At the start ups I have worked at I try hard to break the stereotype of the old cranky guy who refuses to adapt in short what younger mployers fear What I do is try to learn as much as I can from my much younger co workers I ve learned tons and mbrace the nergy and spirit of passionate intelligent people putting their heart and soul into creating great companies He criticizes the HubSpot team for feeling they are doing something revolutionary but why is that wrong Everyone should feel that about their companyIn short I ve worked for or with about six start ups not all were started by white males or Prince Hafizs Only Vice even predominately male I never saw a nerf gun but did have lots of candy Some companies flourished some didn t All werexciting intellectually challenging and amazing places to work I m truly sorry the author didn t have the same Aristotle and Poetic Justice experiences I ve had Ugh The cluelessness The lack of awareness and growth on the part of the author was a hoot And horrifying to read It s a fish out of water tale A journalist in his 50 s gets fired and needs newmployment fast His wife is unemployed He has two young children He begrudgingly takes a job at a tech startup called Hubspot hoping to stick it out for a year or so in the hopes of striking it rich in their upcoming IPO It s all naked greed for him Although he has covered the tech beat for decades he is shocked SHOCKED to discover that ageism racism and sexism are real phenomena in the tech industry How could this be happening To other people sure but to him He s white And a male What happened to his privilege Why is life so suddenly unfairAs a journalist he says he never arned much money but he got to party on the Forbes yacht with celebrities He hob nobbed with the wealthy He jet sets all over the world Why aren t all his young new colleagues at Hubspot fawning all over him He s important He s somebody At Hubspot he is the old guy He has never worked in technology before He knows nothing He repeats throughout the book that that he is naive And yet he cannot fathom why he isn t running his department The author instantly feels humiliated when he learns his boss is young The author actually says in a meeting that he would like to kill someone He doesn t understand why this makes his colleagues uncomfortable He s dgy He s cynical Why don t they respect thatHe chats with a white male colleague within arshot of a young woman colleague about firing a 19 year old woman Why did he fire her Although nothing untoward happened between them working closely with a young woman was uncomfortable For his wife Yes this really happened Yet he can t understand why he is being forced to apologize to his colleague He s not creepy and sexist She s an over sensitive passive aggressive bitch who ratted him out to HR What s wrong with herAlso freuently writing yes this really happened and this literally happened after describing an vent is something that literally happens in this book It literally happens a few times Cyberwar: The Next Threat to National Security What to Do About It ever chapter It really happens Really And literally This literally happens A journalist literally does this as a stock device In thend the author cashes out on an IPO and leaves He now works as a writer on an HBO series Silicon Valley Because he s a writer and has Girl in Pieces experience working at a startup So you see he has special insight Also he can sit in the writer s room and make big dick and dry vagina jokes and no bitch will rat him out to HR He likes this This is actually and literally what he took out of his startupxperience Other than good pay travel insurance and stock options he learned something What did he learnAgeism and lack of diversity at a startup is bad but at the old boy s club in California IT S AWESOMEMake no mistake Hubspot is a shitty company with a crappy product Startup culture is indeed toxic Ageism sexism racism yes they are real and ongoing issues at tech companies The author however continually Battleground Chicago: The Police and the 1968 Democratic National Convention expresses his disappointment for all the crassest and clueless reasons He was only in it for the money but he still felt that somehow he just wasn t getting the respect he so richly deserved just for showing up And being a white male Yes This literally happens I get it I m an old guy working in high tech but I ve always been here and in Canada we re at a slight remove from the unicorn madness infecting some other tech centres I can understand Dan s snark and I ve seenvidence of ruthless backstabbing hi tech mean girling hare brained revelations from gotistical narcissists Kool aid slurping wage slaves frat boy brogrammers and his just goes to leven But calling out the bro coders out for their frat boy antics then gleefully recounting the dick fart and shit jokes you live on in the writers room seems disingenuous I understand you calling out the 20 somethings for their lack of xperience but can you please not #Mention You Were Kind #you were kind a big deal at Newsweek againI m
