Although the complex bureaucratic mechanisms involved in a company’s “going public” may not sound like the stuff of a high-intrigue thriller, Michael Malone, a syndicated journalist whose special beat is the big-business world of Silicon Valley, makes it so in this hard-to-put-down account of the IPO (initial public offering) of hot-shot computer firm MIPS.
In a thoroughly researched account, for which Malone has obviously interviewed everyone from the top executives to the janitors of MIPS, the reader is expertly lead through the intricate world of state-of-the-art computer technology and the byzantine world of big business. No previous knowledge either of computers or business is necessary to enjoy this exciting story, although readers with such knowledge will enjoy it all the more. Human interest is interwoven with narrative tension by Malone’s tactic of alternating chapters that recount the events leading up to the big day when MIPS goes public with chapters that detail the backgrounds and dreams of all the principal players in the company’s rise to high-tech stardom.
Perhaps in no other area of big business are the risks so great as in the pressurized world of computer technology, where changes take place in blinding speed and yesterday’s promising innovation is today’s ho-hum has-been. Malone captures the tensions and stress of seven-day work-weeks as well as the high pitch moment when millionaires are created instantly. GOING PUBLIC is professional and polished journalism, free of jargon and full of human emotion.