive components of the operation is the huge chillers that refrigerate water to keep the temperature in the building no higher than around 80 degrees F.

After many years of relatively poor efforts, Microsoft was now committed to spending hundreds of millions of dollars to build a competitive engine. To head the team, it hired the scientist Qi Lu, a forty-eight-year-old whose tireless work habits were legendary. Those regarding this as a coup included Google’s search czar, Udi Manber: “I have the highest regard for him,” he said. Microsoft called its new search engine Bing, and it was launched in June 2009 by CEO Steve Ballmer with great fanfare. In terms of search quality, Bing did not intimidate Google. Its relevance algorithms were basically no different from those in the previous version of Microsoft’s search, much less likely to draw out the Audrey Fino–like needles in the Internet haystack. Eventually that could change, as Microsoft would supply Bing to Yahoo for the latter company’s search engine. That would provide Microsoft with a critical mass of users to run the thousands of constant experiments necessary to improve search quality.


pages: 300 words: 76,638

The War on Normal People: The Truth About America's Disappearing Jobs and Why Universal Basic Income Is Our Future by Andrew Yang

3D printing, Airbnb, assortative mating, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, basic income, Ben Horowitz, Bernie Sanders, call centre, corporate governance, cryptocurrency, David Brooks, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, falling living standards, financial deregulation, full employment, future of work, global reserve currency, income inequality, Internet of things, invisible hand, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Khan Academy, labor-force participation, longitudinal study, low skilled workers, Lyft, manufacturing employment, Mark Zuckerberg, megacity, Narrative Science, new economy, passive income, performance metric, post-work, quantitative easing, reserve currency, Richard Florida, ride hailing / ride sharing, risk tolerance, Ronald Reagan, Sam Altman, self-driving car, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, single-payer health, Stephen Hawking, Steve Ballmer, supercomputer in your pocket, technoutopianism, telemarketer, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, unemployed young men, universal basic income, urban renewal, white flight, winner-take-all economy, Y Combinator

In addition to GDP and job statistics, the government should adopt measurements such as: • Median income and standard of living • Levels of engagement with work and labor participation rate • Health-adjusted life expectancy • Childhood success rates • Infant mortality • Surveys of national well-being • Average physical fitness and mental health • Quality of infrastructure • Proportion of elderly in quality care • Human capital development and access to education • Marriage rates and success • Deaths of despair/despair index/substance abuse • National optimism/mindset of abundance • Community integrity and social capital • Environmental quality • Global temperature variance and sea levels • Reacclimation of incarcerated individuals and rates of criminality • Artistic and cultural vibrancy • Design and aesthetics • Information integrity/journalism • Dynamism and mobility • Social and economic equity • Public safety • Civic engagement • Cybersecurity • Economic competitiveness and growth • Responsiveness and evolution of government • Efficient use of resources It would be straightforward to establish measurements for each of these and have them updated periodically, similar to what Steve Ballmer set up at USAFacts.org—a treasure trove of social metrics that pulls from many public and private sources. Everyone could then see how we’re doing and be galvanized around improvement. This could be tied in to the Digital Social Credit system, where people who help move society in a particular direction are rewarded. For example, a journalist who uncovered a particular source of waste, an artist who beautified a city, or a hacker who strengthened our power grid could be rewarded with Social Credits.

CHAPTER 19: HUMAN CAPITALISM The concept of GDP and economic progress didn’t even exist until the Great Depression: The Federal Reserve of St. Louis, Discover Economic History, National Income, 1929–32. Letter from the Acting Secretary of Commerce Transmitting in Response to Senate Resolution No. 220 (72D CONG.) A Report on National Income, 1929–32 (Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1934). Steve Ballmer set up a series of measurements and facts at www.USAFacts.org that is a treasure trove of social metrics and pulls from many public and private sources. CHAPTER 20: THE STRONG STATE AND THE NEW CITIZENSHIP When Harry Truman left the office of the presidency in 1953…: Jeff Jacoby, “Harry Truman’s Obsolete Integrity,” New York Times, March 2, 2007. This practice started changing with Gerald Ford joining the boards…: Scott Wilson, “In Demand: Washington’s Highest (and Lowest) Speaking Fees,” ABC News, July 14, 2014.


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Are You Smart Enough to Work at Google?: Trick Questions, Zen-Like Riddles, Insanely Difficult Puzzles, and Other Devious Interviewing Techniques You ... Know to Get a Job Anywhere in the New Economy by William Poundstone

affirmative action, Albert Einstein, big-box store, Buckminster Fuller, car-free, cloud computing, creative destruction, en.wikipedia.org, full text search, hiring and firing, index card, Isaac Newton, Johannes Kepler, John von Neumann, lateral thinking, loss aversion, mental accounting, new economy, Paul Erdős, RAND corporation, random walk, Richard Feynman, rolodex, Rubik’s Cube, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, sorting algorithm, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, The Spirit Level, Tony Hsieh, why are manhole covers round?, William Shockley: the traitorous eight

If you’ll excuse me, Dr. Feynman, I’d like to consult with our human resources department.” The interviewer left the room for ten minutes. When he returned, he announced, “I’m happy to say that we’re recommending you for immediate hiring into our marketing department.” This joke pokes fun at one of the most famous brainteaser questions, long associated with Microsoft and alleged to have been devised by Steve Ballmer himself. It expresses deep ambivalence about this style of interviewing. Feynman (a childhood hero of Sergey Brin’s) shows more creative thinking than does Microsoft’s so-called right answer. A true story: Brin did graduate work in Stanford’s computer science building, named for its donor, William Gates. Each room in the Gates Building had a four-digit number. “We were offended at having four-digit numbers when you don’t have ten thousand rooms,” Brin explained.

“provocative or inappropriate photographs”: CareerBuilder, “Forty-Five Percent of Employers Use Social Networking Sites.” “I always try to get a list of people”: Agrawal interview, June 8, 2010. “It gets harder and harder”: Carlisle interview, April 7, 2010. “Not hiring someone for poor communication skills”: Posted by “libation” on the New York Times site, as comment to Wortham, “More Employers Use Social Networks.” Chapter Five alleged to have been devised by Steve Ballmer: Poundstone, How Would You Move Mount Fuji?, 79–80. Feynman (a childhood hero of Sergey Brin’s): Auletta, Googled, 28. “We were offended at having four-digit numbers”: Auletta, Googled, 32. “A very senior Microsoft developer”: See www.joelonsoftware.com/items/2005/10/17.html. Tyma posed this question to his mother: See Tyma’s blog post at http://paultyma.blogspot.com/2007/03/howto-pass-silicon-valley-software.html.


pages: 305 words: 79,303

The Four: How Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google Divided and Conquered the World by Scott Galloway

activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, additive manufacturing, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, Amazon Web Services, Apple II, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, Ben Horowitz, Bernie Sanders, big-box store, Bob Noyce, Brewster Kahle, business intelligence, California gold rush, cloud computing, commoditize, cuban missile crisis, David Brooks, disintermediation, don't be evil, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, follow your passion, future of journalism, future of work, global supply chain, Google Earth, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, Internet Archive, invisible hand, Jeff Bezos, Jony Ive, Khan Academy, longitudinal study, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Network effects, new economy, obamacare, Oculus Rift, offshore financial centre, passive income, Peter Thiel, profit motive, race to the bottom, RAND corporation, ride hailing / ride sharing, risk tolerance, Robert Mercer, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, self-driving car, sentiment analysis, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Snapchat, software is eating the world, speech recognition, Stephen Hawking, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Stewart Brand, supercomputer in your pocket, Tesla Model S, Tim Cook: Apple, Travis Kalanick, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, undersea cable, Whole Earth Catalog, winner-take-all economy, working poor, young professional

If you are perceived as a good actor, a good citizen, caring about the country, its citizens, your workers, the people in your supply chain that get you the product, you have created a barrier against bad publicity. In the words of Silicon Valley marketer Tom Hayes, who did just that for Applied Materials, “When the news is negative, you want to be perceived as a good company to which a bad thing has happened.” Image matters, a lot. Perception is a company’s reality. That makes the importance of being likeable, even cute, the fourth factor in the T Algorithm. Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer were neither likable nor cute. In fact, the room got brighter whenever they left it. So, when Microsoft achieved a certain level of influence, district attorneys and regulators woke up one morning all over Europe and decided the easiest way to the governor’s mansion, or Parliament, was to go after the Wizards of Redmond. The less likeable a company, the sooner the regulatory intervention—antitrust, antiprivacy—as questions about its supply chain or any manner of rational concerns are irrationally selected and applied.

Yes, Zuckerberg, Gates, and Jobs all dropped out of college. However, you, or your son, are not Mark Zuckerberg. And while none of them graduated, their college experiences were still instrumental in their success. Facebook went viral among college students because it grew out of a real need on campus. Gates spent three years intensely studying math and programming at Harvard before he started Microsoft, and he met Steve Ballmer there, the man to whom he’d turn over the reins of Microsoft a quarter century later. And even Jobs, who passed through Reed College in an adolescent daze, famously had his passion for design sparked there. All the bullshit, cost, and stress parents endure to get, and keep, their kids on the path to a decent four-year school is still, very much, worth it. College grads make ten times more, over their lifetime, than people with just high school degrees.


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

“Paul saw that the technology17 was there,” Gates later recalled. “He kept saying, ‘It’s gonna be too late. We’ll miss it.’” They teamed up to write a version of BASIC (short for Beginner’s All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code), a compact computer language for the MITS machine, and Microsoft was born. When Microsoft had about thirty-five employees, Gates and Allen decided they needed a professional manager. They turned to Steve Ballmer, who had lived down the hall from Gates at Harvard. Unlike Gates, Ballmer, the son of Swiss immigrants, hung around Cambridge long enough to get his Harvard degree in math and economics. Brainy Ballmer then headed to Stanford for a master’s, but quit to take the Microsoft job as head of marketing, user education, and systems testing. * * * The Forbes 400 melting pot The 97 immigrants who have appeared on the Forbes list over the last 25 years came from 34 different countries.

Few companies want to engage in a lengthy court battle with the government, but Ellison did and prevailed. He then sued PeopleSoft to eliminate the takeover defense it had put in place to deter Oracle. As Matthew Symonds, a writer at the Economist and author of another Ellison biography put it, “He stalked PeopleSoft a long time until it was weak enough to fall into his hands.” The same winner-take-all philosophy drove Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer, his longtime number two at Microsoft and fellow 400 member. Ballmer had a reputation for being even more competitive than his boss. Once they had defeated such 1980s competitors21 as Apple, Novell, and Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC), they turned their collective attention to the Internet. That meant capturing control of what was then a new technology, the Internet browser used to access the Web.

More than a century after New York newspaper publisher Horace Greeley advised young fortune hunters in a now-famous editorial to “Go West, Young Man,” his maxim has taken on a fresh resonance with the transformation of the West Coast into a new kind of frontier. Now, instead of prospecting for gold or wildcatting for oil, the would-be billionaires moving out West are making their lucre in industries based on ideas. The West Coast not only has Bill Gates and several other Forbes 400 fortunes generated by Microsoft, including Steve Ballmer (2006 net worth: $13.6 billion), Paul Allen (2006 net worth: $16 billion), and Charles Simonyi (2006 net worth: $1 billion); it also has dozens more billionaires than does the East Coast. * * * New York’s down, California’s up In 1982 New York was at the top of the heap, with more 400 members than any other state. California placed third, behind second-place Texas. But starting in 1991 California took the lead, and it widened until recently, when New York, flush with hedge fund and private equity riches, mounted a small comeback.


pages: 317 words: 89,825

No Rules Rules: Netflix and the Culture of Reinvention by Reed Hastings, Erin Meyer

Airbnb, Downton Abbey, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, global village, hiring and firing, job-hopping, late fees, loose coupling, loss aversion, out of africa, performance metric, Saturday Night Live, Silicon Valley, Skype, Stephen Hawking, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, subscription business

This time, not only did I feel more relief and build trust with my staff, but also people began telling me about all sorts of mistakes they made, mistakes they’d been previously sweeping under the rug. That offered them relief, improved our relationships, and gave me more information so I could do a better job managing the business. In 2007, almost a decade later, I joined the Microsoft board. Steve Ballmer, the Microsoft CEO at the time, is this big, boisterous, friendly guy. He would talk very transparently about his mistakes, saying stuff like: “Look here, see how I really screwed this thing up.” This led me to feel connected to him. What an honest thoughtful guy! And I realized: oh, it’s just normal human behavior to feel more trusting of someone who is open about mistakes. Since then, every time I feel I’ve made a mistake, I talk about it fully, publicly, and frequently.

