Disrupted: My Misadventure in the Start-up Bubble by Dan Lyons is a smart, snarky and entertaining read. Lyons was a long-time journalist and tech writer for Newsweek, and he got some renown as the anonymous author of the Fake Steve Jobs blog. He was in demand as a speaker and commentator on the tech scene, but was broadsided when he lost his job in the massive layoffs before Newsweek went under. In an effort to reinvent himself Lyons took a job at Hubspot, a start-up software marketing company.
Lyons’ book is a darkly funny but pretty unsettling account of his time working at this tech start-up. He chronicles the intensely youth-driven culture and company group-think – all driven by an intense effort to look good to the venture capitalists. (A quick look at Hubspot's employment page gives you an idea of what he's satirizing!) All the types are here – the vindictive boss, the shallow but ambitious coworkers, the guru-CEO. (In fact one of my criticisms of the book is Lyons' sexist take on many of his female coworkers.) Lyons does raise some sharp issues despite the comedic tone – What is the direction of the modern workplace? Where is technology taking us? And what is the business model doing to the morals and mental health of those struggling to make it? Brad Stone (author of The Everything Store) says that Dan Lyons “runs such a savage burn on his ex-employer, HubSpot, that the smoke can be seen clear across the country in Silicon Valley. Disrupted is fun, compulsively readable and just might tell us something important about the hypocrisy and cult-like fervor inside today's technology giants.”