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 […]

JOBS Act crowdfunding is unlikely to help most startups

Earlier this year I wrote a series of columns about crowdfunding and the JOBS Act, which was signed into law last April with several goals, one of which was to help startups raise money from ordinary investors. Those columns were about the promise of crowdfunding and the JOBS Act while this one is about what progress has been made so far toward that end. For startups, alas, the news is not entirely good. Crowdfunding looks like it may not be available at all for the smaller, needier companies the law was supposedly designed to serve.

It’s one thing to pass a law and quite another to write rules to carry out that law. Title 3 […]

Geek Idol: A Competition to Promote Competitiveness

A couple weeks from now we’re going to start serializing my 1992 book Accidental Empires: How the Boys of Silicon Valley Make Their Millions, Battle Foreign Competition, and Still Can’t Get a Date. It’s the book that was the basis for my 1996 documentary TV series Triumph of the Nerds and ultimately led to this column starting on pbs.org in 1997.

What goes around comes around.

We’ll be serializing the complete 1996 paperback edition which is 102,000 words in length, pumping the book onto the intertubes at around 2,000 words per day. In about 51 days, give or take a bit, we’ll put the entire work on the web with no ads and no subscription fee, just lots and lots of […]

Is the U.S. Startup Economy Failing?

As I’ve written here many times before, small companies and especially new companies are what create nearly all of the net new jobs in America, yet a new study released last week by the Hudson Institute suggests the rate of job formation by new firms is down dramatically in recent years, from an average of 11 new startup jobs per 1000 workers at a peak in 2006 down to 7.8 new startup jobs per 1000 workers in 2011 — a 29 percent decline.  So is the startup economy losing its oomph and should we be worried? No the startup economy isn’t losing its oomph but yes, it’s time […]

Ticked off: How stock market decimalization killed IPOs and ruined our economy


Well it took me more than the one day I predicted to finish this column, which purports to explain that dull feeling so many of us have in our hearts these days when we consider the U.S. economy. Our entrepreneurial zeal is to some extent zapped. For a decade it seemed we needed to jump from bubble to bubble in order just to drive economic growth — growth that ultimately didn’t last. What happened? Initial Public Offerings (IPOs) went away, that’s what happened.

I wrote several columns on job creation over the last year, columns that explained in great detail how new businesses, young businesses, and small businesses create […]