Oxide and Friends

Scott Johnson shares his library of tech/business/culture books

Show Notes

We've been holding a Twitter Space weekly on Mondays at 5p for about an hour. Even though it's not (yet?) a feature of Twitter Spaces, we have been recording them all; here is the recording for our Twitter Space for June 27th, 2022.

In addition to Bryan Cantrill and Adam Leventhal, our special guest was Scott Johnson. Other speakers included XX and YY. (Did we miss your name and/or get it wrong? Drop a PR!)

Some of the topics we hit on, in the order that we hit them:

Creators & Guests

Host
Adam Leventhal
Host
Bryan Cantrill

What is Oxide and Friends?

Oxide hosts a weekly Discord show where we discuss a wide range of topics: computer history, startups, Oxide hardware bringup, and other topics du jour. These are the recordings in podcast form.
Join us live (usually Mondays at 5pm PT) https://discord.gg/gcQxNHAKCB
Subscribe to our calendar: https://sesh.fyi/api/calendar/v2/iMdFbuFRupMwuTiwvXswNU.ics

Speaker 1:

Okay. So through the power of the Internet, I, fuzzy group, I've asked you to speak. I don't know not actually know what fuzzy group. I don't know what you prefer to be called. I don't know.

Speaker 1:

This is I I I don't know anyone's name. So anyway so, Adam, I really liked our, the the episode we did. When did you happen to know when that was? Did you look that up?

Speaker 2:

I I looked it up. It was in September.

Speaker 1:

Did it feel like it was in September?

Speaker 2:

I don't know whether it felt like it was 25 minutes ago or 25 years ago, but

Speaker 1:

But definitely one of those 2. September. Yeah. Right. Exactly.

Speaker 1:

Right. Yeah. I I feel like time has been so wildly distorted. That feels both very recent and a very, very, very long time ago. But that like, we came into that basically without a plan.

Speaker 1:

And then the being I really enjoyed that. That was a that was a fun conversation.

Speaker 2:

Totally. It felt like a big stage dive, and all the folks caught us.

Speaker 3:

And I'm really hoping they catch

Speaker 1:

this. Exactly. So on that note, getting ready to catch this everybody. And I I can I bet, I'm gonna try if I was gonna try make you, if you are on, note that if you are on the desktop, you can't speak? You actually need to be on the mobile app.

Speaker 1:

We really Twitter spaces needs to somehow make this very clear to people that you cannot contribute to a Twitter space from the desktop app. It's really kinda criminal. So, Adam, did you read any of the books coming out of that?

Speaker 4:

Did you get

Speaker 1:

any books coming out of that? Did you read any? What were what were some of the highlights from the from the last time we did this?

Speaker 2:

Oh, jeepers. Now now I'm on the spot. I saw when it was, but I I didn't look into the details. I, I don't know which one

Speaker 1:

oh, I I don't know

Speaker 2:

if the deck book was

Speaker 5:

on that list.

Speaker 2:

Maybe that was a more No. No.

Speaker 1:

No. It was on the book.

Speaker 2:

I Perfect. Then yes. Then yes. Deck Deck is dead. Long live Deck.

Speaker 4:

I got from that space,

Speaker 2:

left the record.

Speaker 1:

You know, I like I wasn't assessing you. It's like, it would've been fine if you hadn't. I was more just Oh, jeez. But Whatever. You are, however, reading a book that I don't think we talked about at that last episode that I thought I wonder if you might kick us off on.

Speaker 2:

The, are we talking about the beautiful c plus plus book?

Speaker 1:

You know, I out of out of respect for your own privacy, I was not gonna bring that up. But now now we're here. So let's talk of, yeah, let's talk of beautiful c plus plus. Is it an oxymoron? No.

Speaker 1:

No. No. It's I mean, it's I guess it is beautiful to some. So this is,

Speaker 2:

I, so, my older son got interested in C plus plus I, my, my colleagues have been very patient with me about this, like not, not call calling child protective services or whatever. They said, what, you know, why not c sharp? Why not Rust? And I said, because he wants c plus plus and I can't talk him out it. So he got a pile of books.

Speaker 1:

And I think we also told you that it's normal for teenagers to be pushing boundaries, to be doing things that are that that that exercise a lack of judgment. Like, this is normal for teenagers. Let's say this is a very normal teenage development. And experimentation with c plus plus, I mean, you want him to do it safely. You That's right.

Speaker 1:

So so that that's why

Speaker 2:

I got him beautiful c plus plus because if he was gonna do it, I wanted

Speaker 1:

to do

Speaker 2:

it safely.

Speaker 1:

Same way. It is time it occurred to me that you're already we just need is, 16, 17? And we haven't we haven't had the conversation about memory safety. And That that's right. That's right.

Speaker 1:

Look. I just I just want you to be memory I

Speaker 5:

just want

Speaker 1:

you to be memory safe. That's that's all I want, and I just, you know, it it's it's not always gonna happen, but just I just don't want there to be lasting consequences. You know? That's, and how is he taking that? How did he did he take the beautiful c plus plus?

Speaker 2:

Well, so he has not read beautiful c plus plus. He's he's getting the meat and potato c plus plus first. And I because or in part because I probably stole beautiful c plus plus, but, I stole it because the last time I did any kind of c plus plus programming was, in the late nineties. Like no joke, like 1998, maybe 1999 was the last time I did any C plus plus program of, of note, of any note. And so if he was gonna ask me stuff, I didn't wanna show him kind of this, you know, mostly c, like, c with classes basically.

Speaker 2:

I'd wanna I'd wanna be such a Luddite. So I want to I you're

Speaker 1:

trying to, like, talk like the teenagers now? Are you gonna be Yeah. Yeah. I wanted

Speaker 2:

to be hip. I I wanted to

Speaker 1:

be hip. Yeah. I wanted to be lit af. Am I using that correctly? Oh, yeah.

Speaker 1:

So no. You're giving me a strange look. I shouldn't say that.

Speaker 2:

I mean, have you looked at modern c plus plus?

Speaker 1:

Yes. It's called I mean, it's like why would you spend time on modern c plus plus? No.

Speaker 2:

No. No. I know. I it's such I mean, that is the punch line. But yes.

Speaker 2:

But,

Speaker 1:

it's very different. It's huge. You can't just cast like

Speaker 2:

a cave person. Right? You have to, like, dynamic cast or or unique cast or all all of these different things. So, so I've been I've been trying to absorb c plus plus, so that, you know, we can we can be conversant about it. But seriously, every page of it strikes me not as beautiful, but as disgusting and as basically an advertisement for Rust.

Speaker 2:

Like, yeah, c plus plus got all these things wrong. All of the defaults, you know, made made sense in the the in the Jurassic era. But now here we are. And so the defaults don't need to all be wrong. The defaults can all be right, and it is called Rust, but it has definitely given me an appreciation for programming languages generally, and for Rust specifically as a reaction to some of the shortcomings of Super.

Speaker 1:

So, like, you tried to go to like, you tried to go to a concert with him to really appreciate his music, and you're like, honestly, this is just giving me that much more appreciation. Yeah. And Yeah. For the classics. And how he does he how's he reacting to this?

Speaker 1:

The to to your or or or or this so keep are you keeping this to

Speaker 2:

yourself. I keep this to myself. I speak what I speak when spoken to

Speaker 1:

you're a very good father. I mean you're just like well.

Speaker 2:

Well, I just mean be I mean, he he won't listen to me. Just to

Speaker 1:

Well, you're very pragmatically. That just makes you the father. Exactly. You gotta

Speaker 4:

be pragmatic. But but, you know, when

Speaker 2:

he was like, hey, how does this virtual memory stuff work anyway? I, you know, I was like, oh, okay. Well, can I see the keyboard for a second? And was able to show him that, like, you know, pointers were numbers. And I, you know, I did use I I I got immediately into pointer unsafety.

Speaker 2:

But, but, yeah, it was pretty neat. And so so now when he shows me c plus plus that he's written, I can at least understand it because, you know, I under because I I am I have beautiful c plus plusified.

Speaker 1:

I I I feel like you are at the what what's the fatherhood institute from The Simpsons? I feel like I'm I

Speaker 2:

It does don't get me wrong, like, it feels like a huge win. And I I mentioned to this to you the other day. I went to his room and found, like, a book, called, Systems Programming. And I was like, I I don't know how this happened, but I feel like everything has gone wrong.

Speaker 6:

Oh, man.

Speaker 1:

That's really great. That's the No. It's great that they've got such interest. And and then I think also, like, good on you for kind of trying to encourage that interest without actually scratching it because I think you could easily do that with either over over enthusiasm or you could just be like, in this house, under this roof, we use memory safe language as long as I am paying the mortgage, young man. That's right.

Speaker 2:

That's right. No. I I've

Speaker 1:

done these quotes other things in the past.

Speaker 2:

So, it's it's all just learning my own mistakes.

Speaker 1:

I told but and and how are you so Beautiful C plus plus is to you is just like, this is why we should have Rustic. This is not

Speaker 2:

It's I mean, it it is it is a I I'd actually recommend it.

Speaker 1:

Like, I I think it's an interesting

Speaker 2:

book. I

Speaker 1:

don't know. Are they gonna put that on the back jacket? I I'd I'd actually recommend

Speaker 4:

raves

Speaker 1:

to Adam Emathol.

Speaker 2:

I I I did I do wanna, like, see if I can get so the the authors are Guy Davidson and Kate Gregory. And I would be very interested to see and I I've looked all over to see if they acknowledge Because these are, these are folks who, who really have nuanced deep thinking on, on this, you know, very important language. This is not the disparity of C plus plus but one that they they are themselves ready to acknowledge the burrs and the mistakes of. And, you know, I'd love to see what they think of Rust just because I feel like seriously, like, every page is just more and more of an advertisement for it. And when when you get into like concepts, like concept concept is a concept in c plus plus and yes, I had not heard.

Speaker 1:

There's a thing called concepts?

Speaker 2:

There's a thing called concepts that is a a bit like a trait. Okay. But people are gonna like be Pelerina for for for making that kind of, like, gross, analogy there. But it it, you know, it's, it it it's for describing the characteristics of a template. You know, the the type t needs to obey these these parameters.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. Exactly. That's how I felt.

Speaker 1:

Can you hear me?

Speaker 2:

Yes. I can hear you.

Speaker 1:

Is that Are you gone? Dan, was that me or is that Adam?

Speaker 3:

That was Uh-oh. Wait. What what what you, Brian?

Speaker 2:

Uh-oh. Brian. I

Speaker 3:

think Brian is having some time to call.

Speaker 1:

Okay. It's me. It's me. It's me. I'm sorry.

Speaker 1:

I'm sorry. I'm sorry. Let me, let me see if I could my technical difficulties. Okay.

Speaker 6:

Okay.

Speaker 2:

Anyway, Beautiful Studio plus plus was interesting. You know, I think maybe just from, like, a how the side is is living. Exactly. But and then I did you know, there is some general, like, these are experienced programmers, and I think it's hard to walk away without both learning something from an experienced programmer and finding some point of disagreement with an experienced programmer. And I did both of those.

Speaker 1:

I think it's a shame that they're saying they don't have time to learn a new language, though, because that's obviously wrong. I mean, that that that's like, you can say, like, I'm just too deep in with C plus plus to learn a new lang I'm like, I'm I'm too afraid to learn a new language, which is understandable, but it's like, come on. You you got time. Like, come up with a different use a different excuse.

Speaker 3:

Yeah. Cool. But people have been saying that for 50 years. There

Speaker 1:

you go. Okay. So but we and did you check out this list that, Fuzzy Group is here? Are you Yeah. Oh, yeah.

Speaker 1:

I'm here. And and

Speaker 2:

and, do we just call you mister fuzzy, or is that your father's name?

Speaker 4:

No. No. Fuzzy group just means me and my cats. My my first name is actually

Speaker 1:

Alright. Scott. There you go. So, Scott, I I

Speaker 4:

And Brian's gone.

Speaker 2:

Or I'm gone.

