The Startup Channel

Screen Shot 2013-02-28 at 6.40.46 AMWe interrupt this book for a quick update on what’s happening in my so-called career. Shortly before beginning this serialization of Accidental Empires I explained that I would be doing some new projects including a book and a startup about startups — The Startup Channel (thestartupchannel.net). The latter project will now launch in April so it’s time to explain.

The Startup Channel will be an online video channel about startups and startup people. You’ll find it probably on YouTube unless some other Internet video outfit makes me a better offer (hint, hint). We’ll be launching with 40 hours of pre-produced content, which is a lot for online video where the […]

Accidental Empires, Part 6 (Chapter 1c) — The Airport Kid

accidental-195x300ACCIDENTAL EMPIRES

The Airport Kid was what they called a boy who ran errands and did odd jobs around a landing field in exchange for airplane rides and the distant prospect of learning to fly. From Lindbergh’s day on, every landing strip anywhere in America had such a kid— sometimes several—who’d caught on to the wonder of flight and wasn’t about to let go.

Technologies usually fade in popularity as they are replaced by new ways of doing things, so the lure of flight must have been awesome, because the airport kids stuck around America for generations. They finally disappeared in the 1970s, killed not by a transcendant technology but by the dismal economics of flight.

The numbers […]

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 […]