Disrupted by Dan Lyons [Book Summary – Review]

Silicon Valley has become the holy place for high technology ventures, in which internet giants such as Facebook, Apple, and Google, shape tomorrow and new designs and innovations appear like mushrooms. However, this wonderful public facade covers some seriously exclusive implementations.

With this book review, you’ll learn about the tale of writer Dan Lyons, while in his jobless fifties, who got into the venturing industry at HubSpot, an organization focusing on inbound sales and marketing. While the author was working there, he saw strange corporate applications and impoverished working circumstances – and found out the fact under this hype.

Buy this book from Amazon

Chapter 1 – Conventional journalists such as the writer of this book have been obliged to recreate themselves in this contemporary media world.

In the year 2012, Lyons, who had formerly worked at the Newsweek magazine as the editor for tech, was badly in search of a job around his 50s. He’d recently been sacked and was experiencing a completely distinct market environment.

He was not the only one. The web-tech explosion around the 2000s made a lot of older experts reassess their place in the journalism world.

Fresh internet-founded technology organizations, as well as Facebook, Google, Groupon, and Zynga, were increasing during the early 2000s. Whereas, old media industries like magazines and newspapers, were finding it hard to live and adjust.

These recently dominant companies were giving services and goods that were transforming key activities of people– such as the way we buy things and mingle, the way we reach news and detail.

Rather than depending on magazines and newspapers, now readers could the whole detail the needed with just a click. Printed media such as Newsweek were declining as advertisers started changing to websites and individuals started terminating their subscriptions.

This whole thing made Lyons surrender, only following Newsweek – the actual organization he was employed in – wrote something titled “Beached White Men.” Amusingly, this article was essentially about skilled, elder experts who were abruptly seeing themselves deprived of a job as a result of company drops.

To get another occupation, Lyons had to recreate himself – and this effort at change brought him into the fresh industry of ventures.

Lyons was a married man with 2 children and he was the only person who brought money home, these required a stable occupation and comprehensive health insurance vital.

His initial new work made him in San Francisco, and here, he wrote for a technology news website known as ReadWrite.

The work was okay; however, not perfect because his wife and children were staying in the other part of the US, in Boston. But, while he was around San Francisco, Lyons had a direct glance at the thriving venture companies around Silicon Valley as well.

This made him think: Perhaps he could recreate himself as an author in the PR division of a venture company?

Chapter 2 – Going into the industry of ventures at the age of 50 was a weird fresh thing for Lyons; however, he was ready to acclimatize.

As a technology author of Newsweek, he was conversant with companies such as Facebook and Twitter. He made a lot of interviews with these corporations’ CEOs and he was aware that individuals around here since the beginnings of these companies started have gained massive financial profits.

However, in spite of his comprehension of their goods, Lyons was shocked by the weird business exercises of ventures.

Lyons was interviewed for a spot at HubSpot, located in Massachusetts after replying to an announcement on LinkedIn. Everything was good with the interview, however, Lyons was shocked at the time he was given an offer of the obscure title “marketing fellow,” barely looked similar to an occupation title whatsoever.

This obscure manner of performing kept on going when he had a discussion with Halligan and Shah, the creators of HubSpot, asking him the things he would like to perform.

Although they made a long discussion, they did not make it obvious what the precise duty of Lyons would be at HubSpot.

Lyons knew that they loved the notion of employing an author who might help in leading HubSpot as an “opinion head” in the industry of marketing. However, Lyons was not offered any obvious sign of the way they envisioned him achieving such a work.

They brought further to describing a precise job when Halligan discussed giving “missions” to Lyons to proceed–however, this only seemed as like they needed him to enhance their website to increase brand awareness.

Although his first instances at HubSpot have been perplexing, Lyons was eager to acclimatize and attempted to stay welcoming to fresh manners of performing.

He was really somewhat happy about the chances of this fresh venture and was prepared to grasp things about PR, a unit he did not perform in before.

Also, even though the work came with small pay, he was provided with stock choices for HubSpot, he could understand that these stocks really profit him when this company succeeds.

Chapter 3 – The style at HubSpot had a lot of weird jargon, and strange, accustomed habits.

In April of 2013, Lyons became a formal HubSpot worker, and that was when he was presented to the organization’s strange, cult-like habits, and a fresh environment of spiritual leaders, culture codes, and missions.

He immediately realized that HubSpot was not only out to earn a profit; it was also working for a “mission” in transforming the world with exceptional marketing software. Also, he got to know that Dharmesh Shah, HubSpot’s establisher, was being called the “spiritual leader” among some workers and customers.

During Lyons’s first days at HubSpot, he was sent a declaration that had 128 slides and named the Hubspot Code of Culture: Constructing an Organization We Adore.

The manifesto presented HubSpot as a paradise community in which the group is more significant than individuals and employees do not really bother about the work-life equilibrium since their occupation is their life.

