Exclusive Interview with Tech Guru Andy Kessler on the Future of Silicon Valley, and How You Should Invest

Exclusive Interview with Tech Guru Andy Kessler on the Future of Silicon Valley, and How You Should Invest

On Friday I had the good fortune to interview Andy Kessler, of Silicon Valley and Wall Street fame, about his latest book, Grumby.  Andy is one of the sharpest minds around with regards to the intersection of technology and finance.  He’s an electrical engineer by training, and after starting his career at Bell Labs, he moved on to Wall Street, where he spent almost 20 years as an analyst, investment banker, venture capitalist, and hedge fund manager.

He co-founded the hedge fund Velocity Capital, which was wildly successful, delivering average annual returns of 55% to its investors.  At the peak of the tech boom, Andy and his partner closed up shop, delivering the funds’ capital back to their investors.  Soon after, he started a second career as a writer, telling witty stories about his unique experiences.  His previous works are all non-fiction bestsellers that explore the wild, wacky worlds of Silicon Valley and Wall Street – and the driving forces behind them.

Andy’s latest work, Grumby, is a fiction tale about an entrepreneur in Silicon Valley who is hard at work creating the next big thing.  Along the way, he encounters a host of challenges and surly characters, including greedy venture capitalists, Goldman Sachs bankers, and modern day technology moguls (including Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, Apple’s Steve Jobs, and Google’s Eric Schmidt) who feel threatened by his cutting edge consumer electronic product.

Grumby is a top notch work of speculative fiction.  It makes you question your current assumptions about technology trends, gives an insider’s view of life at a hot Silicon Valley startup, and teaches important lessons about entrepreneurship and investing – all weaved into an entertaining tale that makes the pages fly by.  I thought it was so valuable for an entrepreneur to read, I bought a copy for everyone on my team!

In my interview with Andy, he shared his thoughts on:

  • How he got “an edge” on Wall Street while running his hedge fund
  • The types of companies you should strive to work for, invest in, and/or start yourself
  • Why the “edge of the network” is where all the action and innovation is
  • Critical, unapologetic rules for entrepreneurship and investing (hint: focus on opportunities to “eat people”)
  • How you can look through the fog and spot tomorrow’s winning companies and products

You can listen to (and download) the interview here.

Andy Kessler Links

Interview Transcript

This transcript was prepared by SpeechPad. You can read it (and help edit it, too) on Google Docs.

(Hat tip to Andrew Warner at Mixergy for the ideas on these resources!)

Brett: Hi, this is Brett Owens, and I’m here today with Andy Kessler. We’re going to talk about the intersection of innovation, Silicon Valley, and Wall Street. In my book, Andy is the guy to speak with on these topics. He worked on Wall Street for about 20 years as a research analyst, investment banker, venture capitalist, and also as a hedge fund manager of a very successful fund called Velocity Capital. We’re going to talk about that as well. And then interestingly, as if that weren’t enough, Andy started a second career, after his career with Silicon Valley and Wall Street, and has written a number of best-selling books, including “Wall Street Meat,” “Running Money,” “How We Got Here,” and “The End of Medicine.” Those were all nonfiction. He’s also has a new fiction book called “Grumby,” which I just read. It’s an excellent fiction, with a lot of nuances in there relating to Silicon Valley and Wall Street. So we wanted to talk about those points as well.

So Andy, welcome. And if we could start with your background, we’d love to hear the “how he got here” of your career, from your early days as an engineer, then how you sort of got hooked into Wall Street, and then things took off from there.

Andy: Yeah, sure, Brett. Thanks for doing this. I was an electrical engineer at Cornell, and I was an engineer because I couldn’t write. At least, my teachers and SAT scores told me I had zero aptitude in English.

But I was an electrical engineer wanting to design computers. It was computer architecture. I ended up, after getting a masters at Illinois, working at Bell Labs for a bunch of years designing modems and chips and writing software. This was in the early ’80s, when the Internet was just coming into being, with Usenet groups and UUCP – Unix to Unix Call Protocol.