New York: Little Brown, 2008. “Not Seen on SNL: Parody of the Netflix/Qwikster Apology Video.” The Comic’s Comic, October 3, 2011, http://thecomicscomic.com/2011/10/03/not-seen-on-snl-parody-of-the-netflixqwikster-apology-video. Chapter 7: The Keeper Test Eichenwald, Kurt. “Microsoft’s Lost Decade.” Vanity Fair. July 24, 2012. www.vanityfair.com/news/business/2012/08/microsoft-lost-mojo-steve-ballmer. Kantor, Jodi, and David Streitfeld. “Inside Amazon: Wrestling Big Ideas in a Bruising Workplace.” The New York Times, August 15, 2015, www.nytimes.com/2015/08/16/technology/inside-amazon-wrestling-big-ideas-in-a-bruising-workplace.html. Ramachandran, Shalini, and Joe Flint. “At Netflix, Radical Transparency and Blunt Firings Unsettle the Ranks.” The Wall Street Journal, October 25, 2018, www.wsj.com/articles/at-netflix-radical-transparency-and-blunt-firings-unsettle-the-ranks-1540497174.


pages: 94 words: 26,453

The End of Nice: How to Be Human in a World Run by Robots (Kindle Single) by Richard Newton

3D printing, Black Swan, British Empire, Buckminster Fuller, Clayton Christensen, crowdsourcing, deliberate practice, disruptive innovation, fear of failure, Filter Bubble, future of work, Google Glasses, Isaac Newton, James Dyson, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, lateral thinking, Lean Startup, low skilled workers, Mark Zuckerberg, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, Paul Erdős, Paul Graham, recommendation engine, rising living standards, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, skunkworks, social intelligence, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Y Combinator

In a world that is nice and prizes conformity, routine work and standardisation of opinion, the contrast to normal behaviour by those who are unreasonable, is very apparent. In some examples this signals enormous amounts of grit, and there seems to be a correlation between the disagreeableness of some legendary entrepreneurs and their success. Steve Jobs was famous for his prickliness, Bill Gates threw tantrums, Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer threw chairs, Andy Grove of Intel was so fierce that a subordinate fainted during a performance review, and Jeff Bezos is known for going into rages that his Amazon colleagues call “nutters”. According to a biography, Bezos’ notable put-downs include: “I’m sorry, did I forget to take my stupid pills today?”; “If I hear that idea again I’m gonna have to kill myself”; and the straightforward “Why are you wasting my life?”


pages: 268 words: 109,447

The Cultural Logic of Computation by David Golumbia

Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, American ideology, Benoit Mandelbrot, borderless world, business process, cellular automata, citizen journalism, Claude Shannon: information theory, computer age, corporate governance, creative destruction, en.wikipedia.org, finite state, future of work, Google Earth, Howard Zinn, IBM and the Holocaust, iterative process, Jaron Lanier, jimmy wales, John von Neumann, Joseph Schumpeter, late capitalism, means of production, natural language processing, Norbert Wiener, packet switching, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, RFID, Richard Stallman, semantic web, Shoshana Zuboff, Slavoj Žižek, social web, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Ballmer, Stewart Brand, strong AI, supply-chain management, supply-chain management software, Ted Nelson, telemarketer, The Wisdom of Crowds, theory of mind, Turing machine, Turing test, Vannevar Bush, web application

While such idealistic vision might inform some computer industry narratives, Microsoft’s story is explicitly quite different. Despite his reputation as a programmer, according to Bill Gates, “for the first three years, most of the other professionals at Microsoft focused solely on technical work, and [Gates] did most of the sales, finance, and marketing, as well as writing code” (Gates 1995, 41). The other key Microsoft employee, Steve Ballmer, was a math major at Harvard with Gates. Gates reflects that “Steve and I led very different lives, but we were both trying to pare down to the minimum course time needed to get top grades” (40). He tells one instructive story: [Steve] and I would pay very little attention to our classes and then furiously inhale the key books just before an exam. Once we took a tough graduate-level economics course together—Economics 2010.

Though the company itself has gone through waves of more and less “progressive” management policies, over time the ruthless pursuit of monetary goals within the company, in other words for the accumulation of the specifically most useful form of contemporary social power, has emerged as the company’s overriding singular goal. Ballmer, not originally especially interested in computers, quickly becomes the second-most important Microsoft employee, specifically surpassing the extremely talented computer scientists (Bob Wallace, Paul Allen, Nathan Myhrvold, etc.) who might have shared power. Instead, what Gates needed was exactly what he found in his “alter ego,” Steve Ballmer. In no small part that must be due to Ballmer’s ability to think “algorithmically”—to see multiple paths to manipulating the objects in a problem field, regardless of bounds that may have been imposed by external forces, just as he and Gates algorithmically “gamed” the Harvard system. Perhaps even more openly than Gates’s, Ballmer’s personality exemplifies the techno-egotist subject that has its own power as virtually its only focus.


pages: 327 words: 102,322

Losing the Signal: The Spectacular Rise and Fall of BlackBerry by Jacquie McNish, Sean Silcoff

Albert Einstein, Clayton Christensen, corporate governance, diversified portfolio, indoor plumbing, Iridium satellite, patent troll, QWERTY keyboard, rolodex, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, skunkworks, Skype, Stephen Hawking, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, the new new thing

It was light on battery use and e-mails were dispatched so efficiently that an average month of messages consumed less network spectrum than one local telephone call.5 It was one thing to buck an industry fad. The bigger danger was that some global mammoth would simply smash the small Waterloo upstart. The rival Balsillie and Lazaridis worried about most was Microsoft after it signaled an interest in wireless e-mail by joining a short-lived venture with semiconductor maker Qualcomm in the late 1990s. At the same time Microsoft executives, including CEO Steve Ballmer, began asking RIM staff questions at trade shows about how BlackBerry worked. Microsoft’s combative generals would not be thrown off by the playful ruses that kept Yankowski at bay. Nor was Balsillie inclined to mess with them. “I had an expression: Never moon the gorilla,” Balsillie says. “Microsoft was the gorilla. We cut them by far the widest berth of anyone.” Balsillie’s strategy for dealing with Microsoft was to undersell RIM’s potential.

While the board negotiated a contract with Heins, Balsillie and Lazaridis went about their jobs, telling no one, not even their closest colleagues, of the coming changes. They made their last pilgrimage to Las Vegas in early January for the Consumer Electronics Show, the industry’s annual showcase for the latest mass market technology breakthroughs. They met in private with Lenovo’s executive team, led by chairman and CEO Yang Yuanqing, to explore licensing RIM’s phone software to the Chinese handset maker. They sat down with Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer, a longtime BlackBerry admirer. Side by side they glided through the convention, stopping to stare in wonder at Samsung’s arena-sized marketing display for its high-end, Android-powered Galaxy Note smartphone. BlackBerry, Balsillie mused, was still late with its 4G phone and had only a fraction of the marketing muscle needed to compete with the sprawling Korean manufacturer. Glad I’m almost out of here, Balsillie told himself.


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

No one had heard of their college, but while their Stanford classmates found the heavily quantitative material of the first semester’s courses a challenge, the two engineers yawned. Their work experience also stood them in good stead. Kagle took a manufacturing course and impressed the second-year students, including one who would later invite him to join his venture capital firm. Kagle and Wozniak befriended two others who also came from the Motor City area: Steve Ballmer (future president of Microsoft) and Scott McNealy (cofounder and longtime CEO of Sun Microsystems). General Motors had sent Bob Kagle to graduate school, and it was understood that it was to General Motors that he was to return. But as graduation neared and he negotiated the details of where he would be working, he was dismayed that the company was going to send him to lonely exile: the finance group in New York, preparing reports for the board.

But when he told a career manager at a GM plant he was visiting about his frustration that the company would not return him to a factory, he received surprising advice to consider the opportunities offered by other firms: It’s a big world out there—go for it! (Three weeks later this same manager left GM himself.) Feeling as if he had been granted emancipation papers, Kagle joined Boston Consulting Group in 1980 and three years later was recruited by Dave Marquardt to join Technology Venture Investors. He was able to repay his alma mater with a grant of Microsoft stock—Marquardt, thanks to the Stanford business-school connection to Steve Ballmer, had been the sole venture capitalist permitted to invest in Microsoft. Kagle learned the nuts and bolts of venture capital investing at a desk set up in the office of TVI’s avuncular founder, Burt McMurtry. In retrospect the moment of his joining turned out to have been the last of the 1980s go-go days for investments in early-stage companies. By mid-1984, the technology sector was in a major slump, and so too was venture capital.


pages: 165 words: 47,193

The End of Work: Why Your Passion Can Become Your Job by John Tamny

Albert Einstein, Andy Kessler, asset allocation, barriers to entry, basic income, Bernie Sanders, cloud computing, commoditize, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, Downton Abbey, future of work, George Gilder, haute cuisine, income inequality, Jeff Bezos, knowledge economy, Mark Zuckerberg, Peter Thiel, profit motive, Saturday Night Live, Silicon Valley, Stephen Hawking, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, There's no reason for any individual to have a computer in his home - Ken Olsen, trickle-down economics, universal basic income, upwardly mobile, Yogi Berra

To be fair, when NPR reported on the BlackBerry, it was the dominant product. No one was thinking that a computer or Internet company might produce a marketable smartphone. Palm’s CEO observed in 2006, “We’ve learned and struggled for a few years here figuring out how to make a decent phone. PC guys are not going to just figure this out. They’re not going to just walk in.”6 Microsoft’s CEO Steve Ballmer was no more prescient. In January 2007, he asked mockingly about the coming wave of phones, “Five hundred dollars? Fully subsidized? With a plan? I said that’s the most expensive phone in the world and it doesn’t appeal to business customers because it doesn’t have a keyboard, which makes it not a very good e-mail machine.”7 A couple of months later, the computer industry pundit John Dvorak said, “Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone” since there was “no likelihood that Apple can be successful in a business this competitive.”


Design of Business: Why Design Thinking Is the Next Competitive Advantage by Roger L. Martin

asset allocation, Buckminster Fuller, business process, Frank Gehry, global supply chain, high net worth, Innovator's Dilemma, Isaac Newton, mobile money, QWERTY keyboard, Ralph Waldo Emerson, risk tolerance, six sigma, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, supply-chain management, Wall-E, winner-take-all economy

Despite its central importance to P&G, very little of the brand-building heuristic had actually been committed to paper. In part, that is because P&G itself isn’t a marketplace brand the way Tide, Pampers, and Crest are. Those individual brands are managed by the global category teams that have grown up around them. Those teams have become a magnet for marketers who want to hone their brandbuilding expertise to the highest possible pitch. Among the alumni of P&G’s brand-building academy are Steve Ballmer of Microsoft; Meg Whitman, formerly of eBay; Jeff Immelt of GE; James Hackett of Steelcase; and Scott Cook of Intuit. But because little had been done to shift brand building significantly toward an algorithm, a great deal of knowledge about building brands existed only in the oral history of the company and in the heads of its current brand-building experts. The only way to understand what brand building actually entailed at P&G was to hang around the experts, watching and trying to learn from what they did and said.


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

The arrival of computer companies transformed the event, and within a few years it would become the largest digital technology exposition of them all, drawing audiences upwards of 150,000 and all but paralyzing Sin City for a week each January. Apple didn’t attend CES. Steve preferred to announce his products in an environment he controlled. Microsoft didn’t control CES, but it certainly overshadowed everyone else. Chairman Gates, who relinquished his CEO title to Steve Ballmer in 2000, gave the keynote speech eight years running. Gates was a natural choice as the show’s semipermanent celebrity speaker, and he used the dais as a bully pulpit. In 2000, Microsoft really was the computer industry. Some 90 percent of the world’s personal computers ran its Windows operating system. Its software managed not only desktop and laptop PCs but also the servers that stored and organized the data of the world’s biggest corporations, and that undergirded the information technology of most governmental bureaucracies.

He wanted Microsoft software on billions of devices; Steve just wanted anything that would help him sell a few thousand more Macs each month. Gates was the only one who could reasonably think about dominating his awkwardly named but clearly inevitable “consumer-electronics-plus” era. He was powerful, and very, very smart: despite his penchant for dense verbiage, he had done a wonderful job describing the future of computing as we now have it, some fifteen years later. All he and Steve Ballmer had to do was execute the strategy. If they could, they would steer the company through its transition to this future, and in so doing return Microsoft to the kind of growth that investors wanted to see. No one knew it at the time, but Gates’s speech that January morning in Las Vegas marked the apex of Microsoft’s hegemony. On December 31, 1999, the company had been worth $619.3 billion, with a share price of $58.38.


pages: 807 words: 154,435

Radical Uncertainty: Decision-Making for an Unknowable Future by Mervyn King, John Kay

"Robert Solow", Airbus A320, Albert Einstein, Albert Michelson, algorithmic trading, Antoine Gombaud: Chevalier de Méré, Arthur Eddington, autonomous vehicles, availability heuristic, banking crisis, Barry Marshall: ulcers, battle of ideas, Benoit Mandelbrot, bitcoin, Black Swan, Bonfire of the Vanities, Brownian motion, business cycle, business process, capital asset pricing model, central bank independence, collapse of Lehman Brothers, correlation does not imply causation, credit crunch, cryptocurrency, cuban missile crisis, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, demographic transition, discounted cash flows, disruptive innovation, diversification, diversified portfolio, Donald Trump, easy for humans, difficult for computers, Edmond Halley, Edward Lloyd's coffeehouse, Edward Thorp, Elon Musk, Ethereum, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, experimental economics, experimental subject, fear of failure, feminist movement, financial deregulation, George Akerlof, germ theory of disease, Hans Rosling, Ignaz Semmelweis: hand washing, income per capita, incomplete markets, inflation targeting, information asymmetry, invention of the wheel, invisible hand, Jeff Bezos, Johannes Kepler, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Snow's cholera map, John von Neumann, Kenneth Arrow, Long Term Capital Management, loss aversion, Louis Pasteur, mandelbrot fractal, market bubble, market fundamentalism, Moneyball by Michael Lewis explains big data, Nash equilibrium, Nate Silver, new economy, Nick Leeson, Northern Rock, oil shock, Paul Samuelson, peak oil, Peter Thiel, Philip Mirowski, Pierre-Simon Laplace, popular electronics, price mechanism, probability theory / Blaise Pascal / Pierre de Fermat, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, railway mania, RAND corporation, rent-seeking, Richard Feynman, Richard Thaler, risk tolerance, risk-adjusted returns, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Coase, sealed-bid auction, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, Socratic dialogue, South Sea Bubble, spectrum auction, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Tacoma Narrows Bridge, Thales and the olive presses, Thales of Miletus, The Chicago School, the map is not the territory, The Market for Lemons, The Nature of the Firm, The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Bayes, Thomas Davenport, Thomas Malthus, Toyota Production System, transaction costs, ultimatum game, urban planning, value at risk, World Values Survey, Yom Kippur War, zero-sum game

High-end portable devices for business people had been available since the turn of the century; the Palm Pilot was succeeded by the BlackBerry. But Apple aimed its products at consumers and then opened its systems to enable developers to provide ‘apps’. Combine the music player with the increasingly ubiquitous mobile phone, add a screen, and you could devise almost unlimited applications for a gadget that would fit in your pocket. Steve Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft, laughed derisively when the iPhone appeared – who, he asked rhetorically, would pay $500 for a phone? 20 A lot of people would; ten years on, more than 1.5 billion smartphones had been sold. The smartphone changed the nature not just of entertainment, but of business communication. And by the time Jobs died in 2011, Apple had outstripped Microsoft to become the most valuable company in the world.