Speaker 1:

No. No. No. No. We're all gone.

Speaker 1:

Gone. No. No. No. No.

Speaker 1:

Am I back now?

Speaker 6:

Yes.

Speaker 1:

Okay. Guy, that was painful because I was actually awake that time. I could hear you saying that I was gone. And I with Twitter spaces, you never know who to blame. I'd that this one, I'm gonna blame on local connectivity for the moment.

Speaker 1:

But so, Scott, your that list was is is monstrous. And it Yeah. It almost gave me a little bit of a fight or flight reaction because anytime I'm like, I have thought about a book that's not on it, I would look at my oh my god. How does so in particular, I will tell you the book that broke me where I'm just like, I have nothing to contribute to this list. Once upon once upon a time in computer land.

Speaker 4:

Oh, yeah. Bill Miller. Yeah. Or mill Miller.

Speaker 1:

The I the I have never because I don't think Adam, you and I have never talked about this book. This is an obscure ass book that as far as I was concerned, I was the only person on the planet that had read. And I'm like, this this is like the the the mics are hot. This is like the Facebook, you know, Facebook mics are on. This person is in my room right now looking at my bookshelf, and I have nothing to contribute.

Speaker 1:

Since then, I have scoured my bookshelf and I do have some things to contribute, but and I don't mean to sound it's it's clearly not a contest even though I'm obviously crazy that way. No. But very, very impressed by the scope of of books that you've read because you also you've read these things. You've actually, so I alright. So I just wanna add because clearly, you've been doing this for a long time.

Speaker 1:

You've got obviously Yep. You're a kindred spirit in that, like, you find this stuff really interesting. Why have you I mean, reading has been really important part and reading what history of the industry has been really, really important part for you. Why is that? What what have you kind of what what has that brought you?

Speaker 4:

I started in the business at 19 when I dropped out of college to found a software company. And I realized I knew Jack. And so I did what, you know, school teaches you to do. I read. Yeah.

Speaker 1:

That's good.

Speaker 4:

And I read everything I could find. And because I've always been a book nut, I mean, I'm in a room which probably has a couple of 1,000 books in my hands right now. You know, like, my the bookcase I just put together is probably 4 feet taller than I am.

Speaker 1:

Wow.

Speaker 4:

I just I read. Right? It's it's what I do. And, like, I've been you know, and I read ridiculously fast. And I retain an awful lot of what I what I know or what I read.

Speaker 4:

And what I what I found with these kinds of books, and I meant to write this up today and I just got I went I fell down a code code hole hole. Is these books all you have to do to just find one of these books is learn one damn thing from you.

Speaker 1:

Yeah.

Speaker 4:

Right? And, like, I I looked at what you said about Deck is, you know, Deck is Dead, Long Live Deck as a as not a great book. And I actually thought it was a pretty good book because it was a highly academic treatise. And the most interesting thing to me was Gordon Bell Gordon Bell's

Speaker 1:

Yes. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Where he got

Speaker 4:

where he got so much wrong and so much wrong.

Speaker 1:

Interesting. You think that Gordon Bell also got a lot wrong there? Interesting. Yeah.

Speaker 4:

Yeah. Absolutely. He he he thought introducing 3 lines of PCs at the same time was the right thing to do.

Speaker 1:

Yeah.

Speaker 4:

I mean and Gordon Bell is

Speaker 1:

But so I ended up buying his high-tech bench. I think I mentioned this last time. And that is not that that that's a bit of a stinker. That one is not good.

Speaker 4:

All it takes to just like, I look at I look at high-tech case studies, like like, I look at cookbooks. One good recipe from a cookbook just

Speaker 1:

Yeah. I think that that's a very good approach. Yeah.

Speaker 4:

Learning one thing from one of these books, and you will always learn one thing.

Speaker 1:

Even when they are comically bad, I feel that they're so one book that you've got on there that is definitely I don't think it's a book that I've regretted reading even though it is absolutely terrible is almost perfect. About word perfect? Yep.

Speaker 4:

Well, actually, you see and even there, I would disagree because you look at that book, and one of the things that we all forget about were perfect is that they built that company on a culture of support.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. You know, I I totally agree. I that's why I haven't I don't Adam, did you read this? Almost perfect? No.

Speaker 1:

This guy I mean, on the one like, it is an interesting book. It's a this guy wrote it as a memoir. He is a total jackass. And it's like you go into the booking, like, oh, this is interesting. Like, this is a person who did well perfect.

Speaker 1:

And it's one of these, like, slowly dawning things of, like, I think this person might be a jackass. And then as soon as, like, the light goes on of, like, oh my god. This person is a jackass, then it just it the whole thing, like, unspools. But you're making a very point, Scott, about the culture of what you're looking.

Speaker 4:

Yeah. It and it was and that was one of the that was the key differentiator of word perfect back

Speaker 1:

to back.

Speaker 4:

Yeah. Right? Is that support was a way to build a relationship with your customers and a way to to get customers. Right? Because we were at that time, support was a paid thing.

Speaker 4:

And I I thought it was a really interesting it was a really interesting model, and WordPerfect was actually a hello to text editor back in

Speaker 1:

the day. Amen. WordPerfect 4 dot 1. Amen.

Speaker 4:

4 dot 2.

Speaker 1:

4 dot 2. Yeah. Because, you know, I I I I think I was I and alright. So how many when the rocket did this. We're not gonna do the number of key combinations you can do work perfect.

Speaker 1:

Not necessary, and it would make Adam Adam would just steal I Adam, you never use WordPerfect. Right? I definitely use WordPerfect.

Speaker 2:

I use WordPerfect on my PowerBook 100 because in the 4 megabytes of memory, I could fit, like, WordPerfect and, like, 2 other versions. Yeah.

Speaker 4:

Yeah. But you could've used you could've used NISIS for for for a better editing experience.

Speaker 2:

To I also I also, like, paid for BB edit back in the day. So

Speaker 4:

Excellent. And still and still actually around.

Speaker 1:

That's right. Amazingly. Defying physics savingly. So and I loved your annotated list. There were a bunch of books on there that, certainly, I have loved that that you also I you love the friendly orange glow.

Speaker 1:

We talked about a bunch.

Speaker 4:

Oh my gosh. That was that was probably probably my my new favorite fave. Like, it's just

Speaker 1:

so Yeah. And it's like these books are different because you got, like, kind of different categories. That book is like a labor of love by someone who the I mean, Brian Deer clearly, what you know, came up with Plato, loves it, and is trying to tell its story. Then you get the kind of I actually also love the books. I mean, just kind of going through the books that I that I think are really stick out.

Speaker 1:

The books written by reporters, are the always good. The reportage is always good. And, I mean, I I I mean, I I love the ultimate entrepreneur. We talked about last one. That was terrific.

Speaker 1:

I, I've I mean, I think we and I also noticed that you had Randall Strauss's a couple of books that I've not I was unaware of that he'd written. We've talked about Steve Jobs and the Next Big Thing a lot. He's written a bunch more. Uh-oh. Is this me?

Speaker 1:

Yeah. I'm sorry. No. No. No.

Speaker 1:

No. No. That's, the but there were you had a couple of books that he'd written that I now wanna go read. I kinda wanna go read everything he's written because I I I so enjoyed Steve Jobs and the next big thing.

Speaker 4:

He's a good writer.

Speaker 1:

He's a good writer. And it it it's like well researched stuff. Mhmm. So, yes. So what's your kind of what's been your recent kick on oh, and, actually, I I you also have you have a Soul But New machine story, I understand.

Speaker 4:

Yeah. So this is a great story, and I'll give you the I'll give you the headline and you can tell me if you want me to tell it. Because it is a bit it is a bit long, but it's a good it's a good war story. Go. Alright.

Speaker 4:

So so you remember Sorry about that. Am I am I still alive? You are still alive. Okay. So Soul of a New Machine.

Speaker 4:

It's the tale of a cocky set of it's the tale of a cocky upstart company with 2 teams competing. The blessed team in North Carolina, code named Fountainhead, and the scrappy team of upstarts who shouldn't actually succeed, but of course ultimately do because it's a good story. I bear the unique, imprint of I was fired by by the leader of Fountainhead. And Oh, interesting. And to make matters worse, it cost me about 3 quarters of a $1,000,000.

Speaker 1:

Oh, man. Woah. So Okay. Go on.

Speaker 4:

Alright. So I I ran a small software company from 87 to 96. I founded it. We made hypertext tools 4 years before TBL announced the World Wide

Speaker 1:

Web. Yeah. Right. This is like early early early days of hypertext.

Speaker 4:

Yeah. And we were finally bought out in 1996 to be a publicly traded company's Internet strategy.

Speaker 6:

We were gonna be

Speaker 4:

the low end Internet strategy.

Speaker 1:

Okay.

Speaker 4:

And this company was called Dataware, and we were at at Cambridge, Mass. My 3rd day on the job, and mind you, I'd been, you know, running my own show for 9 years, I was just I was told that the project was canceled, and I was left wondering, does that mean they're gonna try and return us? Right? Welcome to welcome to corporate America and strategy changes.

Speaker 1:

Totally. Right? And did you have so did you have an earn out, or how was the deal structure?

Speaker 4:

I had an awful lot of stock options. I ended up after after a repricing, I ended up with about 72,075 1,000 stock options. That number In the parent company.

Speaker 1:

In in

Speaker 4:

and did it. And that becomes relevant. There was cash, etcetera. But but most of the a lot of the value was in stock. So I went from a product manager of a new product, it was gonna be based on our technology, to literally nothing.

Speaker 4:

And I was just given random projects by a management to pitch a new market to tackle. So my first project was to, quote, evaluate the company's Internet strategy. Now this came from the founder, chairman, and CEO whose name was Kurt, and he told and, like, he asked me to do this, and I figured that's what you do. Right? So I I did this, and my report perhaps was a bit indelicate.

Speaker 4:

It might have used the word brain dead, And it was it was. It was. Like, it tied the company to a proprietary build of Netscape Navigator tied to a CD ROM. Like, it was bad. Okay.

Speaker 1:

So and this is just to set the stage. This is 1996 and the Internet. Yep. And I do feel that not to take us to crypto, but I think I'm gonna do that a little bit right now. The because I think, like, there's been this idea that of revisiting this period of time and being like, oh, people didn't think the Internet was gonna do anything.

Speaker 1:

And to the contrary, I would say, no. No. No. No. Like, people really realized how important the Internet was.

Speaker 1:

This was it was and so you what what was much more common is that for organizations to not they weren't dismissing the Internet. They just didn't understand it. And it's how what what was the category that you were in?

Speaker 4:

I understood it.

Speaker 1:

Oh, sure. Yeah.

Speaker 4:

No. I know. Understood it. The company did not.

Speaker 1:

The browser.

Speaker 4:

Right. And despite the fact that the only application you ever saw on an executive's machine was a browser, like, they completely didn't get it. And Uh-huh. So alright. So what so what happened is I wrote this report, and I, you know, I was we we were a small company.

Speaker 4:

We were all in the same damn close I hadn't grown up with email. Like, the last email I've used have been

Speaker 2:

on on a Hey, Scott. You're you're kinda breaking up. I'm not sure if it's just me

Speaker 4:

or Sperm. So and

Speaker 1:

Hey, Scott. I I think you're breaking up a bit. I'm not sure if it's a headset issue or, I, but I think you think you you we we only count, I would say, every 5th syllable in

Speaker 4:

that. Oh, crap. So the founder took the report I wrote and sent it around the company via

Speaker 6:

email. Are you Okay.

Speaker 4:

Any any better?

Speaker 1:

Yeah. Yeah. That's good. Alright. So the intelligent report has been sent around via email.

Speaker 4:

And I had no idea that the strategy I criticized was made by the most powerful executive at the company. And, he hated me. So this led to me becoming a Monday morning management football where the topic of the meeting was often, what the hell has Scott done lately?

Speaker 1:

That's fun. What a fun executive staff.

