There’s a lot of bitching in this memoir, but the writing is funny enough to balance out the more curmudgeonly bits. And the author’s message is important enough to make it all worth it in the end.
“You don’t get rewarded for creating great technology, not anymore,” says a friend of mine who has worked in tech since the 1980s, a former investment banker who now advises start-ups. “It’s all about the business model. The market pays you to have a company that scales quickly. It’s all about getting big fast. Don’t be profitable, just get big.”
Dan Lyons wrote the tech blog for Newsweek for years when he suddenly lost his job due to budget cuts. At 52 years old, he decide to start over on a new career path — he would take his tech and journalist experience and apply them to a job in marketing with a tech start-up. He got a job at a company called HubSpot, and spent two insane years working for people with no real concept of reality. He outlines his experiences here — the inexperienced managers, the free beer in the breakroom, the incredible ageist attitude of just about everyone, and the goal of putting on a show rather than running a business. A lot of it is very funny, and Lyons is a funny man. I listened to the audiobook, which he read himself, and it had me cracking up at times. But the underlying message — that these companies are making their founders incredibly rich while draining their employees and rarely turning any kind of profit — serves as a warning to just about everyone who fails to see the similarities between the dotcom bubble of the 1990s, and that start-up bubble we’re in now.