Anyway, I got tired of working at the giant bureaucracy, bigger than the Post Office and bigger than the Pentagon, which was the phone company. I ventured out and accidentally tripped across a job on Wall Street following the chip business; the Intels and Motorolas and Advanced Micro Devices and Texas Instruments. I took economics, but I didn’t know anything about the stock market or what makes stocks go up or down. Of course, after working there for a little while, I realized that nobody on Wall Street really knows what makes stocks go up or down.

Brett: [laughs]

Andy: But they wanted someone with a technical background to go figure out what all these weird chip companies were doing. In ’83 and ’84, there was an IPO boom that took public quite a few new companies that were doing custom silicon and all this kind of stuff. So I was happy to jump in and learn about how to put together a forecast for an income statement and balance sheet and figure out how stocks work and start recommending stocks. And I was fortunate to recommend Intel early on, when I realized that, while with the 8086 and 286 they had hired other companies make them – second sources it was called, Advanced Micro Devices – and with the 386 they were going to keep it to themselves.

So, I had a great recommendation. The stock was a 10 or 20-bagger over a number of years, and it just helped launch my career on Wall Street.

I worked at Morgan Stanley and in the investment banking world, helping take public the next wave of great companies. And I realized that, when you work on Wall Street, you sort of follow what has happened. You catch these companies on the tail end. I wanted to be involved at the early stages, when these companies were just forming, and provide access to capital – growth capital or startup capital – to these companies.

So, I left and went to a small firm and raised a venture fund in ’93 or something like that. I thought there was this whole, new media world, that technology would intersect with media and create this interactive media marketplace. So I started investing along those ways. Fortunately, a whole bunch of those early investments were the first wave of Internet companies – those that were selling CDs online, basically selling things online or coming up with the tools to allow others to do that.

The fund was successful. I connected with one of my clients, and sort of one of everyone’s on Wall Street clients, a gentleman by the name of Fred Kittler, who was at JP Morgan running a billion dollar public fund investing in technology. He owned 10 percent of Cisco right after the thing went public, because he saw these great long-run trends. And I hooked up with him to start Velocity Capital Management.

The two of us were going to do public and private investing. What we were going to do, and what we ended up doing successfully, is duplicate what happened in the silicon world. In the silicon world, costs go down by 30 percent per year, and it creates these huge new markets that spurt out of nothing because of elasticity. If something gets cheaper, you are going to end up using more of it. We thought the same thing would happen with bandwidth that happened with silicon. It didn’t because it was regulated and it was stuffed inside of phone companies. But as that became slightly less regulated, you had this big boon in TCP/IP, Internet protocol companies and devices. We had a very fun time running an investment fund, and we ended up being at the right place at the right time.

Brett: Can you talk about when you started the fund and in terms of establishing what your methodology was going to be? I know you’ve got a real interesting background in terms of looking for your edge, what your edge and specialty were going to be.

Andy: Right. You know, on Wall Street, you’ve got to have an edge. Either you know what the next quarter is going to be, or you’ve got some algorithms that hedge pork bellies versus Italian Lira futures or some weird thing.

I had no such thing. But what my partner and I could do is we could predict the future because we cheated. We knew, we had conviction – no one knows anything – but we had conviction that this bandwidth would get cheaper. And as it did, it would go from a five or ten billion marketplace to a trillion dollar marketplace. If that happened. Just like silicon, which ended up being a trillion dollar market, once you added up all the computers and everything else that use it.

So we could look out 18 months or two years, while everyone else was focused from zero months to six months. We could look out into the fog. And if you look out into the fog and you can just make out even the outline of what an industry is going to look like, you can buy companies today that will benefit from these structural changes like cheaper bandwidth and deregulation and the like.