Speaker 4:

Yes. So three and a half years go by and or two and a half years, three and a half years, whatever the hell it was.

Speaker 1:

So you you grind it out there?

Speaker 4:

Yep. And I built I built a team. We shipped a product. We were in Gartner's Magic Quadrant, like, whole 9 yards. Big enterprise stuff.

Speaker 1:

We were

Speaker 4:

doing close to college management stuff.

Speaker 1:

You were in the right part of the Magic Quadrant because I've been in the wrong part of the Magic Quadrant. I was

Speaker 4:

in the right part.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. There you go.

Speaker 4:

Now Dataware as a company was a great tech company with 0 marketing skills. Right?

Speaker 1:

Okay.

Speaker 4:

Their approach to selling sushi would have been to call it cold dead fish.

Speaker 1:

Okay. So I did not. I have heard that this who what company did you originally hear that aphorism applied to? I

Speaker 4:

cannot remember. Like, I know I've heard it enough and I just I haven't I can't remember.

Speaker 1:

It it it was it was relate to to me is as they say of HP. So I'm sure it's been said before many companies. Anyway, just like okay.

Speaker 4:

So yes. I think that I think that's right. Right?

Speaker 1:

Yes. No. Cold dead fish for sushi.

Speaker 4:

Yep. So lo and behold, the founder, Kurt, guy who bought me, had originally founded this company in Germany. He brought it to the States to get to get venture because he can't raise venture in Europe. And when he did this a decade ago, he had made a promise to his wife that Helga, we can go home someday. And she finally called that card she finally played that card, and then Kurt made the worst possible hiring mistake you can make for executive staff.

Speaker 4:

He hired rich, not hungry. So what happened

Speaker 1:

So what do you mean? What do you mean hiring rich? I'm like, oh, is this just like okay. I think I know what you mean. But but He

Speaker 4:

hired someone who had made his nut. Yeah. Right? So and this is this is relevant because the person he hired was the former leader of Fountainhead.

Speaker 1:

Okay. This is where this guy comes into the story.

Speaker 4:

This is where this guy comes into the story. So we we bought a small company, and it was one of those deals where the small company ends up ends up owning us and running us.

Speaker 1:

Alright. Got you old. Who acquired doom?

Speaker 4:

Yep. And there's there's a couple of actually good lessons here for Oxeye, which is one of the reasons why I kinda wanted to tell a story.

Speaker 1:

Uh-oh.

Speaker 4:

So what what Kurt did was he looked, you know, rather than hiring somebody, you know, young and from Oracle, he went into somebody he could look up to, like, feel good about turning his company over to. And at the time, we were a publicly traded entity. We were profitable about 45,000,000 in revenue. And so the first thing that happens when you when 2 tech companies come together is is you do an off-site and you put the tech leads in one room, quote, so they can figure out how to have the best of both architectures because we all know that that always works. Right?

Speaker 1:

That's that's what's gonna happen. What's gonna come out of that room is the best of a thought capture. Yeah. What oh, come on, Scott. It's that's it right there on the agenda item.

Speaker 1:

Like, come on.

Speaker 4:

So we we all all the tech leads get sent out to Amherst, Massachusetts, which was the little company's headquarters. And I did what my mom taught me to do.

Speaker 1:

Uh-oh. We just lost at his mother's life. I I think his mother told him to bring a 6 year to the sorry about that.

Speaker 4:

So what what my mom taught me about school was you sit up front, you ask questions, and you pay attention. Right? It's really simple. So that

Speaker 1:

That's actually good advice. That's good advice. You know, Adam's Adam is a good father. Your mom's a good mother. That's good advice.

Speaker 4:

Mom's a good mother. So I did this for 3 days. Okay? And, you know, we we bonded with the team, etcetera, etcetera. So 3 days of this.

Speaker 4:

And I finally after 3 days of offsetting, I finally get to go home. I go home. And, I mean, this was the day of days of voice mail, and and we didn't have any remote access. So you had to go into the office to check it. And I was notorious for never checking my voice mail anyway.

Speaker 4:

I happened to decide to go into the office that Friday night and check it, and I have a message waiting for me that tell that is tells me in the most awkward and impolite fashion that it has been decided that my services are no longer required.

Speaker 1:

It decided. Passive voice. Oh, it's a voice mail? Passive voice mail.

Speaker 4:

Oh my god.

Speaker 1:

Oh my god.

Speaker 4:

And Oh

Speaker 1:

my god. But

Speaker 4:

and I can almost quote the voice mail to this day. And then I

Speaker 1:

we lost you again. I want it out loud. Reading the voice mail. Alright. Go are

Speaker 6:

you there?

Speaker 4:

The voice mail goes something like this. Scott, this is, Charlie, Charlie Ravi, your boss. It's it's been decided that we don't need your services anymore, and you need to show up at corporate headquarters on Monday to negotiate your severance package. Thanks.

Speaker 1:

Okay. Okay. Well, that's something. That's It

Speaker 4:

was quick. It was clearly intended to blindside me in the worst manner possible. Right? Just the worst manner possible. And so I did, and

Speaker 1:

I went from Was the yeah. This must have this company must have been what what happened to the company?

Speaker 4:

Company must have been acquired. Oh, there there's a there's a postscript here. Okay.

Speaker 1:

Right. There has to.

Speaker 4:

Oh, yes. Yeah. So I went from being a very, very prominent, very visible, executive to completely vanishing. Okay? Right.

Speaker 4:

And they were very adamant that I not talk to anyone. I was I was declared persona non grata. So there's a couple of there's a couple of lessons here. So the first thing that it took me several years to understand is that, the leader of Fountainhead, whose name was Dave Mahoney, and Dave Mahoney had 4 had gone from being the leader of Fountainhead and Data General to being the head of Banyan Vines. I don't if you remember the Vines network product.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. Yeah.

Speaker 4:

Right? Always had the best technology and the worst marketing. Right? Dave Mahoney is also from the Cold Dead Fish School of Sushi Marketing. So when you have when you when you don't do something well, don't then buy don't then take on leadership that also does the same thing poorly.

Speaker 3:

Yes.

Speaker 4:

And so I what I came to understand is that Dave Mahoney was simply clearing the decks. I was a management distraction and he got rid of it. And he made a he made a friend in in the powerful executive. Right? So that was smart.

Speaker 4:

And what Dave Mahoney did was he took a publicly traded $45,000,000 company and in 3 years ran it out of business.

Speaker 1:

Where? Okay. So I'm dying to know where the 3 quarters of $1,000,000 came from.

Speaker 4:

So I have was sitting so over the course of the next year to 18 months, Dave did manage to get a pretty substantial run up in the stock price. And so I think could have return could have turned, you know, 10 to $12 a share, and I would have dumped those shares.

Speaker 1:

Oh, okay. There you go. Yeah. If you know it, then you would have dubbed it.

Speaker 4:

So and in the in the there's a a couple of final laughs. So they never explained why I left. And after I after I left, they had a bunch of other senior departures. And I never knew why. I ended up running to the guys in a in a bar in Boston a few years later, and what they told me was they never explained why you left.

Speaker 4:

You sat in the meetings. You were the only one who asked good questions. Actually, you're the only one who asked questions at all. And when you disappeared, we figured that you decided that the strategy couldn't possibly work. Right?

Speaker 4:

So when you have departures, you explain them because people will come up with their own reasons.

Speaker 1:

That is absolutely. Absolute. Well, I I I also feel that, like, people should be explaining in their own words why they're they're

Speaker 4:

I think they should. But when you have when you do dismissals poorly, and they did this one very, very poorly, you're always scared of what they're gonna say. And and I had I had a whole I had a team of 25 engineers that were very that were very dedicated. Right? Because I take care of engineers because they are my damn people.

Speaker 4:

Right. And so Dave Mahoney failed upwards as he has his whole career, and he went on to run something else into the ground, I believe. Don't quote me

Speaker 1:

on that.

Speaker 4:

I might be wrong. And that executive who who lambasted me, I outlived him.

Speaker 1:

Oh, there it that that that got dark. The ultimate event. The ultimate event. Exactly.

Speaker 4:

Right? He he he apologized. But he ultimately apologized, but I outlived him. So

Speaker 1:

So I so because I definitely noticed that a theme in your bookshelf was the kind of swashbuckling corporate tales. Yep. And, I mean, I think anyone sees something of themselves in some of these tales, but you must see a lot of your I mean, you must I mean, in in particular, the the incident that you're referring to in Sullivan and Sheen where the best fountainhead Yep. Is referred to in a way that did not strike me at all on my original read when I was, like, 18 or 19, but definitely struck me on the reread when I was, you know, in my forties, which is they called it the big shootout at Hojo's. And I which is just so I I think it's such a good I mean, it's so visceral.

Speaker 1:

I feel like, you know, first of all, it's a Hojo's, which is like, Adam, I mean, you know what Hojo's is, but, like, this is not a this is a reference that we'll lose currency in our pocket.

Speaker 2:

It's feels like it's pretty gone, but yes.

Speaker 1:

You're right. So and so a Hojo's is, like, not basically, like, this is a shootout at Motel sex. Like, there's a conference room that they have at a Hojo's. It's a very kind of, like, a down market conference room that ends up being the site of massive corporate violence. And as these two groups do what it I don't know.

Speaker 1:

I thought it was a very visceral description. And I I I do love that in these memoirs where the talking about this kind of organizational strife. And I feel they are very educational in terms of how to do things and how especially how not to do things. Mhmm. Where and I one thing that I have found, and I don't know if you found this as well, but, like, where we have done things that have been that have felt idiosyncratic or unusual and generally, I mean, not not like we've got don't have confidence in it, but it's always like, I don't think anyone else has done it this way.

Speaker 1:

It is always really interesting to find another entity in of the one of the kind of the first gifts of Twitter Spaces was, I think, one of our early ones. Someone pointed out that, hey, do you know that Next did the same thing that you guys are doing in terms of compensation? And I'm like, are you kidding me? And it was really, really interesting to read that bit from Steve Jobs. It's a big thing.

Speaker 1:

So I find it like I love reading history for that reason. And to and to learn, like, some of the true stories to say. I noticed when that you got the story of Dean Kamen and the the segue

Speaker 4:

on there. Yes.

Speaker 1:

I you you've gotta read that out. You would love that book.

Speaker 2:

What what's that called again?

Speaker 1:

That is called I've got that over here somewhere. What is that is Reinventing the Wheel. It was published under It was I it was originally published as code named Ginger. Not a great title. The but reinventing the wheel, I thought, was really good.

Speaker 1:

And, Scott, you'd read that one as well. Oh, yeah. Yeah. What was your boy, do I not wanna work with Dean Kamen?

Speaker 4:

I I read that in real time when it came out.

Speaker 1:

Oh, did you really?

Speaker 4:

Oh, yeah. Yeah. Like, because I was fascinated by the tail. And Dean came in, like, he's I was in Boston at the time, and, you know, he's got a rep. Right.

Speaker 4:

You know, and he he fills that iconoclastic New England home taught engineer sort of vibe. Right. Yes. You know? And and, like and I I started out as a mechanical engineer.

Speaker 4:

You know, so, like, I I I I really liked that, and I wanted it to be real. And when I found out it was a mall cop scooter, it's kinda disappointing.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. So, Adam, this book is so good because it also walks through the well, this is part of what inspired our I can't remember if it inspired our hype episode or if our hype episode inspired it, but we they they built this outlandish hype around it. And the book kinda takes you through all of that. But I actually kind of like I the thing that was more surprising to me was how poorly it was run from an organizational point view. It's was run I mean, really an unpleasant person to work for.

Speaker 1:

And it's interesting that he's got that reputation locally in New England. I don't I don't think I it was definitely news to me. I'm like, wow. This guy is really, really, really difficult to work for. And the book is very vivid.

Speaker 1:

But, Adam, that one, you will really like that book a lot.

Speaker 2:

On the list. I'm looking forward to it.

Speaker 4:

It's a it's a it's a good read, and it's interesting because it's not such a high-tech tale. Like, it's an entrepreneurial tale, but not the same kind. Yeah.

