An NPR Best Book of the Year • A Business Insider Top 20 Business Book of the Year • An Inc. Best Book of the Year for Entrepreneurs and Small Business Owners
“Incisive.... The most fun business book I have read this year.... Clearly there will be people who hate this book — which is probably one of the things that makes it such a great read.”— Andrew Ross Sorkin, New York Times“Eye-popping.”— Vanity Fair
Liar’s Poker meets The Social Network in an irreverent exposé of life inside the tech bubble, from industry provocateur Antonio García Martínez, a former Twitter advisor, Facebook product manager and startup founder/CEO.
The reality is, Silicon Valley capitalism is very simple:
Investors are people with more money than time.
Employees are people with more time than money.
Entrepreneurs are the seductive go-between.
Marketing is like sex: only losers pay for it.
Imagine a chimpanzee rampaging through a datacenter powering everything from Google to Facebook. Infrastructure engineers use a software version of this “chaos monkey” to test online services’ robustness—their ability to survive random failure and correct mistakes before they actually occur. Tech entrepreneurs are society’s chaos monkeys, disruptors testing and transforming every aspect of our lives, from transportation (Uber) and lodging (AirBnB) to television (Netflix) and dating (Tinder). One of Silicon Valley’s most audacious chaos monkeys is Antonio García Martínez.
After stints on Wall Street and as CEO of his own startup, García Martínez joined Facebook’s nascent advertising team, turning its users’ data into profit for COO Sheryl Sandberg and chairman and CEO Mark “Zuck” Zuckerberg. Forced out in the wake of an internal product war over the future of the company’s monetization strategy, García Martínez eventually landed at rival Twitter. He also fathered two children with a woman he barely knew, committed lewd acts and brewed illegal beer on the Facebook campus (accidentally flooding Zuckerberg's desk), lived on a sailboat, raced sport cars on the 101, and enthusiastically pursued the life of an overpaid Silicon Valley wastrel.
Now, this gleeful contrarian unravels the chaotic evolution of social media and online marketing and reveals how it is invading our lives and shaping our future. Weighing in on everything from startups and credit derivatives to Big Brother and data tracking, social media monetization and digital “privacy,” García Martínez shares his scathing observations and outrageous antics, taking us on a humorous, subversive tour of the fascinatingly insular tech industry. Chaos Monkeys lays bare the hijinks, trade secrets, and power plays of the visionaries, grunts, sociopaths, opportunists, accidental tourists, and money cowboys who are revolutionizing our world. The question is, will we survive?
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About the Author
Table of Contents
Prologue: The Garden of Forking Paths 1
Part 1 Disturbing the Peace
The Undertakers of Capitalism 13
The Human Attention Exchange 32
Knowing How to Swim 42
Abandoning the Shipwreck 65
Part 2 Pseudorandomness
Let Me See Your War Face 77
Like Marriage, but without the Fucking 87
Speed Is a Feature 94
A Conclave of Angels 109
The Hill of Sand 120
Turning and Turning in the Widening Gyre 132
¡No Pasarán! 140
The Dog Shit Sandwich 152
Dates @Twitter 177
Acquisition Chicken 200
Getting Liked 208
Getting Poked 215
The Various Futures of the Forking Paths 224
Retweets Are Not Endorsements 236
The Dotted Line 241
Part 3 Move Fast and Break Things
Boat Camp 259
Product Masseur 271
Google Delenda Est 282
Leaping Headlong 291
One Shot, One Kill 298
Twice Bitten, Thrice Shy 303
Ads Five-Oh 308
The Narcissism of Privacy 316
Are We Savages or What? 330
O Death 336
The Barbaric Yawn 344
Going Public 353
When the Flying Saucers Fail to Appear 360
Monetizing the Tumor 373
The Great Awakening 380
Barbarians at the Gates 393
IPA > IPO 404
Initial Public Offering: A Reevaluation 417
Flash Boys 421
Full Frontal Facebook 427
Microsoft Shrugged 447
Ad Majorem Facebook Gloriam 456
Adiós, Facebook 467
Pandemonium Lost 475
Epilogue: Man Plans and God Laughs 482