Accidental Empires, Part 2 — Preface to the 1996 edition

accidental-195x300The first edition of Accidental Empires missed something pretty important — the Internet. Of course there wasn’t much of a commercial Internet in 1990. So I addressed it somewhat with the 1996 revised edition, the preface of which is below. Tomorrow we’ll go on to the original preface from 1990. 

1996  

In his novel Brighton Rock, Graham Greene’s protagonist, a cocky 14-year-old gang leader named Pinky, has his first sexual experience. Nervously undressing, Pinky is relieved when the girl doesn’t laugh at the sight of his adolescent body. I know exactly how Pinky felt.

When I finished writing this book five years ago, I had no idea how it would be received. Nothing quite like it had […]

I, Cringely version 3.01

cringley media logoToday 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 […]

A True Hollywood Story

Readers have been asking me about the news that actor Ashton Kutcher is going to be playing Steve Jobs in an independent movie about the Apple co-founder to be filmed this summer. It’s fine with me, I suppose, but if we’re going to get all Hollywood about this, the business implications are interesting, especially for Jobs biographer Walter Isaacson, because it probably means a film based on Isaacson’s book will never be made.

The reason I say this is because the last time a movie was made about Steve Jobs it was Pirates of Silicon Valley, which was originally titled Triumph of the Geeks. Sound familiar? I made them change the title, but that’s where my […]

By |April 3rd, 2012|2012|59 Comments

What the Dickens? Accidental Empires Rebooted

Today is the 200th birthday of author Charles Dickens, yet also an oddly appropriate moment to announce a new edition of my book Accidental Empires in a very 21st century format.

Late last year a reader pointed out to me that 2012 is the 20th anniversary of Accidental Empires which was, in its own way, a pretty influential book. Accidental Empires was my attempt to blatantly apply the breezy style of Adam Smith’s The Money Game to the personal computer industry. And somehow it worked, because the book was eventually published in 18 languages and was a bestseller in several countries including the U.S. and Japan.

The book was also the basis for my 1996 TV miniseries […]

By |February 7th, 2012|2012|115 Comments

The Steve Jobs Interview

If you watch the 60 Minutes segment this Sunday with Walter Isaacson, Steve Jobs’ biographer, on the eve of his book being published, you are likely to see up to three clips from my show Triumph of the Nerds. My 1995 interview with Steve for that series is famous for his trashing of Microsoft and has been played over and over on TV for the last 16 years. But that’s not the case with the interview from which that clip came… until now.

The interview we shot that day at NeXT headquarters in Redwood City ran about an hour but we used only 10 minutes in the TV series. It was our second try to meet with […]

By |October 21st, 2011|2011|300 Comments