Speaker 1:

And I noticed that you had a bunch of those, which did did lead me to a book that wasn't on your list, but then you added it because I suggested it. And so I was, like, undermining myself. I could be but the, and you have not yet read Creative Capital on George Orwell. No.

Speaker 4:

I have not yet.

Speaker 1:

That's I love

Speaker 4:

It's in my book it's in my bookcase, but I have not gotten there. And and but the interesting thing about him is he really only had one big success.

Speaker 1:

Well, read the book. Okay. He is a he is an incredibly interesting person, and I haven't felt this mesmerized by a person when reading a book since reading about Alexander Hamilton, reading Hamilton by Chemo.

Speaker 4:

Okay. Well, that that's

Speaker 1:

it. That's it. He is like an Alexander Hamilton of Benjamin Hamilton. This guy is amazing, and he is a total polymath. He has got the he plays this kind of, like, really important role in the logistics of World War 2.

Speaker 1:

Yep. And he's just a really fascinating guy. And when I say that I haven't felt this way so I felt this way with 2 people, the chairman of Hamilton and and now Creative Capital on George D'Oreal Interesting. Where where I no. So I'll tell you the specific feeling I had when reading because, Adam, I I swear, like, you were next to me when I was doing when I was reading, the the Chanel's Hamilton.

Speaker 1:

And I remember reading about a particular episode. I think about how about Hamilton squashing the Whiskey Rebellion and thinking to myself, this person is so fascinating. I need to go read 5 Well, my 7. Like, what where where have you been? You fucking idiot.

Speaker 1:

You are reading a biography this but it's like, this is where you have he because I think Hamilton and, again, god bless Chernow and and Lin Manuel Miranda for bringing Hamilton, I think, back because he's such he's such an incredible polymouth, and there's so much there. And the and I feel the same way about Dario, I think, is it's a it's a shorter biography, but I had to say to him, like, I've gotta read a biography of Scott. I'm like, I actually shit. I am reading the only biography of this guy. And I don't think it sold well because I've been buying all my books.

Speaker 1:

Actually, Scott, question for you. Yep. Do you buy do do you like to have the book in the in its pulp to flesh or do you read books online? Or do you reading, like, Kindles and so on? Are these all paper books, in other words?

Speaker 1:

Silence.

Speaker 4:

Sorry. Sorry about that. I read almost exclusively paper books, and I'll buy online when they're too pricey. But, like, I do a lot of used book sales and library sales, because I'm in So

Speaker 1:

I'm the same way, and I love the fact that Amazon allows you I mean, Amazon, I mean, great move on their part to basically not force you to go to another website to buy used books, and they will and so I am buying books. Most of the books I bought the last, you know, year and a half have been for a buck 99. Yep. And the Georges Doriot book showed up, and it was in new condition. Oh, wow.

Speaker 1:

And I'm like, shit. I accidentally bought the new book. I'm like, god. That was a mistake.

Speaker 5:

And then

Speaker 1:

I go to the book. I'm like, oh, no. Oh, no. No. No.

Speaker 1:

No. I bought a book. Oh, no. I hope this this book should be selling much better because it's an amazing book. Of course, like, look at me.

Speaker 1:

I'm buying it used. I should definitely make sure to buy it. Yeah. I'm just gonna say. I think you're gonna like that book a lot, Adam.

Speaker 1:

I think you're gonna like that book a lot. I really strongly recommend Creative Capital. I think it's just and I I I think it's it made much more, I think, visceral for us because I do feel I mean, Pierre Lamont is

Speaker 6:

on our board. He's, like, definitely

Speaker 1:

I and I'm dying to ask Pierre what his interaction was with George. But, the the there are so many things that Dario says that I can that I can hear Pierre say. In the both of them. Yep. Did did did I I did tell you the stopwatch line that he has?

Speaker 1:

No. So Dorio has a stopwatch on his desk. And someone's like, what's a stopwatch for? Like, well, when I start a meeting, I start the stopwatch and I see what time it is when someone asked me the same question 3 times. Which is, like I mean, that is such a purism.

Speaker 1:

I cannot tell you. I it's like anyway, I I so, anyway, I saw that I saw you adding that. You you got a copy of that, but I'm

Speaker 6:

really looking forward. Yeah.

Speaker 1:

I think you're gonna love

Speaker 3:

it a lot.

Speaker 1:

I so, Adam, you are also reading a book that's actually not on his list that you're reading right now. I think you're reading.

Speaker 2:

Is the only other book I'm reading, although I'm listening to it, is, is Bowling Alone.

Speaker 3:

Is that what you're referring to?

Speaker 1:

Just referring to Bowling Alone. Yeah.

Speaker 2:

I I don't No. I just I just finished that. I just finished it, by Robert Putnam. Talks the concept of social capital and how, communities used to, you know, be more tight knit and how that has changed over basically the last 2 centuries. But, it's written, I think, in like the late 90s or early 2000s.

Speaker 2:

So, there's some very sort of adorable speculation about the impact of the Internet.

Speaker 1:

And I would I would almost say. There's almost some silicon snake oil esque. Yeah. I so, Adam, how did you come across blowing along first?

Speaker 2:

You know, I think I it was on one of our oxide morning water coolers. You know, we have a Okay. Kind of a topic list half hour every morning that's opt in. That's just a good way to, like, start the day and, meet your colleagues and talk about things informally. And and, actually, I dropped in, I think, at the tail end of discussion, and I thought I I didn't know what it was, but I wrote it down and, like, took it out on, audiobooks and started listening to it and and was really into it.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. Okay. So I did I I I because I wonder about, like, this is this coming from me or not? Because, I mean, I read it when it first came out. I thought it was really interesting, but I have not revisited it.

Speaker 1:

And I would love to know what you're having just read it because I I feel it does not really anticipate social media. And it does No.

Speaker 2:

No. No. I mean, it's it it, it puts a lot of blame on television as like a source of eroding social capital, like sort of seems reasonable. It talks about the Internet in very hopeful terms, right? It's saying that I hope that, you know, the spaces that it makes are kind of fill the same role as social interactions, as opposed to merely being virtual communities.

Speaker 2:

And I actually started thinking about this a bit on last week's space as we were talking about, you know, kind of meeting people through GitHub effectively. And it's not quite the same or even forums like this. It's not quite the same, but it does fill some of the same role as that more local social capital, in in one's community.

Speaker 1:

I think it does. I agree. Yeah.

Speaker 4:

Hey. Hey, Adam. Yeah. I'm aware of Putnam's works. And one question for you since you just read it.

Speaker 4:

Does he put does he give any credence to the economic trend of the 20th 21st century that we pay for things that used to be free?

Speaker 2:

That was not a big theme

Speaker 6:

if

Speaker 1:

that was touched on.

Speaker 4:

One of the the big one of the great economic catastrophes of the 20th 21st century is we now spend money for stuff we didn't use to have to. Right? And it may it's one of the things that has driven us to a 2 income society, 2 income family system.

Speaker 1:

Okay. So what are some examples? Yeah.

Speaker 4:

We now pay for water. Right? Bottled water is a new thing. Coffee used to be a dime, a cup, or 25ยข a cup. Now it's $5.

Speaker 4:

We pay for cable TV. Cell phones didn't used to exist. Right? Like, there's been a huge value transfer of things we never used to pay for.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. And But yeah. Yeah. So yeah. So, anyway, that's an interesting theme that

Speaker 2:

I think sort of depending on how far back you're looking either holds

Speaker 6:

true or not, you know,

Speaker 4:

the the degree to

Speaker 1:

of income and equality.

Speaker 4:

It's but I I think I would look at this as, you know, the bowling alone, it's in it's in the title. Right? We used to have bowling leagues. We don't anymore.

Speaker 1:

That's right. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. That's what we talked about.

Speaker 4:

And part of it is that we're working more even though we should theoretically be working less. Right? Like, the the predictions from the 1900 were that we'd have, like, a 15 hour work week by now.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. Well, you know, one

Speaker 2:

of the interesting things was that a lot of social capital comes from work. And one of the one of the interesting things I took away was that the most socially connected folks are not those who are unemployed and not those who are working, but the folks who are working part time. Because I guess that, you know, having the social interactions, of work gives you a bunch of connection both to your community and outside your community. But then working part time gives you the space to act on it, to to volunteer, to go out into communities, to to do other things. And so that that may be true that that, that, like, you know, people working more has eroded social capital, but there, you know, there's a bunch of advances in the progressive era where, you know, the 40 hour work week was instituted, you know, anti child labor laws were instituted.

Speaker 2:

So, you know, this this has fluctuated.

Speaker 1:

Well, and I and I think you do get to I mean, which we rightfully don't necessarily emphasize because the dark side is so dark, but there is a bright side to social networking. And social networking has actually I mean, we have remained very social. I mean, I think one of the concerns in Boeing alone, as I recall it, was that we were becoming increasingly isolated. And, actually, what the much bigger concern really should have been is that the people who feel increasingly isolated are going to connect with one another And that feeling of isolation and disenfranchisement and grievance is going to be magnified, and you're going to end up with I mean, like, the book does not predict 4 chan, which would be hard to predict. But, I mean, I think that what we've seen is actually much more complicated than It's interesting.

Speaker 1:

He talks about 2

Speaker 2:

kinds of social capital. 1, bridging versus bonding social capital. Bridging being reaching across communities, bonding being insular. And to some degree, I think that his fear of the Internet, some of it has played out where you get more bonding social capital

Speaker 1:

Yeah.

Speaker 2:

Where it become and and I think we see both of these things in our society where the Internet has facilitated bonding social capital to the point where it becomes toxic, where where it becomes too focused on us versus the other. Yeah. But then, but then also bridging social capital, which allows us to, for example, support folks in Ukraine in ways that, you know, might not have been accessible certainly 20, 30 years ago.

Speaker 4:

Yes. Very much so.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. Just so do you net net, Adam, do you recommend it? I definitely I've not reread it.

Speaker 2:

Strongly recommend it. Strongly recommend it. And and actually the and maybe this is getting too personal, but it even sort of it kind of filled, you know, the the I I mean, what it certainly did not predict was the pandemic, which has been really deleterious to any kind of social capital. And, and and I think as, you know, during the pandemic, I've moved, my kids have moved around schools, my wife has moved around jobs.

Speaker 1:

You know, I moved jobs right before the pandemic. Like,

Speaker 2:

you know, surprise. It's hard to imagine Brian. I felt like I joined way before the pandemic, but we were actually only in the office for like 2 months together.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. It was

Speaker 2:

great. But, it's been a very useful lens for thinking about, you know, the the meaning of community and and how I want to spend my time and spend my money and spend my effort, in terms of, like, you know, creating events for for friends and for folks in my kids' classes and and, and, you know, for folks, you know, just in the community. So it's it's been, like, instrumental. I mean, it's been really it it it's kinda changed the way I think about things, and change changed the way I think about online and and, in person interactions.

Speaker 4:

So I highly recommend Interesting.

Speaker 1:

And, Scott, you mentioned that you were kind of familiar with Putnam's broader work. Did he I wonder if if he's has he come back and is he still alive? This is, like, a little awkward. The book was written a while ago, but I see I wonder if he's revisited some of the stuff in the post nothing.

Speaker 4:

I'm not I'm not certain. I remember I looked up the book not too long ago, on Wikipedia, and I didn't I didn't delve too much into him. But I had somebody brought up the thesis to me, and I was curious about it.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. So here's a live. It looks like you're still writing.

Speaker 5:

Yeah. It looks like he's got a couple of new books out.

Speaker 4:

He he he he

Speaker 1:

he came together with yeah. Interesting. Alright. We'll have to go I I would be curious to go read that. And I am that's great to know.

Speaker 1:

I think I mean, it was also and, Scott, it one thing I definitely should ask you, it makes such a difference when a book is well written, and that book was well written. I mean, just like the

Speaker 2:

mechanic. Absolutely.

