From Nothing

From Nothing

A Novel of Technology, Bar Music, and Redemption

by Ken Goldstein

Scheduled for publication in March 2018

by The Story Plant

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Here are a few brief excerpts spanning the novel:

The day Victor arrived and saw the disarray, as well as the crippled balance sheet, he called Claire and told her he had made a terrible mistake. There was no company here, no foundation, just a concept and a fast evaporating bank account. They were practically starting from scratch, one degree above zero, not even. It wasn’t a makeover. It was a do-ever. The chances of getting from zero to one were formidable beyond belief. They would run out of time. They would run out of money. Morale would implode. They would never get a solid product out the door. Claire told him on phone call after phone call he hadn’t given it enough time, that he needed to tough it out for at least a year before he threw in the towel. If it was a good idea, then make it a good product. Zero to one was the precise formula for winning and she knew he could do it. Truthfully she probably didn’t, but she knew Victor would always regret it if he didn’t try, if he didn’t give it his all before calling it quits. She knew that was who he was. Failing was okay, but not trying was pathetic. Running away would be a container for regret, nothing else. There was inspiration in commitment if he looked for it in the people around him, the people who were counting on him. He had to find the voice, the path. He had to try.

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In the back seat of the small Ford whatever it was, finding air where so little was available, Victor wondered back to how he had arrived, how that same illusiveness had worked for him rather than against him. He had never been sure why he had been so successful at Global Harmonics, why a music guy could make it as a software guy, but one thread in his career had been consistent. Early on Victor had figured out that software engineers—coders, programmers, whatever you wanted to call them—were more like musicians than they were like technicians.

There was something about software people that allowed an easy connection for Victor. When they weren’t defensive, they were sensitive. They were quiet. They were thoughtful. They fashioned themselves as creatives. They were too often passive aggressive. They liked feedback but hated criticism. They liked collaborating intensely but abhorred petty conflict. They liked to party when they weren’t working. They had subtle, wry senses of humor. They could tune out background noise, ignore distractions, focus. They wanted to find the next big thing. They grew restless with sameness. They could be very mean spirited when under attack. Schadenfreude was universal but a despised contest of wills, a sabre fight fought for position but never a trophy awarded. They needed a safe place to test out their theories and fail without finality, a playground more than a fight arena, a referee who explained the rules and loved the game.

Just like musicians.

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