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Entrepreneurs and the New Corporate World
European Straits #1
How the “Traitorous Eight” ushered in a new era of entrepreneurship
Large corporations were all-powerful in the 20th century: only in capital-intensive corporate labs could talented researchers and scientists hope to achieve progress. This all started to change when William Shockley created a tech company in Palo Alto to explore new applications for transistors. Shockley unintentionally gave birth to a new entrepreneurial culture when his eight most brilliant engineers betrayed him to venture outside the comforts of corporate life.
How personal computing vowed to empower individuals against organizations
Personal computing was born in the counterculture of the 1960s. While the first part of Silicon Valley’s history was about empowering the US military, the second part, after the invention of the microprocessor, would be about augmenting the individual with technology to free them from public and private organizations. Obviously the military wasn’t interested in funding that, so a new breed of financiers known as the “venture capitalists” had to take over.
How quality AND scale became simultaneously possible
20th-century corporations' success was linked to their ability to endlessly pursue economies of scale. The bigger they were, the lower their unit costs. But they had to choose between quality and scale. At some point, scale always ceased to be an advantage and turned into a liability. Today’s tech companies, powered by network effects, pursue increasing returns: the larger they grow, the more value they create for each of their customers — quality AND scale at once.
Other Related Readings
The Experience Curve (Bruce Henderson, 1968). Link
On the Invention of the Internet (Brad Templeton, 2005). Link
Investing in the IT That Makes a Competitive Difference (Erik Brynjolfsson & Andrew McAfee, 2008). Link
The Secret History of Silicon Valley (Steve Blank, 2009). Link
The Entrepreneurial Age (Babak Nivi, 2013). Link
No Tradeoff Between Quality and Scale (Babak Nivi, 2013). Link
Mass Flourishing: How It Was Won, and then Lost (Edmund Phelps, 2013). Link
Winner Takes Most (Fred Wilson, 2015). Link
11 Notes on Amazon (2016). Link
Better Get Used to Those Bubbles (2016). Link
A Stout Porter: Business Strategy in the 21st Century (2016). Link