Speaker 1:

And it it that makes a a a a big, big difference. I've got a another recommendation that I picked up that has now that has the same purpose on my bookshelf that it has on Tom Lyon's bookshelf. Tom, you recommended makers of the microchip, a documentary history of Fairchild, and but you said, like, I haven't read this yet because it's pretty dense. And I'm like, Pish Posh. How dense?

Speaker 1:

I buy it. It's very dense. I have not and this is like it's engineering notebooks from Fairchild. It's really remarkable. But, definitely, I like Tom.

Speaker 1:

I'm like I strongly recommending it even though I have only really just leafed through it. It's been it's been really mesmerizing. And I don't think I don't know if that was on your your list. Again, not commenting.

Speaker 4:

That no. That that is not on my list.

Speaker 6:

No. The seriously thick.

Speaker 1:

It is seriously thick. But, yeah, it's it's really fascinating. I have to say, I'm get so I'm going to retell on his behalf. So, we had we had exactly one in person board meeting, since the the, the pandemic started. We had a board meeting in March.

Speaker 1:

And, we got to get lunch with, with Pierre at, Pierre La Mancha at afterward. And, you know, Pierre does not like to tell stories about himself, so it's a bit of a trick to get him going. But the guy has had so much wildly fascinating experience. And what he described in particular was he was at Fairchild Semiconductor running the semiconductor division, and recall that it is a subdivision of Fairchild Camera Instrument. Right, Tom?

Speaker 4:

That's correct.

Speaker 1:

Yep. Yep. And he is back in Long Island presenting their their results to the board. And Pierre says the numbers we were doing were obscene. And I feel I know Pierre well enough to know that if he's calling profitability obscene, it's a truly an obscenity.

Speaker 1:

I mean, it is that that is like, and he said it was obscene. We were making so much money. The company was doing so well. And the CEO was falling asleep during his presentation. And he's like, what am I doing here?

Speaker 1:

Why am I that's kinda like where he had that moment of, like, I have to leave, and he ultimately goes and can't start. VC does not eat George Dorio aside. And although now I understand because Dorio hates California, which I think is kinda funny. Pure can't raise venture capital. So they go and basically find an excellent public company, National Semiconductor, and he and 2 colleagues from Fairchild more or less taken over and replace the management and then and then issue, the on the public markets and raise money back.

Speaker 1:

But, anyway, that that was a a Fairchild story for

Speaker 6:

you, Tom, from

Speaker 1:

back in the day. That was it was also a great moment because we had a couple of outside folks kind of around the table as Pierre sang this and everything. It's kind of, like, slack jawed listening to this. I mean, it's like it was, it's amazing. Oh.

Speaker 1:

Hey. Another book that came up, was that someone had suggested was Built to Fail that I loved about Blockbuster. I wanna Yeah.

Speaker 5:

That was my suggestion from That

Speaker 1:

was your suggestion. Oh, yeah. I love that one. I that that was that was really good.

Speaker 5:

It is it is such a good book. I mean, it's it's about a company that learns how to grow and then continues to grow beyond any point of rationality. And it's, definitely an interesting read.

Speaker 1:

And this one, I think, Scott, this was also not on your list. I'm not sure.

Speaker 4:

Just just so you're aware, there are a lot more books.

Speaker 1:

I know. I knew this is coming. I I was ready for this moment. I was ready for this moment exactly, and I thought going into the space that this was the book that was going to bring this up. I knew this because I'm like, he has got, like, 15 more he's only hearing, like, start up.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. This is only 1 part

Speaker 4:

of this. This was what I did was I I I called down to high-tech startups, right, or high-tech companies. I I knew it. And I and I I left off some of my favorites like, the Skunk Works book, by Ben Rich.

Speaker 1:

Oh, yeah. Right.

Speaker 2:

That's a great one.

Speaker 1:

Yeah.

Speaker 4:

Yeah. The another great one is James Dyson, which talks about the founding of Dyson and and his and the best wheelbarrow ever made by mankind, which is just phenomenal.

Speaker 1:

Okay. I what what what's it called? Is it just James?

Speaker 4:

It's on James Sysons. On James Sysons. What I will do is I will put together other I I will add other books to the list. But so if you're I just are are you either you guys homeowners?

Speaker 5:

Okay.

Speaker 4:

Yes. So one of Dyson's first products was the ballbarrow, and it was a wheelbarrow that had a giant round sphere as its central ball. So it didn't cut a hole through your lawn. You have a lot of craploaded into it.

Speaker 1:

Right. Right. It could go

Speaker 4:

Phenomenal. Right? The man's a great the man's a great engineer even if his vacuums don't work all that well.

Speaker 1:

His vacuums drive me crazy.

Speaker 4:

Yes. They do.

Speaker 1:

I okay. This is actually I thank you. Because I feel like when you got a Dyson vacuum cleaner, you're like I feel it's it's a, like, actually another it's or, like, I feel it's like a con where it's like, I have spent so much money for this vacuum cleaner that I'm afraid to go to the police because I'm gonna disclose that it like, I I I'm basically revealing my own poor judgment. So I was like, I have to like this vacuum cleaner even though I cannot figure out how to and it's like if because they have this idea, like, no. No.

Speaker 1:

You don't need documentation because it is a self documenting vacuum cleaner. It's like, fuck you. This thing is too clever by half. And then you go, like, on the online documentation Adam, do you have a Dyson vacuum cleaner in my I

Speaker 2:

have 2 and I love them both and they treat me well. Please continue.

Speaker 1:

I knew it.

Speaker 5:

I knew it.

Speaker 1:

I knew it. Meanwhile, you are suffering in silence and you're weeping right now because you can't figure out how to get the extender out and they're just like

Speaker 2:

Not not only not only do I have 2, but I recently did a battery replacement on 1 with some, like, I don't know, some, like, toxic waste battery that I bought off of Amazon for, like, $8 or whatever. But I rehabilitated the vacuum cleaner that my family wouldn't use. I I I love them so much.

Speaker 1:

And you were able to, like, appreciate it. It's it it didn't replace in this battery. Of course, I didn't need the documentation documentation because I appreciated the innate cleverness of the design that allowed me to do it completely in some way. Yeah.

Speaker 4:

Yeah. Yeah. So a comment about Dyson. Dyson is British, obviously. And there's a whole alternate British high-tech high-tech world that we don't that we don't see.

Speaker 4:

You know, the Acorn Wristbox, the the b

Speaker 1:

Oh, you can definitely micro. Yeah. The b c micro. Totally. Also, just just suggest that ENIAC is the 1st door programmed computer if you want every British follower of yours to come fly now.

Speaker 4:

Have long employed British engineers, and they're one of my favorite nationalities for engineers.

Speaker 1:

Interesting. And the and the so I the is there a good history of the I mean, this is where we need John Masters here. John Masters has god save the queen in his head right now, and he doesn't know why About the kind of the because the history of the industry is actually really interesting. You've got Elliot is over there. There are a bunch of interesting computer companies.

Speaker 1:

Obviously, BCBC Micro, Acorn, ARM obviously starts over there. You've got, Sinclair. Sinclair. Right?

Speaker 3:

Do you

Speaker 6:

guys know about the the Lions, computing computer from the fifties?

Speaker 4:

No. I don't know that one. No?

Speaker 6:

It it was the 1st commercially built computer in the world. Really? Yeah. Unibac was built for the government, but this was built to run accounting at the Lions Tea Shops. And it was a clone of the EDSAQ from Cambridge.

Speaker 4:

Really? Oh, okay. Interesting.

Speaker 6:

There's a bunch of books on it.

Speaker 1:

Oh. Hey. Hey. The the oh, yeah. What what?

Speaker 1:

Yeah. What what do you have on it? That that's not interesting.

Speaker 6:

I forget the title. So you can look for a MEO, what was the name of the computer, Lyons Electronic Office.

Speaker 4:

Hey hey, Tom. I have a question. I have a question for you. What's your thought of the Inmost Transputer?

Speaker 6:

I think it's very cool. I never really got to know it.

Speaker 4:

Like, I I always looked at it as like, Dick Pountaine used to write about that one a lot. And it was just a I always thought it was a fascinating architecture that I never quite understood.

Speaker 6:

And then I guess the same team went on to do the Quadrix networking stuff for supercomputers

Speaker 4:

I didn't know that.

Speaker 6:

Which which was, I think, the first Ethernet based supercomputer interconnect.

Speaker 1:

And this is UK based as well. Right? Yep.

Speaker 6:

Yeah. There's a huge amount of stuff out of Cambridge. I mean, Cambridge is the Silicon Valley of the UK.

Speaker 1:

Also, including a language for which we have dedicated several Easter eggs, Adam.

Speaker 2:

Language h?

Speaker 1:

Language h is is an English creation. Oh, but When I I bought a an odd lot of, just, like, crap from, like, a bunch of ICT stuff, and it was just like a miscellaneous stuff. And at the bottom is this manual from language h, which is so weird. We found it very delightful. And this it has this is before decimalization, in the UK.

Speaker 1:

So things like, you know, guineas are is a keyword or whatever. I mean, I That's right. Oh, yeah.

Speaker 6:

This this, line the the Leo computer had hardware support for the non decimal, stuff. It's just, like, just mind mind boggling.

Speaker 3:

It's for, like, shillings and stuff like that. But I I would argue that Cambridge was directly responsible for a lot of the programming language stuff that we use. I mean, c came from b, which came from BCPL, which came from CPL, which was the Cambridge programming language.

Speaker 1:

There you go. Yeah. Yeah. Would it be It does

Speaker 5:

it does appear to be a book about Sinclair called Sinclair and the Sunrise Technology. I'm kinda curious to read it mostly because of the pivot late into electric vehicles. Having seen the Sinclair C5 at, the Forney Museum of Transportation in in Denver, Colorado, it was definitely ahead of its time would be, charitable. And it's, it's it's gotta be an interesting story for sure.

Speaker 6:

Well, it do do you know there there's a there's a movie about Clive Sinclair, which is a dramatization, and, it includes a startup of the acorn stuff and yeah. With with actors acting as all these things. It's a a very strange movie.

Speaker 5:

Is this

Speaker 1:

Microman, Tom? Would that make sense?

Speaker 6:

Yep. Yep. Yep. Yep.

Speaker 1:

Alright. MicroMen. We'll have to I don't know if I'm gonna be able to get the kids to sit through this one with me or not. That's looks like it's all available on YouTube, fortunately.

Speaker 6:

Yeah. I don't I don't understand who they built who they made the movie for.

Speaker 3:

It's one

Speaker 6:

of these very strange movies.

Speaker 1:

Well, it's actually gonna be challenging to the kids to watch that. You know, the kids actually have been maybe they're just being charitable, but they've actually, my my 15 year old has watched watched Silicon Cowboys with me, which is very good. Watched, think something veteran was the history of venture capital, which sounds really enjoyable. And this looks so, 7.5 on IMDB, but 90 96% like the movie. This looks good.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. This this is a dramatization. Oh, it's on BBC 4. Oh, interesting. I don't know.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. This looks good. This this like Yeah.

Speaker 5:

Thanks for the recommendation.

Speaker 6:

And I I met Herman Houser in real life and then he's one of the characters in the movie. It's like, wait. This is too weird.

Speaker 1:

That is awesome. So what Scott, one question I've got for you that I have found is that that part of this I like reading a bunch of different stuff is there's what I call, like, a Rosencrantz and Guildenstern effect. Mhmm. Like, I I I love the movie Rosenkranz and Guildenstern because the it focuses on these bit characters in Hamlet while Hamlet is happening behind. Correct.

Speaker 1:

So Hamlet is, like, happening in the background. And you the and I just I love that idea of, like, there are so many different stories. And, actually, the story Hamlet's story is actually not the only story that's happening in the castle. And those other stories are just interesting of people living in. And I find it super interesting when you, like, read a book that has in the background something that you've read an entire book about or

Speaker 4:

something that's like,

Speaker 1:

oh, wait a minute. Yep. I I really like that. And I noticed you've got you you tend to read a bunch of books on one subject, so you must have that feeling quite a bit.

