In this illustrated history, Steven Johnson explores the history of innovation over centuries, tracing facets of modern life (refrigeration, clocks, and eyeglass lenses, to name a few) from their creation by hobbyists, amateurs, and entrepreneurs to their unintended historical consequences. Filled with surprising stories of accidental genius and brilliant mistakes—from the French publisher who invented the phonograph before Edison but forgot to include playback, to the Hollywood movie star who helped invent the technology behind Wi-Fi and Bluetooth—How We Got to Now investigates the secret history behind the everyday objects of contemporary life.
In his trademark style, Johnson examines unexpected connections between seemingly unrelated fields: how the invention of air-conditioning enabled the largest migration of human beings in the history of the species—to cities such as Dubai or Phoenix, which would otherwise be virtually uninhabitable; how pendulum clocks helped trigger the industrial revolution; and how clean water made it possible to manufacture computer chips. Accompanied by a major six-part television series on PBS, How We Got to Now is the story of collaborative networks building the modern world, written in the provocative, informative, and engaging style that has earned Johnson fans around the globe.
The purpose of this book is to provide such an analytical compass for directing how public policy can shape and promote entrepreneurship. We do this in two ways. The first is to provide a framework for policymakers and scholars to understand what determines entrepreneurship. The second is to apply this framework to a series of cases, or country studies. In particular, this book seeks to answer three questions about entrepreneurship: What has happened over time? Why did it happen? And, what has been the role of government policy?
The cornerstone of the book is the proposed Eclectic Theory of Entrepreneurship. The goal of the Eclectic Theory is to provide a unified framework for understanding and analyzing the determinants of entrepreneurship. The Eclectic Theory of entrepreneurship integrates the different strands from relevant fields into a unifying, coherent framework. At the heart of the Eclectic Theory is the integration of factors shaping the demand for entrepreneurship on the one hand, with those influencing the supply of entrepreneurs on the other hand. The key to understanding the role of public policy is through identifying those channels shifting either the demand for or the supply of entrepreneurship by policy instruments.
The findings in this book show that, by utilizing the framework provided by the Eclectic Theory of Entrepreneurship, it is within the grasp of policymakers to identify the determinants of entrepreneurship in a particular country setting at a particular point in time. This will be essential in formulating new public policies to promote entrepreneurship and, ultimately, economic growth, job creation and international competitiveness.
Interviewees include CEOs, founders, and inventors from a wide spectrum of tech organizations across sectors as varied as mobile technology, e-commerce, online education, and video games. Interviewer Danielle Newnham, a mobile startup and e-commerce entrepreneur herself as well as an online community organizer, presents the insights, instructive anecdotes, and advice shared with her in the interviews, including stories about raising capital for one’s start-up, and about the obstacles these women encountered and how they overcame them.
This timely book will be of great interest to anyone working in tech or looking to get into the industry, and more in general: to everyone wanting to learn how they can contribute to leveling the field of occupational opportunity and to strengthening teams and companies through merit and diversity.