So we would look for these waterfalls. These companies that would start to grow, and then their growth would accelerate until the rest of Wall Street – the fund managers at Fidelity or Janus or whoever else – would discover the companies that we had invested in at how much revenue they had or cash they had. And these guys would pay 30 times earnings, or 50 times earnings, and whatever future earnings would be. So we would buy companies at a 40 or 50 million dollar market capitalization. We would buy five or ten percent of the company. And three years later, the stocks would get bid up to $2 billion valuations. And we were making, not just 10x on some of these things, but 50x kind of returns. A lot of it, of course, had to do with the frothy nature and the dotcom boom and all that. But we weren’t investing in dotcoms. We were investing in all of the infrastructure companies that these dotcom companies would buy their equipment.

So, you’d look for these waterfalls, where it would be acceleration like gravity in reverse, accelerating growth. But, like a waterfall, you’ve got to remember to jump off before you hit the rocks on the bottom. Or in this case, you’ve got to jump off before the thing peaks and heads over, which they inevitably do.

Brett: So you sell it to the big funds and book your gains similar to like a venture capitalist would in that respect.

Andy: Well, yeah, except we were liquid the whole way. We were doing public and private. About a third of our fund was private, but we would do later-stage private – companies that would then, hopefully, go public in the next couple of years. I think out of the 15 private investments we did, 14 went public. So, yeah, it is similar. What you do is you treat the public market like a venture capital does. You say, “Hey, if I just hold onto this thing for a while, it is eventually going to work.” Then, you treat the private investments as if they are public, because you can do evaluation metrics. So it’s a little bit of an inverse. But, yeah, you strap on someone else’s mentality, and you can be very successful.

And just to tie this back to this book, “Grumby,” I think you can do the same thing today. What “Grumby” is about is the future of technology. It’s technology that doesn’t quite exist yet, but it’s a combination of audio, video, artificial intelligence for speech recognition and frame recognition, GPS, and Bluetooth. You just put all those things together, and you can realize, hopefully after you read this, you realize that the future of computing is not these little iPhones or iPads that have screens that we all walk around and look down at and crash into light posts and the like. But instead, the future is without screens. It’s something that talks into your ear and records everything you that say, and becomes an advisor to you, not this screen that you constantly have to tip and tap and squeeze and expand and all that kind of stuff. So you can buy many of the companies – you’ve got to go find them yourself – that implement some of this technology, if you can see out in that fog of the future the general outline of what this thing looks like. And that’s a lot of the reason why I wrote this book.

Brett: Interesting. Can we get into that initial genesis of it? You started it around the time you were finishing up at Velocity Capital, right?

Andy: Yeah. We’re in the middle of this dotcom boom, which confused everybody. You know, geez, how can a company that sells dog food on the Internet be worth $2 billion? I was writing a lot – I had a column at “Forbes.” I was writing for TheStreet.com, and then I started writing for “The Wall Street Journal” Op-Ed page. These were all thousand word opinion pieces about where the world is going. I said, “Gosh, I wonder if I can write a little piece of fiction?” Again, it would be a thousand words or maybe a bunch of thousand word pieces.

And I hit upon this idea of this guy in Silicon Valley who sort of accidentally invents the next greatest consumer electronics devise. I called it Furby. I’m sorry, I didn’t call it Furby. I called it Fur Boy. And the idea was this guy takes a Furby and shoves a Game Boy up its ass. Right? So you have this consumer electronics device with eyes and ears and a personality, if you will. And he takes a bit of intelligent electronics and he shoves it inside. And then boom, he’s got the next greatest thing. Venture capitalists and John Doerr are crawling over to invest. Venture capitalists come in and they try to screw him. Then he does well and goes public.

So, I wrote this whole thing, and you can still find it if you search the online magazine, “Slate,” for Fur Boy, you’ll find the story. It’s four different pieces that ended up being run in May of 2000. If you remember, the peak was February or March of 2000. So I wrote it anonymously, because I named names and abused various people. And, in thinking of a name, a friend of mine had pointed out years ago that the name of the Skipper on “Gilligan’s Island” was . . . Alan Hal was the actor, but the Skipper’s real name, fictional name on the show was Jonas Grumby.

