Long before Margaret O'Mara became one of our most consequential historians of the American-led digital revolution, she worked in the White House of Bill Clinton & Al Gore in the earliest days of the commercial Internet. There she saw firsthand how deeply intertwined Silicon Valley was with the federal government, & how shallow the common understanding of the Valley's success actually was.
Now, after years of in-depth research, O'Mara has produced the definitive history of Silicon Valley for our time. THE CODE: Silicon Valley & the Remaking of America is a complete tour of the foundation of the digital age. Beginning with Silicon Valley's initial boom in the postwar era at the hands of academic administrators & eccentric trust-funders, & spanning Ross Perot's 1960s pioneering of data services, the influence of Reagan's White House on the tech boom, Jeff Bezo's lean operations in the early days of Amazon, & up through Steve Jobs' private memorial service, O'Mara peels back the surprising stories behind the characters at the center of the technology revolution.
But THE CODE is not only a tale of the mavericks & visionaries of the tech boom. O'Mara also reveals how government contracts & defense spending played an enormous role in building Silicon Valley, & how powerful institutions like the Pentagon & Stanford University created a framework for innovation that allowed entrepreneurial juggernauts to rise. Throughout, O'Mara is on the ground at all the key companies of the tech sector, wrestling with its politics & its relation to the larger cultural narrative about tech as it has evolved over the years. Most impressively, she has penetrated the inner kingdom of tech venture capital firms-the insular & still remarkably old-boy world that has become the cockpit of American capitalism.
The transformation of big tech into the engine room of the American economy & the nexus of so many of our hopes & dreams-and, increasingly, our nightmares-can be understood in O'Mara's masterful hands. As her lucid writing makes clear, the fate of this patch of land in Northern California is the fate of us all.
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About the Exponential Center @CHM
This event is produced by the Exponential Center @CHM. The Exponential Center captures the legacy-and advances the future-of entrepreneurship & innovation in Silicon Valley & around the world. The center explores the people, companies, & communities that are transforming the human experience through technology innovation, economic value creation, & social impact.