- Audible Audiobook
- Listening Length: 9 hours and 25 minutes
- Program Type: Audiobook
- Version: Unabridged
- Publisher: Brilliance Audio
- Audible.com Release Date: September 29, 2008
- Whispersync for Voice: Ready
- Language: English
- ASIN: B001H071HC
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank:
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The New New Thing: A Silicon Valley Story Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
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Explaining the how's, why's, and differences between the old way of doing things and the new (or new new) way of doing things can be tricky, because it assumes you have some understanding of how the old (or old old) way of doing things works. I'm not a Wall Street investor, but I felt not only capable of understanding Lewis' framework of explanation, but I felt like I could extrapolate deeper meaning from it. He manages to paint fascinating pictures of all the people involved in the pursuit of the new new thing and how their constellation manages to orbit itself as it becomes standard operating practice in the growing tech industry.
I also felt like I could better understand how the minds of billionaire "executives" (as Lewis points out, Jim Clark wasn't exactly sure how to describe exactly what it was he does) and how they anticipate the next new new thing, why it interests them, and how quickly it starts to lose their interest. If you can understand someone like Clark, you can start to understand the industry.
Does that that mean I wouldn't recommend it? No! I still liked it, and would recommend it as a "good" read, I was disappointed because I expect a "great" read from this author.
Although I doubt commercial interest warrants, this book could use an updated epilogue, particularly surrounding Healtheon/WebMD, which I have to think does not at all match the original vision.
As usual, very well written and engaging; always the case with Lewis. I didn't find Jim Clark as sympathetic as I think I was intended to, and as a result some of the chapters focused on him personally (especially his flying a helicopter, and sailing his boat across the Atlantic) dragged a bit.
It is interesting to see what time has already done to this story...by focusing on Healtheon, Lewis has really chosen the weak sister of Clark's three billion-dollar babies. Indeed, the Healtheon / WebMD story looks shakier by the day. Furthermore, Lewis makes the case that Netscape went public without profits simply because Clark wanted to build his boat. If so, he started a tsunami of no-hope companies down the same road, leading to the dramatic April 2000 market correction.
There were two parts of the book I particularly loved: First, the part on the engineers from India was compelling. These kids grow up on the brink of starvation and work their tails off to make it to Silicon Valley to seek their dreams. The book keenly demonstrates how Jim Clark is able to harness these kind of people and let their talents operate in the most productive way, and also make them rich beyond their wildest dreams.
Second, the best part of the book was the second to last chapter, about how Jim Clark came from absolute poverty in Texas. Clark had to defend his mother from his drunken father, and his mother had only $5 a month after the bills were paid. The book keenly demonstrates how Clark's sense of anarchy and adventure led him to rise far above the hand he was dealt in life.
The story of how Clark has made 3 different billion dollar companies is amazing, and even more amazing is that he is using his talents to create a fourth company instead of only sailing his crazy boat.
You'll learn a lot when you read this book, it will inspire you, and you'll enjoy it. Read it soon, before the next new new thing makes it irrelevant.
Also infuses fun and lot to laugh at.