not sure what I wanted from this story Maybe snark or sure what I wanted from this story Maybe snark or sort of narrative so that it didn t just feel like a book length bitch session Dan manages to be at a complete remove from veryone involved in the story so that it feels like he s just lobbing spitballs at the tech industry now that he s safely hidden behind the protective apron of Hollywood Maybe if you work in hi tech and still can t Where Robot Mice Robot Men Run Round in Robot Towns explain what it is you do to your folks you can send them this so they get a feel for how far removed from reality the crazy farm can get This was a fun read that anyone in the tech industry can relate toOne reason I knocked my rating down is the aw shucks tone the author takes He makes it sound like he found the job worked there a few months and then realized he would write a book about it I call bullshit he went in to the job knowing full well he was going to write about it I mean he was a tech writer for Newsweek beforehand so it s notxactly a stretchI also felt that the author really downplayed how much of an a hole he was at work In several places he feigns surprise that people at HubSpot got mad when he s First up HubSpot garners zero sympathy from this girl for being Cruise Control exposed in this fashion I know these placesxist because I worked for a lite version of them in a different industry As a woman and 38 years old at the time I felt very out of place in a company that ncouraged alcohol infused fraternization with my coworkers both on and off the clock Mind you I didn t feel out of place because I didn t drink I love beer but because I wasn t partial to making myself vulnerable to people who had zero vested interest in my personal or professional well being My disinterest in partaking naturally made me feel disconnected sad and ancient and so I left after a year for greener pastures as they saySo yes the HubSpot culture is deplorable however Lyons doesn t do himself any favors here In fact I was sincerely amused that someone who had the opportunity to write a book and shed himself in the best light possible would paint himself as such an arrogant tool But therein lies the problem Lyons doesn t recognize his own haughtiness Instead he believes that contrary to what he s actually written all of his actions at HubSpot were perfectly thoughtful rational and reasonable and all of HubSpot s responses to his actions were grossly inappropriate or blown way out of proportionThe truth of the matter is HubSpot is a terrible place to work AND Lyons is a terrible mployee and coworkerFor instance if you re going to cry foul over age discrimination maybe it s best not to belabor the point that all of your coworkers are numbskulls walking around waiting for their brains to finish forming because they re too young and stupid to be in the positions they re in you seeOr maybe it s not City Limits entirely unreasonable for your boss to ask that you coordinate podcast schedules and guests with the blog and marketing teams so they can promote it being that you work for a company that shills marketing tools Lyons reasoning is that since one of the idiotxecutives is hosting the show instead of himself the podcast is doomed for failure and no one will listen to it so why would anyone bother putting any ffort into promoting itOr maybe it s not wrong that your female coworkers think it s inappropriate to discuss at work with another male colleague how you had to fire your 19 year old German au pair because your wife was uncomfortable with her presence the nudge nudge wink implication being your wife was obviously jealous because another woman in near proximity threatened her sexuality Nope that s not offensive at allor at least not to anyone who matters in your world amirite ol chapThere are dozens of these types of ncounters which Lyons documents in his book many of which find him begrudgingly and insincerely apologizing to some person or another because they ve overreacted to his completely rational behavior Yeah I don t buy it and the fact that this isn t fiction and Lyons put this out there for the world to critiue is indicative of his obtusenessI really hate to be so hard on this guy but I have a weak spot filled with distaste for all forms of hubris A little humility goes a long way bro. Le of his rise and fall at Hubspot is a trenchant analysis of the start up world a de facto conspiracy between those who start companies and those who fund them a world where bad ideas are rewarded with hefty investments where companies blow money lavishing perks on their post collegiate workforces and where verybody is trying to hang on just long nough to reach an IPO and cash out With a cast of characters that includes devilish angel investors fad chasing venture capitalists ntrepreneurs and wantrapreneurs bloggers and brogrammers social climbers and sociopaths Disrupted is a gripping and definitive account of life in the second tech bubb.