I loved the name Jonas Grumby. So I did this whole thing anonymously, under the name Jonas Grumby. I set up an email account so I could get feedback. It used to run on the front page of MSN. They would tease it, and you would get thousands and thousands of hits on this thing. I know because I would get hundreds and hundreds of emails, mostly from people saying, “Where can I buy this thing? I’ve got to have it.” Not realizing it was fiction.

So I sat on it for a while. After I’d written a bunch of books, I said, “Gosh, I wonder if I could do the modern, 10 years later version of this thing, where some of this technology is really on the precipice of happening?” There is like Siri on the iPhone has voice recognition. Webcams are all over the place, things that sort of see and hear everything. Increasingly, there are these web assistants and personalities. GPS and cloud computing are everywhere. So what are the issues when you tie all this together? And I invented in this book is several things. It’s several things. It’s the cautionary tale about privacy and those kinds of things. But really, I wanted to create a roadmap for the future. I invented this next greatest consumer electronics device, which was something that I wanted – just a little assistant that would be with me all the time, and when I meet someone, whisper in my ear, “Hey, that’s Brett Owens. You met him three years ago at such and such event.” And here’s what he likes and doesn’t like. “Oh, great. Thank you.” I don’t have to look it up. It would be like a personal Wikipedia because it knows and it remembers. And what it doesn’t know, it looks it up. It does searches for.

And that was the genesis of the book. It’s very fun. I tried to make it funny, because I couldn’t write it unless it was funny. There’s the narrative, the fictional tale of what happens to this guy who goes from rags to riches to . . . I wouldn’t want to give away anything else. Just what happens to him and his assistant, who we have all this wonderful dialogue with.

But, as importantly, it’s the technology that’s in it that I wanted to showcase.

Brett: Yeah, it is a very fun read, written with a very smart-ass tone, which I enjoyed a lot. One of the real fun parts that I liked was how you have got a lot of the giants of the tech world today running scared by this little killer consumer device. Is that a theme that you wanted to emphasize in the book, the theme that technology just always keeps moving forward, and then hence, displaces the giants of today? It’s just funny to see the tech companies revered today really running scared by this Grumby created by the main character and his coder buddy.

Andy: Yeah. Well, look. I started on Wall Street, and IBM was half of the tech industry sales and 80 percent of the profits. If you asked us 15 years ago, Microsoft was half of the industry’s profits. Today, if you add Google and Apple together, at least in that space, they’re half or more of the industry’s profit. Everyone tends to take these static views, which is why you can make money with these waterfalls. They take these static views that, Google is the leader, so therefore, they’ll always be the leader. Or Apple is the leader, so they’ll always be the leader. And you get these technology shifts that come, not from the top, but from the bottom – these tiny little things that bubble out of the stew, out from the cracks and create these whole new marketplaces. You could say that about Facebook. Between Facebook and Google, look how much ad revenue they took away from the traditional media business.

So, nothing is static. So of course, as this thing gets invented, you no longer do Google searches with your keyboard because you’re doing it verbally, so it’s all hidden. The ad revenue disappears. So Eric Schmidt is all up in arms, and of course, Steve Jobs tries to buy the company. Mark Zuckerberg is involved in trying to figure out what to do with this thing. And then all sorts of other types are either trying to get their fingers in and get a piece of it. You get sued for patent violations. Goldman Sachs is involved in taking it public. Hedge fund guys are involved once the thing goes public, either buying it or shorting it. It pulls in the whole idea of a startup, from its inception in some guy’s dumpy apartment in Palo Alto to the peak of a multi-billion dollar market cap after the IPO, and the whole road show process of taking the company public. It’s really sort of a start to finish on one of those projects.

Brett: Yeah. It’s very cool, and a fun tale to follow through, especially with all the moguls of today weaved in there. One other theme that’s weaved in throughout and the main character picks it up. He’s in the formative stages of becoming an entrepreneur. He picks up a book off of Amazon, a big hit called, “Eat People: Unapologetic Rules for Entrepreneurial Success.” And one of the key themes of that book, and then I thought throughout “Grumby” as well, was the intelligence at the edge of the network. It’s also mentioned, where the main character says, “It’s the individual on the edge of the network that drives society.” Could you elaborate a bit on that, because I found that to be a really interesting theme throughout the book.

