The new new thing michael lewis pdf

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The New New Thing: A Silicon Valley Story Lewis, Michael. W. W. Norton & Company, Inc. English Clark, Jim . Book details Author: Michael Lewis Pages: pages Publisher: W. W. READ Design of the UNIX Operating System: United States Edition (Prentice-Hal [PDF] DOWNLOAD Crushing It!: How Great Entrepreneurs Build Business and In. Editorial Reviews. maroc-evasion.info Review. Michael Lewis was supposed to be writing about how Jim Clark, the founder of Silicon Graphics and Netscape, was.

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The New New Thing Michael Lewis Pdf

The New New Thing: A Silicon Valley Story [Michael Lewis] on maroc-evasion.info * FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. New York Times Bestseller. “A superb book. New Thing, never answers this question and with good reason. People like. Jim Clark According to Lewis, Clark's talent was based on a risk-. cover title: The New New Thing: A Silicon Valley Story author: Lewis, Michael. publisher: W. W. Norton & Company, Inc. isbn10 | asin: print isbn .

The New New Thing: A Silicon Valley Story. Michael Lewis. Composition by Julia Druskin. Manufacturing by The Haddon Craftsmen Inc. Book design by Chris Welch.

There was a reason for this: Up until April 4, , Silicon Valley was known as the source of a few high-tech industries, and mainly the computer industry. On April 4, , Netscape was incorporated. Suddenlyas fast as thatSilicon Valley was the source of changes taking place across the society.

The Internet was a Trojan horse in which technogeeks entered all sorts of markets previously inhospitable to technogeeks. Wall Street, to take just one example, was turned on its head by new companies and new technologies and new social types created just south of San Francisco.

The financial success of the people at the heart of this matter was unprecedented. It made s Wall Street seem like the low-stakes poker table. As yet, there is no final reckoning of the wealth the Valley has created. Hundreds of billions of dollars, certainly; perhaps even tril- Page 14 lions. In any case, ''the greatest legal creation of wealth in the history of the planet," as one local capitalist puts it.

The money was only part of what I found interesting. I really do think, and not just because I happen to be writing a book about it, that the business of creating and foisting new technology upon others that goes on in Silicon Valley is near the core of the American experience. The United States obviously occupies a strange place in the world.

It is the capital of innovation, of material prosperity, of a certain kind of energy, of certain kinds of freedom, and of transience. It is one of those places, unlike the Metropolitan Museum of Art, but like Las Vegas, that are unimaginable anywhere but in the United States.

It is distinctively us. Within this unusual place some people were clearly more unusual than others. Many of those who sought and found fortune in Silicon Valley in the s could just as easily have found it on Wall Street in the s or in London in the s.

But a certain type of person who has recently made it big in Silicon Valley could have made it big at no other time in history. He made it big because he was uniquely suited to this particular historical moment.

He was built to work on the frontier of economic life when the frontier was once again up for grabs. He was designed for rapid social and technological change. He was the starter of new things. Oddly enough, this character at the center of one of history's great economic booms, who, in effect, sits with the detonator between his legs, could not describe what he did for a living.

When a person sets out to find the new idea or the new technology that will a make him rich and b throw entire industries into turmoil and c cause ordinary people to sit up and say, "My God, something just changed," he isn't doing science. He isn't engaged in what any serious thinker would call thought.

Unless he makes a lot of money, he isn't even treated as a businessman, at least not by serious businessmen. He might call himself an "entrepreneur," but that word has been debased by overuse. Really, there's no good word for what he does. I first noticed this problem when I watched one of these peoplea man who had made himself a billion dollarstry to fill in a simple questionnaire.

On the line that asked him to state his occupation, he did not know what to write. Page 15 There was no name for what he did. He couldn't very well put down that. For that matter, there is no name for what he's looking for, which, typically, is a technology, or an idea, on the cusp of commercial viability. The new new thing. It's easier to say what the new new thing is not than to say what it is.

It is not necessarily a new invention. It is not even necessarily a new ideamost everything has been considered by someone, at some point. The new new thing is a notion that is poised to be taken seriously in the marketplace. It's the idea that is a tiny push away from general acceptance and, when it gets that push, will change the world. The searcher for the new new thing conforms to no well-established idea of what people should do for a living.

He gropes. Finding the new new thing is as much a matter of timing as of technical or financial aptitude, though both of those qualities help. The sensation that defines the search is the sweet, painful feeling that you get when you can't think of a word that feels as if it's right on the tip of your tongue. For most people the relief they experience upon finding it is almost physical. They sink back in their chairs and try not to stumble upon any more difficult words.

The person who makes his living searching for the new new thing is not like most people, however. He does not seriously want to sink back into any chair. He needs to keep on groping. He chooses to live perpetually with that sweet tingling discomfort of not quite knowing what it is he wants to say. It's one of the little ironies of economic progress that, while it often results in greater levels of comfort, it depends on people who prefer not to get too comfortable.

From the start of my investigation of Silicon Valley, I knew I was trying to describe a process: It just so happened that the process was best illustrated by this character. After all, the greatest legal creation of wealth in the history of the planet came directly from the new new thing.

When you asked, "How is it that an entire economy made this little leap? That person may not be entirely typical of our age. Is anyone? But he is, in this case, representative: A catalyst for change and regenera- Page 16 tion. And he has left his fingerprints all over the backside of modern life.

What I've tried to write, in a roundabout way, which is the only way I could think to write it, is a character study of a man with the gift for giving a little push to Silicon Valley, and to the whole economy. To do this I had to follow him on his search.

I hope the reader will, too.