Speaker 4:

Indeed. And the interesting part is always, like, there are heroes that aren't the leads. Right? Like, you look at, to go back to Soul the New Machine, the guy who left for the commune, he had his own story. Right?

Speaker 4:

And he was clearly and when you're running an engineering team, one of the things that that's it's it's always an interesting challenge is assigning the problem to the right type of engineer. Right? And one bit of art is when you've got a certain class of problems, you don't give it to somebody who's too smart. Right? Like, when it's a really hard problem, a lot of times you can get a huge win by giving it to a junior guy because the smart guy knows how hard it is and won't solve it.

Speaker 1:

Right. And this is the Neil Firth story from Soul of a New Machine

Speaker 5:

Yep.

Speaker 1:

Where Neil Firth famously does

Speaker 6:

the simulator because no one wants to

Speaker 1:

pick it up because they know what a hard problem is. And he's able to get the simulator working. Yeah. Yeah. No.

Speaker 1:

I I'm a big believer

Speaker 4:

in that

Speaker 1:

that it's actually it's very important to not necessarily know the odds. The the because often oftentimes, like, that that the wisdom is right in a certain regard and that the problem is much harder than a more junior person might think, but also wrong in that it actually ultimately is solvable. And you've gotta have that disposition when when you solve it. Indeed. Another book that that I oh, actually, I've got a book that is that is I know one that's, I think, not on your list, but now I'm worried that it's on one of your shadow lists.

Speaker 1:

Out of the Inner Circle do you know this book? By Bill Landra. So this is like a down market cuckoo's egg.

Speaker 4:

Out of

Speaker 1:

The Cuckoo's egg by Yep.

Speaker 4:

I remember. I read that one too.

Speaker 1:

Okay. So right. So, Cuckoo's Egg, I think, is actually better. It is. I I I Adam, have you heard Cuckoo's Egg?

Speaker 2:

No. I haven't. What what is this about?

Speaker 1:

So the the Cuckoo's Egg is about Cliff Stoll, who is a, an astronomer who is also an admin for their network and how he discovers that the network is being being abused by a German hacker that jump off and basically between a crime. But it's actually a very well written book. There's a great line, and I and, Scott, just to your earlier point, like, these but it's great when you get, like, one kind of thing out of a book. Cliff still had a really interesting observation about himself. He's like, I actually realized that what it meant to be multidisciplinary because all the astronomers thought I wasn't much of an astronomer, but I was a great computer guy.

Speaker 1:

And all the computer folks thought I was not much of a computer person, but was a great astronomer. Yep. Yeah. So he ended up being and I think which I think is the the cross disciplinary curse often. But that book is very good.

Speaker 1:

So the, out of the inner circle is a book written by a guy who basically was a a hacker in the eighties. I mean, it's like, it's Bill Landreth, and then underneath it, aka the cracker. And this book is my copy is very important to me, namely that it doesn't fall into the wrong hands. Because I bought my copy when I was 15. And inspired by Bill Landreth, gave myself a moniker that I embarrassing me.

Speaker 1:

I did just check this. That is it is it is written down underneath my name. I wrote my name in the book and then wrote down what I viewed to be my outlaw monologue. And I think it's just even though I'm an oversharer, I think it's just good.

Speaker 3:

That book is apparently cowritten by Howard Rheingold. It was quite interesting. He was the person who wrote, homesteading on the digital frontier. I think that's the title. So the

Speaker 1:

well Yep.

Speaker 3:

And the early ride.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Homes so it and you said that Out of the Inner Circle was or or Kukusay? I No.

Speaker 1:

No. No.

Speaker 3:

No. No. Out of the Inner Circle. I just looked it up on Wikipedia. It said it was by this Bill Landreth guy who I've I've never heard of, but it was also by Howard Rheingold, who I had heard of.

Speaker 1:

Oh, that's interesting. It that is not credited. It at least in my copy, never to see the light of day because of the embarrassing

Speaker 3:

You can scratch out that name at the side b, by the way, just so you know?

Speaker 1:

Oh, brilliant? Alright.

Speaker 3:

Just saying. No.

Speaker 1:

That's right. But this actually may be that's interesting. So that and is homesteading on the digital frontier? Is that worth reading then?

Speaker 3:

I think so. Yeah. I I

Speaker 1:

I can't remember if that's the actual title of of the book.

Speaker 3:

That discusses the sort of early history of the well.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. Is is itself kind of

Speaker 4:

Everything that happened online like, the rule the rule of thumb is everything that happened online happened first on the well, and the the argument is that it actually happened first on Play Doh.

Speaker 1:

Right. Yeah. I'll go try it again. Yeah.

Speaker 3:

I would buy that. Sure.

Speaker 6:

Oh, there there's another another recent book that covers some of the wild stuff as the Stewart Brand biography. It's called Whole Earth.

Speaker 1:

Oh. Oh, that one.

Speaker 6:

It's, by John Markoff. So it's a really good book. It's not exactly Oh, that's a high-tech. But then Mark Markoff had the other really good book, which is, what the Dormouse said.

Speaker 5:

What the

Speaker 1:

Dormouse said, that's unlike you, Tom. Yeah. That's a read it.

Speaker 6:

Yeah. Markov awesome. Lot lots of early Silicon Valley, LSD, Grateful Dead, you know, every everything happening in the seventies kind of stuff.

Speaker 3:

The Grateful Dead also figures prominently in the Cuckoo's egg, which, like, Brian, I I I think one of the things that's interesting to mention about that is that the German hacker guy was being funded by the then this was all during the backdrop of the Cold War. This was all happening in the eighties. Right. And the German hacker guy was being paid in cash and cocaine by the KGB to break into American military computers. So at some point, Cliff Stoll, like this long haired hippie dude in Berkeley, is watching this guy break into some, you know, vaxx or something at some, you know, the Anniston Army Depot in in Alabama somewhere, and he's, like, calling this army base.

Speaker 3:

And he's like, I need to talk to whoever runs your computers. And the people at the front you know, whatever whatever switchboard he gets to, the people are just like, who are you, man? Like, what's what are you talking about? It it it's a very interesting read. It's a very it's also a very lively book.

Speaker 3:

I highly recommend Cuckoo's Egg.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. It just sounds like you read Cuckoo's Egg a little more recently, Nick. I don't I think I read that in last read that in the nineties for sure. I've not read that recently. I, I'm trying to remember when the last time I read it,

Speaker 3:

was so when I was taking care of my mom at the end of her life, there was a copy of it in her house, and I probably read it around that time just to, you know, have something to do. So that was probably, like, a year or 2 ago.

Speaker 1:

Oh, I

Speaker 3:

should've heard of when that last week through that book. But it's it's a good read. I highly recommend it.

Speaker 1:

Good read. Yeah. And that's yeah.

Speaker 2:

I will say the this discussion, I pulled it up. I have read this, and it was probably in, like, 1992 that I read it. So, but these details

Speaker 4:

are bringing back.

Speaker 5:

Yeah. Have you, have you seen the video on YouTube of how Clifford store manages the inventory of his, client portal online store?

Speaker 1:

No. I would that that could go any direction. Because I

Speaker 5:

won't I won't spoil it for you, but you should definitely look it up. It's, a

Speaker 1:

a Wild.

Speaker 5:

Has its system.

Speaker 4:

Just put it down.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. So he because so he wrote Cuckoo's Egg. Cuckoo's Egg got him a lot of notoriety, then he kinda made the mistake of I gather his publisher or an editor basically suggested that he write another book and gave him the topic. And he wrote this book, Silicon Snake Oil, that is really I mean, it's interesting only in its how unbelievably wrong it is about what unfolded with respect to the basically talking about and it was ironic because he was basically kind of taking I mean, if you take Putnam and kind of extract from it that the Internet was gonna make us asocial. And it's like, oh, no.

Speaker 1:

No. No. Wish it did. It did not. In in some ways, Cliff stole your dystopian future would have been better than the one we found.

Speaker 1:

But it's definitely completely wrong. But I I I really wanna you're definitely inspiring Dan to go back and reread because it it was I do remember being really good. On so I, a book I did not see on your list, Scott. Oh, actually, before that, a question for you because, actually, this conversation with Dan brings us up. One of the things that I've appreciated in older age is going that I never thought I would be doing, going back and rereading books, which I hadn't really done much of.

Speaker 1:

But certainly this happened with Soul where I go back to reread a book.

Speaker 4:

And, of course, like, I know that

Speaker 1:

the younger Brian is an idiot, and I've learned this countless number of times. But it's like, I apparently, I'm I'm not getting too old to read on this lesson where I will go read a book that I read at a much younger station in life much earlier station in life and just get something totally different out of it. Yeah. I did you find that as well?

Speaker 4:

You know, like, sometimes you identify too much with the with the protagonist just to and you miss something. Right? Like, that's a that's a common one. The other time the other thing is sometimes

Speaker 1:

And I definitely thought that way about the shootout at Hojo's, which I'd like again, I did not even did not move the needle when I read it, basically, before I'd even finished my undergraduate work. But now, like, shootout Oh, just like you and your experience, like, oh my god. I'm there.

Speaker 4:

And, like, also a lot of it is, like, when you're really young and you haven't yet failed, you don't have an understanding of failure.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. Okay. Could you elaborate? That's very interesting.

Speaker 4:

Like, I have made my living realist kind of but, like, the way I kinda described is I kind of exist on the margins of high-tech. Right? Like, I tend to focus on small, small environments. Like, I I like companies with about 10 people. Right?

Speaker 4:

And that means that there's a limit as to how how well you can succeed. Right?

Speaker 1:

Right. Yeah. Okay.

Speaker 4:

You know, I do mostly what I do is I'm a I'm a I'm a cons I've done a bunch of start ups over the years. Some worked, some didn't. These days, I'm a consultant and trying to do some good things on the side, and I'm gonna put a is it is it alright if I make a plug for something?

Speaker 1:

Sure. Yeah. Please. I think I know you're making a plug

Speaker 4:

for go ahead. Train.com.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. I saw that. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. So I remember that.

Speaker 4:

A buddy of mine that I've known for about 35 years, He put a post on Facebook about a month ago saying I'm appalled by the Ukraine. I wanna do something. I don't know what to do. So I called some pizza places and gave them some money, and they delivered pizzas to bomb shelters. And I reached out to him and said, hey, I can build a website and 24 hours later, we had a website up.

Speaker 4:

And since then, we have generated, about 30,000 in donations, and we have sent over 1800 pizzas to the Ukraine. And in

Speaker 1:

Yeah. That's right.

Speaker 4:

I don't know what form factor your servers will ship in, but we have a whole spreadsheet that measures the pizzas along different along different, lines. And we have shipped, let me just pull it up here. Pizza math, which is here. So if my measurements are correct and what the Internet tells me a 2 u server is, we have shipped 31,697 to you servers in height of pizzas.

Speaker 1:

Nice. That's great.

Speaker 4:

Right? We also measure it by Smoots if you're an MIT person. We've gotta measure. What what is a

Speaker 3:

Smoot? Oh.

Speaker 1:

You don't know what

Speaker 6:

a Smoot is?

Speaker 3:

Yeah. You don't know what a it's a Smoot at the height of mister Smoot. And, yeah, the the Harvard Bridge, which goes from Boston to Cambridge, has markings on it that say x mini Smoots to, you know, to to MIT or whatever. It's it's

Speaker 4:

So if you wanna send spend $15, you and it is 100% 0 overhead charity. There's we we take nothing from it. All we do is take the money and send it send it on to a couple of pizza places in Ukraine. So

Speaker 1:

Which I mean, talk about I mean, going back to, like, bowling alone and how I mean, that's, like, that's this is a dynamic that does not exist in, you know, in in the, you know, in your conflict in the eighties or nineties. So, yeah, that's that is really interesting. That that is that's great. So I want to get just just because I we we are kinda doing the update. If other folks have got books that they have read in the interim that they would love folks to read or thought particularly stuck with them, definitely, let us know because I feel like we we learned a lot from the the last time.