In developing his concept of conviction narrative theory, Tuckett suggests that a decision-maker must manage the ‘emotions evoked during narrative simulation’ in order to develop sufficient conviction about a proposed decision. 20 Tuckett’s thesis was formulated after listening to participants in financial markets describing at length how they did in practice make the decisions. The Reverend Bayes was rarely discussed. Successful businesses are built around narratives. Bill Gates and Steve Jobs resisted Olsen’s scepticism that anyone would want a computer in their home, and developed a fresh narrative around personal computing; Jobs successfully embraced – and Steve Ballmer, Gates’ successor, rejected – the later narrative which took the computer from the phone to the cloud and the pocket. Sam Walton, who founded the Walmart chain of stores, recalled that ‘I have concentrated all along on building the finest retail company we possibly could. Making a personal fortune was never particularly a goal of mine.’ 21 Bill Allen, a modest man who was dragged to the CEO’s office against his will, understood the inspirational power of narrative. 22 He made Boeing the world leader in civil aviation by choosing to ‘eat, breathe and sleep the world of aeronautics’.


pages: 207 words: 57,959

Little Bets: How Breakthrough Ideas Emerge From Small Discoveries by Peter Sims

Amazon Web Services, Black Swan, Clayton Christensen, complexity theory, David Heinemeier Hansson, deliberate practice, discovery of penicillin, endowment effect, fear of failure, Frank Gehry, Guggenheim Bilbao, Jeff Bezos, knowledge economy, lateral thinking, Lean Startup, longitudinal study, loss aversion, meta analysis, meta-analysis, PageRank, Richard Florida, Richard Thaler, Ruby on Rails, Silicon Valley, statistical model, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, theory of mind, Toyota Production System, urban planning, Wall-E

His darkest days would arrive when Tait was in his thirties, but during his twenties, Microsoft was his home. “I don’t even remember my twenties,” he says. “I was probably working fourteen to sixteen hours a day. And I loved it. I was changing the world.” He would respond to any challenge and became an in-house entrepreneur, with a contagious enthusiasm to ignite others to create new Internet businesses. Steve Ballmer, who would become Microsoft’s CEO, noticed Richard, as did many other Microsoft executives. Richard became a superstar and was selected Microsoft’s Employee of the Year in 1994. However, the pace of technology change caused Richard to start to feel old almost overnight, certainly by 1996. “I went very quickly from being celebrated as employee of the year to being called old school.” Microsoft’s culture can be like that.


pages: 239 words: 56,531

The Secret War Between Downloading and Uploading: Tales of the Computer as Culture Machine by Peter Lunenfeld

Albert Einstein, Andrew Keen, anti-globalists, Apple II, Berlin Wall, British Empire, Brownian motion, Buckminster Fuller, Burning Man, business cycle, butterfly effect, computer age, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, cuban missile crisis, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, don't be evil, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Dynabook, East Village, Edward Lorenz: Chaos theory, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, Frank Gehry, Grace Hopper, gravity well, Guggenheim Bilbao, Honoré de Balzac, Howard Rheingold, invention of movable type, Isaac Newton, Jacquard loom, Jane Jacobs, Jeff Bezos, John Markoff, John von Neumann, Kickstarter, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Mercator projection, Metcalfe’s law, Mother of all demos, mutually assured destruction, Nelson Mandela, Network effects, new economy, Norbert Wiener, PageRank, pattern recognition, peer-to-peer, planetary scale, plutocrats, Plutocrats, post-materialism, Potemkin village, RFID, Richard Feynman, Richard Stallman, Robert Metcalfe, Robert X Cringely, Schrödinger's Cat, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, SETI@home, Silicon Valley, Skype, social software, spaced repetition, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Ted Nelson, the built environment, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, the medium is the message, Thomas L Friedman, Turing machine, Turing test, urban planning, urban renewal, Vannevar Bush, walkable city, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, William Shockley: the traitorous eight

As important as their early success with the Apple II was, however, their greatest impact came seven years later, when they took the inspiration of people like Engelbart and Kay, and created a mass-market personal computer that set a new standard for participation. Before we get to that, we need to return to 1976, and move from Silicon Valley to New Mexico, where Gates and his partners, including former Harvard friends Paul Allen and Steve Ballmer, were writing programs for the Altair computer. That was the year that Gates wrote a famous letter to the hobbyist community complaining about rampant software theft. He claimed that nothing would please him more than establishing a business model for the community that would allow him to hire ten programmers to write software full time for the hobbyist market. Just four years later, Microsoft was profitably writing closedsource code for a variety of platforms, and Gates was approached by IBM, then the biggest computer company in the world, to supply a stable operating system for Big Blue’s new line of personal computers.


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

Their very power and presence have begun to transform them from potentially strategic resources into commodity factors of production. They are becoming costs of doing business that must be paid by all but provide distinction to none.” Consolidation was rife, as Oracle swallowed up struggling companies in order to maintain market share through sheer inertia. After laughing off the iPhone in 2007, Steve Ballmer’s Microsoft was stuck firmly in the midst of a ten-year rut. While the big tech dinosaurs were limping through this extinction event, a nimbler breed of SaaS companies was coming onto the scene, but there were a lot of doubts about them. They only worked for small businesses. Their “dial-up software” couldn’t be configured or integrated into larger systems. They were a fad that appealed only to cash-strapped companies in decline.


pages: 291 words: 77,596

Total Recall: How the E-Memory Revolution Will Change Everything by Gordon Bell, Jim Gemmell

airport security, Albert Einstein, book scanning, cloud computing, conceptual framework, Douglas Engelbart, full text search, information retrieval, invention of writing, inventory management, Isaac Newton, John Markoff, lifelogging, Menlo Park, optical character recognition, pattern recognition, performance metric, RAND corporation, RFID, semantic web, Silicon Valley, Skype, social web, statistical model, Stephen Hawking, Steve Ballmer, Ted Nelson, telepresence, Turing test, Vannevar Bush, web application

Many companies run their entire businesses using remote servers, without having to invest in computers, storage, or associated software. To serve this need, Amazon, which has vast amounts of excess storage, has a service called EC2, for Elastic Compute Cloud. Likewise, Microsoft has Azure, a cloud-based operating system that will let companies develop and run Web applications without setting up their own data center. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has predicted that nearly all Internet data centers will be outsourced in this way by 2020. Cloud computing will lead to a single, integrated e-memory experience. Every device will act as an access point to recall from your e-memory. And every device will also become a source of information feeding into your e-memory, helping to record your experience. Most people’s cloud-interface device of choice is going to be a small, lightweight device that combines the functions of a cell phone, a camera, a personal digital assistant, a Web browser, an MP3 player, a GPS locator, and any other sensors and functions that can be crammed into it.


pages: 255 words: 76,834

Creative Selection: Inside Apple's Design Process During the Golden Age of Steve Jobs by Ken Kocienda

1960s counterculture, anti-pattern, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, bash_history, Charles Lindbergh, conceptual framework, Donald Knuth, en.wikipedia.org, HyperCard, Kickstarter, Lao Tzu, premature optimization, profit motive, QWERTY keyboard, Richard Feynman, Richard Stallman, Robert X Cringely, Silicon Valley, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, zero-sum game

This was my first time meeting him; while he knew my work, he didn’t know who I was. In the aftermath of the biggest Apple keynote ever, I walked up to The Man himself, and he looked right past me. That was disappointing. There was the intersection of the iPhone with skeptics. It didn’t take long after the Macworld keynote announcement for people to start proclaiming their doubts about the product, and perhaps none has become as famous as the derisive commentary from Steve Ballmer, then the CEO of Microsoft, whose first reaction to hearing about the iPhone was: “500 dollars? Fully subsidized? With a plan? I said that is the most expensive phone in the world, and it doesn’t appeal to business customers because it doesn’t have a keyboard, which makes it not a very good email machine.”9 Time has proved Ballmer laughably wrong. Even so, in the immediate aftermath of the iPhone announcement, it was nice to get a sideways shout-out from yet another Steve.


pages: 254 words: 76,064

Whiplash: How to Survive Our Faster Future by Joi Ito, Jeff Howe

3D printing, Albert Michelson, Amazon Web Services, artificial general intelligence, basic income, Bernie Sanders, bitcoin, Black Swan, blockchain, Burning Man, buy low sell high, Claude Shannon: information theory, cloud computing, Computer Numeric Control, conceptual framework, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, data acquisition, disruptive innovation, Donald Trump, double helix, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, Ferguson, Missouri, fiat currency, financial innovation, Flash crash, frictionless, game design, Gerolamo Cardano, informal economy, interchangeable parts, Internet Archive, Internet of things, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, John Harrison: Longitude, Joi Ito, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, Mark Zuckerberg, microbiome, Nate Silver, Network effects, neurotypical, Oculus Rift, pattern recognition, peer-to-peer, pirate software, pre–internet, prisoner's dilemma, Productivity paradox, race to the bottom, RAND corporation, random walk, Ray Kurzweil, Ronald Coase, Ross Ulbricht, Satoshi Nakamoto, self-driving car, SETI@home, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Simon Singh, Singularitarianism, Skype, slashdot, smart contracts, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, Stuxnet, supply-chain management, technological singularity, technoutopianism, The Nature of the Firm, the scientific method, The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, There's no reason for any individual to have a computer in his home - Ken Olsen, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, universal basic income, unpaid internship, uranium enrichment, urban planning, WikiLeaks

It took thirty years before managers exploited the flexibility electrical engines allowed and organized factories according to work flow, doubling and sometimes even tripling productivity.6 Our own era isn’t immune either. In 1977, Ken Olson, the president of one of the world’s largest and most successful computer companies, Digital Equipment Corporation, told an audience that there was “no reason for any individual to have a computer in his home.”7 He stuck to this view throughout the 1980s, long after Microsoft and Apple had proved him wrong. Thirty years later, former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer told USA Today that there was “no chance that the iPhone is going to get any significant market share.”8 These anecdotes, besides being funny and amazing in a nerdy kind of way, do have a point, and it’s not to bring ridicule down on long-deceased American inventors. It’s to recognize that we are all susceptible to misinterpreting the technological tea leaves, that we are all blinkered by prevailing systems of thought.


pages: 270 words: 79,068

The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers by Ben Horowitz

Airbnb, Ben Horowitz, business intelligence, cloud computing, financial independence, Google Glasses, hiring and firing, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, new economy, nuclear winter, Peter Thiel, Productivity paradox, random walk, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, six sigma, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs

WHAT HAPPENS AT SUCCESSION? This brings us to the question of succession. Since most organizations are run by Ones and have a team of Twos (sometimes Functional Ones) reporting to them, replacing the CEO can be extremely tricky. Do you promote someone from the executive staff even though they are likely a Two? Microsoft did this in 2000 when they replaced Bill Gates, a prototypical One, with Steve Ballmer, literally his number two. Or do you reach deep into the organization and pull a One from a level lower where they are likely to exist? General Electric famously did this with Jack Welch in 1981. It was an incredibly bold move by GE—not only did they promote an executive two levels down in the organizational chart past all of his superiors, but in doing so they named the youngest CEO in the history of GE.


pages: 274 words: 72,657

The Power of Moments: Why Certain Experiences Have Extraordinary Impact by Chip Heath, Dan Heath

Cal Newport, call centre, clean water, cloud computing, crowdsourcing, desegregation, fear of failure, Mahatma Gandhi, mental accounting, meta analysis, meta-analysis, school choice, six sigma, Steve Ballmer

Notice, though, that the realization sparked by CLTS is very similar in character. Because of the facilitators’ questions, people in the villages are made to “see” what had been in front of their eyes the whole time. And that’s not a serendipitous “aha!” moment, it’s an engineered moment. How do we engineer powerful insights in more ordinary organizational situations? Consider the way Scott Guthrie handled a situation at Microsoft in 2011. He’d been tapped by Steve Ballmer to lead the company’s fast-growing cloud computing service, called Azure. Guthrie visited Azure customers, and their feedback about their experience with the service was clear: Azure’s underlying technology was good, but it was hard to use. Guthrie knew Azure would never meet its growth expectations until it was much more customer-friendly. But how could he get his colleagues to understand, viscerally, how far off track they were?


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

That initiative confirmed Google’s worst fears—a high-cost talent war bereft of secret no-poaching agreements. For years thereafter both companies spent hundreds of millions of dollars luring each other’s workers and retaining those who got offers from rivals. Of course, Sandberg’s net was cast much wider than Google. She poached Microsoft’s top advertising executive, Carolyn Everson, to head sales, even though Everson had only recently taken the Microsoft job. (Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer was so upset that Everson took careful note of the golf club he was swinging when she gave him the news. Fortunately, “He didn’t try to hit me,” she says.) In Everson’s interview with Zuckerberg, her prospective new boss seemed still to be wrapping his head around why companies needed brand advertising. His mother, he told Everson, always used the same shampoo. Could Facebook ads change that?