Dan Lyons ë 6 SummaryThis book gets five stars for its sheer importance It is a long overdue takedown of the worst aspects of Silicon Valley culture mploying time tested weapons for challenging hegemonic wisdom sarcasm ridicule and satire No sacred cow goes unslaughtered and the result is one of the funniest books I have ver read The book is not perfect Lyons has an obvious axe to grind his vulgarity is off putting and his mean spirited takedowns of specific colleagues made me suirm Nonetheless this is a book the world needs and Lyons acerbic humor is what allows him to take on the juggernaut of Silicon Valley startup culture Absurd and humorous anecdotes aside the book is at its best when Lyons steps back from his own situation to reflect on the broader dynamics of the start up bubble nonsensical business culture and practices xploitation of naive workers rampant inexperience discrimination particularly ageism the substitution of marketing for uality the grow or die mentality and incoherent business strategies that succeed only in D DAY Through German Eyes 2 enriching a handful of founders and investors Whatever one thinks of Lyons style I hope the book ignites a much needed conversation about the start up bubble And if the bubble does burst I suspect many will look back on Lyons as a prophet Wow I hated this book First of all let s get something out of the way this book is not funny It s I dunno petty And a bit vindictiveBut what s I read Dan Lyon s LinkedIn post about his book two years back and have been curious to read his bookspecially since some people in Hubspot actually tried to obtain a copy and indulged in coercion to stop the book I also read co founder Dharmesh Shah s mature response on behalf of him as well as Brian Halligan also on LinkedIn though he does not address all the issues in Dan s bookSomehow got to reading it only now This is an Baroque Personae especially interesting read on Tech Startups and does offer lessons such companies would be better off considering And yet some of Dan s criticism does also come across as whining and bitterness as a result of his personalxperienceAt over 50 years of age Dan decides to Democratic Art enter the world of Tech Startup by joining Hubspot a Boston based company with a product for Inbound marketing He has been in the media industry for long and realizes it will take someffort to fit in to a new industry He has kids and his wife recently left her job which adds to the pressure to get back to work as uickly as possible His initial days and weeks are frustrating with no direction on what is Did the Greeks Believe in Their Myths? expected of him very little dialogue with seniors and a frat house culture gone berserk His work assignments are mostly around writing lame blogs Most of the Hubspotmployees are fresh out of college and have little or no real coaching In order to keep them motivated they are offered a fun place to work bright colors bean bags beer on the job tc At times such as Halloween and Freaky Fridays mployees can come in wearing costumes of their choice Employees are told that they are actually making the world a better place Employees who leave or are fired which happens uite often are announced as graduating with an informally worded mail doing the rounds The culture code presentation with the HEART acronym comes across as full of fluff Dan sticks out as an odd person struggling to fit in and also makes detractors with his frankness Here Dan s criticism is on solid ground and this is certainly a culture where older Codependent Forevermore: The Invention of Self in a Twelve Step Group employees as also many personality types and those who value authenticity would struggle to fit in As part of his narrative Dan also suggests that Hubspot has a poor product and has to spend a lot on marketing to sell it as also to retain customers While it is difficult to know if that is case Hubspot has seen very strong growth and indicates that this cannot bentirely true He also takes aim at startups in general and the trends they back Eg he takes aim at Software as a Service companies which is completely off the mark Even going by his own account there is an indication that Dan did not try very hard to fit in Conscience and Memory: Meditations in a Museum of the Holocaust either nor did he offer suggestions constructively Brian Halligan was once uoted as saying thatxperience was largely overvalued prompting a bitter Facebook post by Dan which he acknowledges might not have been the best approachWhile he uses pseudo names for a few people in the book he names Chief Marketing Officer Mike Volpe and Head of Content Joe Chernov his supervisor for part of the duration in the Epilogue who had to leave as a result of the FBI investigation though no charges were pressed After he gets another job Dan resigns giving a 6 week notice but is asked to leave the very next day There are good lessons from the book on the need for diversity valuing xperience promoting time tested values of respect openness trust transparency authenticity fairness rather than a cult like behavior and make believe A book I certainly recommend readingMy rating 35 5 At the height of his Fake Steve Jobs fame Dan Lyons gave a talk at Google