Speaker 1:

Certainly, my cue got very deep the last time. So, one actually, another one I wanted to ask you about, Scott, was, and, Tom, maybe you as well, Memoirs of a Computer Pioneer by Morris Wilkes. Do you I don't know if you've we're talking about UK Computing a little bit.

Speaker 6:

I was not aware of that.

Speaker 4:

Which one was that, Brian?

Speaker 1:

Oh, it's Morris Wilkes. So this is I mean, let me talk about, like, the origins of UK Computing. This is super old. Right? This is the but I think he's the, like, I must say, secondary award winner or something like that.

Speaker 1:

But the, he, is a a a Canadian pioneer in in the UK and, pretty

Speaker 6:

much He's the main guy be behind EdSAC.

Speaker 1:

He's got one. He

Speaker 6:

invented the subroutine.

Speaker 1:

Oh. Second. Damn. That

Speaker 6:

most He he he he wrote the very first book on programming. Preparation of programs for an automatic digital computer. Wow. But I wasn't aware of the he had a memoir.

Speaker 4:

Hey, Brian. Have have you ever looked at, the book Insisting on the Impossible? It talks it's the coverage of Edwin Land and Polaroid.

Speaker 1:

No. How's that?

Speaker 4:

Amazing. Mhmm. You we we have Polaroids are an invention lost to history at this point. Yeah. But the number of sort of material science advances that Edwin Land was responsible for, is just phenomenal.

Speaker 4:

And, like, you know, Polaroid was a Cambridge thing.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. So

Speaker 4:

That's right. Like, you know, we like, it was very very familiar to me. Fantastic book.

Speaker 1:

That's awesome. That reminds me of this book that I think I was reading the last time we did this with, on, on, Gerber, and the the life of Joseph Gerber, which is also super, super interesting. That looks great. Ian, you got your hand up.

Speaker 5:

Yeah. I've got a few, from, that I didn't mention the last time. The first is called Broadband, the untold story of the women who made the Internet. This is a a kind of a a book that kinda spans the ages a little bit, starting with INEAC, which I think is something that, you're interested in, Brian. But it does go through, early days of the Internet and, online communities and hypertext.

Speaker 5:

The world does write a mention in there as well, which kinda ties it back to the other conversation. So, that's, that's

Speaker 1:

That looks great. And, yes, I got the any act story is actually part of what's really compelling about the Annie story is that all of these first programmers are women. And, so many of them went on to then really distinguish careers. Yeah. It was so, yeah, this looks great.

Speaker 6:

That's a good one.

Speaker 5:

Yeah. There's there's also a a kinda spin off from that that I have called that I've got in my queue called Cyberville. Because of a story that's in that book, there's a story in the book where a, one of these, early communities kinda and they're running it out of their New York City apartment. And, they basically run out of bandwidth, and the the, phone company ends up ripping up the street to be able to lay more phone lines to this one person's apartment so that they could actually run a slightly larger community, which I thought was

Speaker 1:

a and so I believe this is Cyberville clicks culture and the creation of an online town. Is that right?

Speaker 5:

Yes. That's the one.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. This looks this looks good. Sorry. I'm getting that that cheapest copy I'm getting right now. Sorry, folks.

Speaker 1:

You gotta move. You wanna if it if you wanna get the 309 copy, you gotta move quickly.

Speaker 5:

Yeah. So I have

Speaker 1:

Yeah. Go. Few

Speaker 5:

more. The next is called Becoming Trader Joe. How I Did Business My Way and Still Beat the Big Guys.

Speaker 4:

Phenomenal book. That is a that is a great book.

Speaker 5:

It is an excellent book, and I'm glad that you've read it. Yeah. It's, a lot a lot of interesting history about Trader Joe's, which I really did not know know anything about going into the book. Particularly as someone who, did not come to the States in the time that this was was produced and and was also, like, a

Speaker 6:

a a West Coast company only for

Speaker 5:

a number of years.

Speaker 4:

Well, and the amazing thing about Trader Joe's is that he's been gone forever, and the culture stayed the same. I don't know how that

Speaker 1:

Oh, yes. That that doesn't surprise me at all, actually. Because I I feel like one of the big lessons that I got from the the bringing these various my margin histories and so on is just how much the culture does reflect the founders of a company. Especially I mean, I Apple right now is secretive because of the dead Steve Jobs. I mean, Steve Jobs has been gone for over a decade.

Speaker 1:

Right? And and they are still so much of his his particularities are still exhibited by Apple. So that's but, yeah, this looks good. I have not, Adam, do you shop at your address? You're trying to discover?

Speaker 4:

Yeah. For sure. Let me if you're if you're if we're opening this up to food. Hold on. I need to walk

Speaker 1:

to that wing of the house. Just a second. Hold on.

Speaker 4:

Oh, what is, McIlney's gold talks about the history of

Speaker 1:

amazing my god.

Speaker 4:

And you you if you think there are characters in high-tech, you have no

Speaker 3:

idea. Does it go into the MRE thing?

Speaker 4:

Yes. It does go into the MRE thing.

Speaker 3:

Outstanding. That's awesome.

Speaker 4:

It's a it's a it's a fast it's a fascinate it's a utterly, like it's and it's short too. It's like the it's not a killer, but it's a really fascinating

Speaker 1:

what are some of the killers? And I wanna know what you're I mean, you're such a voracious reader. What what can slay you?

Speaker 4:

So they invented they essentially invented the company town. Right? Now does that term mean anything to anyone other than me

Speaker 1:

other than me? The company the term company town? Yeah. I mean, I grew up in Colorado. Ludlow was in Colorado, which is the very, very famous company.

Speaker 4:

So so, like, they they and except their company town was on an island, and the the whoever was running McIlney's was essentially the patriarch right down to faith healing people when they were sick.

Speaker 1:

Okay. So this is Mcilhen okay. So Mcilhenny is m c I l h e n n y. Okay. Yep.

Speaker 1:

I got it.

Speaker 4:

Yep. McKinney's gold, how Louisiana family built the tobacco wire. And it it it is I mean, it is utter 18th century madness.

Speaker 1:

Adam, I can see you reading this book. Am I the only one seeing you reading this book?

Speaker 2:

Oh, yeah. No. For sure. I'm I'm looking at that dollar 60 copy right now.

Speaker 1:

Damn it. It's gone. I I've gotta I've gotta I'm at the shop. 232 now for a copy.

Speaker 5:

I always say that while we're on the concept of company towns, another book that I've purchased, but I've I've only read the first chapter or so is called The Engine That Could, 75 years of value driven change at Cummins Engine Company. So I'm not sure how many of you will be familiar with Cummins engine, but they make

Speaker 4:

They they make good engines. Engines.

Speaker 5:

They make good diesel engines for, you know, some automotive and some industrial applications. And it's been around a very long

Speaker 1:

time. That is interesting. That's and this is an old book. Yeah.

Speaker 5:

Yeah. Yeah. Sorry, Tom. You what what were you gonna say that?

Speaker 6:

Oh, I I have a I have a Cummins generator up at my remote house.

Speaker 5:

Oh, yeah. So the reason why I got onto this book was I saw the movie, Arthur Yang, which I highly recommend. And I was kinda curious as to what the director had done, other than that movie. I came across their previous movie, Columbus, from 2017, and was curious about why Columbus, Indiana was kind of a hotbed of architecture. So ended up on an NPR article, Columbus, Indiana, a Midwestern Mecca of Architecture, where it, you know, came to light that it was mostly through, co funding by Cummins Engine Company that Columbus ended up with great architecture.

Speaker 5:

And it was basically them trying to make it a town that people wanted to move to so that they could attract people from, you know, MIT and other, institutions to move out to this very small midwestern town.

Speaker 4:

Yep. Not too far from where I am actually.

Speaker 3:

Speaking of movement to people, but taking it back virtually, I'd recommend the cyber gypsies by Indra Singh. It's, kind of contemporary to the well book, the virtual communities thing by Howard Randall, but it's very it it's a very different perspective. He's like a reporter. He lives in the UK. He gets addicted to muds in the eighties, and then basically writes the story of the people that he meets on these online communities, and sort of the nascent Internet.

Speaker 3:

It's sort of a fascinating tale.

Speaker 4:

Is that Murder Chesapeake?

Speaker 3:

No. I don't know.

Speaker 4:

Amazon is not returning good results for that, but I'll find it.

Speaker 2:

Okay. Sorry, Dan. What what did you say was the name of that book?

Speaker 3:

Diver Gypsies.

Speaker 2:

Oh, nice. Okay. Cool.

Speaker 6:

You get that? So going back to more techy things, I have a couple of books. Yeah. One I posted on Twitter, but it says, Circuits, Packets, and Protocols by James Pelkey. And it's, based on interviews that Pilkey did with all the leaders in the net networking industry, but it was all back in 1988.

Speaker 6:

So it covers their personal stories and entrepreneurial stories from 1968 to 1988. Oh, wow.

Speaker 1:

Of a bunch of of a bunch

Speaker 6:

of bunch of different companies. And it's really, really good reading. And it stops when things like TCPIP versus OSI or Yeah. It's just been published, so it's probably hard to get that cheap.

Speaker 1:

Oh, it's got it. This is not an old book. This is a brand new book. Okay. Got it.

Speaker 6:

Yeah. Yeah. Wow.

Speaker 1:

And

Speaker 6:

then the the other one I'm reading right now is, The Man From the Future, the biography of John von Neumann. How is that? Oh. Very nice. Very good.

Speaker 6:

So a lot a lot of just right level of detail in in terms of the mathematical contributions and stuff.

Speaker 1:

I am worried about meeting my heroes on that one. I'm worried that the I because, you know, I the the the story of Eniac gave me a more that I I I, John von Neumann definitely made some enemies, in terms of, like, what his role was for programming computers. So I, Tom, are you coming away how are you coming away with it feeling about about about Johnny there?

Speaker 6:

Well, he is classic, on the spectrum, not not that good with people kinda guy. Right. But, but really, it it was Goldstein who took his first draft of the of the whatever it was and published it widely and, without Von Neumann's participation. So that that's what really messed up Eckhart and Malcolm. Yeah.

Speaker 6:

Interesting.

Speaker 1:

And so you're reading that app. You recommend that one?

Speaker 6:

Yeah. Yeah.

Speaker 1:

That's good.

Speaker 6:

Yeah. Yeah. And, this is the one that turned up for I in an interview I saw with the author, he turned up the the fact that they had modified ENIAC to become a storage program computer, and that actually was the first software to run slightly beating out the Manchester baby, which was previously

Speaker 1:

thought to be the first. Interesting. I find that, like, I kinda don't care who was first, but then all of the protagonist in that cares so deeply about who's first that I kinda got more interested in it than I thought I would be otherwise. I I because ultimately, like Yeah. I feel like if you got a bunch of people that are in a fight for the death over who is first, it's like, hey.

Speaker 1:

I hate to break it to everybody, but this is gonna happen no matter what then. You know? I I I you know what I mean? It's like if if it's that, like, maybe this wasn't, like, that hard. Sorry.

Speaker 1:

I mean, I versus, like, when you got folks that are all by their lonesome doing things where there's no disputed authorship because they were, you know, like Edwin Land, the Polaroid. I don't know. There's a degree to which the the the the disputes over who was first are kind of uninteresting, but then that one people care about so much. It is kind of fascinating.

Speaker 6:

Well, this book lays out how Von Neumann's concept of stored program was clearly influenced by, both Kurt von Kurt Godel, with his whatever it was, assigning numbers to math and also the Turing machine. Because those are both kind of software concepts, but that clearly influenced how how Von Neumann thought of thought computers should be.

Speaker 1:

Is the stored program computer obvious? I

Speaker 4:

don't know. In retrospect

Speaker 1:

I mean, I I don't know. I know this is like this is sacrilege.

Speaker 6:

But It it it is. Also, there's the Jacquard loom. Right?

