Disrupted: Ludicrous Misadventures into the Tech Start-Up Bubble Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
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Audible Audiobook, Unabridged
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The shocking and hilarious New York Times best-selling exposé of a new age of excess in Silicon Valley.
Dan Lyons was technology editor at Newsweek for years, a magazine writer at the top of his profession. One Friday morning he received a phone call: his job no longer existed. Fifty years old, and with a wife and two young kids, Dan was unemployed and facing financial oblivion.
Then an idea hit. Dan had long reported on Silicon Valley and the tech explosion. Why not join it? HubSpot, a Boston start-up, was flush with $100 million in venture capital. They offered Dan a pile of stock options for the nebulous role of 'marketing fellow'. What could possibly go wrong?
What follows is a hilarious and excoriating account of Dan's time at the start-up and a revealing window onto the dysfunctional culture that prevails in a world flush with cash and devoid of experience. Filled with stories of meaningless jargon, teddy bears at meetings, push-up competitions and all-night parties, this uproarious tale is also a trenchant analysis of the dysfunctional start-up world, a de facto conspiracy between those who start companies and those who fund them. It is a world where bad ideas are rewarded with hefty investments, where companies blow money lavishing perks on their postcollegiate workforces, and where everybody is trying to hang on just long enough to cash out with a fortune.
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|Listening Length||9 hours and 17 minutes|
|Whispersync for Voice||Ready|
|Audible.com.au Release Date||17 February 2017|
|Publisher||Bolinda Publishing Pty Ltd.|
|Best Sellers Rank|| 8,246 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals) |
10 in Business Writing (Books)
16 in Business & Professional Humour
42 in Accounting
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Top reviews from Australia
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Dan presents a definite naivety in working within the Tech space. He spent his life building a career on writing & reviewing tech people but had never been behind the veil. His bubble clearly burst when he had to confront his beliefs about how they should be run and what works to make them successful vs the reality of what takes place.
I like that Dan admits that he contributed to his ups and downs within the company. A lot of what he describes about the world of Silicon valley starts up seems equally prevalent in large Corporations.
It's an honest recount of life working within technology companies.
It really gives great insight into the pressures that follow start up businesses once they get funding and the relentless push for sales growth
This story of Lyon’s time at Hubspot is as much of a page turner as you can get in business and startup non-fiction. It’s enjoyable. It’s easy to read.
But it just lacks a little credibility at certain points, and it’s hard not to feel Dan was a little naive in his venture to startup land. 👍
Top reviews from other countries
This book gives what looks to me like a credible account of what is really going on in the process of creating tech start-ups in the US and carrying them through to IPO and beyond. What's odd is that this author seems not to have known much of this before going to work for one of these start-ups despite having been a well-established and successful journalist writing about exactly this industry.
He also writes convincingly about ageism in the industry and about the general cultish atmosphere in the company he joined and, very likely, others. But again, it is strange that he reports such surprise at all this. Did he really not know at all what to expect? Maybe, or maybe it's a technique for making us react more strongly to his narrative. Given that he was well known for a satyrical column, was his new employer really that surprised at his reactions to them? Just puzzling.
On the one hand I an less than 100% sympathetic to this author. Some commenters have accused him of planning to write a book like this from the time he decided to look for a job in a tech start-up. He does say that part of his plan was to join the start-up and stick with it long enough to gain from the share options that he acquired for a year's service and it's quite consistent that he would also have regarded it as an opportunity to gather material from some sort of later writing. He also says, without any sense of fault, that he worked for quite a while on the production of blog posts without finding out what the company's business purpose was in doing it. When he eventually found out he was surprised and disappointed. The company gave him leave to take a completely different temporary job working with people more like him. He mentions their informal jokey atmosphere, but it sounds as though the jokes were often objectionable and might get people sacked fro other organisations. This gives a bit of a hollow ring to his complaints abbot the lack of diversity in the start-up he joined.
But, having worked for decades in programming/computing/systems integration/IT/whatever you call it this week, I have to say I recognise some of the ageism and incompetence he complains of. I have been disregarded as an "old fogey" and have been associated with projects that were set up with huge overconfidence - including one case where dozens of people were employed generating a loss averaging at over £1 million each and another where the shocking thing about the dysfunctional team organisation was that the project's senior members had been congratulating themselves on how brilliant it was. Not exactly like Dan Lyon's experience, but near enough for the book to trigger unhappy memories.
As a 50 year old man who has recently started work in a startup myself, I should be the ideal reader. A lot of what happens is pretty scary, especially the epilogue when it turns out that the company tried dirty tricks (coercion, blackmail) to try to prevent the book's publication.
There are stories of ludicrous mis-management, and the terrifyingly naive acceptance of stupid ideas such as "fearless Friday" by everyone around him.
However, on a couple of occasions I did find myself siding with the young people around him. If you make a quip about The Beatles to someone who was born in 1990, why on earth would you expect them to know or care what you're talking about? What's wrong with putting a lunch appointment in your electronic diary? - it prevents someone inviting you to a meeting that would clash with it. He gets very upset about age discrimination, but I'm not sure he always helps himself.
He does make some very important points about diversity in the tech industry. The leader of the company says he want to employ people who "he'd like to have a beer with" - and so, unsurprisingly, the workforce is almost exclusively young, metropolitan and white. "Not just white, but all the same kind of white", in the author's words.
The fact that people can become so rich and powerful, by delivering a product that's so pathetically poor and while being so completely ignorant of the basics of good management, is what's really scary about this book.
In the book Dan joins Hubspot and he's told how important it is to fit in. Now if I wanted to go for lunch or have a meeting with the person sitting next to me I would, like Dan ask the person for lunch. However, it's the Hubspot protocol/way/culture/ to invite someone via an intranet calander. That's the way they work and I'm a big believer if you join something you go with what's done. If everyone uses their own system it's chaos. You have a centralised system and everyone knows what works. Also, Dan would say that the environment was all frat boys and there were very few women working there, yet when he goes back to working in Journalism for a project he was right at home with all the knob jokes flying about - hardly an environment suitable for women.