Earlier this month, I was hanging out with Graphicly’s Micah Baldwin, chatting about the publishing industry. Little did I know that he is basically an encyclopedia when it comes to the history of digital books. There were publishers in his family growing up, so it’s a topic Micah has been thinking about for a long time. Now in retrospect, the story is quite obvious: anything full of paper has become digital, and publishing houses are less powerful than they once were. We can get distribution through other mediums, and the cost of production is approaching zero. Now, everyone is a creator, a maker, a builder of tangible and abstract things. It’s been happening for the better part of the decade, and when you sit down with someone like Micah, it makes you feel like it’s just the beginning.
A few months ago, I got in touch with the folks who are building Hyperink, a Y Combinator startup that publishes digital books for those who create written content online — like me. I moved to the Valley in April 2010, so it’s been a little under 2.5 years I’ve been around, but only been writing about technology for less than two years. It started with Quora, in fact, back in the summer of 2010. Then, I received an invitation to guest post at TechCrunch. Those initial posts did well, so I just kept doing them, all the while continuing to use Quora. I also wrote on my blog often and, of course, Twitter is a publishing platform, too.
The result of all this activity, I was both shocked and scared to know, was a corpus of written work that the Hyperink team scraped, culled, edited, and organized into a book that you can download and leaf through at your leisure. The book is called “The Startup Wilderness,” aptly titled because there’s no other way to explain the journey so far. And, I realize that while very few people read books anymore, I do think there are parts of this book that would be helpful to people who are thinking about moving here and trying to build their own framework for navigating this dynamic yet sometimes challenging landscape. The book is organized into about 10 chapters, covering everything from social commerce to shifts in venture capital, from the work going on in big data to the ins and outs of trying to hustle every day in the Valley. Starting today, you can download the book in three (3) places, so go ahead, purchase the book, give it to a friend, read parts of it, or read the whole thing. Thanks again to the Hyperink team for their help, they were super-responsive, thoughtful, and diligent all along the way: