GOING PUBLIC by Michael S. Malone


MIPS Computer and the Entrepreneurial Dream
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 From Silicone Valley insider Malone (The Big Score, 1985), an exhaustively detailed saga of how an entrepreneurial team of executives and staff won fortunes fighting steep odds to complete an Initial Public Offering of stock for MIPS Computer Co. In 1989, skittish about high-tech stocks since the '87 crash, investors grew excited as rumor foretold that MIPS, about to ``go public,'' might explode into a billion-dollar firm. Offering a vanguard technology called ``reduced instruction computing'' to challenge dominant technologies, MIPS also boasted structural and marketing innovations that propelled it from a kitchen table start- up to a $100-million private company in record time. Malone dramatizes MIPS's campaign to woo the financial community, to contend with SEC rigors, and to withstand the threats that a giant competitor would devastate the firm or that a key supplier or partner would defect. Featuring a cast of characters ranging from the savvy CEO to stalwart engineers to Vietnamese immigrant assembly-line workers, this account tries to merge human interest with business tactics. The result relies too much on unremarkable interviews quoted beyond endurance: on career histories, on the prospectus rewriting process, on global travel. Despite some heroic dimension in the team's dedication and resourcefulness, the pursuit of financial triumph does not seem to merit the unrelenting epic celebration shown here. Yet Malone's portrait of MIPS's unusual business structure and tactics (heavy use of partners to maximize growth) is sure to engage business readers seeking models for the coming decade. An informative and lively, although padded, close-up of what drives entrepreneurs who win the electronics industry poker game that most start-ups lose.

Pub Date: June 19th, 1991
ISBN: 0-06-016519-7
Page count: 304pp
Publisher: HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1st, 1991


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