Although a lot of this looked odd, it wasn’t completely alien. A lot of Silicon Valley workers at companies such as Apple and Google are well known for extreme dedication to company purposes and changing from a normal worker into an ardent follower of shared morals and “world-shaking” missions.

Workers were urged to embrace a weird jargon and way of dressing as a manner to encourage uniform happiness at HubSpot.

This entailed that if a worker was really “HubSpotty”, he/ she would use the norms of HEART for “making “. HEART at HubSpot represents H for humble, E for effective, A for adaptable, R for remarkable, and T for transparent.

Also, the majority of the people at HubSpotty usually put on orange clothes and customarily follow bold Fridays, a ritual that is done every month where workers perform something they are scared of, not related to their jobs.

The jargon at HubSpot has also been perplexing that the organization formed a Wiki to assist newcomers to interpret the words.

People during meetings might discuss SFTC, obtaining an SLA, and even inquire regarding the KPI, instead of talking about helping the clients, key performance indices, or service-floor contracts. Also, when workers are in the GSD mood, they “get work (shit) done.” Workers that are not in GSD mood might think of “graduation”, an instance that occurs when workers leave HubSpot, irrespective of if they’re sacked or they leave.

Chapter 4 – Work settings at HubSpot have been somewhat a cultural blow for an elderly worker such as Lyons.

Although they might seem strange, the habits at HubSpot have been intended to encourage working as a group and alliance. But, soon enough Lyons started to sense that he was not fitting.

As Lyons being an elderly person, he wasn’t conversant with no-wall offices giving workers no private space.

The lengthy tables filled with workers made Lyons recall the working circumstances of sweatshops in Bangladesh – only, rather than arching on sewing devices, employees at HubSpot arched on laptops.

However, aside from that, Lyons did not work at an organization where a lot of highlightings were made on “fun” for workers.

This was certainly the situation at HubSpot, and that included various parts of the office that looked like playgrounds.

In the workplace, there was a “sleeping room” that had a hammock; a place with music tools meant for unplanned jam times, although they never used the instruments; and the meeting space was also used for a room to play games which were filled with pool tables, foosball, and ping-pong in addition to video games.

The author was mainly stunned by the way HubSpot was proud of the alleged “candy wall” – a whole wall inside the meal place made of glass boxes having different kinds of junk food and candy.

However, this maybe wasn’t as strange as when HubSpot told its workers to discuss with a toy bear.

The author was particularly puzzled at times his boss asserted to have devised a breakthrough management innovation. Unfortunately, the concept was just coming with a toy bear called Molly to gatherings to denote the client they were usually doing their greatest to provide.

For Lyons, this was disheartening, whose former boss was Jon Meacham, an author who won a Pulitzer Prize. Now he needed to do a job for an individual who believed that having a conversation with a toy bear had been an innovation.

Chapter 5 – Lyons began getting into clashes after he suggested changes for development.

Three months after starting his new work, the author was still attempting to understand the things he was meant to perform in his part as a marketing fellow.

Also, when he attempted to come up with new suggestions, he was saddened to know that the organization was not actually interested in his idea.

Lyons thought that he had been employed to enhance HubSpot’s corporate website. Therefore, having this in his brain, he authored blog articles that would be attractive for CEOs, venture capitalists, as well as individuals that might think of funding HubSpot.

Unluckily, Lyons immediately discovered that the individuals his blog articles were meant to be attractive to were imaginary characters known as “Marketer Mary,” “Erin Enterprise” and “Owner Ollie.”

These characters had been small enterprise founders who were searching for articles with useful marketing clues such as “Fifteen Free Pictures You May Benefit” and “The Way to Develop a Brand Site on Facebook.” HubSpot needed these individuals to go to the links in the articles that would direct to a web form that offered HubSpot their individual details.

Lyons was particularly saddened when he was asked to really dumb the website down.

Annoyed by the notion of needing to author a deliberately dumb article, Lyons suggested the recommendation of beginning a different blog with better topics known as Inbound.

The conflict started at the time Lyons took the recommendation to the founders of the company although it was originally turned down by directors at lower levels.

Founders liked the concept–however, at HubSpot, the approval of the CEO doesn’t signify that it will truly be done. Lower-level directors made sure that his idea stayed squashed.

However, Lyons started a battle and ultimately agreed that he might run a little “side-blog” that might allow him to author on sophisticated topics.

But, he would need to perform in the most vociferous room of the organization; the feared teleselling office, which workers named “the monkey-spider office.”

Chapter 6 – In the race to grow fast ventures can strengthen ordinary and bad working circumstances.

It ultimately became obvious to the author that great management couldn’t be seen anywhere at HubSpot. Following being moved from the teleselling office, he discovered the way the working circumstances could actually get.

Lyons got to know that management problems at ventures are usually due to a phenomenon that is known as “the bozo blow up.”

