Accidental Empires, Chapter 16 — But Wait, There’s More!

MoreFive years after Accidental Empires was published in hardcover and four years after the paperback, we got a chance to do a somewhat revised paperback edition to go with Triumph of the Nerds, my Channel 4/PBS miniseries based on the book. Revision may be too strong a word, because all I was allowed to do was add two extra chapters at the end. This gave me a chance to catch up with some of the major characters, correct a few mistakes, explain what had happened in the intervening half-decade and — oh by the way — finally say something about the Internet.

CHAPTER SIXTEEN

BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE!

January […]

Accidental Empires, Chapter 14 — Counter-Reformation

os2warpACCIDENTAL EMPIRES

CHAPTER FOURTEEN

COUNTER-REFORMATION

In Prudhoe Bay, in the oilfields of Alaska’s North Slope, the sun goes down sometime in late November and doesn’t appear again until January, and even then the days are so short that you can celebrate sunrise, high noon, and sunset all with the same cup of coffee. The whole day looks like that sliver of white at the base of your thumbnail.

It’s cold in Prudhoe Bay in the wintertime, colder than I can say or you would believe—so cold that the folks who work for the oil companies start their cars around October and leave them running twenty-four hours a day clear through […]

Accidental Empires, Chapter 13 — Economics of Scale

redmond_aerialACCIDENTAL EMPIRES

CHAPTER THIRTEEN

ECONOMICS OF SCALE

We’re at the ballpark, now, and while you and I are taking a second bite from our chilidogs, this is what’s happening in the outfield, according to Rick Miller, a former Gold Glove center fielder for the Bosox and the Angels. When the pitcher’s winding up, and we figure the center fielder’s just stooped over out there, waiting for the photon torpedoes to load and thinking about T-bills or jock itch endorsements, he’s really watching the pitcher and getting ready to catch the ball that has yet to be thrown. Exceptional center fielders use three main factors in judging where the ball […]

Accidental Empires, Chapter 12 — On the Beach

tropicthunderGiven The Startup Channel this chapter on startups is very important. We also cover shareware and I want to point out that Buttonware founder Jim Knopf asked me to respect his pseudonym “Jim Button.” Who was I to argue with that? 

ACCIDENTAL EMPIRES

CHAPTER TWELVE

ON THE BEACH

America’s advantage in the PC business doesn’t come from our education system, from our fluoridated water, or, Lord knows, from our tax structure. And it doesn’t come from some innate ability we have to run big companies with thousands of employees and billions in sales. The main thing America has had going for it is the high-tech start-up, and, […]

Accidental Empires, Chapter 11 — Font Wars

john-warnock-steve-jobsClearly, given the recent battle between Flash and HTML5, things changed later in life between John Warnock and Steve Jobs. There’s a story I’d like to understand better. Meanwhile, back in the early 1990s….

ACCIDENTAL EMPIRES

CHAPTER ELEVEN

FONT WARS

Of the 5 billion people in the world, there are only four who I’m pretty sure have stayed consistently on the good side of Steve Jobs. Three of them—Bill Atkinson, Rich Page, and Bud Tribble—all worked with Jobs at Apple Computer. Atkinson and Tribble are code gods, and Page is a hardware god. Page and Tribble left Apple with Jobs in 1985 to found NeXT Inc., their […]