The texts would be taken from things Barry heard at Facebook, some consisting of phrases that embodied the company culture as he saw it, and others arising from the company’s attempts at self-definition. These efforts had been under way for about two years, while Zuckerberg was still smarting from his failure to convey the importance of his mission during the Yahoo! crisis. In 2007, on a walk with Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Zuckerberg had asked how his company communicated the qualities its employees should exemplify. Ballmer told him that Microsoft had lists of self-defining qualities. Zuckerberg had gone home and written a bunch of those out and pinned it to the office refrigerator. The list wasn’t all that popular—someone took offense to the specification of “high IQ” and scratched it off the list. In 2009, Zuckerberg felt that a serious definition of company values was in order.


pages: 285 words: 81,743

Start-Up Nation: The Story of Israel's Economic Miracle by Dan Senor, Saul Singer

"Robert Solow", agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, back-to-the-land, banking crisis, Boycotts of Israel, call centre, Celtic Tiger, cleantech, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, friendly fire, immigration reform, labor-force participation, mass immigration, new economy, pez dispenser, post scarcity, profit motive, Silicon Valley, smart grid, social graph, sovereign wealth fund, Steve Ballmer, web application, women in the workforce, Yom Kippur War

This is totally unmatched in the economic history of the world.” And, he told us, the Israeli entrepreneur continues to perform in unimaginable ways.12 While the Holy Land has for centuries attracted pilgrims, lately it has been flooded by seekers of a different sort. Google’s CEO and chairman, Eric Schmidt, told us that the United States is the number one place in the world for entrepreneurs, but “after the U.S., Israel is the best.” Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer has called Microsoft “an Israeli company as much as an American company” because of the size and centrality of its Israeli teams.13 Warren Buffett, the apostle of risk aversion, broke his decades-long record of not buying any foreign company with the purchase of an Israeli company—for $4.5 billion—just as Israel began to fight the 2006 Lebanon war. It is impossible for major technology companies to ignore Israel, and most haven’t; almost half of the world’s top technology companies have bought start-ups or opened research and development centers in Israel.


pages: 307 words: 17,123

Behind the cloud: the untold story of how Salesforce.com went from idea to billion-dollar company--and revolutionized an industry by Marc Benioff, Carlye Adler

Albert Einstein, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, barriers to entry, Bay Area Rapid Transit, business continuity plan, call centre, carbon footprint, Clayton Christensen, cloud computing, corporate social responsibility, crowdsourcing, iterative process, Maui Hawaii, Nicholas Carr, platform as a service, Silicon Valley, software as a service, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs

For example, when I heard that Microsoft (finally) announced that it wanted to enter the SaaS business with a CRM product, I fired off an e-mail to select journalists: ‘‘Well, it’s 7:29 A.M. in Singapore, and I just read that Microsoft announced a new offering to compete with us while I was asleep.’’ I included the interoffice memo that I had written (I’d done this before; tactics dictate strategy), and the San Francisco Chronicle ran an article about my response on its Web site. They included what I said in the e-mail and even reiterated their ‘‘favorite line’’ of the memo: ‘‘Steve Ballmer has publicly fretted that he would not be ‘out-hustled by anyone,’ but the fact is that Microsoft is being out-hustled by everyone.’’ Even better, they ran the entire memo in another section. No doubt, sending carefully chosen members of the press well-crafted office memos is one more way to get your story told. A large part of our marketing and PR strategy is making sure that we always remain relevant.


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

It is hard to overstate the stunning difference in functionality between the iPhone and the phones then on the market. The most popular phone in America at the time was the Motorola RAZR, which had much the same utility as the flip phones of 1997. The first iPhone, however, played movies, took high-resolution photographs, offered maps, navigated the Web, and stored music just like the iPod. Some competitors didn’t quite get it. Hearing the proposed price, Microsoft’s CEO, Steve Ballmer, laughed out loud. “$500! That is the most expensive phone in the world. And it doesn’t appeal to business customers because it doesn’t have a keyboard, which makes it not a very good e-mail machine.” Fortunately for Apple, the form appealed to just about everyone else in the world. In less than eight years after the launch, Apple would sell more than 600 million units of various iPhone versions—made in China—bringing in more than half a trillion dollars in revenue and counting, over 230 million iPhones grossing over $155 billion in 2015 alone.

individual songs via Apple: Isaacson, Steve Jobs, 402–3. $7.7 billion versus $7.4 billion and eighty million hands: Apple Computer Inc., 2007 Annual Report (Washington DC: Securities and Exchange Commission, 2007). Jobs took the stage and “Every once in a while”: Steve Jobs, Keynote presentation of the iPhone at Macworld, San Francisco, January 9, 2007. “the most expensive phone”: Steve Ballmer, interview at Nortel, Innovative Communications Alliance, Power Lunch, January 17, 2007. 600 million units: Apple Computer Inc., 2015 Annual Report (Washington DC: Securities and Exchange Commission, 2015). Silicon Valley’s Tesla: Claire Cain Miller, “An All-Electric Sedan, Awaiting Federal Aid,” New York Times, March 26, 2009. “social media savvy”: Brian Stelter, “Coverage Grows for Wall Street Protest,” New York Times, October 5, 2011.


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

He is not shy in claiming that Apple is the only company taking big risks and accomplishing some magic in the personal computer world. He thinks he knows why. "I think back to Detroit in the seventies, when cars were so bad," he says. "Why? The people running the companies then didn't love cars. One of the things wrong with the PC industry today is that most of the people running the companies don't love PCs. Does Steve Ballmer [Microsoft] love PCs? Does Craig Barrett [Intel] love PCs? Does Michael Dell love PCs? If [Michael Dell] wasn't selling PCs he'd be selling something else. These people don't love what they create." Jobs paused for effect. "And people here do." For the record, none of those three guys has anything but good feelings about PCs. But only Apple's products look as though they were conceived out of love.


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

He didn’t meddle in software if he trusted the people who were working on it, but you couldn’t bullshit him for a minute because he was a programmer. A real, actual, programmer. Watching nonprogrammers trying to run software companies is like watching someone who doesn’t know how to surf trying to surf. “It’s OK! I have great advisors standing on the shore telling me what to do!” they say, and then fall off the board, again and again. The standard cry of the MBA who believes that management is a generic function. Is Steve Ballmer going to be another John Sculley, who nearly drove Apple into extinction because the board of directors thought that selling Pepsi was good preparation for running a computer company? The cult of the MBA likes to believe that you can run organizations that do things that you don’t understand. Over the years, Microsoft got big, Bill got overextended, and some shady ethical decisions made it necessary to devote way too much management attention to fighting the US government.


pages: 304 words: 93,494

Hatching Twitter by Nick Bilton

4chan, Airbus A320, Burning Man, friendly fire, index card, Jeff Bezos, John Markoff, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, Mahatma Gandhi, Mark Zuckerberg, pets.com, rolodex, Ruby on Rails, Saturday Night Live, side project, Silicon Valley, Skype, social web, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, technology bubble, traveling salesman, US Airways Flight 1549, WikiLeaks

There, by the pool at Kutcher’s house, with his wife, Demi Moore, sitting close by, Kutcher had pitched them on ownership of the company. Sean “Puffy” Combs, the rapper, had also tried to negotiate an ownership deal with Ev. Each time, Ev had politely responded, telling the rich and famous, who were never told no, “No.” It happened with CEOs too. At a dinner at Bill Gates’s multimillion-dollar house in Seattle, Steve Ballmer, the chief of Microsoft, told Ev if he ever wanted to sell the company, Microsoft would be very interested. Ev politely declined Ballmer. For Ev it was never about the money or the celebrities. It always went back to Ev’s vision of building something that gave people from nowhere—like, say, Clarks, Nebraska—the same equal voice as those from somewhere. Now it was Al Gore’s turn to try to get some of the blue bird’s feathers.


pages: 363 words: 94,139

Jony Ive: The Genius Behind Apple's Greatest Products by Leander Kahney

Apple II, banking crisis, British Empire, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable:, Computer Numeric Control, Dynabook, global supply chain, interchangeable parts, John Markoff, Jony Ive, Kickstarter, race to the bottom, RFID, side project, Silicon Valley, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, the built environment, thinkpad, Tim Cook: Apple

“We were obviously very, very proud. We’d worked really hard. It was—there was an enormous number of people that put in personal sacrifice and it was paying off in spades. It was a beautiful day.” • • • The iPod had been regarded by a lot of pundits as Apple getting lucky, a fluke, a one-shot. When Apple entered the cutthroat cell phone market, it was predicted the iPhone would flop. Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer famously said it would never get any market share. But the iPhone was a hit from the start, and Apple used its old playbook of rapidly adding features and models. Apple released the iPhone in mid-2007. By the end of the year, 3.7 million iPhones had been sold. By the first quarter of 2008, the sales volume of iPhones exceeded sales of Apple’s entire Mac line. And by the end of 2008, the company was selling three times as many iPhones per quarter as it was selling Macs.


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

In the past five years, from 2010 through 2014, Zynga racked up annual losses totaling more than $800 million; Groupon lost nearly $1 billion; and Twitter reported annual net losses that added up to more than $1.5 billion, according to the 10-K forms they filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Old-guard tech CEOs seem baffled by the phenomenon of companies that operate for years in the red. “They make no money! In my world you’re not a real business until you make some money,” Steve Ballmer, the former CEO of Microsoft, said about Amazon in 2014, a year when the company lost $241 million yet saw its market value climb to $160 billion. Oracle CEO Mark Hurd, another old-guard business guy, expressed similar astonishment about Salesforce.com. “There’s no cash flow,” he said about that company in April 2015. “What are they worth right now? $35 billion?… It’s crazy, just crazy.” That was nothing.


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

"You want one, Dan?" I said that I drink too much coffee and colas, and that I'm a colon cancer statistic just waiting to happen. I said I'd love one. She handed it to me and there was a pause as she looked around my office: an NEC MultiSync monitor; a Compaq workhorse monitor; a framed Jazz poster; a "Mac Hugger" bumper sticker on my ceiling and my black-and-white photo shrine to Microsoft VP Steve Ballmer. "The shrine started as a joke," I said, "but it's sort of taking on a life of its own now. It's getting scary. Shall we worship?" It was then that she asked me, in a lowered tone, "Who's Jed?" She had seen me keyboard in my password - like HAL from 2001. And so I closed the door and told her about Jed, and you know, I was glad I was able to tell someone at last. * * * Mid-afternoon, Bug, Todd, Michael, and I grabbed some road-Snapples in the kitchen and headed over to pick up some manuals at the library, out behind the Administration building.


pages: 915 words: 232,883

Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson

air freight, Albert Einstein, Apple II, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, big-box store, Bob Noyce, Buckminster Fuller, Byte Shop, centre right, Clayton Christensen, cloud computing, commoditize, computer age, computer vision, corporate governance, death of newspapers, don't be evil, Douglas Engelbart, Dynabook, El Camino Real, Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, fixed income, game design, Golden Gate Park, Hacker Ethic, hiring and firing, Jeff Bezos, Johannes Kepler, John Markoff, Jony Ive, lateral thinking, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, Mitch Kapor, Mother of all demos, Paul Terrell, profit maximization, publish or perish, Richard Feynman, Robert Metcalfe, Robert X Cringely, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, skunkworks, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, supply-chain management, thinkpad, Tim Cook: Apple, Wall-E, Whole Earth Catalog

His name is listed as the lead inventor on two patent applications on the staircases, one for the see-through look that features all-glass treads and glass supports melded together with titanium, the other for the engineering system that uses a monolithic unit of glass containing multiple glass sheets laminated together for supporting loads. In 1985, as he was being ousted from his first tour at Apple, he had visited Italy and been impressed by the gray stone of Florence’s sidewalks. In 2002, when he came to the conclusion that the light wood floors in the stores were beginning to look somewhat pedestrian—a concern that it’s hard to imagine bedeviling someone like Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer—Jobs wanted to use that stone instead. Some of his colleagues pushed to replicate the color and texture using concrete, which would have been ten times cheaper, but Jobs insisted that it had to be authentic. The gray-blue Pietra Serena sandstone, which has a fine-grained texture, comes from a family-owned quarry, Il Casone, in Firenzuola outside of Florence. “We select only 3% of what comes out of the mountain, because it has to have the right shading and veining and purity,” said Johnson.

Among the faithful were Hertzfeld and Atkinson. “Bill stayed in line all night,” Hertzfeld said. Jobs waved his arms and started laughing. “I sent him one,” he said. Hertzfeld replied, “He needs six.” The iPhone was immediately dubbed “the Jesus Phone” by bloggers. But Apple’s competitors emphasized that, at $500, it cost too much to be successful. “It’s the most expensive phone in the world,” Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer said in a CNBC interview. “And it doesn’t appeal to business customers because it doesn’t have a keyboard.” Once again Microsoft had underestimated Jobs’s product. By the end of 2010, Apple had sold ninety million iPhones, and it reaped more than half of the total profits generated in the global cell phone market. “Steve understands desire,” said Alan Kay, the Xerox PARC pioneer who had envisioned a “Dynabook” tablet computer forty years earlier.


pages: 327 words: 103,336

Everything Is Obvious: *Once You Know the Answer by Duncan J. Watts

active measures, affirmative action, Albert Einstein, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Black Swan, business cycle, butterfly effect, Carmen Reinhart, Cass Sunstein, clockwork universe, cognitive dissonance, coherent worldview, collapse of Lehman Brothers, complexity theory, correlation does not imply causation, crowdsourcing, death of newspapers, discovery of DNA, East Village, easy for humans, difficult for computers, edge city, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, framing effect, Geoffrey West, Santa Fe Institute, George Santayana, happiness index / gross national happiness, high batting average, hindsight bias, illegal immigration, industrial cluster, interest rate swap, invention of the printing press, invention of the telescope, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Jane Jacobs, Jeff Bezos, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Rogoff, lake wobegon effect, Laplace demon, Long Term Capital Management, loss aversion, medical malpractice, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Milgram experiment, natural language processing, Netflix Prize, Network effects, oil shock, packet switching, pattern recognition, performance metric, phenotype, Pierre-Simon Laplace, planetary scale, prediction markets, pre–internet, RAND corporation, random walk, RFID, school choice, Silicon Valley, social intelligence, statistical model, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, supply-chain management, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, the scientific method, The Wisdom of Crowds, too big to fail, Toyota Production System, ultimatum game, urban planning, Vincenzo Peruggia: Mona Lisa, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, X Prize

During all this time, Jobs has reportedly received neither a salary nor a cash bonus—his entire compensation has been in Apple stock.20 It’s a compelling story, and the list of Apple’s successes is long enough that it’s hard to believe it’s all due to chance. Nevertheless, because Apple’s history can only be run once, we can’t be sure that we aren’t simply succumbing to the Halo Effect. For example, as, I discussed in Chapter 7, the iPod strategy had a number of elements that could easily have led it to fail, as did the iPhone. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer looks silly now for scoffing at the idea that consumers would pay $500 for a phone that locked consumers into a two-year contract with AT&T and didn’t have a keyboard, but it was actually quite a reasonable objection. Both products now seem like strokes of genius, but only because they succeeded. Had they instead bombed, we would not be talking about Jobs’s brilliant strategy and leadership that simply didn’t work.


pages: 342 words: 99,390

The greatest trade ever: the behind-the-scenes story of how John Paulson defied Wall Street and made financial history by Gregory Zuckerman

1960s counterculture, banking crisis, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collateralized debt obligation, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, financial innovation, fixed income, index fund, Isaac Newton, Long Term Capital Management, margin call, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, merger arbitrage, mortgage debt, mortgage tax deduction, Ponzi scheme, Renaissance Technologies, rent control, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, rolodex, short selling, Silicon Valley, statistical arbitrage, Steve Ballmer, Steve Wozniak, technology bubble, zero-sum game

