In Robert Brook”s ever delightful daily newsletter (you should really subscribe – it’s comforting like having some cookies with your favorite aunt or grandma – or, despite suffering through getting up at 4am in the morning, that serene feeling of fishing on a quiet, dusky lake in the early morning) he quotes Dave Winer:
I wonder if Google employs any historians to advise them on strategies tried in the past and how they turned out.
To which I replied, to Robert: hardly anyone tracks the year-to-year history of technology and strategies therein. I find it incredibly annoying. (Part of the problem is that in the past decade, the thing to cover became the web [Google, Facebook, etc.] instead of software itself.) As Dave points out, this results in countless incidents of buffoonery and is the basis for much of the power (older) tech analysts and executives have: since no one documents this history, they have stronger, history-based intuitions about what will work and not work.
- In Search of Stupidity is one of the few books on tech history (I read the first edition – there’s been updates).
- The Business of Software – the first 1/3 or so is mostly just the history of the software industry. One forgets how dominate IBM was and what a massive disruptor Microsoft was.
- While Accidental Empires isn’t purely software focused, it’s a damn good history of the tech industry up to around 1990.