The transformation of big tech into the engine room of the American economy and the nexus of so many of our hopes and dreams can be understood, in Margaret O’Mara’s masterful hands, as the story of one California valley. As her majestic history makes clear, its fate is the fate of us all.
Deploying a wonderfully rich and diverse cast of protagonists, from the justly famous to the unjustly obscure, across four generations of explosive growth in the Valley, O’Mara has wrestled into magnificent narrative form one of the most fateful developments in modern American history. She is on the ground with all of the key tech companies, and chronicles the evolution in their offerings through each successive era, and she has a profound fingertip feel for the politics of the sector, and its relation to the larger cultural narrative about tech as it has evolved over the years.
Most impressively, O’Mara has penetrated the inner kingdom of tech venture capital firms, the insular and still remarkably old-boy world that became the cockpit of American capitalism and the crucible for bringing technological innovation to market, or not.