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At any rate, I hope he or she gets a sense of what it feels like to be so oddly, and messily, engaged. Progress does not march forward like an army on parade; it crawls on its belly like a guerrilla.

The important events in capitalism no longer occur mainly in oak-paneled offices, if indeed they ever did. They can happen in the least likely of places.

On a boat in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, for instance. As it turned out, the main character of this story had a structure to his life. He might not care to acknowledge it, but it was there all the same. It was the structure of an old-fashioned adventure story. His mere presence on a scene inspired the question that propels every adventure story forward: What will happen next?

I had no idea. And neither, really, did he. Page 19 1 The Boat That Built Netscape The original plan, which Lord knows didn't mean very much when that plan had been made by Jim Clark, was that we would test the boat quickly in the North Sea and then sail it across the Atlantic Ocean. If nothing went too badly wrong, it would take us six days to sail down to the Canary Islands and another ten to the Caribbean. I had seen Clark in so many different situations that I felt sure I knew him, and the range of behavior he was capable of.

But there is nothing like sixteen days on the high seas with a small group of people who have a lot of doubts about each other to test one's assumptions about human character. On the Atlantic crossing Hyperion would carry only the captain and his seven crew members, one or two computer programmers, Clark and me.

Why Jim Clark was so worthy of study was another matter, and I'll come to that soon enough. For now I'll just say that the quirks in the man's character sent the most fantastic ripples through the world around him. Often starting with the best intentions, or no intentions at all, he turned people's lives upside down and subjected them to the most vicious force a human being can be subjected to, change.

Oddly Page 20 enough, he was forever claiming that what he really wanted to do was put up his feet and relax. He could not do this for more than a minute.

Once he'd put up his feet, his mind would spin and his face would redden and he'd be disturbed all over again. He'd thought of something or someone in the world that needed to be changed.

His new boat was a case in point. For all I knew, Clark would be remembered chiefly as the guy who created Netscape and triggered the Internet boom, which in turn triggered one of the most astonishing grabfests in the history of capitalism.

Maybe somewhere in a footnote it would be mentioned that he came from nothing, grew up poor, dropped out of high school, and made himself three or four billion dollars.

It might even be said that he had a nose for the new new thing. But to my way of thinking these were only surface details, the least interesting things about him. After all, a lot of people these days have a billion dollars. Four hundred and sixty-five, according to the July issue of Forbes magazine. And most of them are no more interesting than you or me.

You have to trust me on this. Along the stretch of canal outside of Amsterdam where the water is deepest, the swollen tankers and stout tugs come to rest. Neither the driver nor I had the slightest idea where in this stand of massive industrial ships one might park a pleasure boat. It was not a place anyone would normally come for fun. The driver finally turned around and asked me exactly what I was looking for, and I told him I was looking for the sailboat that would take me out to sea.

He laughed, but in the way people do who want to prove they get the joke. The Dutch do this a lot. They appear to live in terror of being mistaken for Germans, and to compensate by finding a funny side to life where none exists.

Tell a Dutchman that your dog just died, and he will pretend that you have just made some impossibly witty remark. This is what the driver did when I told him I was about to go sailing in the North Sea.

It was early December, the winds were up around thirty-five miles an hour, and the North Seawell, the North Sea in winter is not the place to be in any kind of sailboat. The driver roared in the most un-Germanly fashion. The great mast rescued us.

One moment we were lost; the next we turned a corner and spotted on the horizon the tall, rigid white rod. Its Page 21 brightly colored pennants flew in relief against the gray sky, and its five spreaders reached up into the clouds like a chain of receding crucifixes. They beckoned everyone within five miles to drop his jaw in wonder. It was then that the driver finally stopped laughing. Three minutes later we drove onto the dock up near the low white sailboat, next to the name painted in blue cursive on the side: You could tell the driver knew at least a bit about sailboats because he immediately called the boat a "sloop.

I said that that was because it was the biggest sloop ever built. His eyes moved from the hull to the mast, and from the mast to the boom, and from the boom to the sails, which, unfurled, would cover a football field. It wasn't until I told him that the boat did not exactly require a crew, that it could be completely controlled by a computer, that conviction returned to his laughter.

The whole thing, after all, had been some foreigner's idea of a joke. When I arrived that morning of the first North Sea trial, Wolter Huisman was standing on the deck beneath the mast.

Wolter owned the boatyard that had built Hyperion. Wet snow dribbled from his rain gear, and his woolen cap drooped around his ears. His chin sunk glumly into his dark tattered parka, and his old Dutch shoulders sagged like a commuter's at the end of a long day.

He seemed to be melting. Coming up from behind, I caught him muttering to himself. Later I learned that Wolter hadn't slept. He'd stared at the ceiling all night, worrying. Then he sighed and said, at once apropos of nothing and everything, "When Yim wants something, Yim gets it. He still had the Dutch habit of laughing at whatever you told him, just in case it happened to be a joke.

But his laugh was harsh and unhap- Page 22 py. Wolter was pushing seventy, and his heart was old and weak, but this gloom of his was young and vital. Who could blame him? His fate was now intertwined with Hyperion's. And Hyperion was at this very moment the most spectacular maritime disaster waiting to happen since the launching of the Titanic.

Of course, every new yacht that left the Huisman Shipyard was, so far as Wolter was concerned, an accident waiting to happen. It had taken Wolter, and his father before him, and his father's father before him, decades to build their reputation as perhaps the world's finest makers of yachts. Each time Wolter launched a new yacht, that reputation went up for grabs.

