Tom Williams

Tom Williams

Official Website of a Silicon Valley Novelist

 

BOOKS

In order by Release Date

23 & Dead

Published 2020

ISBN: 979-8622905810

Finding relatives can be deadly.

 

Dave Hartmann received a belated letter from his father. In the correspondence, Dave’s father, Dr. Ernst Hartmann, apologized for keeping a secret, one that this father hoped Dave would understand – Dave was adopted.

 

The letter gave no insight into the identity of Dave’s biological parents other than he was born in Steinhoring, Germany. Dave’s overwhelmed mind tried to process the impact of his father’s revelation. Am I German? Do I have siblings? Were my birth parents good or bad people? Were they Nazis? Was I given up for adoption because of rape or incest? Was one or both of my biological parents a psychopath or a criminal? Are they alive or dead? What diseases are prevalent in my ancestors, diabetes, coronary disease, or an unknown allergy? Why did my birth mother and birth father leave me? Why was I given away? Was there something wrong with me? Did they give me away because they did drugs or abused me? What does this mean about me? Why didn’t my birth parents work things out and take care of me? Did my birth father care about my birth mother, or was it a one-night stand? Who am I?

 

Dave never envisioned he would ponder such questions. Based on an overheard discussion, he subscribed to an ancestry personal genomics and biotechnology DNA testing firm named My23Match.com. Dave wanted to know more about Dave, his ethnic background, possible relatives, and especially the identity of his biological parents.

 

Dave’s search for answers opens old wounds and starts a chain of events resulting in murder and brutal beatings to unearth hidden assets long believed lost and forgotten.

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Order now by clicking a button or ask your local bookstore

Attack Vector

Published 2018

ISBN: 978-1728631516

A pilot, pharmaceutical executive, medical doctor, investment advisor, and a priest die in accidents, or it seems that way.

 

In Washington, DC, renowned FBI Chief Data Scientist Dr. Steven Flynn supervises a secret computer software program he designed. Its mission is to identify the smallest nuance of similarities in attacks on the Homeland. The system reveals the five seemingly deadly accidents had a single common fact; the use of software developed and marketed by a Silicon Valley software company. Were the accidents premeditated murders?

 

When FBI Special Agent Molly Perchant confronts the Company’s CEO with compelling circumstantial evidence that an unidentified employee was responsible for the killings, the CEO reaches out to Dr. Marcie Conover and Bill Ockham, partners at the private technology investigation firm Ockham’s Razor to validate or deny the Government’s claims.

 

The Ockham’s Razor team uncovers a heinous conspiracy that repurposes everyday digital products into weapons of death. Was it revenge, vengeance, terrorism, or cyber attacks? Was a Company employee complicit? Proving the three elements of an advanced technology crime: means, opportunity, and motive confront the duo’s emotional, legal, and ethical boundaries.

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False Positive

Published 2017

ISBN: 978-1544298801

 

The US natural gas pipeline system is under attack.

 

That’s what Bob McKenna, a veteran accident investigator concluded in his analysis of 20 accidents. Unconvinced, the federal authorities and natural gas pipeline management companies believed the accidents were unforeseen catastrophes.

 

Bob understood his evidence was circumstantial, replete with conjecture and extrapolations. But, that’s the point. Could the accidents be attributed to cyber terrorism, eco-terrorism, cyber warfare, hacking, revenge, or a pipeline competitor?

 

Bob enlisted the support from a Silicon Valley technology investigative firm, Ockham’s Razor. Their investigation uncovered a sinister plot to destroy the nations’ natural gas infrastructure inflicting political, social, and economic damage across the US and threatening the lives of every American.

Liquidation Preference

Published 2016

ISBN: 978-1530758845

 

A suspicious murder and a cryptic message threaten to uncover a secret group entrenched in the federal government that is plotting to destroy and recreate America by influencing a fundamental tenant of representative democracy — the right to choose our leaders.

 

The biennial national election is in full swing. Most political polls report an equally divided Country between most of the candidates. However, technologist Wayne Tran discovers it doesn’t matter how people vote.

 

Wayne deduces there are influential people involved, and, now, since he knows about the conspiracy, he assumes he is in mortal danger. Fearing for his life, Wayne sends an email to his best friend, Bill Ockham. An hour later, Wayne is brutally murdered, reportedly, by a drive-by gang shooting.