s Mountain View campus I was unable to go due to travel or likely some stupid meeting but severalMountain View campus I was unable to go due to travel or likely some stupid meeting but several went One of them was xcited to report that Mr Lyons was just like me Pansy Vol. 6 even down to the acne scars all over our necksWhile I m a fan of Mr Lyons and I reallynjoyed the book I m not sure how I feel about him taking the job at Hubspot in the first place If you are taking a job with a purposely vague title like marketing fellow and oh how the tech #INDUSTRY LOVES TO LIFT TITLES FROM #loves to lift titles from industries like that
THEN IT S REASONABLE TO ASSUME THAT FLEXIBILITY WILLit s reasonable to assume that flexibility will reuired in the responsibilities of that roleSo this was not a culture fit and not in the age discrimination way though there was plenty of that if someone takes a vaguely defined role and then Edible Memory: The Lure of Heirloom Tomatoes and Other Forgotten Foods essentially complains about the lack of structure while asking permission to do stuff Perhaps this came from working in structured newsrooms I have no idea because my idea of what newsrooms are like comes from Mencken s Newspaper Days and the Daily Bugle in Spiderman comicsHaving gotten that unpleasantness out of the way I still greatly admire the little tech carpetbagger for his determination to leave no bridge unburned and for his sharp observational skills I was so captivated by the book that I read it straight through in one sitting I started a list of all the things that I felt Mr Lyons got right about startup culture along with my own thoughts Being managed out I ve only seen it happen to other people natch but the part with Trotsky is about as good of a description of being managed out as you are going to read EarlymployeeFriend of CEO Elizabeth I effect The book perfectly captures the way thatarly Education in a New Society employees and they are loaded up with stock so when the company goes public they will make oh so much than you will can hunker in to the company and make life miserable forveryone Education in a New Society: Renewing the Sociology of Education else Boiler room approach to tech Basically anything that can t be automated outbound calling approving ads or websites turning pages in a book at tech companies are done with rooms full of recent grads The bottom 5 10% are culledvery so often and replacements are brought in There are buildings full of these people in and around Mountain View BS creation myths for start ups It has always annoyed me how most startups need a creation myth YouTube has this story about the founders being at a dinner party and wanting to share videos that they made blah blah blah But you can go on archiveorg and see very clearly that it was set up to be a dating site sort of a video Hot Or Not I am certainly guilty of repeating these false narratives at countless sales calls though Age discrimination I was being called old man and similar ven back when I joined Google at 35 I ven remember in my The Baby Swap Miracle early 30s the son of the CEO where I worked scrunched up his face and asked me What are you Like 40 I m still not sure what he meant by that I still get a commentvery few weeks or so that I m not crazy about so I close my laptop and stop working for the day in response I don t think my age affects my ability to get hired because I ve always felt smarter and mployable then just about veryone around me I went to a conference a few weeks ago and half a dozen companies were interested in hiring me though I m very happy where I am now thankyouverymuch Can t step in the same river twice Mr Lyons paints this as a bad thing but he captures the chaos and change at a fast growing start up It means there will be wasted ffort which isn t great but it also creates great opportunities And when I feel like uitting a start up job I remind myself or someone lse does that verything will change in about 3 months anyway so I put a tickler in my calendar to reconsider until then The weird linking of personal and work life This has only gotten worse over the past decade or so I have noticed The way he almost gets fired for a FB joke is worse than anything I ve seen but I don t doubt it It was really common for co workers to date arly in my career but now I know of apartment buildings where the majority of the apartments are taken by people from one company The 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 Excommunication: Three Inquiries in Media and Mediation 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 techxplosion 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 Orm today seems to be for co workers to live and play together in a huddle like