Jim Clark is one of the few truly gifted people. His constant pursuit of innovation and better way to do things makes him different. Jim Clark can always find flaws in even the best systems and would strive hard to make it better. This means that once he has conceptualized something, then he would let someone else work on it and he will move on to something new. The next new new thing.
The key to crete great products and companies is people. A company is only as good as the best employee. Jim has this chicken and ham theory about people. He said
The difference between these two kinds of people is the difference between the pig and the chicken in the ham-and-eggs breakfast. The chicken is interested, the pig is committed. If you are going to do anything worth doing, you need a lot of pigs.If you are to do something, pick as many committed people as you can. Basically you need to take the risk and back it up with all you have got.
The new new thing by Michael Lewis (author of Liar’s Poker) is a narrative of the revolution started by Jim Clark – the dotcom revolution where companies with zero revenues were being valued at billions of dollars. Michael Lewis has taken the Jim Clark story to talk about the new new thing and innovation and how certain people change the rules of the game.
There was a time when the industrialists ruled the world. One with the biggest assembly line could capture most of the markets. Then came the capitalists. One who could manage the capital most efficiently took disproportionate share of wealth. With Jim Clark and with Netscape, came the era where ideas and thoughts prevailed over everyone else.
The markets were moved not by hunger or greed but by fear. No one wanted to loose a pie in Jim Clark’s newest idea. Even if there was little evidence of it ever bringing in the money, just because everyone else was onto it and those missing out would look bad, venture capitalists wanted a piece.
In Jim Clark’s case, it was not only the venture capitalists; it was media, knowledge workers, employees at traditional organizations who wanted a share. Failure was not even a question. Jim Clark was considered the Midas of the era. Everything he touched would turn gold. Everyone believed that. Everyone knew that.
The book is very well written. The narrative has its share of humour, satire, irony, suspense in it (this can be said about any book anyways). Must read. 4 on 5.
Wiki on Jim Clark
Wiki on Michael Lewis
The New New Thing on Amazon