Andy: Yeah. You find, when you’re in the publishing world and an author, you spend as much of your time marketing your books in strange and different ways to try to get the message out. I have another nonfiction book coming out from Penguin Portfolio in February that happens to be called “Eat People: Unapologetic Rules for Entrepreneurial Success.” They may have changed the title slightly. So I said, “Why not pimp my own book in my other book?” You know, this guy’s starting up this thing, and he says, “What do you do? What book do you read to figure out how to do one of these startups and make it successful?” And I said, “Well everyone knows, you buy this book, “Eat People,” and read it cover to cover.”
“Eat People” is about a dozen different rules, or filters, if you will, that an entrepreneur should look at before getting involved in a company, an investment, or even doing a project inside a big company. It covers all the things that worked over my 25-year career in investing.

One of the first ones is scale. That’s what I talked about before – find something where costs go down rather than go up, because you create these whole new markets out of nothing. But then, a very important one, which you mentioned, is this intelligence is at the edge of the network. Right? We don’t have, like the phone system in the past would be the one that would do the call waiting, or the three-way calling, or the voicemail, or whatever else, and all that stuff gets pushed to the edge. And you just have this dumb network in the middle. Then you could set up, not just three-way calling, but ten-way calling. And you could set up webcams that we all connect, like this call, being able to do a podcast in real time over the Internet. All those things are done because the intelligence is at the edge of the network rather than we call up AT&T and say, “Can you do a thing where we push a button, and then we talk for a while and we record it, and then we put it out on another thing?” Forget it. It’s the intelligence at the edge.

And once you know that the intelligence is at the edge, then you can start doing things like network effects, like what Facebook did, which is you just put up a sandbox and then let all the intelligent people and then increasingly devices, but intelligent people at the edge paint the picket fence for you. You become Tom Sawyer. You put up the fence and you hand everyone brushes and say, “Paint it for me.” That’s the Facebook story. Here’s this little compartment, sandbox. Go create these beautiful castles, which evolved on, and then the value is in the interconnections between us. I think that is just an enormously valuable trend that has not even begun to play out completely.

So, when you look at ideas for careers, these are a set of rules to help you find which ones are going up and to the right, and which ones may be growing now, but are probably going to roll over because they don’t have the longevity of these economic models behind them that create growth and growth and growth. And so, for me, I strap that on to “Grumby” because I created the whole thing on purpose to proliferate and to be intelligence at the edge and to get cheaper over time. If you took that startup and you ran it through the rules that are in this “Eat People” book, of course, the main rule is you just get rid of people in jobs who are in your way. If Google hasn’t killed every librarian’s job, I don’t know when they will. Facebook has completely destroyed the jobs of middlemen who were gossipers, right? Tell someone else that someone did this, someone did that. Now you just go to Facebook, and all the connections are there for you.

Grumby Mogul Limited Incorporated, which is the name of the startup in the book, I have to go think back, but if it doesn’t do all – and there are actually 13 rules – if it doesn’t have a checkmark next to all 13, I’d be surprised.

Brett: Yeah. Then can we elaborate a little more on that? I like the “eat people” theme in terms of getting rid of the people? Both as if you’re looking for sort of an entrepreneurial type of opportunity or also as an investor, look into where you can get rid of the people. Can we talk about that a bit more? I’d especially be interested to hear where you see the next waterfall. I know you have a couple of thoughts on potential professions that may be just as well be automated.