But this was different. This was new. He was creating a new one. On that bitterly cold December morning Hyperion left its moorings so silently that the programmers didn't notice. The programmers were three young men Jim Clark had flown over from Silicon Valley to the North Sea to help him turn his new yacht into a giant floating computer. Each was in his early thirties, each possessed a wardrobe that appeared to consist of nothing but T-shirts and blue jeans, and each was a former employee of Clark's first technology startup, Silicon Graphics.

They clambered up on deck from below, where they had been typing away on their keyboards, to see what they'd wrought. It was as if they hadn't quite believed that Hyperion would float.

The bridge was a technogeek fantasy. Where an experienced sailor would expect to find a familiar row of gadgetsradar, sonar, radio, GPS, and so onwere four large flat-panel computer display screens. The three young men took seats in front of these and started pressing buttons. Soon enough they were making small quivering sounds that suggested all was not right with the computers.

On one of the screens was a map of Holland. The map focused on the area immediately around us, perhaps twenty square miles. A miniature Hyperion inched stealthily across it, like a boat in a video game.

But according to the computer map we were chugging on top of a farmer's field, and heading toward an airfield. The slender canal we were actually on lay three miles to the east. Any captain using the computer to run the boat would think he was heading full tilt into an aircraft watchtower. Page 23 I walked out onto the deck to find that the same map occupied the computer screen in front of Allan Prior, the man Clark had hired to captain Hyperion.

Allan was from the old school. He'd won the Whitbread around-the-world race in a sailboat so stripped down that it looked vandalized. Allan himself looked vandalized; the wind and the sun had ravaged his complexion. Allan did not believe that sailboats should be run by computers.

Now he was staring straight ahead, attempting to avoid a large ferry that was making a dash across the canal. I returned to the programmers on the bridge. After a couple of minutes of furious typing, they had the boat back on the water. Yet the head programmer, a fellow named Steve Hague, retained a certain dubiousness. His eyes darted back and forth between the edge of the canal and the map on which Hyperion chugged along.

All of the computer's gauges seemed to be either inadequate or inaccurate. A captain steering off themwhich Allan Prior at that moment declined to dowould not only think that he was sailing through a wheat field. He'd think he was sailing through a wheat field in the wrong direction. For no apparent reason a red light flashed on one of the screens. Steve punched some buttons. According to the computer we'd been grounded. Yes it was. Just a few hours earlier the weatherman had predicted Force 4 sailing conditions.

Force 4 implied pleasant winds of twenty knots and seas of perhaps six feet. Even before we left the canal and passed through the locks into the North Sea, the report lost its credibility.

The gauges on the boat that measured the speed of the wind had frozen at fifty knotsthe computer had not been programmed to register winds any higher. As we passed through the lock and into a harbor, we could finally see why Wolter Huisman muttered to himself. Fifteen-foot waves crashed against the seawall and flicked their white foam thirty feet in the air, where it mingled with falling snow.

Gusts of wind blew at seventy miles an hour. The boat suddenly began to rock too violently for Page 24 anyone to stare very long into his computer.

The programmers scrambled out from the bridge and onto the deck, where Allan and Wolter stood together in the snow with pretty much everyone else: The only person missing was Clark himself, but, then, people who knew Clark knew better than to expect him to be where he was meant to be.

Sooner or later he'd turn up, usually when he was not wanted. They both knew that the weather was the least of their problems. When Hyperion left the seawall behind, it put itself at the mercy of a furious North Sea. Instantly, the boat was seized by forces far greater than itself; its magnificence was trivialized. A furious partial corkscrewing motion pulled us up to the right and then down to the left. We'd dip into a trough, experience a brief, false moment of calm, and then be picked up and twisted again.

The German television soundman dropped to his knees, crawled over the side of the boat, and vomited. There was no question of his suppressing the urge; it was as if someone had pushed a button on the computer that instructed the man to be sick. There, prone and puking on the violent deck, he lifted his microphone into the air to capture the ambient noise. Room tone. A young Dutch friend of Clark's along for the ride chuckled and said, "The Germans. They will always do the job they are given no matter what.

It took about a minute and a half before the first Dutch boatyard worker leaned over the safety ropes and vomited the Saint Nick's cake he'd been served an hour before. A minute later he was joined by two poor colleagues who had been down below monitoring the engines. A few minutes after that the three fellows working on the foredeck came back to join the party. Then came the rest of the German television crew. Hyperion rose and twisted and plunged and settled, then rose and twisted and plunged and settled all over again.

Within twenty minutes eight men had gone as lifeless as if they had been unplugged from their sockets. Those who weren't sick pretended to be amused. They clustered around the captain and clung to the rails and smiled crazily at each other. Page 25 Eventually, Allan reduced the engine speed and hoisted the sail.

He did this by pushing a button, which told the computer to hoist the sail, which the computer, for once, did. The mast was hatched with crossbars, called spreaders. The sail rose with a great flapping sound past them one by one until at length it reached the second-to-last spreader. Just when you thought there could be no more sail, more sail appeared. The mainsail alone was 5, square feet, a bit more than a quarter of a football field.

The world's largest sail, as it happened. It was expected to handle up to eleven tons of wind. That is, the force on its ropes was the equivalent of dangling from their ends an eleven ton steel block. Already the ropes were being tested. Wolter nodded solemnly. Not until you have hoisted a sail and turned off the engine can you fully appreciate the euphoria that accompanied the invention of the steam engine. The boat, now engineless, was subjected to a grosser, more primal force.

The waves crashed and the spray came in sheets and the partial corkscrewing motion became a full corkscrewing motion. The eight men in Puker's Alley retched all over again. This time it wasn't so funny to the others. A wave washed over the deck and knocked two of the Dutch shipyard workers on the bow off their feet; they were saved from the sea by their safety ropes, which they alone wore.