 

A month later, Bill receives a cryptic email from Wayne. How could that be? Is the email an ingenious way to get Bill’s attention that Wayne knew something was wrong, really wrong?

Wayne’s demise adds yet another tragedy to Bill in a string of already personal misfortunes. Three years ago, a rogue wave washes his wife out to sea, his college roommate advises him that he is too old to work in Silicon Valley, and now one of his best friends dies under suspicious circumstances.

 

With the help of Computer Scientist Marcie Conover, Bill dedicates his time to uncover the circumstances behind Wayne’s death. What they didn’t expect is their quest for the truth extends to the upper echelons of the federal government.

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Silicon Valley Musings

Below is a collection of selected Perspective Essays on the unintended consequences of technology and Strategy Notes on starting and growing a company. Enjoy, print, and pass on.

Perspective Essays

Will you be subservient to the Internet?

What do you think are the unintended consequences when our physical world becomes an Internet-connected seamless, intelligent information system through a technology called the Internet of Things? 

Technology transformed the way we work, learn, entertain, communicate, and interact. Innovations in computing and networking fueled the breadth and depth of our digital world to expand exponentially from connecting systems; to connecting people; to now, connecting things through a technology called the Internet of Things. This new technology provides a gateway where our physical world becomes a seamless, intelligent information system through sensors and actuators embedded in physical objects and linked through networks where monitoring and real-time decision-making are decentralized, curated, and aggregated for action without the need for human intervention.

Could your actions generate a Threat Profile?

Have you considered the unintended consequences of willingly or unwillingly providing personal data to social network applications? 

 

Ever since British data scientist Clive Humby in 2006 coined the phrase, “Data is the new oil,” the association has been controversial. However, there remain similarities and one significant difference — crude oil converts into plastics and fuel oils, including gasoline, diesel, jet, and heating. Similarly, raw data needs refinement into valuable and actionable information such as social data, commerce data, enlightenment data, entertainment data, and medical data. Unlike oil, which has a useful life that depletes a natural resource, data is recyclable and of unlimited use.

Strategy Notes

DIDS

Do you have a business idea that can succeed?

As an entrepreneur, independent board director, and strategic advisor, I have been fortunate to hear or read hundreds of ideas and business plans. Entrepreneurial teams ask me what I initially look for in a business plan or idea before I delve further.

Six “E”s of Startup Culture

Should you establish the right culture early?

One of the most challenging issues confronting emerging and growth companies is establishing the right corporate culture. This critical topic often arises when startups and growth companies are developing business plans that predict a substantial increase in staff.

Are you a Clever, Smarter, or Wiser

Have you figured out your career path?

 

It’s an often-heard question from your parents, friends, colleagues, and recruiters, and during annual reviews. These helpful individuals bombard you with thoughtful phrases such as career path, career cluster, upward mobility, vertical growth, career fit, salary expectations, and career goals, to name a few. Without a doubt, these are essential considerations in planning your career.

 

But, what about entrepreneurs? Do they have the same or similar perspective on where their career aspirations will take them? 

 
 

BIO

Tom Williams is a technology veteran with over four decades of experience leading private and public companies that profoundly alter the way we work, learn, entertain, and interact.
 
As the son of an auto mechanic and a bookkeeper, Tom grew up in Rhode Island with an interest in changing how things work. In 1968, he joined the Information Technology Department at the Community College of Rhode Island to lead the design and development of electronic grade reporting, automated class scheduling, and interactive student information systems.
 
In 1978, the Memorex Corporation lured Tom to Silicon Valley to its newly formed Communications Product Division as a Strategic Planner. After a five-year stint at Memorex, he concentrated his career in starting disruptive technology companies that received numerous domestic and international awards.
 
Besides being Chairman of the companies he founded, Tom held domestic and international Board of Directors positions, executive positions at Novell and Cisco, and was a Limited Partner in several venture capital funds. Also, Tom was a Trustee and Executive Committee member of a private school.
 
Today, Tom spends his time as an Independent Board Member, Strategic Advisor, speaker, and author. Silicon Valley corporations, startups, and private equity firms engage Tom’s expertise as an independent voice to gather thought leaders together to discuss and debate the impact and strategic value of technology in emerging markets that deliver productive and profitable outcomes.

Tom earned an MBA from Santa Clara University, a B.S. in Business Administration from Roger Williams University, an A.S. in Computer Science and an A.A. in Liberal Arts from the Community College of Rhode Island, and a Certificate in Data Processing from the Institute for Certification of Computing Professionals (ICCP). Tom also served honorably as a Drill Sergeant in the U.S. Army.

Tom is intrigued by the notion of providing an author’s platform that directly engages readers. One of the aspects of his novels includes an Author’s Commentary chapter at the end of the story that clarifies the social and economic impact of the technology used in the novel. He encourages readers to engage in discussions and observations on the technology referenced in his books.

STAY CONNECTED

ASK THE AUTHOR

What mystery in your own life could be a plot for a book?

What comes to mind is a story about a great friend and mentor, John King.

 

I first met John almost 40 years ago in Rhode Island, where I grew up. He worked as a salesperson for IBM. We became friends.

 

When I moved to California in 1978, John had quit IBM and became a technology consultant. It was the ideal job for him. A consummate extrovert, John was perfect for selling his knowledge and experience. We reconnected after a few years when I started my first company. John used his network to introduce me to a plethora of influential people in Silicon Valley. He had a loving wife and two children. They eventually settled in Carmel, California. From my perspective, his life was happy. 

 

But, there was a dark side to John, one I never realized. Although he was outwardly friendly to everyone, inside, he hated himself. It reminded me of the book by Robert Louis Stevenson, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. The only person I knew was the Dr. Jekyll persona. Perhaps, the only person John knew was Mr. Hyde.

 

In the early 90s, John was driving home from a meeting in Silicon Valley to his home in Carmel. His chosen route was to drive his car south on California State Highway 1 along the Pacific coast. When he reached Castroville, he turned right on Potrero Road and stopped at the end of the road. John left his car and walked into the Pacific Ocean.

 

I had fond memories of John and considered incorporating his character in one of my books. Now that you have asked your question, I realized I did.

 

Who is your favorite fictional couple, and why?

I recalled fictional mystery duos created by authors I admire in creating the Bill Ockham and Marcie Conover characters. At the top of my list are Nick and Nora Childs by Dashiell Hammet, John Steed and Emma Peel of the Avengers British TV series, Sean King and Michelle Maxwell by David Baldacci, and Tommy and Tuppence Beresford by Agatha Christie.

A significant trait in the development of the protagonists by those authors is equilibrium. One character’s weakness offsets the other character’s strength. Neither one could solve the mystery alone. I accentuated the synergy between Bill Ockham and Marcie Conover to generate an unfair advantage, the ability to look at a problem from different perspectives.
 

How do you deal with writer’s block?

For me, writing the first sentence of a chapter overcomes writers block. Once I get it right, the rest flows.

 

What’s the best thing about being a writer?

For me, one of the joys is character creation. I read a blog from another writer some years ago that I might cut a character I developed from the final manuscript. I incorporated a colorful, eccentric person in Liquidation Preference, named George. However, I had to cut him from the final version because the book was too long. I resurrected him in False Positive.

What’s your advice for aspiring writers?

Perhaps the way to answer this question is to relate how I interact with entrepreneurial teams. I ask them to tell me what the “unfair advantage” they are bringing to the table. Translating this phrase into writing a book is “What is different in your book.”

 

How do you get inspired to write?

As a CEO, Independent Board Director, Strategic Advisor, and Technology Futurist, I always employed situation storytelling to create empathy and understanding to entrepreneurs and speeches. I wanted to go further and engage people outside Silicon Valley to understand emerging and disruptive technologies.

Got a question? Send an email to books@tomwms.com

 
 

Thank you for your interest in my novels.

If you had the opportunity to read one of my novels or Perspective Essays, please consider telling your friends, reposting, or writing a short review on Amazon, Apple, Barnes & Noble, or Kobo. Word of mouth and reviews are an author’s best friend and much appreciated.

 

Here are the ways to keep current on upcoming events and announcements.

Join the email list

Send an email to books@tomwms.com and enter the word Subscribe in the Subject line. Make sure you add my email address to your contact list or address book to avoid spam filtering.

 

Host a Meet the Author Event

If you are interested in hosting a Meet the Author Event, let me know. I’d be happy to speak about technology, Silicon Valley, the novels, the approach I employ in selecting, researching, and writing the manuscript as well as provide signed copies of the books for purchase. Send an email to books@tomwms.com.  
 

Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/tomwilliamsbooks
 


“Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year.”
–Ralph Waldo Emerson
 
Happy reading!

 
Tom Williams

 

 

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