Andy: Yeah. This is already happening. We’re in an era of close to 10 percent unemployment. So every time you talk about getting rid of jobs, people get really annoyed with you. And I’ve given a talk, it’s a whole bunch of PowerPoint slides that are really just pictures, not words, describing this whole “eat people” concept, which is, you look for jobs that can be eliminated by technology. And, you know, I get hate mail. I get people coming up to me telling me I’m vicious, and I go, “Hey, it’s going to happen anyway. Either you have these jobs that are labor-intensive jobs that are going to be destroyed over time, or you train a whole new set of skills to people to create the tools to will eliminate these jobs.”
So just look at some of the easy ones. Let’s start with this Skype call we’re doing. There was no operator. The telephone company got rid of operators. Travelocity and Expedia got rid of travel agents. iTunes got rid of disc jockeys. Word for Windows got rid of typists. Go watch an episode of “Mad Men” and look at all those jobs that you just don’t need anymore – people sitting there typing correspondence. All those things have happened. Now, even in the last 10 years or 15 years, but really 10, we got rid of stock brokers. Do you call up your stock broker and say buy this or buy that? No, you click. We’ve gotten rid of stock traders because you need less people at the New York Stock Exchange sitting there, dressing funny, and throwing paper all over the floor to execute your trade.

So all I’ve done is say, “Well, let’s take it a step further.” I classified the world into two different types of people. There are creators, those that are creating the tools and creating the productivity solutions, and there are servers. If you go through the different types of servers, you can then figure out which ones are going to have their jobs eliminated and which ones maybe have a few more years before they have their jobs eliminated. And it ends up, it’s not just the menial jobs. It’s also some of the more intelligent, if you will, jobs. I think, over time, lawyers are under threat, and doctors are under threat. But certainly all the real estate brokers and all those kind of middlemen are suspect, because technology eventually gets fast enough and ubiquitous enough that you can have these intelligent systems that at least do the drudge part of the work that people do. There will always be a need for people and intelligence, but it can be embedded in a lot of these tools. Oh, did I forget to mention, ATMs got rid of tellers. What a drudge job of counting out 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, when you know you can automate that stuff. Now, those same people then became mortgage brokers, of course, and overdid the mortgage market. Well, let’s get rid of them and automate a lot of that process and have free markets drive a lot of the job creation.

It’s better described in this book. But to me, it’s a very key part of what the next 10 years will be like. I think if you can figure out this “eat people” concept and this “intelligence at the edge” concept and a lot of these things, then you’ll be the first to identify the next big wave that’s going to turn the economy around and really be the next job creator.

Brett: I think that’s a great point. Maybe if we could expand and get you out of here on that one. So if you’re looking at it from an investor standpoint, especially if you’re sizing up technology companies, how do you want to look at the landscape in terms of either productivity enhancements or being able to streamline and automate tasks? Is there a systematic way you go about that, in terms of looking at that next 10 years and figuring out, well, they’re toast, but who’s going to make them toast?

Andy: Right. My view is that the trick is what I said before. You look out into the future and you set in your mind what the world is going to look like 5 years from now or 10 years from now. Let’s say you figure it out for video. We don’t have this thing where there’s a cable guy who hooks up this mostly analog cable to your house, and you have channels and pay for them whether you want them or not. The whole world is going to go to some a la cart thing. That may be slightly hard to believe, because there are going to be regulatory issues. But the same thing happened with the phone company. Once the price drops enough, then the regulatory issues tend to resolve themselves.

So, you look out into the future at that kind of world, and you work your way back. And you figure out who the winners are and who the losers are. And believe me, you start making investments with who you think the winners are. You’re going to make a lot of mistakes – a lot of companies fail to execute, they have the wrong product, they’re too early, they’re too late, whatever it is. But what my partner and I found with Velocity Capital is, often, you just have to be in the right ZIP code. Some of our best investments were ones where we thought something was going to happen, and something close to it, but not quite what we said, happened.

So you can do the same thing with eat people. Figure out how lawyers are going to be eliminated. There’s a thing called eDiscovery that has gotten rid of more paralegal jobs and low-end partners at law firm jobs, because big corporations when they get sued, now have hundreds of thousands or millions of documents that used to be read by hand. Now you scan them in and you look for keywords. You pay for a computer system rather than a person. So it’s that capital for labor trade-off that has been going on since hunter/gatherers, for God’s sake.

