Chaos Monkeys: Obscene Fortune and Random Failure in Silicon Valley

Chaos Monkeys: Obscene Fortune and Random Failure in Silicon Valley

by Antonio García Martínez


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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

— 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?

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062458193
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 06/28/2016
Pages: 528
Sales rank: 1,130,434
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.50(d)

About the Author

Antonio García Martínez has been an advisor to Twitter, a product manager for Facebook, the CEO/founder of AdGrok (a venture-backed startup acquired by Twitter), and a strategist for Goldman Sachs. He is an Ideas Contributor for WIRED and lives on a forty-foot sailboat on the San Francisco Bay.

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

D-Day 104

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

Victory 167

Launching! 172

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

Endgame 251

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

Afterword 497

Acknowledgments 516

Index 519

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