The three technogeeks clung to the rails and tried not to remember that they didn't belong here. They knew without being told that anyone who went overboard was as good as gone.

A person tossed into the North Sea in December would last only a few minutes before freezing to death; and in these conditions it might take an hour to pick up a man overboard, if you could find him. Maybe for this reason no one bothered to don a life jacket. It was then I noticed Wolter, his arm wrapped tightly around a rail, trying not to look at everything at once. It was Wolter whose ass was really on the line out here. If a Huisman mast snapped, or a Huisman hull leaked, and a Huisman yacht sank, a long and glorious family tradition bubbled to the bottom of the North Sea floor.

That is why Wolter and his three hundred stout and sturdy craftsmen back in their tiny village in the north of Holland resisted change. They did not cling to the past mindlessly. But they were as immune as people can be to the allure of a new way of doing things. Traditional, in a word. Wolter had spent the past three years wrestling with a great force Page 26 that had neither the time nor the taste for tradition.

The struggle had turned Wolter into an old man. Before Jim Clark had come to the boatyard at the end of , Wolter had never heard of Silicon Valley, or of the Internet, or, for that matter, of Jim Clark.

Yim, as Wolter called him, had sat down amid the exquisite models of ships built centuries before, and the old black-and-white photographs of Wolter and his ancestors at work building them. He had seen a yacht Wolter had just finished building, he said, and wanted one like it. Only bigger. And faster.

And newer. He wanted his mast to be the biggest mast ever built. And he wanted to control the whole boat with his computers. Specifically, he wanted to be able to dial into his boat over the Internet from his desk in Silicon Valley and sail it across the San Francisco Bay. It was as if someone had distilled manic late twentieth-century American capitalism into a vial of liquid and poured it down Wolter's throat.

Only a small part of the discomfort experienced on that wintry, gray December afternoon on the North Sea was physical. Most of it occurred inside of people's minds. Clark pushed people into places they never would have gone willingly. Often the people who'd been pushed assumed, for one reason or another, that Jim Clark, the rich man from Silicon Valley who seemed to know what was about to happen before anyone else, would make sure that it didn't happen to them.

The problem with their assumption was that it wasn't true: His penchant for disrupting his environment was at the bottom of every new company he created; now he'd used it to transform a sailboat. The many strange deep sensations on boardWolter's dread, Allan's frustration, the computer geeks' unlikely feelings of responsibilityall were the doing of Clark and his new technology.

It was a single great, messy experiment, which, in retrospect, was bound not to end well. And it didn't. At the moment when the seas were most fierce, the boat's tiny population huddled together on the stern. Hyperion pitched and rolled; its passengers clung to the rails and to each other. Even Allan, who had sailed around the world three times in boats the size of Clark's bathtubs back in California, was numb as a mummy. But that is what Clark did. He emerged from his cabin, where he'd been fiddling with his computer, and made his way up the safety ropes along the side.

Since Hyperion was feet long, and he was six foot three, this took some doing. I should say that he did not look as he was expected to look; his appearance was just another element of surprise in a surprising universe. He was tall and broad in a way computer nerds are not supposed to be. His blond hair was neatly combed.

His features were small and delicate: He was handsome. Unlike most men who make billions of dollars for themselves, he had an expansive, easy manner.

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At any rate, that's the first impression he made. If you looked closely, you could see that each of the slow and easy gestures was countered by another that was small, tense, almost involuntary.

His body language was engaged in a debate with itself. It was as if he had an itch that he was refusing to scratch. When he reached the bow, he climbed up toward the world's tallest sailboat mast, which rose to a point feet over the deck. He put his hand on it, to steady himself. There he stood for some long while, a large yellow lump of Gore-Tex, directly beneath the tall, rigid white rod of his ambition.

He was looking, it appeared, straight up at the sky. What he was looking for, no one could say. Probably he was thinking about something he might like to change. Possibly he was not thinking at all but groping. That is how his mind workedthe logic always came after the initial, inexplicable, primal impulse. But whatever he was doing he didn't do it for long. Once he'd found his footing, his mast began to sway.

At first its movements were barely perceptible; then they became more pronounced; at last they were violent. Later someone who had been on the bridge said he had heard a loud crack. The rubber at the base of the world's tallest mast had shattered. The foot-wide seal that kept Clark's feet of carbon fiber standing straight had frozen into a crystal, and then broken to bits.

The mast came loose in its socket. Its three and a half tons rocked wildly back and forth, like a broomstick rattling around inside a garbage can.

As quickly as he could press a button, Allan Prior lowered the sail, before the mast itself broke and fell over into the sea.

Page 28 2 The Accelerated grimace It couldn't have been more than a few hours after the last guest stumbled out his front gate that Clark called and made his suggestion. Apparently, he hadn't slept. It was just before eight in the morning on the fifth of July.

He'd spent the past three hours writing computer code, and the seven hours before that drinking with seventy of his favorite engineers who worked for the companies he'd created and then, more or less, abandoned. By then I knew that the only way to spend time with Jim Clark was to leap onto one of his machines.

You didn't interact with him so much as hitch a ride on the back of his life. Once you proved to him that you wouldn't complain, or weep, or vomit into the gearbox, he was not unwilling to pick you up. He offered you a choice of vehicles: His array of possessions was hardly original. He could be made to seem like yet another newly rich guy trying to demonstrate to the world just how rich he'd become. Either that or Page 29 one of those people who try to prove how interesting they are by risking their lives in various moronic adventures.

This was not his motive, however. He didn't need to show how much money he had; the number was in the newspaper every day. The number was always changing. In any case, it never would have occurred to Clark that anyone of his machines was a mere display of wealth, or some kind of thrill ride. No matter how reckless his mode of travel might appear, he never considered himself anything less than the soul of caution.

No, for him all the joy came from mechanical intimacy. He loved to know about them, to operate them, to master them, to fix them when they were broken. More than anything he liked to upgrade and improve them. I came to believe they were the creatures in the world to whom he felt closest. They were certainly the only ones he really trusted.

If anything, Clark used his machines not to impress other people but to avoid them. They were his getaway vehicles. Once it became clear that a person would not permit himself to be gotten away from, Clark would load that person into the back of his stunt plane, launch him five thousand feet straight up in the air, and switch off the engine.

The maneuver was known as the reverse hammer. The plane would plummet back toward earth, tail first, spinning like a top. The passenger rarely returned for a second trip. Unsettling as these rides often were, they were never dull. Something always happened on them that wasn't supposed to happen.

An hour after Clark phoned, he picked me up in one of his designer sports cars. He wore dark sunglasses and the pained expression of a man enduring the aftershocks of two bottles of fine Burgundy. I lobbed into the haze a series of conversation starters before he took a swing at one of them: Veblen was a quixotic social theorist with an unfortunate taste for the wives of his colleagues in the Stanford economics department. Between trysts he coined many poignant phrases, among them "leisure class" and "conspicuous con- Page 30 sumption.

He argued that since the economy was premised on technology and the engineers were the only ones who actually understood how the technology worked, they would inevitably use their superior knowledge to seize power from the financiers and captains of industry who wound up on top at the end of the first round of the Industrial Revolution. After all, the engineers only needed to refuse to fix anything, and modern industry would grind to a halt. Veblen rejoiced at this prospect.

He didn't much care for financiers and captains. He thought they were parasites. When I told Clark about Veblen, he did a good imitation of a man who was bored out of his skull. When he didn't want to seem too interested, he pretended he wasn't paying attention. Now, his head splitting, he was particularly keen on the idea of the engineer grabbing power from the financier. In the Valley. The power is shifting to the engineers who create the companies. Engineers created the wealth. And during the s Silicon Valley had created a fantastic amount of new wealth.

The venture capitalist John Doerr, Clark's friend and Valley co-conspirator, liked to describe the Valley as "the greatest legal creation of wealth in the history of the planet.

But such a great new event in economic history raised great new questions.

For example, why had it happened? The bridge was a technogeek fantasy. Where an experienced sailor would expect to find a familiar row of gadgetsradar, sonar, radio, GPS, and so onwere four large flat-panel computer display screens. The three young men took seats in front of these and started pressing buttons. Soon enough they were making small quivering sounds that suggested all was not right with the computers. On one of the screens was a map of Holland. The map focused on the area immediately around us, perhaps twenty square miles.

A miniature Hyperion inched stealthily across it, like a boat in a video game. But according to the computer map we were chugging on top of a farmer's field, and heading toward an airfield. The slender canal we were actually on lay three miles to the east. Any captain using the computer to run the boat would think he was heading full tilt into an aircraft watchtower. Page 23 I walked out onto the deck to find that the same map occupied the computer screen in front of Allan Prior, the man Clark had hired to captain Hyperion.

Allan was from the old school. He'd won the Whitbread around-the-world race in a sailboat so stripped down that it looked vandalized. Allan himself looked vandalized; the wind and the sun had ravaged his complexion. Allan did not believe that sailboats should be run by computers.

Now he was staring straight ahead, attempting to avoid a large ferry that was making a dash across the canal. I returned to the programmers on the bridge. After a couple of minutes of furious typing, they had the boat back on the water.

Yet the head programmer, a fellow named Steve Hague, retained a certain dubiousness. His eyes darted back and forth between the edge of the canal and the map on which Hyperion chugged along.

All of the computer's gauges seemed to be either inadequate or inaccurate. A captain steering off themwhich Allan Prior at that moment declined to dowould not only think that he was sailing through a wheat field. He'd think he was sailing through a wheat field in the wrong direction. For no apparent reason a red light flashed on one of the screens.

Steve punched some buttons. According to the computer we'd been grounded. Yes it was. Just a few hours earlier the weatherman had predicted Force 4 sailing conditions. Force 4 implied pleasant winds of twenty knots and seas of perhaps six feet. Even before we left the canal and passed through the locks into the North Sea, the report lost its credibility.

The gauges on the boat that measured the speed of the wind had frozen at fifty knotsthe computer had not been programmed to register winds any higher. As we passed through the lock and into a harbor, we could finally see why Wolter Huisman muttered to himself.

Fifteen-foot waves crashed against the seawall and flicked their white foam thirty feet in the air, where it mingled with falling snow.

Gusts of wind blew at seventy miles an hour. The boat suddenly began to rock too violently for Page 24 anyone to stare very long into his computer.

The programmers scrambled out from the bridge and onto the deck, where Allan and Wolter stood together in the snow with pretty much everyone else: twelve boatyard workers, seven crew members, two Dutch friends of Clark's, a photographer, and a German television crew present to document the launching of the world's first computerized sailboat.

The only person missing was Clark himself, but, then, people who knew Clark knew better than to expect him to be where he was meant to be. Sooner or later he'd turn up, usually when he was not wanted.

They both knew that the weather was the least of their problems. When Hyperion left the seawall behind, it put itself at the mercy of a furious North Sea.

Instantly, the boat was seized by forces far greater than itself; its magnificence was trivialized. A furious partial corkscrewing motion pulled us up to the right and then down to the left. We'd dip into a trough, experience a brief, false moment of calm, and then be picked up and twisted again. The German television soundman dropped to his knees, crawled over the side of the boat, and vomited.

