Today is my 60th birthday. When I came to Silicon Valley I was 24. It feels at times like my adult life has paralleled the growth and maturation of the Valley. When I came here there were still orchards. You could buy cherries, fresh from the fields, right on El Camino Real in Sunnyvale. Apricot orchards surrounded Reid-Hillview Airport in San Jose, where I flew in those early days because hangars were already too expensive in Palo Alto. My first Palo Alto apartment rented for $142 per month and I bought my first house there for $47,000. I first met Intel co-founder Bob Noyce when we were both standing in line at Wells Fargo Bank.
Those days are gone.
But that is not to say that these days are worse.
For almost 36 years people have been asking me when was the best time to start a company and my answer has always been the same: right now. New technologies have yielded opportunities we could never have imagined and along the way lowered the cost of entry to the point where anyone with a good idea and a willingness to take risks has a chance to make it big.
These are the good old days.
And so it is time for me to move forward with my life and my so-called career. As a guy with three sons ages 10, 8, and 6, you see, my devil sperm has provided me the opportunity to work until I die. Or more properly it has determined that I must work until I am at least 76, when my last kid graduates from college. Whichever comes first.
A year ago I forecast my own retirement of sorts and so I’m here today to explain better what that means, because it certainly doesn’t mean I’ll stop working or that I’ll even go away.
Blogging no longer works for me as a career. As I’ve explained before, declining ad rates have led to this being no longer a viable occupation, at least for me. So while I’m not going completely away I have to assume even more duties which will limit, somewhat, my presence here. I hope you’ll understand.
One thing I am about to do is write a book — a very serious book for a very real publisher who has written a very substantial check with the assumption that I’ll deliver 120,000 words a year from today. I have to get it finished soon, you see, before book publishing dies in turn.
Then I have a new startup company — The Startup Channel — which I hope you’ll hear more of in coming weeks. We’re about to close our seed round and if we don’t then I’ll just pay for the thing myself, it’s that good an idea. I’m open to investment proposals, by the way, but only accredited investors need apply, sorry (that’s the law).
So what happens here at I Cringely? Later this week we’ll begin in this space the serialization of my book Accidental Empires, that became the basis of my PBS TV series Triumph of the Nerds. With your help we’ll follow that serialization with a new annotated edition in both print and eBook versions that I hope will become a new classic in its own right.
If some company or organization would like to be the single name sponsor of this serialization (there will only be one sponsor), let me know. The entire event will take eight weeks involving daily posts with a total of somewhere between 10 million and 25 million readers. I am not making this up. If you want to reach that sort of audience for not much money and can be polite while doing so, then please get in touch with me. I don’t need an advertiser to do this, but it would open up some promotional possibilities we’d otherwise forego.
We’ll follow Accidental Empires with more serializations of books derived and updated from the million+ words I’ve written both here and previously on pbs.org, having obtained from PBS the rights to those earlier columns. While these will be derivative works they’ll include substantial new material and, again, the final eBooks will include contributions from you, the readers.
Cringely Media will publish seven eBooks in all during 2013.
I’ll continue to blog here as often as I can, though mainly about startups, somewhat like I did a few years ago when my startup was Home-Account.com and the topics were mortgages and economics.
So you’ll see more of me and less. I’ll be working harder than ever. But why not? There’ s plenty still to be done and I don’t feel a day over 59.