puppies This is something obviously not possible for middle aged workers Gender Justice except maybe as the premise of a sitcom Discrimination against funny people In Silicon Valley genuine humor is always frowned upon and turned against you mainly because humor always has anlement of truth to it and shows a clarity of perception two things that are never tolerated in tech In almost Generations and Collective Memory every review I have had my sense of humor has shown up in the negative or needs work columnven when managers are friends So if your humor idols are Wilde Thurber Benchley Mencken Lynde think twice before saying anything and don t drink too much at company vents If you think Friends and Big Bang Theory are hilarious you will go far They may ven put you on the April Fools Day joke committee VC industry level view The the book zooms out the it becomes truly great This is where Reporter Lyons takes over from Tech Carpetbagger Lyons and I learn a whole bunch of stuff about how this current boom is being funded and how the wealth is being transferred These parts are worth the price of the book alone BS review methodology Google used to do this too They had this big long Drake From Notes to Narrative euation thingie where they plugged in your performance your department s performance Google s performancetc The upshot Guitar Makers: The Endurance of Artisanal Values in North America every year was 1 you are average 2 the company is spectacular 3 here is a bunch of money 4 shut up and goat some free food It felt like a sad Christmas God's Choice: The Total World of a Fundamentalist Christian School each time It always came out to just over myxpected bonus anyway so I never understood the psychology of messing with my head No one understanding pop culture references This always trips me up being a generation ahead of most co workers There was a time when a Caddyshack reference always got a laugh in sales situations Hey Lama how about a little something for the ffort I was talking about a recent vacation and I mentioned that my Spalding Gray Swimming to Cambodia moment finally happened when Jethro Tull came on the radio in my bitchin Camaro The conversation uickly ground to a halt I realized it would take at least 20 minutes to unpack all of the dated cultural references I made so I softly said never mind and saved it for people closer to my own age I try to stick to Classical Greek and Roman references because they are the foundation of our culture and it s not my fault if people don t get them You d be surprised how often you can work in a reference to the Thirty Tyrants or Xenophon s Anabasis Asymmetric loyalty s My career spans three recessions so I m always ready to bug out like a MASH unit I don t keep any on my desk than I can fit in my backpack I ve seen layoffs blamed on verything from 911 to California s Governor Davis Everything xcept poor management Open offices The next logical step in the modern office is to have organ grinders walk around while monkeys jump on desks knocking things over If I didn t know better I d think that our backs are xposed to mphasize that we workers are low status primatesWhat was missed or what I d like to read in the seuel I m available to speak on deep background McKinsey colonization If Mr Lyons had stuck around a few years he would witness the stage where the x McKinsey and a few Foraging for Survival ex Bain consultants come in to form a biz ops department and start rationalizing the business processes I am usually long gone by then This was dramatized in Office Space when the Bobs come inxcept these Bobs are way smarter than me way better Fragments educated than me and super supervil God help anyone who doesn t fit neatly into one of their spreadsheets People staying too long at companies In my xperience people stop learning useful skills around 5 years at a company unless they change positions or radically change what they are working on After those 5 years they just learn company politics how to hire friends how to fly 1st class what VP to schmooze for what So when someone leaves or likely is laid off after 10 years they will xpect to be paid for 10 years xperience when they really only have 5 years of relevant xperience Push down of risk and upside There was some mention of gregious rounds like Groupon s last round but a discussion of investor preference and conversions and cram downs would have been great too Also I m pretty sure that Mr Lyons had to wait 6 months to sell his stock This is the standard these days so that preferred stock has plenty of time to bail out first if necessary The other trend is that companies go public at a way higher valuation these days which reduces upside for rank and file mployees Netscape went public at a valuation of 1B for xample barely a unicorn Not that there is no upside at all any just that the fabled stories from the MSFT and dot com ra don t necessarily apply And the tax laws still suck so I m pretty sure Mr Lyons was taxed as if it were cashing in