There was no question of his suppressing the urge; it was as if someone had pushed a button on the computer that instructed the man to be sick. There, prone and puking on the violent deck, he lifted his microphone into the air to capture the ambient noise.

Room tone. A young Dutch friend of Clark's along for the ride chuckled and said, "The Germans. They will always do the job they are given no matter what. It took about a minute and a half before the first Dutch boatyard worker leaned over the safety ropes and vomited the Saint Nick's cake he'd been served an hour before. A minute later he was joined by two poor colleagues who had been down below monitoring the engines.

A few minutes after that the three fellows working on the foredeck came back to join the party. Then came the rest of the German television crew. Hyperion rose and twisted and plunged and settled, then rose and twisted and plunged and settled all over again. Within twenty minutes eight men had gone as lifeless as if they had been unplugged from their sockets.

Those who weren't sick pretended to be amused. They clustered around the captain and clung to the rails and smiled crazily at each other. Page 25 Eventually, Allan reduced the engine speed and hoisted the sail. He did this by pushing a button, which told the computer to hoist the sail, which the computer, for once, did.

The mast was hatched with crossbars, called spreaders. The sail rose with a great flapping sound past them one by one until at length it reached the second-to-last spreader. Just when you thought there could be no more sail, more sail appeared.

The mainsail alone was 5, square feet, a bit more than a quarter of a football field. The world's largest sail, as it happened. It was expected to handle up to eleven tons of wind. That is, the force on its ropes was the equivalent of dangling from their ends an eleven ton steel block.

Already the ropes were being tested. Wolter nodded solemnly. Not until you have hoisted a sail and turned off the engine can you fully appreciate the euphoria that accompanied the invention of the steam engine. The boat, now engineless, was subjected to a grosser, more primal force. The waves crashed and the spray came in sheets and the partial corkscrewing motion became a full corkscrewing motion. The eight men in Puker's Alley retched all over again.

This time it wasn't so funny to the others. A wave washed over the deck and knocked two of the Dutch shipyard workers on the bow off their feet; they were saved from the sea by their safety ropes, which they alone wore. The three technogeeks clung to the rails and tried not to remember that they didn't belong here. They knew without being told that anyone who went overboard was as good as gone.

A person tossed into the North Sea in December would last only a few minutes before freezing to death; and in these conditions it might take an hour to pick up a man overboard, if you could find him.

Maybe for this reason no one bothered to don a life jacket. It was then I noticed Wolter, his arm wrapped tightly around a rail, trying not to look at everything at once. It was Wolter whose ass was really on the line out here. If a Huisman mast snapped, or a Huisman hull leaked, and a Huisman yacht sank, a long and glorious family tradition bubbled to the bottom of the North Sea floor.

That is why Wolter and his three hundred stout and sturdy craftsmen back in their tiny village in the north of Holland resisted change. They did not cling to the past mindlessly.

But they were as immune as people can be to the allure of a new way of doing things. Traditional, in a word. Wolter had spent the past three years wrestling with a great force Page 26 that had neither the time nor the taste for tradition. The struggle had turned Wolter into an old man. Before Jim Clark had come to the boatyard at the end of , Wolter had never heard of Silicon Valley, or of the Internet, or, for that matter, of Jim Clark.

Yim, as Wolter called him, had sat down amid the exquisite models of ships built centuries before, and the old black-and-white photographs of Wolter and his ancestors at work building them. He had seen a yacht Wolter had just finished building, he said, and wanted one like it. Only bigger. And faster. And newer. He wanted his mast to be the biggest mast ever built.

And he wanted to control the whole boat with his computers. Specifically, he wanted to be able to dial into his boat over the Internet from his desk in Silicon Valley and sail it across the San Francisco Bay. It was as if someone had distilled manic late twentieth-century American capitalism into a vial of liquid and poured it down Wolter's throat. Only a small part of the discomfort experienced on that wintry, gray December afternoon on the North Sea was physical.

Most of it occurred inside of people's minds. Clark pushed people into places they never would have gone willingly. Often the people who'd been pushed assumed, for one reason or another, that Jim Clark, the rich man from Silicon Valley who seemed to know what was about to happen before anyone else, would make sure that it didn't happen to them.

The problem with their assumption was that it wasn't true: all Jim Clark ever guaranteed anyone was the chance to adapt. His penchant for disrupting his environment was at the bottom of every new company he created; now he'd used it to transform a sailboat.

The many strange deep sensations on boardWolter's dread, Allan's frustration, the computer geeks' unlikely feelings of responsibilityall were the doing of Clark and his new technology. It was a single great, messy experiment, which, in retrospect, was bound not to end well. And it didn't. At the moment when the seas were most fierce, the boat's tiny population huddled together on the stern.

Hyperion pitched and rolled; its passengers clung to the rails and to each other. Even Allan, who had sailed around the world three times in boats the size of Clark's bathtubs back in California, was numb as a mummy. But that is what Clark did. He emerged from his cabin, where he'd been fiddling with his computer, and made his way up the safety ropes along the side.

Since Hyperion was feet long, and he was six foot three, this took some doing. I should say that he did not look as he was expected to look; his appearance was just another element of surprise in a surprising universe. He was tall and broad in a way computer nerds are not supposed to be.

His blond hair was neatly combed.

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His features were small and delicate: one could easily imagine that he resembled his mother. He was handsome. Unlike most men who make billions of dollars for themselves, he had an expansive, easy manner. At any rate, that's the first impression he made. If you looked closely, you could see that each of the slow and easy gestures was countered by another that was small, tense, almost involuntary. His body language was engaged in a debate with itself. It was as if he had an itch that he was refusing to scratch.

