The Code: Silicon Valley and the Remaking of America

The Code: Silicon Valley and the Remaking of America

by Margaret O'Mara

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One of New York Magazine's best books on Silicon Valley!

The true, behind-the-scenes history of the people who built Silicon Valley and shaped Big Tech in America

Long before Margaret O'Mara became one of our most consequential historians of the American-led digital revolution, she worked in the White House of Bill Clinton and Al Gore in the earliest days of the commercial Internet. There she saw firsthand how deeply intertwined Silicon Valley was with the federal government--and always had been--and how shallow the common understanding of the secrets of the Valley's success actually was. Now, after almost five years of pioneering research, O'Mara has produced the definitive history of Silicon Valley for our time, the story of mavericks and visionaries, but also of powerful institutions creating the framework for innovation, from the Pentagon to Stanford University. It is also a story of a community that started off remarkably homogeneous and tight-knit and stayed that way, and whose belief in its own mythology has deepened into a collective hubris that has led to astonishing triumphs as well as devastating second-order effects.

Deploying a wonderfully rich and diverse cast of protagonists, from the justly famous to the unjustly obscure, across four generations of explosive growth in the Valley, from the forties to the present, O'Mara has wrestled one of the most fateful developments in modern American history into magnificent narrative form. She is on the ground with all of the key tech companies, chronicling the evolution in their offerings through each successive era, and she has a profound fingertip feel for the politics of the sector and its relation to the larger cultural narrative about tech as it has evolved over the years. Perhaps most impressive, O'Mara has penetrated the inner kingdom of tech venture capital firms, the insular and still remarkably old-boy world that became the cockpit of American capitalism and the crucible for bringing technological innovation to market, or not. 

The transformation of big tech into the engine room of the American economy and the nexus of so many of our hopes and dreams--and, increasingly, our nightmares--can be understood, in Margaret O'Mara's masterful hands, as the story of one California valley. As her majestic history makes clear, its fate is the fate of us all.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780399562198
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 07/09/2019
Sold by: Penguin Group
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 512
Sales rank: 231,343
File size: 27 MB
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About the Author

Margaret O'Mara is Professor of History at the University of Washington. She writes and teaches about the history of U.S. politics, the growth of the high-tech economy, and the connections between the two, and is the author of Cities of Knowledge and Pivotal Tuesdays. She received her MA/PhD from the University of Pennsylvania and her BA from Northwestern University. Prior to her academic career, she worked in the Clinton White House and served as a contributing researcher at the Brookings Institution. She lives in the Seattle area with her husband Jeff and their two daughters.

Table of Contents

List of Abbreviations xiii

Introduction: The American Revolution 1

Act 1 Start Up

Arrivals 11

Chapter 1 Endless Frontier 17

Chapter 2 Golden State 30

Chapter 3 Shoot the Moon 43

Chapter 4 Networked 53

Chapter 5 The Money Men 67

Arrivals 83

Chapter 6 Boom and Bust 85

Act 2 Product Launch

Arrivals 95

Chapter 7 The Olympics of Capitalism 99

Chapter 8 Power to the People 113

Chapter 9 The Personal Machine 127

Chapter 10 Homebrewed 137

Chapter 11 Unforgettable 144

Chapter 12 Risky Business 157

Act 3 Go Public

Arrivals 175

Chapter 13 Storytellers 178

Chapter 14 California Dreaming 191

Chapter 15 Made in Japan 206

Chapter 16 Big Brother 227

Chapter 17 War Games 246

Chapter 18 Built on Sand 261

Act 4 Change the World

Arrivals 283

Chapter 19 Information Means Empowerment 285

Chapter 20 Suits in the Valley 302

Chapter 21 Magna Carta 323

Chapter 22 Don't Be Evil 339

Arrivals 357

Chapter 23 The Internet Is You 559

Chapter 24 Software Eats the World 375

Chapter 25 Masters of the Universe 388

Departure: Into the Driverless Car 405

Acknowledgments 413

Note on Sources 417

Notes 427

Image Credits 485

Index 487

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