Cover image for The nudist on the late shift
Title:
The nudist on the late shift
Author:
Bronson, Po, 1964-
Personal Author:
Edition:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Random House, [1999]

©1999
Physical Description:
xxxv, 248 pages ; 25 cm
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780375502774
Format :
Book

Available:*

Library
Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Status
Central Library HD9696.2.U63 C353 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
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Summary

Summary

Journeys behind the scenes of Silicon Valley to profile some of the colorful inhabitants of this high-tech universe, including David Filo, a co-founder of Yahoo.


Author Notes

Po Bronson is an American journalist and author who lives in San Francisco, California.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Bronson, the oft-dubbed "Tom Wolfe of Silicon Valley," follows an ensemble cast of young hopefuls during the months, weeks, and even moments prior to hitting it big, or losing it all, in the Internet start-up game. His engrossing subjects include college dropouts turned instant millionaires, whiz-kid programmers, headhunters who concoct hilarious ruses to obtain confidential employee data, and cutting-edge party planners. He provides longer portraits of several of high tech's key players, like Sabeer Bhatia, the cofounder of Hotmail, and Danny Hillis, the revered visionary engineer. Bronson deftly and engagingly conveys the Valley's entrepreneurial culture, where the Next Big Ideas are born in rented cubicles, where company loyalty is as permanent as last week's digital technology, and where sought-after venture capitalists can be found at keg parties and soccer matches. In one nail-biter of a sequence, Bronson chronicles the days and hours as a small company, Actuate Software, goes public for $28 million. With heartbreaks as common as success stories, this is A Chorus Line for the dot.com dreamers. (Incidentally, the book's title refers to a legendary eccentric programmer.) --James Klise


Publisher's Weekly Review

Having satirized Silicon Valley in his novel The First $20 Million Is Always the Hardest, Bronson now turns a much rosier eye on the pulsing heart of the information age. As Bronson examines the pursuit of high-tech entrepreneurial glory, his method recalls the way Robert Altman's Nashville gave moviegoers a sense of the chase for country music stardomÄexcept there's very little pathos here and a lot of blue sky. Though he dutifully presents the long odds facing the would-be founders of the next Yahoo!, Bronson thrills to the culture of the Valley because he believes it fuses the often contradictory desires for security and adventure. "By injecting mind-boggling amounts of risk into the once stodgy domain of gray-suited business, young people no longer have to choose. It's a two-for-one deal: the career path has become the adventure into the unknown." Bronson clearly likes the wild-eyed optimists and masters of uncertainty he profiles. There's Sabeer Bhatia, the Indian-born founder of Hotmail, who established a company and, against the advice of more experienced heads, rejected several buyout offers from Bill Gates until Microsoft paid $400 million for Hotmail. There's the exec who let Bronson be a fly on the wall during the ulcer-inducing process of steering a company through an IPO. And there are the talented programmers, many of whom, though not yet 30, have Ancient Mariner-like tales of rejecting stock optionsÄand thus forfeiting millionsÄin companies that were bought or went public. Bronson is tuned in to the quirks of both personality and culture. His prose, often funny, maintains impressive velocity and is well suited to the manic life of the Valley and its colorful menagerie of characters. (July) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


Library Journal Review

For novelist Bronson, Silicon Valley "is about the opportunity to become a mover and a shaker, not about being one." In his first work of nonfiction, he turns his satirist's eye on Silicon Valley (also the subject of his second novel The First $20 Million Is Always the Hardest, 1997). Inspired by the urban legend of the nudist programmer, a folktale that turned out to be true, Bronson profiles in witty, vivid detail the people who make the Valley the exciting place it is: young newcomers who come for the adventure and the risk; entrepreneurs like Ben Chiu of Killerapp.com and Sabeer Bhatia of Hotmail who strike it rich, brilliant but socially inept programmers ("eccentricity is de riguer") who thrill to see their software "go live on the Big Green X" yet will drop everything to go squirrel hunting in Tennessee. As Michael Lewis's Liar's Poker (1989) captured Wall Street and the spirit of the greedy 1980s, so Bronson's new book reflects the Valley and the digital revolution it spawned in the 1990s. For all libraries. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 3/1/99.]ÄWilda Williams, "Library Journal" (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Excerpts

Excerpts

If the most torturous fate was a mind, caged, who would understand? If you always found life's elixir in striving rather than getting, who would understand? If you gambled rather than nest-egged and hit jackpot once of seven, who would understand? BY CAR, BY PLANE, THEY COME. They just show up. They've given up their lives elsewhere to come here. They come for the tremendous opportunity, believing that in no other place in the world right now can one person accomplish so much with talent, initiative, and a good idea. It's a region where who you know and how much money you have have never been less relevant to success. They come because it does not matter that they are young or left college without a degree or have dark skin or speak with an accent. They come even if it is illegal to do so. They come because they feel that they will regret it the rest of their lives if they do not at least give it a try. They come to be a part of history, to build the technology that will reshape how people will live and work five or ten years from now. They come for the excitement, just to be a part of it. They come because they are competitive by instinct and can't stand to see others succeed more than they. They come to make enough money so they will never have to think about money again. They are the new breed, Venture Trippers, who get off on the dizzying adventure of bloodwork. It is a mad, fertile time. Working has become nothing less than a sport here in Superachieverland: people are motivated by the thrill of the competition and the danger of losing, and every year the rules evolve to make it all happen more quickly, on higher margins, reaching ever more amazing sums. They come from places wallowing in an X-Y-axis attitudinal coordinate, a slow-mo way of thinking about one's life that offers a plodding story line they can't manage to suspend their disbelief of. They try to live that story, but they keep popping out, keep finding themselves saying, "What the hell am I doing with my life?" They come because what they see ahead of them, if they stay where they are, is a working life that seems fundamentally and unavoidably boring. Nothing seems worse than the fate of boringness. They feel they are being offered a neo-Faustian trade-off by society: all of life's sprawling dimensions will be funneled through the narrow pipe of the career path. And rather than choosing not to work hard, the Venture Trippers are taking the opposite approach from the Slackers. They're saying, If I'm going to have to make that trade-off, then hell, why the fuck not? I'm young, let's raise the stakes. Let's up the bet. Let's make it exciting. Let's put it all on black. Let 'em roll. And they come. Excerpted from The Nudist on the Late Shift: And Other True Tales of Silicon Valley by Po Bronson All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

Table of Contents

Legal Notep. ix
Introduction: The Nudist On The Late Shiftp. xiii
1. The Newcomersp. 3
2. The Ipop. 40
3. The Entrepreneurp. 78
4. The Programmersp. 98
5. The Salespeoplep. 139
6. The Futuristp. 165
7. The Dropoutp. 187
8. Is The "Revolution!" Over?p. 214

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