The First $20 Million Is Always the Hardest
A Silicon Valley Novel
By Po Bronson
(Random House, Hardcover, 9780679456995, 320pp.)
Publication Date: February 25, 1997
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When he dazzled the literary establishment in March, 1995 with Bombardiers, a stunning debut novel that skewered greedy Wall Street bond traders and satirized the inner workings of high finance, readers were scrambling to buy futures on Po Bronson's career.
Now, Bronson unleashes his talent (and fury) on Silicon Valley and rips the top off the computer industry, tracking the routes of power, exposing the crisscrossed wiring, and poking fun at its obsolete components.
Lloyd Acheson's firm, Omega Logic, needs a next-generation chip to keep its stock price propped up. Hank Menzinger squandered his research lab's cash reserves in a failed IPO and needs Omega Logic's support to save his institution. But master chip designer Francis Benoit's last chip for Omega was dumbed-down by software, and he's vowed to never let it happen again.
New at the research lab is Andy Caspar, a young engineer who dreams of becoming a legendary "ironman" -- one of the handful of engineers (like those behind Netscape, Apple, and Intel) whose technological breakthroughs have secured them a place in history.
Andy begins work on a new project, not realizing the extent to which he's caught up in the power struggle of the older men. The story reveals the brutal, absurd side of the industry, as Andy pushes forth with his dream but is betrayed at every turn.
Po Bronson is a feature writer for Wired and has written about high-tech culture for The New York Times Magazine and Forbes ASAP. He received an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from San Francisco State University and a B.A. in economics from Stanford. His first novel, Bombardiers, was translated into ten languages and became an international bestseller. He grew up in Seattle and lives in San Francisco.