Don't worry: Andy Kessler's not encouraging cannibalism. In his provocatively titled new book, "Eat People: And Other Unapologetic Rules for Game-Changing Entrepreneurs" ($25.95, Portfolio/Penguin), the one-time stock analyst, investment banker, hedge-fund manager and venture capitalist shares what he's discovered to be the secrets of success for start-up operations. We spoke with Kessler recently about everything from the importance of scale to why Bill Gates deserves our thanks.
So, what exactly do you mean by "eat people"?
The book is about a bunch of different things, but for the most part, it's rules for entrepreneurs on how to find the next big thing. I've got 13 of them, all based on my experience. What "eat people" is, besides being rule number seven, is the observation that most great pieces of technology that create massive amounts of wealth are about getting rid of jobs and getting rid of people in the work force.
But all we hear, from Congress to Main Street, are continuous calls for job creation.
The good news is those old jobs are replaced by better jobs. Facebook is hiring,Groupon is hiring, Google, Twitter — these are all creators of productivity tools. Pick a sector and you can find a company using that technology that is creating jobs. The history of the U.S. economy is that it's not static. Every cycle, we destroy old jobs and ways of doing things, and wealth and great jobs are created.