When he reached the bow, he climbed up toward the world's tallest sailboat mast, which rose to a point feet over the deck. He put his hand on it, to steady himself. There he stood for some long while, a large yellow lump of Gore-Tex, directly beneath the tall, rigid white rod of his ambition. He was looking, it appeared, straight up at the sky.

What he was looking for, no one could say. Probably he was thinking about something he might like to change.

Possibly he was not thinking at all but groping. That is how his mind workedthe logic always came after the initial, inexplicable, primal impulse. But whatever he was doing he didn't do it for long. Once he'd found his footing, his mast began to sway.

At first its movements were barely perceptible; then they became more pronounced; at last they were violent. Later someone who had been on the bridge said he had heard a loud crack. The rubber at the base of the world's tallest mast had shattered. The foot-wide seal that kept Clark's feet of carbon fiber standing straight had frozen into a crystal, and then broken to bits.

The mast came loose in its socket. Its three and a half tons rocked wildly back and forth, like a broomstick rattling around inside a garbage can. As quickly as he could press a button, Allan Prior lowered the sail, before the mast itself broke and fell over into the sea.

Page 28 2 The Accelerated grimace It couldn't have been more than a few hours after the last guest stumbled out his front gate that Clark called and made his suggestion.

Apparently, he hadn't slept. It was just before eight in the morning on the fifth of July. He'd spent the past three hours writing computer code, and the seven hours before that drinking with seventy of his favorite engineers who worked for the companies he'd created and then, more or less, abandoned. By then I knew that the only way to spend time with Jim Clark was to leap onto one of his machines. You didn't interact with him so much as hitch a ride on the back of his life.

Once you proved to him that you wouldn't complain, or weep, or vomit into the gearbox, he was not unwilling to pick you up. He offered you a choice of vehicles: helicopter, stunt plane, motorbike, various exotic sports cars of the type that no one but really rich people ever even know exist, and, of course, the computerized sailboat.

His array of possessions was hardly original. He could be made to seem like yet another newly rich guy trying to demonstrate to the world just how rich he'd become. Either that or Page 29 one of those people who try to prove how interesting they are by risking their lives in various moronic adventures.

This was not his motive, however. He didn't need to show how much money he had; the number was in the newspaper every day. The number was always changing. In any case, it never would have occurred to Clark that anyone of his machines was a mere display of wealth, or some kind of thrill ride. No matter how reckless his mode of travel might appear, he never considered himself anything less than the soul of caution. No, for him all the joy came from mechanical intimacy.

He loved to know about them, to operate them, to master them, to fix them when they were broken. More than anything he liked to upgrade and improve them. I came to believe they were the creatures in the world to whom he felt closest. They were certainly the only ones he really trusted. If anything, Clark used his machines not to impress other people but to avoid them.

They were his getaway vehicles. Once it became clear that a person would not permit himself to be gotten away from, Clark would load that person into the back of his stunt plane, launch him five thousand feet straight up in the air, and switch off the engine. The maneuver was known as the reverse hammer.

The plane would plummet back toward earth, tail first, spinning like a top. The passenger rarely returned for a second trip. Unsettling as these rides often were, they were never dull. Something always happened on them that wasn't supposed to happen. An hour after Clark phoned, he picked me up in one of his designer sports cars. He wore dark sunglasses and the pained expression of a man enduring the aftershocks of two bottles of fine Burgundy.

I lobbed into the haze a series of conversation starters before he took a swing at one of them: a book I had first mentioned a few weeks before, Thorstein Veblen's The Engineers and the Price System. Veblen was a quixotic social theorist with an unfortunate taste for the wives of his colleagues in the Stanford economics department. Between trysts he coined many poignant phrases, among them "leisure class" and "conspicuous con- Page 30 sumption. He argued that since the economy was premised on technology and the engineers were the only ones who actually understood how the technology worked, they would inevitably use their superior knowledge to seize power from the financiers and captains of industry who wound up on top at the end of the first round of the Industrial Revolution.

After all, the engineers only needed to refuse to fix anything, and modern industry would grind to a halt. Veblen rejoiced at this prospect. He didn't much care for financiers and captains. He thought they were parasites. When I told Clark about Veblen, he did a good imitation of a man who was bored out of his skull. When he didn't want to seem too interested, he pretended he wasn't paying attention.

Now, his head splitting, he was particularly keen on the idea of the engineer grabbing power from the financier. In the Valley. The power is shifting to the engineers who create the companies. Engineers created the wealth. And during the s Silicon Valley had created a fantastic amount of new wealth.

The venture capitalist John Doerr, Clark's friend and Valley co-conspirator, liked to describe the Valley as "the greatest legal creation of wealth in the history of the planet. But such a great new event in economic history raised great new questions. For example, why had it happened? What caused this explosion? Why had it happened here?

The old economic theories of wealth creationthat wealth comes from savings or investment or personal rectitude or the planet earth or the proper level of government spendingfailed to capture what was happening out here in the engineering division of the American economy. The people who make a living trying to explain where wealth comes from were just starting to get their minds around the phenomenon.

In the mid- s a young economist named Paul Romer had written a couple of papers that put across a theory, which he called New Growth Theory. Soon after Romer published his papers, Robert Lucas, the Nobel Prize-winning economist from Chicago, delivered a series of lectures at Cambridge University on the subject; inside of ten years New Growth Theory had become something like the conventional wisdom Page 31 in the economics profession and the business world.