I think for investments that’s critical to do, but it also is critical for your career. Before taking any job, you’ve got to think out a five to ten or more year scenario of the marketplace you’re in, whether that’s a pharmaceutical company, a technology company, a media company, or a manufacturing company. Think it out. When you get interviewed, turn it around and go interview the person that’s interviewing you and say, “What does this company look like in five years? What’s the big picture view?” Because I don’t want to get involved in this company and have them . . . you know, none of them disappear, but the growth gets taken away by someone else. Craigslist came and took the growth away from the whole newspaper business. They didn’t see it coming, and you could see that coming. You’d go, “Well, I don’t understand why I have to go look in the back of a newspaper to find some ad. Why can’t that be posted on just some bulletin board and I go search it or even just skim it?”

So, you’ve got to look out that long-term scenario and apply it to everything you do – any project you get involved in, any startup, any job interview, and any investment. And it’s not easy to do. I catch myself doing all the time, okay, whatever the next three months or six months are going to look like, because that’s what the group thinks of what the next six months are going to look like, that’s how it’s going to be. Gee, I’m going to do everything on an iPad or something like that. And you go, ‘Well, all right.” Well, maybe there’s some inflection point beyond that iPad where we start getting rid of the screens, and we have these portable devices that are really, truly personal assistants. If you believe that, it’s a 5-year or 10-year investment horizon, although, usually, all the money is made in the first 5 years. Even for 20-year investment opportunities, the most of money is made in the first 5.

You can find a great set of companies and a great set of technologies that you can get involved with today. And you’ll make mistakes. You’ll pick some things that were not quite the winners that you thought they were.

Anyway, to finish that thought, all I tried to do with “Grumby” is help myself really, look out those 5 to 10 years, and put together a fun story of just what it would look like, and then tell the tale of one guy or one company that goes and executes this thing and how they deal with China and raising money and all of those kinds of things. So really that was my incentive to write this thing, was to almost put on paper what was swirling around in my head of what the world’s going to look like.

Brett: I found it to be extremely helpful to me in that regard. As a matter of fact, I went out and bought a copy for everyone on our team, because you’re right you get sort of hooked into looking at the way things are today and maybe what’s coming out six months from now, and then you project that out. I know, from a technology startup standpoint, we always try to look at not wasting effort, because a lot of your development and a lot of your effort . . . it’s easy to do something that you could find 12 months from now is totally obsolete and that totally killed your time there. And then I think that relates to your personal career advice as well. If you’re going to spend a couple of years at a job, then all of a sudden, poof, it goes away, and you weren’t building relevant skill sets during that time, that’s time that just totally goes to time heaven or whatever. [laughs] It’s not productive for you.

Andy: Right.

Brett: I would definitely recommend “Grumby.” It definitely helped me out a lot. Andy, if you could, before we get you out of here, let everyone know how they could pick up a copy of “Grumby,” and then also stay up to speed with your writings as well from the day to day and week to week.

Andy: It’s at fine bookstores everywhere, but you can find it on Amazon. What’s cool is the Kindle version we had out a month before the hard cover version. I think to this day, the Kindle version has outsold the hard cover. Now, it’s half the price. It’s $8 instead of $16 with the Amazon discount. So, you can find it electronically.

I still write for “The Wall Street Journal” every so often and write other things as well. And I have a blog at AndyKessler.com, so I have the all-important Twitter account and Facebook similarly, that is Andy Kessler. So you can find me in a lot of different places.

Brett: And I just want to say, we’ll make sure we get links on the post there, so people can just click to it without having to . . .

Andy: Sounds good to me.

Brett: . . . manually remember it, since we don’t have the Grumbys available to us yet.

Andy: Thanks, Brett. I appreciate you doing this.

Brett: Yeah. Thanks Andy. This was a lot of fun.

Andy: OK. Bye-bye.

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