That is fine; I am content with my rewards. Moreover, I will let others try to amass nine, ten, or eleven-figure net worths. Meanwhile, their lives suck. Appointments back to back, booked solid for the next three months, they look forward to their two-week vacation in January during which they will likely be glued to their BlackBerries or other such devices. What is the point? They will all be forgotten in fifty years anyway. Steve Ballmer, Steven Cohen, and Larry Ellison will all be forgotten. I do not understand the legacy thing. Nearly everyone will be forgotten. Give up on leaving your mark. Throw the BlackBerry away and enjoy life. So this is it. With all due respect, I am dropping out. …... I truly do not have a strong opinion about any market right now, other than to say that things will continue to get worse for some time, probably years.


pages: 364 words: 101,286

The Misbehavior of Markets: A Fractal View of Financial Turbulence by Benoit Mandelbrot, Richard L. Hudson

Albert Einstein, asset allocation, Augustin-Louis Cauchy, Benoit Mandelbrot, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Black-Scholes formula, British Empire, Brownian motion, business cycle, buy and hold, buy low sell high, capital asset pricing model, carbon-based life, discounted cash flows, diversification, double helix, Edward Lorenz: Chaos theory, Elliott wave, equity premium, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, Fellow of the Royal Society, full employment, Georg Cantor, Henri Poincaré, implied volatility, index fund, informal economy, invisible hand, John Meriwether, John von Neumann, Long Term Capital Management, Louis Bachelier, mandelbrot fractal, market bubble, market microstructure, Myron Scholes, new economy, paper trading, passive investing, Paul Lévy, Paul Samuelson, plutocrats, Plutocrats, price mechanism, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, Ralph Nelson Elliott, RAND corporation, random walk, risk tolerance, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, short selling, statistical arbitrage, statistical model, Steve Ballmer, stochastic volatility, transfer pricing, value at risk, Vilfredo Pareto, volatility smile

He stole the show. The conference-goers, among the best-known financiers, entrepreneurs, and CEOs in Europe—preeminent risk-takers, all—listened at first in bemusement. Not your usual conference speaker. Then they got sucked into his strange story. Some said he made more sense than their CFOs. Afterwards, in our audiencefeedback survey, they rated him as best speaker of the day—tied only by Steve Ballmer, the Microsoft CEO. As a scientist, Mandelbrot’s fame rests on his founding of fractal geometry, and on his showing how it applies in many fields. A fractal, a term he coined from the Latin for “broken,” is a geometric shape that can be broken into smaller parts, each a small-scale echo of the whole. The branches of a tree, the florets of a cauliflower, the bifurcations of a river—all are examples of natural fractals.


pages: 386 words: 91,913

The Elements of Power: Gadgets, Guns, and the Struggle for a Sustainable Future in the Rare Metal Age by David S. Abraham

3D printing, Airbus A320, carbon footprint, clean water, cleantech, commoditize, Deng Xiaoping, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, glass ceiling, global supply chain, information retrieval, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Internet of things, new economy, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, reshoring, Robert Metcalfe, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, South China Sea, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, telemarketer, Tesla Model S, thinkpad, upwardly mobile, uranium enrichment, WikiLeaks, Y2K

I hope you will see that the ability to harness the power of rare metals to make smartphones, for example, is as impressive as the phones themselves. It’s not hyperbole to state that the fate of the planet and our ability to live a sustainable future in which technology can freely flow to the billions who do not yet have access depends on our understanding and production of rare metals and our avoidance of conflict over them. I Metals, Metals Everywhere Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer was incredulous. “There’s no chance that the iPhone is going to get any significant market share. No chance,” Ballmer prophesied during a CEO Forum before Steve Jobs released the iPhone in June 2007. But, by the end of the first week of sales, most storeroom shelves were bare; Apple and its AT&T partner sold hundreds of thousands of phones. The company was fast on its way to taking more than 20 percent of the smartphone market within just a few months.1 To those who waited in line outside Apple stores for a day or two to snap up the first phones—or paid others hundreds of dollars to wait for them—the iPhone was a revolution, the stuff of dreams.


pages: 443 words: 98,113

The Corruption of Capitalism: Why Rentiers Thrive and Work Does Not Pay by Guy Standing

3D printing, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Asian financial crisis, asset-backed security, bank run, banking crisis, basic income, Ben Bernanke: helicopter money, Bernie Sanders, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, bilateral investment treaty, Bonfire of the Vanities, Boris Johnson, Bretton Woods, business cycle, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, carried interest, cashless society, central bank independence, centre right, Clayton Christensen, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collective bargaining, credit crunch, crony capitalism, crowdsourcing, debt deflation, declining real wages, deindustrialization, disruptive innovation, Doha Development Round, Donald Trump, Double Irish / Dutch Sandwich, ending welfare as we know it, eurozone crisis, falling living standards, financial deregulation, financial innovation, Firefox, first-past-the-post, future of work, gig economy, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, Growth in a Time of Debt, housing crisis, income inequality, information retrieval, intangible asset, invention of the steam engine, investor state dispute settlement, James Watt: steam engine, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, labour market flexibility, light touch regulation, Long Term Capital Management, lump of labour, Lyft, manufacturing employment, Mark Zuckerberg, market clearing, Martin Wolf, means of production, mini-job, Mont Pelerin Society, moral hazard, mortgage debt, mortgage tax deduction, Neil Kinnock, non-tariff barriers, North Sea oil, Northern Rock, nudge unit, Occupy movement, offshore financial centre, oil shale / tar sands, open economy, openstreetmap, patent troll, payday loans, peer-to-peer lending, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, precariat, quantitative easing, remote working, rent control, rent-seeking, ride hailing / ride sharing, Right to Buy, Robert Gordon, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, Sam Altman, savings glut, Second Machine Age, secular stagnation, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Simon Kuznets, sovereign wealth fund, Stephen Hawking, Steve Ballmer, structural adjustment programs, TaskRabbit, The Chicago School, The Future of Employment, the payments system, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, Travis Kalanick, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, Y Combinator, zero-sum game, Zipcar

The mortgage deduction alone costs $70 billion a year, with three-quarters going to homeowners with annual incomes of over $100,000.10 Four times as much goes to the wealthiest fifth in mortgage interest deductions as on social housing for the poorest fifth. Some tax breaks that do not amount to much in total are worth a great deal to the few who gain from them. The USA gives tax breaks to wealthy owners of racehorses and professional sports teams – halving the $2 billion price that Steve Ballmer, billionaire co-founder of Microsoft, paid for the LA Clippers basketball team. UK tax breaks include £3 billion a year in reduced capital gains tax for individuals selling their businesses. According to Richard Murphy of Tax Research UK, in the tax year 2013/14, £1.8 billion of this benefited just 3,000 people, who each sold their company stakes for more than £1 million. Landed estate owners in Britain have enjoyed a special tax break introduced in 1994 by John Major’s government, which exempted ‘sporting estates’ from business rates (local property taxes).


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

It was a lot easier for Robert to quit and find another job easily because he already had an online reputation by this point at his blog, http://scobleizer.com (now powered by—you guessed it—WordPress). “NEC hired me for the sales department, mostly because of my blog. When I went into the interview, they had a stack of my blog posts printed out right there.” From his job at NEC, Robert got invited to a “Most Valuable Professional” meeting at Microsoft of the top corporate customers. At that meeting, someone confronted CEO Steve Ballmer publicly, saying, “You need to create a better image for Microsoft.” Ballmer responded, “OK, I’ll give a dollar to anyone in this room who comes up with a good idea right here.” Robert stood up and said, “Put a more public face on the company.” He explained how, outlining what amounted to a strategy for corporate blogging—long before the concept of “corporate blogging” existed. Ballmer said, “That’s a great idea,” pulled out a dollar from his wallet, signed it, and gave it to Robert.


pages: 398 words: 107,788

Coding Freedom: The Ethics and Aesthetics of Hacking by E. Gabriella Coleman

activist lawyer, Benjamin Mako Hill, commoditize, crowdsourcing, Debian, Donald Knuth, dumpster diving, en.wikipedia.org, financial independence, ghettoisation, GnuPG, Hacker Ethic, informal economy, Jacob Appelbaum, Jaron Lanier, Jason Scott: textfiles.com, Jean Tirole, knowledge economy, laissez-faire capitalism, Larry Wall, Louis Pasteur, means of production, Paul Graham, peer-to-peer, pirate software, popular electronics, RFC: Request For Comment, Richard Stallman, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, slashdot, software patent, software studies, Steve Ballmer, Steven Levy, Ted Nelson, The Hackers Conference, the scientific method, The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere, web application, web of trust

Although Microsoft stated in its internal memos that it would not lead a campaign of fear, uncertainty, and doubt against open-source products, it feverishly implemented the well-worn corporate tactic of disinformation, using everything in the company’s powerful marketing arsenal to discredit the reliability of Linux. Launching a direct attack against the bulwark of F/OSS, the GPL, Microsoft representatives described this legal agreement with three of the most feared words in the United States: cancer, communism, and un-American. In 2001 during a media interview, Microsoft’s CEO, Steve Ballmer, stated unabashedly, “Linux is a cancer that attaches itself in an intellectual property sense to everything it touches” (quoted in Greene 2001). Even amid various advertising campaigns, none of these words ever stuck. Microsoft’s early assaults against Linux only fueled an existing anti-Microsoft sentiment among developers. Yet not everyone in the trenches of the free software community was enthused by the newfound commercial popularity of open-source software.


pages: 385 words: 101,761

Creative Intelligence: Harnessing the Power to Create, Connect, and Inspire by Bruce Nussbaum

3D printing, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, Berlin Wall, Black Swan, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable:, clean water, collapse of Lehman Brothers, creative destruction, Credit Default Swap, crony capitalism, crowdsourcing, Danny Hillis, declining real wages, demographic dividend, disruptive innovation, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, Fall of the Berlin Wall, follow your passion, game design, housing crisis, Hyman Minsky, industrial robot, invisible hand, James Dyson, Jane Jacobs, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, John Gruber, John Markoff, Joseph Schumpeter, Kickstarter, lone genius, longitudinal study, manufacturing employment, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Martin Wolf, new economy, Paul Graham, Peter Thiel, QR code, race to the bottom, reshoring, Richard Florida, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Silicon Valley startup, six sigma, Skype, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, supply-chain management, Tesla Model S, The Chicago School, The Design of Experiments, the High Line, The Myth of the Rational Market, thinkpad, Tim Cook: Apple, too big to fail, tulip mania, We are the 99%, Y Combinator, young professional, Zipcar

But financial numbers alone don’t tell us anything about the “aura” of Apple, about why people so identify with its products that Jobs’s death seemed almost to be a national day of mourning, as numerous memorials appeared outside Apple stores the morning after his death was announced. As Walter Isaacson’s biography reveals, Jobs was not a nice guy or an easy person to get along with, especially if you were close to him. Yet he wanted to instill a level of aesthetic perfection in Apple products so that they would remain distinctive and never fall into the rut of “mechanical reproduction” or pure salesmanship (which is where he saw Microsoft going under Steve Ballmer’s leadership). He saw himself as a designer of things that people didn’t even know they wanted until he created them. But there’s more to Apple products than their beauty. Their common aesthetic suggests that they are connected to one another, a “family” of products. The iTunes app acts as both a commercial and a community hub, allowing music and other entertainment to be purchased with ease, and linking all the products to the ever-evolving “cloud” that represents designers’ dreams of connectivity.


pages: 370 words: 105,085

Joel on Software by Joel Spolsky

AltaVista, barriers to entry, c2.com, commoditize, George Gilder, index card, Jeff Bezos, knowledge worker, Metcalfe's law, Mitch Kapor, Network effects, new economy, PageRank, Paul Graham, profit motive, Robert X Cringely, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, six sigma, slashdot, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, the scientific method, thinkpad, VA Linux, web application

By itself, an operating system is not that useful. People buy operating systems because of the useful applications that run on it. And therefore the most useful operating system is the one that has the most useful applications. The logical conclusion of this is that if you're trying to sell operating systems, the most important thing to do is make software developers want to develop software for your operating system. That's why Steve Ballmer was jumping around the stage shouting "Developers, developers, developers, developers."1 It's so important for Microsoft that the only reason they don't outright give away development tools for Windows is because they don't want to inadvertently cut off the oxygen to competitive development tools vendors (well, those that are left), because having a variety of development tools available for their platform makes it that much more attractive to developers.


pages: 416 words: 108,370

Hit Makers: The Science of Popularity in an Age of Distraction by Derek Thompson

Airbnb, Albert Einstein, Alexey Pajitnov wrote Tetris, always be closing, augmented reality, Clayton Christensen, Donald Trump, Downton Abbey, full employment, game design, Gordon Gekko, hindsight bias, indoor plumbing, industrial cluster, information trail, invention of the printing press, invention of the telegraph, Jeff Bezos, John Snow's cholera map, Kodak vs Instagram, linear programming, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, Metcalfe’s law, Minecraft, Nate Silver, Network effects, Nicholas Carr, out of africa, randomized controlled trial, recommendation engine, Robert Gordon, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Skype, Snapchat, statistical model, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Steven Pinker, subscription business, telemarketer, the medium is the message, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, Vilfredo Pareto, Vincenzo Peruggia: Mona Lisa, women in the workforce

“And the third is a breakthrough Internet communications device,” he said, to perfunctory applause and a lonely, halfhearted “whoop.” The catch, naturally, was that these three revolutionary new products were in fact one product, combining a touch screen, a music player, a phone, and Internet access. “And we are calling it: iPhone,” Jobs concluded. The audience laughed and hollered and threw claps over their heads. But outside the Moscone Center, skepticism was en vogue. Former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer considered the prospect of a $500 cell phone to be beyond ludicrous. (“There’s no chance that the iPhone is going to get any significant market share,” he said. “No chance.”) In June 2007, a few days before the iPhone appeared in stores, the media and advertising company Universal McCann issued a blockbuster report on Apple’s new product. They said it would flop. “The simple truth,” said lead author Tom Smith, is that “convergence [an all-in-one device] is a compromise driven by financial limitations, not aspiration.


