Disrupted: My Misadventure in the Start-Up Bubble

Disrupted: My Misadventure in the Start-Up Bubble

by Dan Lyons


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An instant New York Times bestseller, Dan Lyons' "hysterical" (Recode) memoir, hailed by the Los Angeles Times as "the best book about Silicon Valley," takes readers inside the maddening world of fad-chasing venture capitalists, sales bros, social climbers, and sociopaths at today's tech startups.

For twenty-five years Dan Lyons was a magazine writer at the top of his profession—until one Friday morning when he received a phone call: Poof. His job no longer existed. "I think they just want to hire younger people," his boss at Newsweek told him. Fifty years old and with a wife and two young kids, Dan was, in a word, screwed. 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 vague role of "marketing fellow." What could go wrong?

HubSpotters were true believers: They were making the world a better place ... by selling email spam. The office vibe was frat house meets cult compound: The party began at four thirty on Friday and lasted well into the night; "shower pods" became hook-up dens; a push-up club met at noon in the lobby, while nearby, in the "content factory," Nerf gun fights raged. Groups went on "walking meetings," and Dan's absentee boss sent cryptic emails about employees who had "graduated" (read: been fired). In the middle of all this was Dan, exactly twice the age of the average HubSpot employee, and literally old enough to be the father of most of his co-workers, sitting at his desk on his bouncy-ball "chair."

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780316306096
Publisher: Hachette Books
Publication date: 03/07/2017
Pages: 272
Sales rank: 294,583
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.25(h) x 0.62(d)

About the Author

Dan Lyons is a novelist, journalist, screenwriter, and public speaker. He was a staff writer on the first two seasons of the Emmy-winning HBO series Silicon Valley. Previously, Lyons was technology editor at Newsweek and the creator of the groundbreaking viral blog "The Secret Diary of Steve Jobs" (AKA "Fake Steve Jobs"). Lyons has written for the New York Times Magazine, GQ, Vanity Fair, and Wired. He lives in Winchester, MA.

Table of Contents

Author's Note vii

Prologue: Welcome to the Content Factory 1

Chapter 1 Beached White Male 11

Chapter 2 When the Ducks Quack 20

Chapter 3 What's a Hub Spot? 30

Chapter 4 The Happy!! Awesome!! Start-Up Cult 39

Chapter 5 HubSpeak 49

Chapter 6 Our Cult Leader Has a Really Awesome Teddy Bear 63

Chapter 7 We Need to Make the Blog a Lot More Dumberer 69

Chapter 8 The Bozo Explosion 77

Chapter 9 In Which I Make a Very Big Mistake 89

Chapter 10 Life in the Boiler Room 96

Chapter 11 OMG the Halloween Party!!! 105

Chapter 12 The New Work: Employees as Widgets 113

Chapter 13 The Ron Burgundy of Tech 128

Chapter 14 Meet the New Boss 138

Chapter 15 Grandpa Buzz 143

Chapter 16 Ritual Humiliation as Rehabilitation 160

Chapter 17 A Disturbance in the Farce 164

Chapter 18 A House of Cards? 172

Chapter 19 Go West, Old Man 177

Chapter 20 Glassholes 183

Chapter 21 Excuse Me, but Would You Please Get the Fuck Out of Our Company? 192

Chapter 22 Inbound and Down 202

Chapter 23 Escape Velocity 220

Chapter 24 If I Only Had a Heart 225

Chapter 25 Graduation Day 234

Epilogue 241

Acknowledgments 259

What People are Saying About This

Ashlee Vance

Using his trademark wit and clear-eyed analysis, Dan Lyons has delivered a much-needed referendum on the current state of Silicon Valley. In wildly entertaining fashion, Disrupted explores the ways in which many technology companies have come to fool the public and themselves. Lyons has injected a dose of sanity into a world gone mad. --Ashlee Vance, New York Times-bestselling author of Elon Musk

Nick Bilton

Dan Lyons goes deep inside a company that uses terms like "world class marketing thought leaders" to show us how ridiculous, wasteful, and infantile tech start-ups like this can be. And best of all, Lyons does this with his trademark pejorative and hilarious tone. --Nick Bilton, New York Times technology columnist

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Disrupted: My Misadventure in the Start-Up Bubble 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
What happens when a clueless tech startup hires a prize-winning former tech journalist, calls him a "content provider," and then refuses to accept him into their culture? Unfortunately for HubSpot, he remembers he's a journalist and he starts writing again. Dan Lyons has exposed the growth-obsessed failings of Silicon Valley culture, which should make you angry, but it might also male you laugh.
Drewano More than 1 year ago
‘Disrupted’ is a well written look at the sometimes funny, sometimes frustrating look at life inside a high-tech company. About two-thirds of the book is about his former employer (HubSpot) and the remainder is about the tech industry itself. For those who don’t work in the tech industry (and especially those who haven’t worked at a smaller start up) you’ll have to take things with a grain of salt. For one the book is being told by someone who (admittedly) has never had a real job in the corporate world in his life, so some of the stuff he’s dealing with is a bit self-inflicted (for example always assume someone is going to read your e-mails especially if you’re talking about that person). In addition, I’ve always thought people who talked about the liberal media being out of touch with regular people who try to teach rather than report, were full of it but from the author’s description of that world makes it really feel like they are out of touch with reality so some of the culture shock is to be expected. From the job perspective, the author spent more time on the company issues rather than the culture side of things which was the big hook to get the reader in at the beginning. Most of the time is spent talking about blog writing and lead generation so the reader doesn’t get a good view into what is actually going on at the company outside of this small part of the marketing department. Because of that the author only infers that other parts of the business are as chaotic and mismanaged as what he sees. Finally, his criticism of the tech industry is probably fair but on the financial side it shares blame with the financial and regulatory industries. The author has probably done more research on the industry and company in writing this book than the majority of analysts and the VAST majority of investors and I think uninformed investors are more of an issue that companies who lose money year after year with a substandard product. Overall I enjoyed it from an entertainment perspective and as a tale of warning and not preparing when getting out of your comfort zone, but I wouldn’t consider this a must read for those in business or an entrepreneur.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book will have little appeal to a fair-minded reader. It's a really vicious diatribe, filled with character smears. Rancor exudes from every page.
MartyMcFly More than 1 year ago
If you work in the Boston Tech scene this book should be very interesting. Fascinating inside look at one of the hottest companies to go public in Boston in the last couple of years. Sometimes Dan Lyons comes across as a very disgruntled employee but he does give you the good, the bad and the ugly.
B-loNY More than 1 year ago
Excellent book, so true
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Fantastic book! Well written and easy to read. The situation described in this book, that is the abuse and brain washing of millennial workers and the ejection of 50+ workers, is an epidemic. Dan Lyons beautifully describes the methods used to suppress wages of most workers and wildly favor the top of the pyramid and the big investors. Dan describes how Hubspot profiles young applicants to find those most susceptible to cult like brain washing. Dan rightly points out that the mission of Hubspot is not to change the world, it is to make the founders and investors millions upon millions of dollars. Clearly, Dan was not able to fool them that he "wall all in" aka "drank the Koolaid" and suffered for it. This is a must-read for every aspiring 20 something who believes they have a future in corporate America.