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The Newcomers

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The first chapter of Nudist was a seminal piece following 6 newcomers from the days they arrive in Silicon Valley over the course of the next year. Their stories were winnowed down from 4 years I spent following 23 people. The 6 profiled are representative of the whole -- some of the stories I didn't tell were even weirder.

I felt most New Economy journalism was waiting until someone made a ton of dough and then reconstructing how they did it (including some of my pieces). This allowed for all sorts of creative revisionism and fable-making. What if we caught them in those dark days of doubt, before they had a chance to retell it to their liking?

Meanwhile, in those 4 years,  350,000 young people moved to the Bay Area to pursue their dream -- more than came to California to be a hippie, or a movie star, or an oil wildcatter, or a gold prospector. How many of them succeeded, and how many had their dreams crushed? I began a longitudinal study, to record the cold truth of fate.

My role models were Upton Sinclair, Joan Didion, and John Steinbeck, who had chronicled the fate of California's earlier waves of immigrants.

Wired magazine excerpted the chapter and ran it, and me, on the cover.

You can read it here.