pages: 379 words: 109,223

Frenemies: The Epic Disruption of the Ad Business by Ken Auletta

Airbnb, barriers to entry, Bernie Sanders, Boris Johnson, Build a better mousetrap, Burning Man, call centre, carbon footprint, cloud computing, commoditize, connected car, corporate raider, crossover SUV, disintermediation, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, forensic accounting, Google Glasses, Internet of things, Jeff Bezos, Khan Academy, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, market design, Menlo Park, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, Naomi Klein, NetJets, Network effects, pattern recognition, pets.com, race to the bottom, Richard Feynman, ride hailing / ride sharing, Saturday Night Live, self-driving car, sharing economy, Shoshana Zuboff, Silicon Valley, Snapchat, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Tim Cook: Apple, transaction costs, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, Upton Sinclair, éminence grise

Once, attendees came to tour the electronic exhibits, hoping to catch a glimpse of the future, and to meet and greet. Michael Kassan would come to CES with his friend Irwin Gotlieb to walk the floors of the various hotels that house the exhibitions. Then CES expanded its reach, and Michael Kassan assumed an outsized role. In 2010, to broaden their support in the tech community, CES called on Kassan to help lure Steve Ballmer, then CEO of Microsoft, a MediaLink client, to attend MediaLink’s cocktail party. Ballmer become a regular at this event. Kassan started stumping for more advertisers to attend CES. Gary Shapiro, the president and CEO of the Consumer Technology Association, which produces CES, liked the idea, and Kassan offered a deal Shapiro welcomed. He would lobby brand advertisers and agencies to attend, and in return CES would give MediaLink VIP status to create a reserved space in an established hotel where Kassan and brands and clients could conduct closed-door meetings, as well as a separate venue where MediaLink could host and invite speakers and moderate panels.


pages: 380 words: 118,675

The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon by Brad Stone

airport security, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, bank run, Bernie Madoff, big-box store, Black Swan, book scanning, Brewster Kahle, buy and hold, call centre, centre right, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable:, Clayton Christensen, cloud computing, collapse of Lehman Brothers, crowdsourcing, cuban missile crisis, Danny Hillis, Douglas Hofstadter, Elon Musk, facts on the ground, game design, housing crisis, invention of movable type, inventory management, James Dyson, Jeff Bezos, John Markoff, Kevin Kelly, Kodak vs Instagram, late fees, loose coupling, low skilled workers, Maui Hawaii, Menlo Park, Network effects, new economy, optical character recognition, pets.com, Ponzi scheme, quantitative hedge fund, recommendation engine, Renaissance Technologies, RFID, Rodney Brooks, search inside the book, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, six sigma, skunkworks, Skype, statistical arbitrage, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, Thomas L Friedman, Tony Hsieh, Whole Earth Catalog, why are manhole covers round?, zero-sum game

Steve Jobs was known for the clarity of his insights about what customers wanted, but he was also known for his volatility with coworkers. Apple’s founder reportedly fired employees in the elevator and screamed at underperforming executives. Perhaps there is something endemic in the fast-paced technology business that causes this behavior, because such intensity is not exactly rare among its CEOs. Bill Gates used to throw epic tantrums. Steve Ballmer, his successor at Microsoft, had a propensity for throwing chairs. Andy Grove, the longtime CEO of Intel, was known to be so harsh and intimidating that a subordinate once fainted during a performance review. Jeff Bezos fit comfortably into this mold. His manic drive and boldness trumped other conventional leadership ideals, such as building consensus and promoting civility. While he was charming and capable of great humor in public, in private, Bezos could bite an employee’s head right off.


pages: 403 words: 111,119

Doughnut Economics: Seven Ways to Think Like a 21st-Century Economist by Kate Raworth

"Robert Solow", 3D printing, Asian financial crisis, bank run, basic income, battle of ideas, Berlin Wall, bitcoin, blockchain, Branko Milanovic, Bretton Woods, Buckminster Fuller, business cycle, call centre, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Cass Sunstein, choice architecture, clean water, cognitive bias, collapse of Lehman Brothers, complexity theory, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, dematerialisation, disruptive innovation, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, en.wikipedia.org, energy transition, Erik Brynjolfsson, Ethereum, ethereum blockchain, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, experimental economics, Exxon Valdez, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial deregulation, Financial Instability Hypothesis, full employment, global supply chain, global village, Henri Poincaré, hiring and firing, Howard Zinn, Hyman Minsky, income inequality, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invention of writing, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Arrow, Kenneth Rogoff, Kickstarter, land reform, land value tax, Landlord’s Game, loss aversion, low skilled workers, M-Pesa, Mahatma Gandhi, market fundamentalism, Martin Wolf, means of production, megacity, mobile money, Mont Pelerin Society, Myron Scholes, neoliberal agenda, Network effects, Occupy movement, off grid, offshore financial centre, oil shale / tar sands, out of africa, Paul Samuelson, peer-to-peer, planetary scale, price mechanism, quantitative easing, randomized controlled trial, Richard Thaler, Ronald Reagan, Second Machine Age, secular stagnation, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, smart cities, smart meter, Social Responsibility of Business Is to Increase Its Profits, South Sea Bubble, statistical model, Steve Ballmer, The Chicago School, The Great Moderation, the map is not the territory, the market place, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, Torches of Freedom, trickle-down economics, ultimatum game, universal basic income, Upton Sinclair, Vilfredo Pareto, wikimedia commons

‘With this technology – if we can master it – we can create these parts, repair the equipment faster, and perhaps help to save a life.’42 These open-source innovations are impressive but still fledgling, and to many the movement may look unfeasibly utopian. So remember the 21-year-old Finnish computer student, Linus Torvalds, who in 1991 was writing the kernel of an open-source operating system – just for a hobby, he said – which quickly morphed into Linux, now the most widely used computer operating system in the world. At the time, Microsoft’s CEO Steve Ballmer called Linux ‘a cancer’, but today even Microsoft has embraced the movement by using Linux in its own products.43 ‘The story of open-source software is a little portal to the future for us,’ Muirhead told me, and he is optimistic. ‘Once you put something in the commons, you can’t take it away,’ he explained, ‘so every single day the knowledge commons grows and becomes more useful. Once people get the idea – and see its circular economy potential – they really want to create solutions for it.’44 That same spirit of building the knowledge commons inspired Janine Benyus to launch the website Asknature.org, which makes the long-held secrets of nature’s materials, structures and processes open-source for all – such as how a gecko clings without glue, how butterflies make pigment-free colours, and how mussels glue themselves to watery rocks.


pages: 389 words: 112,319

Think Like a Rocket Scientist by Ozan Varol

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, airport security, Albert Einstein, Amazon Web Services, Andrew Wiles, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, Arthur Eddington, autonomous vehicles, Ben Horowitz, Cal Newport, Clayton Christensen, cloud computing, Colonization of Mars, dark matter, delayed gratification, different worldview, discovery of DNA, double helix, Elon Musk, fear of failure, functional fixedness, Gary Taubes, George Santayana, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, Inbox Zero, index fund, Isaac Newton, James Dyson, Jeff Bezos, job satisfaction, Johannes Kepler, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, late fees, lateral thinking, lone genius, longitudinal study, Louis Pasteur, low earth orbit, Marc Andreessen, Mars Rover, meta analysis, meta-analysis, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, multiplanetary species, obamacare, Occam's razor, out of africa, Peter Thiel, Pluto: dwarf planet, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman: Challenger O-ring, Ronald Reagan, Sam Altman, Schrödinger's Cat, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Simon Singh, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Thomas Malthus, Upton Sinclair, Vilfredo Pareto, We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters, Whole Earth Catalog, women in the workforce, Yogi Berra

When asked in a survey whether they “like the idea of having one portable device” to fulfill all their needs, only about 30 percent of Americans, Japanese, and Germans said yes.37 They seemed to prefer carrying around a separate phone, a separate camera, and a separate music player instead of a single device that could perform all three functions. Echoing the survey results, then Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said, “There’s no chance that the iPhone is going to get any significant market share. No chance.” The iPhone didn’t prove the survey wrong. As author Derek Thompson explains, the survey accurately measured the participants’ “indifference to a product they had never seen and did not understand.” In other words, the survey had failed to follow the test-as-you-fly rule. Hypothetically thinking about the iPhone was nothing like seeing it in person.


pages: 387 words: 119,409

Work Rules!: Insights From Inside Google That Will Transform How You Live and Lead by Laszlo Bock

Airbnb, Albert Einstein, AltaVista, Atul Gawande, Black Swan, book scanning, Burning Man, call centre, Cass Sunstein, Checklist Manifesto, choice architecture, citizen journalism, clean water, correlation coefficient, crowdsourcing, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, deliberate practice, en.wikipedia.org, experimental subject, Frederick Winslow Taylor, future of work, Google Earth, Google Glasses, Google Hangouts, Google X / Alphabet X, Googley, helicopter parent, immigration reform, Internet Archive, longitudinal study, Menlo Park, mental accounting, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Moneyball by Michael Lewis explains big data, nudge unit, PageRank, Paul Buchheit, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Rana Plaza, random walk, Richard Thaler, Rubik’s Cube, self-driving car, shareholder value, side project, Silicon Valley, six sigma, statistical model, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Steven Pinker, survivorship bias, TaskRabbit, The Wisdom of Crowds, Tony Hsieh, Turing machine, winner-take-all economy, Y2K

Note that improving to “average” levels isn’t necessarily the same as becoming the fiftieth-best performer (i.e., the median performer), but it’s close enough for illustrative purposes. 133. Jack and Suzy Welch, “The Case for 20-70-10,” Bloomberg Businessweek, October 1, 2006, http://www.businessweek.com/stories/2006-10-01/the-case-for-20-70-10. 134. Ibid. 135. Kurt Eichenwald, “Microsoft’s Lost Decade,” Vanity Fair, August 2012, http://www.vanityfair.com/business/2012/08/microsoft-lost-mojo-steve-ballmer. 136. Tom Warren, “Microsoft Axes Its Controversial Employee-Ranking System,” The Verge, November 12, 2013, http://www.theverge.com/2013/11/12/5094864/microsoft-kills-stack-ranking-internal-structure. 137. David A. Garvin, Alison Berkley Wagonfeld, and Liz Kind, “Google’s Project Oxygen: Do Managers Matter?” Harvard Business School Case 313-110, April 2013 (revised July 2013). 138. We wouldn’t see anything like this again until 2008, when Bill Coughran, our SVP of Research and Systems Infrastructure until 2011, amassed 180 direct reports. 139.


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

Trower wrote a sixty-page report calling on Microsoft to create a group that built software tools to develop robots. Microsoft gave Trower a small group of researchers and he went off to build a simulator and a graphical programming language. They named it the Microsoft Robotics Developer Studio. Then, however, Gates retired to start his foundation, and everything changed at Microsoft. The new chief executive, Steve Ballmer, had a very different focus. He was more concerned about making money and less willing to take risks. Through Microsoft veteran and chief strategy officer Craig Mundie, he sent Trower a clear message: tell me how Microsoft is going to make money on this. Ballmer was very clear: he wanted a business that generated one billion dollars in revenue annually within seven years. Microsoft had industrial robotics partners, but these partners had no interest in buying software from Microsoft—they already had their own software.


pages: 490 words: 117,629

Unconventional Success: A Fundamental Approach to Personal Investment by David F. Swensen

asset allocation, asset-backed security, buy and hold, capital controls, cognitive dissonance, corporate governance, diversification, diversified portfolio, fixed income, index fund, law of one price, Long Term Capital Management, market bubble, market clearing, market fundamentalism, money market fund, passive investing, Paul Samuelson, pez dispenser, price mechanism, profit maximization, profit motive, risk tolerance, risk-adjusted returns, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Steve Ballmer, stocks for the long run, survivorship bias, technology bubble, the market place, transaction costs, Vanguard fund, yield curve, zero-sum game

In fact, management frequently fails to suffer at all, as corporate boards often reset option prices to reflect the newly diminished stock price. In sharp contrast to management’s loss of a mere opportunity, when share prices decrease, shareholders lose cold, hard cash. Options-based compensation schemes represent a no-lose game for management of publicly traded companies. Microsoft provides a textbook example of using option grants to insulate employees from share price declines. In April 2000, chief executive Steve Ballmer faced a problem of low morale among employees concerned about the consequences of the Justice Department’s antitrust activity and a four-month, 44 percent stock price decline. To boost spirits, Ballmer awarded more than 34,000 Microsoft employees stock options priced at the then current stock price. The chief executive wrote in an email to employees that “we know stock options are an important part of our compensation.”