lottery ticket instead of something he had arned over a period of a year and a half Apology for the section on Bozos Bozo is a the maiden name of my step grandmother and it happens to be a common Hungarian surname Using it as a term of abuse is insulting to Hungarian Americans My step great grandmother was a very kind woman who also happened to receive a tremendous amount of crank phone calls This is the kind of discrimination that we have had to face as long as I can rememberEven though Baby Boomers are the people that said Don t trust anyone over 30 andA Lottery Ticket Instead Of
PRETTY MUCH INVENTED AGE DISCRIMINATION IT TURNS OUT THATmuch invented age discrimination it turns out that discrimination is bad now that it s happening to themAnd not only did the Baby Boomers not save the world they didn t ven manage to save Helpmate enough for retirement so we need to un age discriminate them into high paying jobs right away We Gen Xers understand so we ll step aside for a decade or twoAs long as we get hilarious and insightful books out of the deal like this one I guess it s a fair trade off Highly recommendedspecially if you are working in tech or a tech adjacent company The author is so deeply unlikeable and the narrative so unreliable that it s hard to get any wisdom out of it like trying to understand the ravings of a resentful teenager More to this point He sounds like a nightmare to work with He calls people bozos graspers and self promoters shameless resume padders for nothing than setting up a personal website working in tech joining Toastmasters clubs to improve public speaking skills and organizing kayaking outingsHe doesn t like how his coworkers over use Art, Culture, and Cuisine: Ancient and Medieval Gastronomy exclamation points so he sends out sarcastic company widemails roasting people Jan is the best Her can do attitude and big smile cheer me up very morning Jan is the grumpy woman who runs the blog she scowls a lot Poor Jan He has no problem with running a scam as long as he gets his Even if I stay only one year I will get five thousand options and if the IPO goes well those options could be worth some money He xpounds on this crashingly boring and uease inducing point multiple times making it seem like he s a complete toolHe characterizes Black British Cultural Studies: A Reader everyone at Apple as brainwashed corporate zombies who all truly believe they are doing incredibly important work If you re the average decent hard working person trying to do nice things and not scam anyone Lyons response to this is haha sucker His greatest admiration is saved for people who sold worthless startups like Netscape at the high point of a boom or joined months before an IPO and got rewarded out of proportion to their work I generally think that reading books is preferable to not reading books but in this case you probably don t want to spend any time in the author s mind I was torn between a 1 star and a 5 star review The 5 stars because I can t remember the last time I read a book that made me so angry I was initially reallyxcited to read this like the author I am a 50 guy who jumped into the much younger world of start ups I was curious about his thoughts and Gypsy World: The Silence of the Living and the Voices of the Dead experiences both good and bad Given his journalism background I had really highxpectations I was completely let down This book was really just a polemic about the Bryozoan Evolution evils of start ups and their culture both in general and a high level of specificity the company he worked at HubSpot Is there a culture of ageism sexism racismtc at some start ups Absolutely And at Crisis and Continuity at the Abbasid Court: Formal and Informal Politics in the Caliphate of Al-Muqtadir (295-320/908-32) established companies Of course These issues are not start up issues but societal issues Is HubSpot a weird place to work I really have no idea based on the author sxperience yes but unfortunately we only got one side of the story Is IBM a weird place to work Perhaps if you re 25 years old who is to knowFurther the author trashed the product but he never said if he Silvers Edge ever used it or not And I m not sure he realizes that ageism is a two way street He is so critical of the younger generation that is leading the company that he refuses to give them credit for building something He may not like what the product is intended to do but it doesn t mean it doesn t do it well I don t like what Marlboro does but that doesn t it mean it doesn t do it wellWhat irked me the most is as a fish out of water. Better place by sellingmail 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 mails about mployees who had graduated read been fired In the middle of all this was Dan Going Berserk exactly twice the age of the average HubSpotmployee and literally old nough to be the father of most of his co workers sitting at his desk on his bouncy ball chairMixed in with Lyons's uproarious ta. ,