I’ve been reading Andy Kessler’s novel, Grumby, about a tech
entrepreneur in silicon valley. I’ve known Andy for a long time, since he was a
hot shot tech analyst at Morgan Stanley in the early 90s. He’s written a bunch
of books but to my knowledge this is his first novel.
It’s about a hacker who starts with a small idea,
essentially building a better version of Shazam, and then takes it to a whole
new level by hacking a toy and creating a sensation.
It’s your classic boom bust morality tale and I’ve witnessed
at close range many of the mistakes the entrepreneur makes, and have made of
few of them myself. If for no other reason, you should read Grumby so you are
less likely to make those mistakes yourself.
But the thing I liked most about Grumby was the way that
Andy wove so many of the important trends going on in technology today into the
story. The Grumby is smart because it collects information and knowledge from
its users. The Grumby is open so anyone can build apps for it. The Grumby is
manufactured in China but the software running on it comes from all over the
If you are highly technical, you may have to suspend belief
on many of the engineering feats they pull off. That is the beauty of a novel.
It is the story that matters, not the facts and figures.
And there’s even a cameo by this blog in the book. Which of
course I love.
If you work in the tech business and enjoy a good tall tale,
I think you’ll enjoy Grumby. I read it in my iPad over the course of a week,
mostly on planes. I think you could probably read it from cover to cover on a
cross country flight.