Speaker 4:

Or Right.

Speaker 6:

You can think of the cards as

Speaker 5:

Yeah.

Speaker 6:

But but you're not really storing the program and modifying it.

Speaker 4:

We place such credence on heroes Yeah. And we want them to be infallible. Right? So, like, we really want them to be, oh, only this guy could have done it. An awful lot of inventions in history happened concurrently because it's time

Speaker 1:

it was time for the purpose.

Speaker 4:

It was timing. Right? And and part of part of the issue was the problem had had certain characteristics. And one of those characteristics was that the world was getting more complex with more information. Yeah.

Speaker 4:

A stored program computer was how you were gonna solve it regardless of the details in the implementation. Like, we can debate how the cards looked, right, and what shape they should have been, but it was gonna happen.

Speaker 6:

Yeah. On the other hand, Von Neumann was clearly, you know, several orders of magnitude smarter Yes.

Speaker 1:

Yes.

Speaker 6:

Than any of us.

Speaker 4:

Yes. Absolutely.

Speaker 6:

So maybe he accelerated it by 10 20 years.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. Yeah. It's kinda kinda unknowable at some level. Yeah. Interesting.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. The, the other, I I actually, a book that I've I've actually wanted to ask about, it's been on my queue for a while, and I really feel I need to buckle down and read it. It's IBM and the Holocaust. Scott, have you read that?

Speaker 4:

I have not. That I I I have some versions for reading that one. I know what I know what's there, but I spent a year working at the ADL. So, like, that one's kinda hard for me.

Speaker 1:

Is so what what are your versions, if you don't want me asking? Are you worried about the reportage, or are you just, like, just

Speaker 4:

that that's subject? Basically, what's gonna what what's gonna happen if my understanding is correct is IBM made a bunch of money working for the Nazis, and that's kinda crappy. And the problem is is that we're applying a 21st 1st century lens of ethics onto facts which were not as apparent at the time.

Speaker 1:

So what I've been told that about this book is that, like, no. No. No. It It actually was apparent at the time, and there are bunch so the the thing that I the, if you read, the, In the Garden of Beasts No. That that's another interesting one by the author of Devil in the White City, about how, FDR want, is looking for an ambassador to Germany.

Speaker 1:

And the year the year is 1933. And this is early. Right? And so anyone with any expertise on Germany sees the writing so clearly on the wall that he can't get anyone to be the ambassador to Trump. Like, no fucking.

Speaker 1:

I don't want that job. Like, that one is. So he is able to find he finds this, like, kind of 3rd tier academic who feels very flattered to be the ambassador to Germany, but he is way over skis. And the book is about his daughter, and she kinda falls in love with the Nazis. But the reason it was interesting was, like, just as that is kinda happening, how much even, like, contemporaries at the time.

Speaker 4:

So this is why I

Speaker 1:

mentioned to read it. I I I I actually do really wanna read it. I'd love your take on it if you do end up

Speaker 4:

reading it. I'm not sure if it's on your I I just I will put it on my list.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. Put it on your list. I think it'd be good because I the reason I think it it merits a read is because I do think we have this problem technology of what responsibility do we have for the way a technology is used, which is an open question. I'm not being yeah.

Speaker 4:

We do have that. And, if I can talk to that a little bit. Yeah. So I spent a year, year and a half at the ADL battling hate doing hate speech measurement.

Speaker 1:

Oh, boy.

Speaker 4:

And big machine learning stuff. And yeah. It it was it was at the end of the day, I would just feel mentally dirty.

Speaker 1:

You're right. Oh my god. Oh my god.

Speaker 4:

But one of the things that we keep doing is we keep applying current measures of morality to different circumstances.

Speaker 1:

Yeah.

Speaker 4:

And it the the world is not that clear. Right? And, yeah, there may have been some people at IBM who knew that they were doing the wrong thing, but by and large, lots of people didn't.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. Interesting.

Speaker 4:

And one of the ways by which we've gotten to this situation that we're currently in is people can't believe that these actions are possible. Right? And that doesn't make those people who can't believe it bad. Right? But right now, we tar everyone with a brush.

Speaker 4:

And that's a very dangerous thing because by the by the rules of the time, the world was very different.

Speaker 1:

You

Speaker 4:

can't apply today's morality to yesterday's past.

Speaker 1:

Well, I've been looking to read this. So if you if you'd be willing to read it, I'd like to come back and discuss it at some point.

Speaker 4:

I would absolutely read IBM and the Holocaust. Yeah. Yeah.

Speaker 1:

Absolutely. Because I I think it's, I'm because, Adam, you've not read that. I I would assume. I mean No. I should I should take a look.

Speaker 1:

That that sounds great. It's, yeah, I think it's definitely highly reviewed. I wanna read it. And I wanna read it because I I think that, like, I do think that there are and Scott, to your point, I think there's a lot of ambiguity here. And I think in general, there's a lot.

Speaker 1:

And I think part of, you know, we in tech sometimes wanna run from that ambiguity and be like, oh, like, it's not my problem at all. Or we wanna go to the other extreme, which I think what kind of Scott, what you're mentioning is kind of, like, going in, like, well, no. It's your responsibility. Like, everything that happens to your technology is your responsibility. And I think the the truth has been the messy middle as it as it happens

Speaker 4:

to me. The answer the answer is in the middle. Yeah. And it always is.

Speaker 1:

When do you feel that, like I mean, I think one of the things I like about reading is that appreciating the ambiguity of life, ambiguity and complexities of life, which because you've now you've read about so many different kinds of things.

Speaker 4:

Absolutely. And it's a it it it makes you realize how messy the world is Totally. In a very, very good way.

Speaker 6:

Yeah. One of one of the, Von Neumann quotes is that, people who think math is mathematics is complicated aren't aware of how complicated real life is.

Speaker 1:

Real life is a mess.

Speaker 6:

Something like that.

Speaker 4:

Yeah. That's awesome.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. Real life is like how to confront your teenager about their interest in c plus plus. That's real life right there. That that that

Speaker 2:

Doesn't get realer than that.

Speaker 1:

Doesn't get realer than that. It's like that's right. Well, this has been a great roundup. Scott, I don't know if you got any other kind of closing thoughts for us. Or, Tom, did anyone else got any kind of book they wanna get in

Speaker 4:

there or thoughts? If I can talk if if you'd like me, I can talk to you about your hero your hero comment and and about the boy not I'm inbox.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. Sure.

Speaker 4:

A bunch of years ago, I found myself in a situation where I was working where I was working 1 on 1 with 1 of my heroes. And he turned out to be a less than stellar human. And then I ended up working with O'Reilly, who O'Reilly and Associates on a project. We're we're adding to this person, and they turned out to be equally bad.

Speaker 1:

Interesting.

Speaker 4:

And, the thing the way I ended up reconciling it is you ask yourself the question, is this person more good than bad?

Speaker 1:

Yeah.

Speaker 4:

And if you can reconcile that, you can end up dealing with their failings because they ultimately brought good things into the world. And that was how I ended up dealing with it. But, like, it it it it's it's terrible when you

Speaker 5:

end up in a in a

Speaker 4:

project where you end up hating both parties in

Speaker 1:

it. Yeah. When I do think there is something innate about this desire to create heroes, I definitely feel it myself. Sort of like, I want Von Neumann to be, you know, the that that you do.

Speaker 6:

And Well, and and to create villains too. Yes. You know, somebody does one bad thing and that's it. They're toast.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. And we've gotta kinda resist the temptation to to to do that, because, yeah, everyone is kind of in in the messy middle. And actually, you know, we I had I don't know if you, the happened to listen to it. We had, Jasmine West, Tom West's daughter on, which was super interesting.

Speaker 4:

That was I I've listened to most of Oxide now.

Speaker 1:

Oh, for real. Yeah. Because yeah. You were one of the folks that reach I know recently so reach out to you and be like, hey. What the hell happened on the metal?

Speaker 1:

Like, yeah.

Speaker 4:

We're gonna

Speaker 1:

do this other thing. You're like, alright. But what is this? Like, alright. But I it was fun to see you check that out.

Speaker 4:

Oh, yeah. I listened to the original oxide and then and then the new stuff.

Speaker 1:

The new stuff. Yeah. The new universe.

Speaker 4:

And you guys are doing an awesome thing. Thank you for

Speaker 1:

Oh, you bet. That's fun. But I it was really interesting to get Jasmine on here talking about, like, hey. You know, Tracy Kidder, by the way, kind of, you know, he was buds with my dad, and he kinda reported this angle on things. It's not like, this should be taken as an unvarnished truth.

Speaker 1:

That should be taken as, you know, a story. And it's got truth in it, and it's got things that have been exaggerated and so on.

Speaker 4:

If you read more of Tracy Kidder's works, you

Speaker 1:

than the book that he wrote, the a much more recent book on tech that he wrote. And I'm like

Speaker 4:

A a truck full of money?

Speaker 1:

A truck full of money. Yes. And and it sounds like you you also were kind of disappointed by that one.

Speaker 4:

I was I know what he was trying to do. He was trying to recreate some of the new machines. And

Speaker 1:

I bet an editor made

Speaker 4:

a joke. Sorry. You can't you can't capture magic.

Speaker 1:

No. You can't capture magic. You can't. And you got no. And that that was a that that was a mistake.

Speaker 1:

He's I've he's written a lot of actually great books, but, I I enjoyed I read House and I think what it meant to match my mounds. And this is good stuff, but it's not it it's all out of tech, basically.

Speaker 4:

Yeah. It's good stuff, but not not tech.

Speaker 1:

He's a great writer. But, yeah, the Mhmm. Solve a new machine was definitely magic in a bottle. Yep. Yeah.

Speaker 4:

No. No. Keep on.

Speaker 1:

Well, I was gonna say with the I I any kind of I I I get, Adam doesn't just have a teenager experimenting with c plus plus. He's got a toddler experimenting with burning the house down. Well, it doesn't have a That's right. That's right.

Speaker 5:

That's right.

Speaker 1:

Well But, Scott, any, Ted, any any any closing thoughts? I mean, this it it's been so great to have you on such a a and that that list, boy, if anyone is is, thinking that the world is boring or that that list has got so much on it that I think is, gives the world great texture.

Speaker 4:

What I did today was I added a book of the week. So there's a there's a book featured now with a pic with a picture. And the the title that's got one of the better titles, In Search of Stupidity, 20 years of high-tech marketing mistakes.

Speaker 1:

Not only did I I feel like this is apparently, I've got, like, an inner hedge fund trader in me because not only do I know about your book of the week, I front ran everyone and bought that, like, 2 hours ago so I could pick up the dollar 96 copy because Excellent. That does look like, yeah. You you were speaking very highly of it. It looks great.

Speaker 4:

It it is a it is a fantastic book, and there's lots of arcana in there that everybody's forgotten.

Speaker 1:

Well, I also you it also, mentions Ashton Tate. Right? It talks about

Speaker 4:

Yes. It yes. It does.

Speaker 1:

And, like, I am now, like, totally after Showstopper where again, Rosa Kranzschild lives from from effects where kind of Ashton Tate, if I recall correctly, stumbles through the back of Showstopper. I am now, like, super curious to read a book about Ashton Tate. Yeah.

Speaker 4:

It it's not a full book about Ashton Tate. Like, it's more vignettes, and and he put he goes through different eras, but he definitely he definitely covers it.

Speaker 1:

That's awesome. Yeah. That's awesome. Well, thanks again. I really appreciate it.

Speaker 1:

Thank you, everyone. Ian, thank you for the I the just a a lot of great recommendations. Tom, as always, Dan, thank you for for your thoughts and recommendations. And, Adam, thanks, thanks for always. This is this is a ton of fun.

Speaker 4:

Yeah. Thank you so much, guys. I really appreciate that.

Speaker 2:

I I gotta be up late reading every night from now on.

Speaker 1:

Exactly. Alright. Thanks, everybody. See you next time. Thanks again, Scott.

Speaker 1:

Okay.

Speaker 4:

Thanks. Bye.