New Growth Theory argued, in abstruse mathematics, that wealth came from the human imagination. Wealth wasn't chiefly having more of old things; it was having entirely new things. The metaphor that Romer used to describe the economy to noneconomists was of a well-stocked kitchen waiting for a brilliant chef to exploit it.

Everyone in the kitchen starts with more or less the same ingredients, the metaphor ran, but not everyone produces good food. And only a very few people who wander into the kitchen find entirely new ways to combine old ingredients into delightfully tasty recipes.

These people were the wealth creators. Their recipes were wealth. The transistor. The microprocessor. The personal computer. The Internet. It followed from the theory that any society that wanted to become richer would encourage the traits, however bizarre, that led people to create new recipes. Qualities that in eleventh-century France, or even s America, might have been viewed as antisocial, or even criminal, would be rewarded, honored, and emulated, simply because they led to more In short, the new theory conferred a stunning new status upon innovation, and the people responsible for it.

The Prime Mover of Wealth was no longer a great industrialist who rode herd on thousands of corporate slaves, or the great politician who rode herd on a nation's finances, or the great Wall Street tycoon who bankrolled new enterprise. He was the geek holed up in his basement all weekend discovering new things to do with his computer. He was Jim Clark. Clark drove far too fastin the car pool lanethrough the lower half of the Valley to the San Jose Jet Center. The Jet Center is the place where they keep the growing number of private planes in Silicon Valley.

Clark had hired a local cop to teach him how to operate his latest acquisition. The cop had flown helicopters in the Vietnam War. He had been in combat. He hadn't crashed or been shot down.

It was a start. The first half hour Clark spent sluggishly running down a safety Page 32 checklist. Even when he headed out to start a new company, he looked as if he were dressed for a day of bait fishing.

The cop barked out a list of parts, and Clark located each of them and ensured it was in the right place. It was his own peculiar cure for a hangover. At one point he looked up and said it was such a beautiful machine that he thought he might download the company that made it. He was perfectly serious. He'd already looked into it. He'd talked it over with his friend Craig McCaw, who had made his fortune in cell phones and had now moved on to putting enough satellites into geosynchronous orbit that a person could log onto the Internet by satellite modem anywhere on the planet.

Clark and McCaw were thinking of submitting a private bid for the helicopter companyas a kind of hobby. Anyway, as he bounced around his new machine, pushing and pulling levers and buttons and blades, Clark was completely absorbed. His headache waned; he entered into a silent spiritual discussion with the shiny metal objects. The cop, perhaps sensing he was being ignored, offered a bone-chilling lecture on the perils of helicopter flight.

The history of helicopters, he argued, is a story of mechanical failure. Not long ago the two finest helicopter pilots on the local police department lost the main rotor blade in flight.

The whole mechanism for remaining aloft just flew right off the top. There was nothing left of the helicopter. Just dust. Once all the parts were checked, Clark and the cop climbed into the front seats equipped with the controls. We rose with a disturbing jolt. The helicopter lifted and swiveled toward the south end of Silicon Valley. Beneath us lay the salt pools and the sewage dumps that used Page 33 to upset local environmentalistsback before environmentalists were priced out of the local real estate market.

From a height of three thousand feet the waste was the most beautiful thing in sight. The cop leaned out the window to stare, leaving Clark to fly his new machine. It was his sixth hour of flying a helicopter. From where I sat, immediately behind Clark, I could see little of his expression beyond the pale yellow of the back of his head.

But I could hear the cop shouting to make himself heard; he was singing the praises of the new helicopter. The helicopter tilted over. We actually flew on our side, heads parallel to the ground. The gauges gyrated wildly. Dozens of circles and needles and lights and switches. About two people on the planet could know what it all meant. But the world breaks down neatly into people who can look at a control panel and know instinctively what it all means, and those who can't.

And Clark was the king of control panels. He wanted to practice his takeoffs and landings; he wanted to know everything at once. He was not satisfied learning to fly a helicopter at the rate the cop wanted to teach him. Clark was teaching himself. The cop was a mere formality, the instructor required by law. There's not much to say about a man who insists on learning all by himself how to fly, other than he has a tendency to terrify his passengers.

Essentially, Clark taught himself by trial and error. He'd poke buttons and push levers, seemingly at random, to see what happened next. Each time he did this I flinched and waited for the inevitable tailspin.

There was nothing left but dust. Oddly, the man who'd just a few minutes earlier spoken those words didn't seem to mind. While Clark poked and pushed, he just nattered on about the perils of helicoptering. Landed on a driving range. Dumb bastards kept wacking golf balls at us. It was like Vietnam all over again. The overwhelming impression made by Silicon Valley at a distance of three thousand feet is one of newness.

The houses are new, the grass is new, even the people are new. And not merely new: designed never to grow old. With the exception of Stanford University no structure on the horizon had been built to last any longer than it took some engineer to think up a good excuse to tear it down. Everything in Silicon Valley, including the people, was built so that no one would find it tragic, or even a little bit sad, when it was destroyed and replaced by something new.

It was one great nostalgia-prevention device. It ensured that the greatest wealth-producing machine in world history was never gummed up by pointless emotions. The McDonnell Douglas helicopter is supposedly known for its silence to those on the outside of it. I knew her when she came onto the show in a guest role she did before she was cast as Caroline. We all have a lot of memories of Peggy. I loved having people on the show who had worked in the industry before [they came to DAYS].

Peggy was a touchstone to that time. She lived and breathed being an actress. That was Peggy. I loved that about her. That made working with her very special. I was taking Peggy out for dinner and when I came down to the hotel lobby, she was on the floor doing a split! Then, she just hopped right up and was ready to go! That was the indomitable spirit of who Peggy was.

She never let anything stand in her way.

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