The Future of Technology by Tom Standage

air freight, barriers to entry, business process, business process outsourcing, call centre, Clayton Christensen, computer vision, connected car, corporate governance, creative destruction, disintermediation, disruptive innovation, distributed generation, double helix, experimental economics, full employment, hydrogen economy, industrial robot, informal economy, information asymmetry, interchangeable parts, job satisfaction, labour market flexibility, Marc Andreessen, market design, Menlo Park, millennium bug, moral hazard, natural language processing, Network effects, new economy, Nicholas Carr, optical character recognition, railway mania, rent-seeking, RFID, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Silicon Valley startup, six sigma, Skype, smart grid, software as a service, spectrum auction, speech recognition, stem cell, Steve Ballmer, technology bubble, telemarketer, transcontinental railway, Y2K

Mr Lane, for instance, not only believes in the mom test but also has a “sister theory” to explain market inertia. This is mainly because he has a sister who spent a long career as an executive with an American airline, where she “fought every technological change over 30 years, even though she couldn’t say why”. Mom, however, is invoked most – if not necessarily heeded. According to an industry legend, Steve Ballmer, now the boss of Microsoft, conducted a mom test before the launch of Windows 95, using his own mother as the guinea pig. When she had finished trying it out, Ms Ballmer asked, “How do I turn it off?” Her son, somewhat irked, pointed to the start button. “You go to the start button to stop?” asked his mother, quite perplexed. But today, several versions of Windows later, that is still how it is done.


pages: 472 words: 117,093

Machine, Platform, Crowd: Harnessing Our Digital Future by Andrew McAfee, Erik Brynjolfsson

"Robert Solow", 3D printing, additive manufacturing, AI winter, Airbnb, airline deregulation, airport security, Albert Einstein, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, artificial general intelligence, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, backtesting, barriers to entry, bitcoin, blockchain, British Empire, business cycle, business process, carbon footprint, Cass Sunstein, centralized clearinghouse, Chris Urmson, cloud computing, cognitive bias, commoditize, complexity theory, computer age, creative destruction, crony capitalism, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, Dean Kamen, discovery of DNA, disintermediation, disruptive innovation, distributed ledger, double helix, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, Ethereum, ethereum blockchain, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, family office, fiat currency, financial innovation, George Akerlof, global supply chain, Hernando de Soto, hive mind, information asymmetry, Internet of things, inventory management, iterative process, Jean Tirole, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, John Markoff, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, Kickstarter, law of one price, longitudinal study, Lyft, Machine translation of "The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak." to Russian and back, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Mitch Kapor, moral hazard, multi-sided market, Myron Scholes, natural language processing, Network effects, new economy, Norbert Wiener, Oculus Rift, PageRank, pattern recognition, peer-to-peer lending, performance metric, plutocrats, Plutocrats, precision agriculture, prediction markets, pre–internet, price stability, principal–agent problem, Ray Kurzweil, Renaissance Technologies, Richard Stallman, ride hailing / ride sharing, risk tolerance, Ronald Coase, Satoshi Nakamoto, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Skype, slashdot, smart contracts, Snapchat, speech recognition, statistical model, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, supply-chain management, TaskRabbit, Ted Nelson, The Market for Lemons, The Nature of the Firm, Thomas Davenport, Thomas L Friedman, too big to fail, transaction costs, transportation-network company, traveling salesman, Travis Kalanick, two-sided market, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, ubercab, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, winner-take-all economy, yield management, zero day

How Steve Jobs Nearly Blew It Early in 2007, Apple introduced the iPhone, a product that deserves the label “iconic.” Its groundbreaking design and novel features, including multitouch screen, powerful mobile Internet browser, accelerometer, and GPS made it an instant hit, with rapturous reviews and sales of over 6 million handsets in its first year. The iPhone had plenty of doubters prior to its release. These included Microsoft cofounder Steve Ballmer, who said, “$500? Fully subsidized? With a plan? I said that is the most expensive phone in the world. And it doesn’t appeal to business customers because it doesn’t have a keyboard. Which makes it not a very good email machine.” Two thousand seven and later years proved the skeptics very wrong. But Jobs himself spent the first year of the iPhone’s existence on the wrong side of a critically important debate.


pages: 493 words: 139,845

Women Leaders at Work: Untold Tales of Women Achieving Their Ambitions by Elizabeth Ghaffari

Albert Einstein, AltaVista, business cycle, business process, cloud computing, Columbine, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, dark matter, family office, Fellow of the Royal Society, financial independence, follow your passion, glass ceiling, Grace Hopper, high net worth, knowledge worker, Long Term Capital Management, longitudinal study, performance metric, pink-collar, profit maximization, profit motive, recommendation engine, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, thinkpad, trickle-down economics, urban planning, women in the workforce, young professional

I just thought, “Okay, if I come here and get really smart, open-minded computer scientists, mathematicians, and physicists and put them together with smart anthropologists, smart sociologists, smart economists, then maybe something interesting will happen.” So I pitched the idea, showing why I thought Microsoft needed expertise in these areas. I talked about where technology was moving and where Microsoft would want to be moving. I presented the argument about the kinds of people who were located in Cambridge who wouldn't relocate. Surprisingly, it took just a few weeks actually for Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer to say “yes” to the idea. It all happened very quickly. Ghaffari: Was the idea to set up the New England Research Center largely your initiative or Christian's, would you say? Chayes: I think this one was more my initiative. Christian was very happy. He was doing well, and we had a great team at the Theory Group. We had wonderful friends and a wonderful house. He said, “What's the matter with you?”


pages: 419 words: 130,627

Last Man Standing: The Ascent of Jamie Dimon and JPMorgan Chase by Duff McDonald

bank run, Blythe Masters, Bonfire of the Vanities, centralized clearinghouse, collateralized debt obligation, conceptual framework, corporate governance, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, Exxon Valdez, financial innovation, fixed income, G4S, housing crisis, interest rate swap, Jeff Bezos, John Meriwether, Kickstarter, laissez-faire capitalism, Long Term Capital Management, margin call, market bubble, money market fund, moral hazard, negative equity, Nelson Mandela, Northern Rock, profit motive, Renaissance Technologies, risk/return, Rod Stewart played at Stephen Schwarzman birthday party, Saturday Night Live, sovereign wealth fund, statistical model, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, technology bubble, The Chicago School, too big to fail, Vanguard fund, zero-coupon bond, zero-sum game

A larger-than-life personality, Lee was also known for backroom politicking and front-room confrontations, but Dimon knew a valuable asset when he saw one. The Rupert Murdochs, Sumner Redstones, and Sam Zells of the world asked for Lee by name when working with J.P. Morgan. He also hosts an annual confab in Deer Valley that draws an enviable roster of heavyweights, including DreamWorks’ Jeffrey Katzenberg, General Electric’s Jeffrey Immelt, Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer, and the NBA commissioner, David Stern. (Shortly after the deal, Dimon asked Lee to join him for dinner at the Post House, a steak house in the Lowell hotel on East 63rd Street. Moments after sitting down, Lee pulled a piece of paper out of his pocket and put it down on the table next to him. Dimon looked at Lee and said, “What’s that?” Lee replied, “It’s the list of things I needed to do today.


pages: 416 words: 129,308

The One Device: The Secret History of the iPhone by Brian Merchant

Airbnb, animal electricity, Apple II, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, citizen journalism, Claude Shannon: information theory, computer vision, conceptual framework, Douglas Engelbart, Dynabook, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, Ford paid five dollars a day, Frank Gehry, global supply chain, Google Earth, Google Hangouts, Internet of things, Jacquard loom, John Gruber, John Markoff, Jony Ive, Lyft, M-Pesa, MITM: man-in-the-middle, more computing power than Apollo, Mother of all demos, natural language processing, new economy, New Journalism, Norbert Wiener, offshore financial centre, oil shock, pattern recognition, peak oil, pirate software, profit motive, QWERTY keyboard, ride hailing / ride sharing, rolodex, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, skunkworks, Skype, Snapchat, special economic zone, speech recognition, stealth mode startup, Stephen Hawking, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Tim Cook: Apple, Turing test, uber lyft, Upton Sinclair, Vannevar Bush, zero day

The media covered the buzz exhaustively. But despite all the spectacle, after a strong opening weekend—when Apple says it moved 270,000 units in thirty hours or so—sales were actually relatively slow. For now, the app selection was locked, the phone ran only on painfully slow 2G networks, and nothing was customizable, not even the wallpaper. And it was lambasted for being too expensive. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer famously scoffed, “Five hundred dollars? Fully subsidized? With a plan?… That is the most expensive phone in the world.” The hit features were probably Safari and Maps—two media-rich, multitouch-powered experiences that set the stage for everything the iPhone was capable of. That, and the touchscreen itself. That small team that had Explored New Rich Interactions starting five years before had indeed nailed their vision of how people were hoping to interact with devices.


pages: 525 words: 142,027

CIOs at Work by Ed Yourdon

8-hour work day, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, business intelligence, business process, call centre, cloud computing, crowdsourcing, distributed generation, Donald Knuth, Flash crash, Googley, Grace Hopper, Infrastructure as a Service, Innovator's Dilemma, inventory management, Julian Assange, knowledge worker, Mark Zuckerberg, Nicholas Carr, rolodex, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, six sigma, Skype, smart grid, smart meter, software as a service, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, the new new thing, the scientific method, WikiLeaks, Y2K, Zipcar

But what we have given them is a model to say here is how you can think about this stuff, and you can make your own judgment call based on your company profile and your regulatory environment, and so on, which bucket you will put things in. And it is leadership like that that we think is a role we can play in terms of helping develop useful models and frameworks for the industry. Yourdon: I’ve got a bunch of questions that I can’t avoid asking because I’m sure everyone will want to know—and that is the question of whether Bill Gates or Steve Ballmer hired you or promoted you into your position, or whether you have any other tidbits, you know, about them that you want to talk about. Scott: Well, I actually worked for Kevin Turner, who was our Chief Operating Officer at Microsoft, but Steve was a part of the interview process, and I’d actually worked with Bill on a number of different things even before coming to Microsoft—so it’s probably the only job where I’ve gone into the job knowing the senior executives and the company reasonably well before coming to take the job.


pages: 629 words: 142,393

The Future of the Internet: And How to Stop It by Jonathan Zittrain

A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Andy Kessler, barriers to entry, book scanning, Brewster Kahle, Burning Man, c2.com, call centre, Cass Sunstein, citizen journalism, Clayton Christensen, clean water, commoditize, corporate governance, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, disruptive innovation, distributed generation, en.wikipedia.org, Firefox, game design, Hacker Ethic, Howard Rheingold, Hush-A-Phone, illegal immigration, index card, informal economy, Internet Archive, jimmy wales, John Markoff, license plate recognition, loose coupling, mail merge, national security letter, old-boy network, packet switching, peer-to-peer, post-materialism, pre–internet, price discrimination, profit maximization, Ralph Nader, RFC: Request For Comment, RFID, Richard Stallman, Richard Thaler, risk tolerance, Robert Bork, Robert X Cringely, SETI@home, Silicon Valley, Skype, slashdot, software patent, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Ted Nelson, Telecommunications Act of 1996, The Nature of the Firm, The Wisdom of Crowds, web application, wikimedia commons, zero-sum game

One manifestation of the breadth of what can be patented is the famous patent issued in 2002 for swinging sideways while on a swing. That patent was issued to a five-year-old child. See U.S. Patent No. 6,368,227 (issued Apr. 9, 2002). 70. See Posting of Adrian Kingsley-Hughes to Gear for Geeks, Ballmer: Linux “Infringes our intellectual property” http://blogs.zdnet.com/hardware/?p=154 (Nov. 17, 2006, 06:55), discussing Steve Ballmer’s assertion that Linux infringes Microsoft’s patents at the Professional Association for SQL Server conference in Seattle on November 16, 2006); Roger Parloff, Microsoft Takes on the Free World, FORTUNE, May 14, 2007, http://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/fortune_archive/2007/05/28/100033867/index.htm?source=yahoo_quote; Posting of Cory Doctorow to BoingBoing, Ballmer: Linux Users Are Patent-Crooks http://www.boingboing.net/2006/11/17/ballmer_linux_users_.html (Nov. 17, 2006, 07:44).


pages: 470 words: 144,455

Secrets and Lies: Digital Security in a Networked World by Bruce Schneier

Ayatollah Khomeini, barriers to entry, business process, butterfly effect, cashless society, Columbine, defense in depth, double entry bookkeeping, fault tolerance, game design, IFF: identification friend or foe, John von Neumann, knapsack problem, MITM: man-in-the-middle, moral panic, mutually assured destruction, pez dispenser, pirate software, profit motive, Richard Feynman, risk tolerance, Silicon Valley, Simon Singh, slashdot, statistical model, Steve Ballmer, Steven Levy, the payments system, Y2K, Yogi Berra

And when these pirates eventually get into a situation where they need to buy the software legitimately, they will already be hooked on my software, not my competitors’. Piracy is just another way of boosting market share. Microsoft had exactly this in mind when they made a big push to get their products translated into Chinese and distributed across that country. They knew they would be pirated; they knew that they would make less than one sale for every ten copies used. Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer has been quoted as saying: “If you’re going to get pirated, you want them to pirate your stuff, not your competitors’ stuff. In developing countries, it is important to have a high share of the piracy software.” When China enters the free world, they will already be Microsoft compatible. Until then, Microsoft isn’t losing anything. It’s a perceptive business strategy. ERASING DIGITAL INFORMATION There are lots of times when we want to completely erase digital information.


pages: 559 words: 157,112

Dealers of Lightning by Michael A. Hiltzik

Apple II, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, beat the dealer, Bill Duvall, Bill Gates: Altair 8800, business cycle, computer age, creative destruction, Douglas Engelbart, Dynabook, Edward Thorp, El Camino Real, index card, Jeff Rulifson, John Markoff, Joseph Schumpeter, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, oil shock, popular electronics, Robert Metcalfe, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, speech recognition, Steve Ballmer, Steve Crocker, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, the medium is the message, Vannevar Bush, Whole Earth Catalog, zero-sum game

Microsoft’s thirty or so employees occupied half of the eighth floor of the Old National Bank building in Bellevue, just across Lake Washington from the city of Seattle. Carrying a portfolio of his work, Simonyi entered Suite 819 relaxed and confident, thanks to his mistaken impression that Metcalfe had already called to smooth the way. In fact, he was an unexpected visitor. Bill Gates being tied up at the moment with a delegation from a Japanese manufacturing company, Simonyi was escorted instead into the office of Steve Ballmer, a friend of Gates’s from Harvard. Unlike Gates, Ballmer had stayed at Harvard to graduate, after which he signed on to be Microsoft’s maniacal chief salesman and hyper-motivational troop leader. “I projected supreme confidence and everything,” Simonyi recalled. “I had a great portfolio and so Ballmer was incredibly impressed.” This was an understatement. After a few minutes Ballmer bounced out of his chair, exclaiming, “Bill has to see this!”


pages: 482 words: 149,351

The Finance Curse: How Global Finance Is Making Us All Poorer by Nicholas Shaxson

activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, Airbnb, airline deregulation, anti-communist, bank run, banking crisis, Basel III, Bernie Madoff, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Blythe Masters, Boris Johnson, Bretton Woods, British Empire, business climate, business cycle, capital controls, carried interest, Cass Sunstein, Celtic Tiger, central bank independence, centre right, Clayton Christensen, cloud computing, corporate governance, corporate raider, creative destruction, Credit Default Swap, cross-subsidies, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, demographic dividend, Deng Xiaoping, desegregation, Donald Trump, Etonian, failed state, falling living standards, family office, financial deregulation, financial innovation, forensic accounting, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, full employment, gig economy, Gini coefficient, global supply chain, high net worth, income inequality, index fund, invisible hand, Jeff Bezos, Kickstarter, land value tax, late capitalism, light touch regulation, London Whale, Long Term Capital Management, low skilled workers, manufacturing employment, Mark Zuckerberg, Martin Wolf, Mont Pelerin Society, moral hazard, neoliberal agenda, Network effects, new economy, Northern Rock, offshore financial centre, old-boy network, out of africa, Paul Samuelson, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, price mechanism, purchasing power parity, pushing on a string, race to the bottom, regulatory arbitrage, rent-seeking, road to serfdom, Robert Bork, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart grid, Social Responsibility of Business Is to Increase Its Profits, South Sea Bubble, sovereign wealth fund, special economic zone, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, The Chicago School, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, transfer pricing, wealth creators, white picket fence, women in the workforce, zero-sum game

