Tuesday, June 21, 2011

A Listing of some of my favorate Startup/Business/Tech Books

A few of my friends from the Business Society at UCM asked what books I have enjoyed. Enjoy the list. If you decide to buy them from Amazon.com-please use my links as I get a referral fee and you get the same price.

Barbarians Led by Bill Gates: Microsoft from the Inside
A great book on Microsoft-it gives a great background on Bill Gates decisions. From how Paul Allen and Bill Gates how to write a Basic interceptor and an emulator for the Altair. To when management changed at Altair and sued Microsoft for the source code rights to Basic-how Bill Gates had to hid under the apartment staircase to avoid being served notice by the officer who eventually taped it to his door. (By the way Apple loaned MS the money because Steve Wonzaick lost the source code for AppleBasic so they licensed Bill's Basic which had the distinction of handling floating points.) To Bill Gates decision to lock half of Microsoft down so the Word and Excel developers could develop on the yet to be released Macintosh OS while the Windows team was being left in the dust-yet it came off that the two teams shared knowledge that was the basis for Apple's later lawsuit. One of the best stories was how Microsoft turned against IBM. Windows was a failure because no one wanted to write applications for the bloated OS-they liked DOS. IBM was pressuring MS to give it up and they agreed to discontinue it in favor of IBM's OS/2 and be regulated to an application developer. However, one lone MS developer got the idea to take advantage of a new feature of Intel's 80386 processors to emulate (set up instances of) DOS on Windows. He worked all weekend with a colleague and demoed it-Microsoft decided to challenge IBM and you know the rest.

In The Plex: How Google Thinks, Works, and Shapes Our Lives
An amazing book on Google insides. Besides Google the book details the evolution of their search algorithm from the simple PageRank to more natural language queries then to universal search. It actually talks about the technical details of the startup (Page actually wasn't much of a programmer and had someone else write PageRank who decided on Python). Additional small tech details was spanning the servers out to multiple machines, having an accessible log system and setting up their own data centers after being left unsatisfied with the poor service of current vendors. You learn quite a bit about Google's data driven culture-how Google used data to decide to drop short tail (my term-catered, large national advertising) in favor of the long tail (small vendors across the nation). In addition to the more human details of Google's entry into China, the Google Book Publisher deal and the Obama administration.
By the way, yes he was told as noted in the book. :-)
Obama CS Question

I will add more later. :-)


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