Got some time to kill this summer? You might want to check out one of these books about the some of the world's most interesting and fastest-growing tech companies.
In this clip from Industry Focus: Tech, Motley Fool analyst David Kretzmann talks about three of his favorite books regarding the tech space: The Everything Store and The Upstarts by Brad Stone, and Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future by Ashlee Vance.
A full transcript follows the video.
This video was recorded on July 7, 2017.
Dylan Lewis: David, what are some of your favorite books about tech companies or tech leaders?
David Kretzmann: Well, I'll throw out a couple books from Brad Stone, the longtime writer at Bloomberg who really does some great stuff with the Decrypted podcast that Bloomberg has, and his regular columns over at Bloomberg are a really nice way to keep a pulse on what's happening in the tech world. His two books are books that probably our listeners are familiar with. The Everything Store came out a few years ago, talking about the rise of Jeff Bezos and Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) up to about 2014. His most recent book that came out earlier this year is called The Upstarts, which covers the relatively young histories, but powerful histories, of Airbnb and Uber. And really, with both of those books, you could write a new chapter every month with everything that's happening with Amazon, Airbnb, and Uber. But, those books are very well-written. I'm not necessarily the best reader. I get distracted very easily, but those two books by Brad Stone, really fascinating entrepreneurial histories. I think they're entertaining and worthwhile reads for anyone interested in tech.
Lewis: Any particular nuggets about those companies from the books that you remember, or anything that really stuck out to you?
Kretzmann: Really, with Jeff Bezos and The Everything Store, just how voracious of a competitor he is, and how much he likes to disrupt himself with an Amazon. I think a really interesting quip from Amazon's history is when he put the former head of Amazon's book operations in charge of the new Kindle operation, when it was still a fledgling project, and he said, "I want you to operate as if you're trying to put your former book business out of business." That really gives you a sense of how he thinks about the business within Amazon, and I think why Amazon has so successfully gotten so big and continues to remain so innovative, it just permeates the culture. That would be one point that sticks out to me.
Lewis: I think that's the theme with a lot of these books, where you're getting the backstory of the business -- and some of these podcasts, too -- where you find out how obsessive some of these CEOs can be about their companies, and some of the early failures they had, and some of the things that maybe they didn't expect success from and wound up getting success from. I know you're also a fan of the Elon Musk biography by Ashlee Vance. I know that book is riddled with that type of stuff.
Kretzmann: Oh, yeah. Really a similar approach to Brad Stone's books. Elon Musk is obviously such a high-profile entrepreneur these days, he's someone worth following even if you're not an investor in Tesla. Yeah, that book is one that I read when I was on vacation in March, and that, again, for me, was just a quick, fascinating read, and well worth taking the time to learn more about Elon Musk and his vision for the world, and how he's using these multiple businesses, and now even more businesses that he's started since the book came out a couple years ago. Just a fascinating read.
Lewis: Yeah, I guess he'll probably need to do a Volume 2 at some point.
Kretzmann: Like I said, you could really write a new chapter at least every month with these guys. It's just such a fast pace within the technology world, especially when you're talking about entrepreneurs like Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, or the folks over at Uber and Airbnb, which continue to have their fair share of dramas lately.
Lewis: Yeah. I would love to see either of those companies on the publicly traded markets. But, for folks who feel the same way, you might have to settle for the backstory right now.
Kretzmann: At least for now. It looks like Uber is bracing to go public sooner than Airbnb at this point. Hopefully we'll get a chance to learn more about those companies and potentially invest in those companies within the next year or two.