‘Ireland’s membership of the EEC, with access to its large market, was the bedrock business rationale for investing in Ireland.’ The IDA used ‘flagship marketing’, aggressively targeting the big global names, whose vote of confidence would then make it easier to attract others. They got Apple to invest in 1980, then leveraged that to persuade Intel to move in. Next they went for Microsoft. It worked every time. ‘I’m normally the sales guy,’ says Steve Ballmer, the CEO of Microsoft, recalling the extraordinary job the IDA did on him. ‘That is the first lunch I’ve been to where the government was selling to me!’ The IDA chiselled Ireland’s quirky international image into appealing new forms. The traditional American view of Ireland was ‘a romantic misty isle peopled by characters straight out of The Quiet Man and full of bog roads and stray donkeys’, says White.


pages: 590 words: 152,595

Army of None: Autonomous Weapons and the Future of War by Paul Scharre

active measures, Air France Flight 447, algorithmic trading, artificial general intelligence, augmented reality, automated trading system, autonomous vehicles, basic income, brain emulation, Brian Krebs, cognitive bias, computer vision, cuban missile crisis, dark matter, DARPA: Urban Challenge, DevOps, drone strike, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, facts on the ground, fault tolerance, Flash crash, Freestyle chess, friendly fire, IFF: identification friend or foe, ImageNet competition, Internet of things, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, John Markoff, Kevin Kelly, Loebner Prize, loose coupling, Mark Zuckerberg, moral hazard, mutually assured destruction, Nate Silver, pattern recognition, Rodney Brooks, Rubik’s Cube, self-driving car, sensor fusion, South China Sea, speech recognition, Stanislav Petrov, Stephen Hawking, Steve Ballmer, Steve Wozniak, Stuxnet, superintelligent machines, Tesla Model S, The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, theory of mind, Turing test, universal basic income, Valery Gerasimov, Wall-E, William Langewiesche, Y2K, zero day

If potentially dangerous AI is coming, “we’re not really ready.” WHO’S AFRAID OF THE BIG, BAD AI? The fear that AI could one day develop to the point where it threatens humanity isn’t shared by everyone who works on AI. It’s hard to dismiss people like Stephen Hawking, Bill Gates, and Elon Musk out of hand, but that doesn’t mean they’re right. Other tech moguls have pushed back against AI fears. Steve Ballmer, former CEO of Microsoft, has said AI risk “doesn’t concern me.” Jeff Hawkins, inventor of the Palm Pilot, has argued, “There won’t be an intelligence explosion. There is no existential threat.” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has said that those who “drum up these doomsday scenarios” are being “irresponsible.” David Brumley of Carnegie Mellon, who is on the cutting edge of autonomy in cybersecurity, similarly told me he was “not concerned about self-awareness.”


pages: 527 words: 147,690

Terms of Service: Social Media and the Price of Constant Connection by Jacob Silverman

23andMe, 4chan, A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, Airbnb, airport security, Amazon Mechanical Turk, augmented reality, basic income, Brian Krebs, California gold rush, call centre, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, commoditize, correlation does not imply causation, Credit Default Swap, crowdsourcing, don't be evil, drone strike, Edward Snowden, feminist movement, Filter Bubble, Firefox, Flash crash, game design, global village, Google Chrome, Google Glasses, hive mind, income inequality, informal economy, information retrieval, Internet of things, Jaron Lanier, jimmy wales, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, late capitalism, license plate recognition, life extension, lifelogging, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, Mars Rover, Marshall McLuhan, mass incarceration, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Minecraft, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, national security letter, Network effects, new economy, Nicholas Carr, Occupy movement, optical character recognition, payday loans, Peter Thiel, postindustrial economy, prediction markets, pre–internet, price discrimination, price stability, profit motive, quantitative hedge fund, race to the bottom, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, rent control, RFID, ride hailing / ride sharing, self-driving car, sentiment analysis, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Snapchat, social graph, social intelligence, social web, sorting algorithm, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, TaskRabbit, technoutopianism, telemarketer, transportation-network company, Travis Kalanick, Turing test, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, universal basic income, unpaid internship, women in the workforce, Y Combinator, Zipcar

In a meeting with the W3C, the international consortium that helps devise standards for the Web, a vice president of the Direct Marketing Association reportedly “proposed that Do Not Track signals should actually permit data collection for advertising purposes, the very thing the mechanisms were designed to control.” The Association of National Advertisers then published an open letter to Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, criticizing his company for automatically enabling Do Not Track on its Internet Explorer 10 browser (which at the time hadn’t even yet been released). Even the most cursory privacy measures, it seemed, would be vigorously contested. But the effort was doomed from the beginning. The Privacy Bill of Rights called for corporations to sign up voluntarily, with enforcement entrusted to the congenitally toothless FTC.


pages: 547 words: 172,226

Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity, and Poverty by Daron Acemoglu, James Robinson

"Robert Solow", Admiral Zheng, agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, Andrei Shleifer, Atahualpa, banking crisis, Bartolomé de las Casas, Berlin Wall, blood diamonds, BRICs, British Empire, central bank independence, clean water, collective bargaining, colonial rule, conceptual framework, Corn Laws, creative destruction, crony capitalism, Deng Xiaoping, desegregation, discovery of the americas, en.wikipedia.org, European colonialism, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, falling living standards, financial independence, financial innovation, financial intermediation, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, Francisco Pizarro, full employment, income inequality, income per capita, indoor plumbing, invention of movable type, invisible hand, James Hargreaves, James Watt: steam engine, Jeff Bezos, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, Kickstarter, land reform, mass immigration, Mikhail Gorbachev, minimum wage unemployment, Mohammed Bouazizi, Paul Samuelson, price stability, profit motive, Rosa Parks, Scramble for Africa, Simon Kuznets, spice trade, spinning jenny, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, trade liberalization, trade route, transatlantic slave trade, union organizing, upwardly mobile, Washington Consensus, working poor

It is also necessary to consider more broadly the factors that determine how political power is distributed in society, particularly the ability of different groups to act collectively to pursue their objectives or to stop other people from pursuing theirs. As institutions influence behavior and incentives in real life, they forge the success or failure of nations. Individual talent matters at every level of society, but even that needs an institutional framework to transform it into a positive force. Bill Gates, like other legendary figures in the information technology industry (such as Paul Allen, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Larry Page, Sergey Brin, and Jeff Bezos), had immense talent and ambition. But he ultimately responded to incentives. The schooling system in the United States enabled Gates and others like him to acquire a unique set of skills to complement their talents. The economic institutions in the United States enabled these men to start companies with ease, without facing insurmountable barriers.


pages: 561 words: 157,589

WTF?: What's the Future and Why It's Up to Us by Tim O'Reilly

4chan, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, Alvin Roth, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, artificial general intelligence, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, basic income, Bernie Madoff, Bernie Sanders, Bill Joy: nanobots, bitcoin, blockchain, Bretton Woods, Brewster Kahle, British Empire, business process, call centre, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Captain Sullenberger Hudson, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable:, Clayton Christensen, clean water, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, collateralized debt obligation, commoditize, computer vision, corporate governance, corporate raider, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, Danny Hillis, data acquisition, deskilling, DevOps, Donald Davies, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, Filter Bubble, Firefox, Flash crash, full employment, future of work, George Akerlof, gig economy, glass ceiling, Google Glasses, Gordon Gekko, gravity well, greed is good, Guido van Rossum, High speed trading, hiring and firing, Home mortgage interest deduction, Hyperloop, income inequality, index fund, informal economy, information asymmetry, Internet Archive, Internet of things, invention of movable type, invisible hand, iterative process, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, jitney, job automation, job satisfaction, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Kevin Kelly, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, Kodak vs Instagram, Lao Tzu, Larry Wall, Lean Startup, Leonard Kleinrock, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, market fundamentalism, Marshall McLuhan, McMansion, microbiome, microservices, minimum viable product, mortgage tax deduction, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, Network effects, new economy, Nicholas Carr, obamacare, Oculus Rift, packet switching, PageRank, pattern recognition, Paul Buchheit, peer-to-peer, peer-to-peer model, Ponzi scheme, race to the bottom, Ralph Nader, randomized controlled trial, RFC: Request For Comment, Richard Feynman, Richard Stallman, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Gordon, Robert Metcalfe, Ronald Coase, Sam Altman, school choice, Second Machine Age, secular stagnation, self-driving car, SETI@home, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, skunkworks, Skype, smart contracts, Snapchat, Social Responsibility of Business Is to Increase Its Profits, social web, software as a service, software patent, spectrum auction, speech recognition, Stephen Hawking, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, strong AI, TaskRabbit, telepresence, the built environment, The Future of Employment, the map is not the territory, The Nature of the Firm, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Davenport, transaction costs, transcontinental railway, transportation-network company, Travis Kalanick, trickle-down economics, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, ubercab, universal basic income, US Airways Flight 1549, VA Linux, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, We are the 99%, web application, Whole Earth Catalog, winner-take-all economy, women in the workforce, Y Combinator, yellow journalism, zero-sum game, Zipcar

If the program is running on somebody else’s computer, the issue doesn’t arise. Am I allowed to copy the program that Amazon has on it’s computer? Well, I can’t, I don’t have that program at all, so it doesn’t put me in a morally compromised position. . . .” See http://www.oreilly.com/tim/archives/mikro_discussion.pdf. 27 Google is now running on well over a million servers: Google does not actually disclose this information, but in July 2013, Microsoft then-CEO Steve Ballmer noted that Microsoft Bing was running on almost that number; Google serves many more users, and the number has only grown since then. See Sebastian Anthony, “Microsoft Now Has One Million Servers—Less than Google, but More than Amazon, Says Ballmer,” Extremetech, retrieved March 29, 2017, https://www.extremetech.com/extreme/161772-microsoft-now-has-one-million-servers-less-than-google-but-more-than-amazon-says-ballmer. 28 one of the most significant books of the twentieth century: Elizabeth Diefendorf, ed., The New York Public Library’s Books of the Century (New York: Oxford University Press, 1996), 149. 29 “What Is Web 2.0?”


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

As Princeton economist Alan Blinder explains, the mere threat of offshoring creates an environment that depresses wages.11 It has proven to be an effective tool to coerce concessions from employees or to fend off unionization, with extortion commonly practiced even by the largest and most illustrious US firms. For example, some 40 percent of Microsoft’s employees already work abroad, yet chief executive Steve Ballmer has threatened to export even more jobs if Democratic politicians close foreign tax havens. “We’re better off taking lots of people and moving them out” of the United States, citizen of the world Ballmer asserted.12 Any obligation of industry leaders to nurture the American economy and its workers by even the most profitable and bluest of blue-chip US multinationals has been vitiated by Reaganomics.


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

We talked to a headhunting firm, and the guy was candid with me and said, “Look, we can’t recruit a COO for you because anybody who is capable of doing that job for a company at your level would demand to be the CEO.” And I thought, “That’s kind of crazy. How could they be the CEO? They don’t know the business or the customers. How could we just plunk them down?” In retrospect, that was pretty good thinking; look at Microsoft: it took them 20 years to hand off from Bill Gates to Steve Ballmer. He needed 20 years of training to take that job. Jack Welch was at GE for 20 years before he became CEO. Sometimes it does work, but I think for these fragile little companies, just putting a generic manager at the top is oftentimes disastrous. There was no way we could have hired first-rank businesspeople in that environment. There were too many companies that were low-risk and had more assets that were hiring the best people.


pages: 1,336 words: 415,037

The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life by Alice Schroeder

affirmative action, Albert Einstein, anti-communist, Ayatollah Khomeini, barriers to entry, Bob Noyce, Bonfire of the Vanities, Brownian motion, capital asset pricing model, card file, centralized clearinghouse, Charles Lindbergh, collateralized debt obligation, computerized trading, corporate governance, corporate raider, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, desegregation, Donald Trump, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, Everybody Ought to Be Rich, global village, Golden Gate Park, Haight Ashbury, haute cuisine, Honoré de Balzac, If something cannot go on forever, it will stop - Herbert Stein's Law, In Cold Blood by Truman Capote, index fund, indoor plumbing, intangible asset, interest rate swap, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, John Meriwether, joint-stock company, joint-stock limited liability company, Long Term Capital Management, Louis Bachelier, margin call, market bubble, Marshall McLuhan, medical malpractice, merger arbitrage, Mikhail Gorbachev, money market fund, moral hazard, NetJets, new economy, New Journalism, North Sea oil, paper trading, passive investing, Paul Samuelson, pets.com, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, Ralph Nader, random walk, Ronald Reagan, Scientific racism, shareholder value, short selling, side project, Silicon Valley, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, supply-chain management, telemarketer, The Predators' Ball, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, too big to fail, transcontinental railway, Upton Sinclair, War on Poverty, Works Progress Administration, Y2K, yellow journalism, zero-coupon bond

The naked mole rat was a superior beast, not only insensitive to pain but parthenogenic: The queen of the colony fertilizes and gives birth without assistance from the males. Munger and Myhrvold held an animated conversation about the sex life of mole rats while the others sat listening in numb disbelief.6 The next morning, Gates took Buffett and Munger over to Microsoft so that his number two, Steve Ballmer, and half a dozen engineers could interview them, almost as anthropologists, so strange did it seem to them that these two incredibly brilliant men were such latecomers to the world of computers. They were like a couple of cavemen savants discovered in the bush who had seen an airplane but wouldn’t take a ride. Despite his sense of the Internet’s importance, for example, it had not yet occurred to Buffett to tell GEICO to hurry up and exploit the Internet to sell insurance.