Steve Jobs created this term to describe how the first workers at a new venture aren’t the best utensils in the toolbox; however, they’ll still eventually rise in position as a result of their seniority.

Then, these bozos come to a place to employ new employees and they would have a tendency to employ even more ordinary bozos, individuals with whom they may sense superiority. This is the way where start-ups such as HubSpot may come to that kind of very poor management.

Also, when the ordinary is compensated, you may finally arrive in hopeless circumstances. For example, one time Lyons was told to perform a 24-hours “hackathon” to form an interest in deliberately ordinary blog articles.

Moderate administration is one thing; however, when Lyons changed into his fresh place in the teleselling office, he saw an entirely new circumstance.

In the new working environment, Lyons found a lot of numerous new graduate employees, named “spider monkeys,” compactly packed into a big room, making out-of-date phone calls to likely consumers. They were working hard since they might be sacked when not meeting the necessary sales amounts.

In order to turn distressed situations into more bearable tasks, they were provided an infinite liter of beer free of charge.

At that time, these telesellers were really significant to HubSpot because the organization was near to start its first IPO, therefore HubSpot would provide its initial stock shares.

Therefore, HubSpot was looking to enhance as further as it can, as fast as possible, since first buyers don’t really bother about the amount of profit the organization has had; they are only bothered about how fast it’s growing.

Chapter 7 – HubSpot workers overlooked the deficiency of side benefits and occupation security since the HubSpot made them sense exceptional.

The people cramming in the monkey-spider office, attempting to satisfy the pay for that month so bad or else they will be fired, were not the sole individuals Lyons assumed the organization was maltreating. Also, Lyons was shocked by the number of people who tolerated these conditions.

However, since the time that Google released a publication on the way technology organizations behave their workers, companies such as HubSpot did the same thing by taking out the feeling of occupation security and behaving workers as temporary employees. This entails that a lot of start-ups do not offer deals for long periods, pension schemes, or worker unions, talking of displaying a bit of loyalty to workers.  

This attitude was also implemented to the worker benefits HubSpot provided and the little salaries it paid.

Although HubSpot provided workers the benefit of “infinite holiday” time, that was only a means to twist the reality that they do not own any holiday whatsoever. So, if a worker was sacked, HubSpot didn’t have to explain the sacking and would not be in debt for the worker for accumulated time off.

The author knew that these rules were done in an attempt to minimize before the IPO.

Because growth, instead of getting profit, has been the most significant aspect on the way to IPO, that was far more significant to increase the number of sales by making use of a badly salaried teleselling group than to bother about pensions.

Also, Lyons knew that the workers tolerated it since HubSpot made an environment that allowed them to sense exceptional.

He was shocked that workers didn’t give the impression to be bothered regarding the deficiency of occupation security or bad salaries and pressurized sales amounts, and they would be fast to mention to him that for HubSpot, there was a mission to be accomplished. Also, the company distracted the workers with free games, candy, and beer, and allowed them to sense being a group, although a member of the team could get sacked at any point without reason.

Chapter 8 – Although there are bad products and poor forecasts, technology ventures such as HubSpot can become successful by making a buzz.

One might think about the way an organization such as HubSpot might be accomplished. It is basically the buzz, this buzz can be really strong that both workers, as well as the shareholders, might be charmed.

Also, companies that produce bad products and could not make money may be accomplished; if they would own a favorable buzz about them, then they can get a nice IPO.

Also, HubSpot did actually possess a bad product.

There’s an actual cynicism that HubSpot was attempting to market selling software that would assist small companies. HubSpot definitely didn’t utilize it; they depended on old teleselling and phone-calling methods.

However, they were not counted –provided they made sufficient buzz in charming investors for the IPO.

Making a buzz can be contrasted to “filming” in a business.

This entails that they form a mythological story regarding the company. For HubSpot, that was the sweeping narrative of transforming people’s lives with their software. A teen co-founder was used as the charming leader and they told this narrative like a hero’s pathway, making the influence that the leader was conquering remarkable hindrances.

At the time the IPO was launched, venture capitalists got in line as if there was an opening for some supernovas.

Even a poor prospectus won’t obstruct a nice buzz. This was obvious in HubSpot’s report for IPO which had a past of failures and a big possibility that this organization would not be getting profit for some time.

However, HubSpot had made such a powerful buzz and made such a convincing narrative, with this, the IPO became a thriving success and made the entrepreneurs become multi-millionaires.

Chapter 9 – The author’s achievement at making buzz assisted him to handle HubSpot’s age discriminatory environment and land on another occupation.

Lyons really played a vital part in assisting HubSpot to make its buzz allowing the organization’s IPO.

Being the previous technical editor of Newsweek, a lot of tech blogs noticed and assisted make buzz by writing on Lyons’ action in working at HubSpot.

Also, while he was working at HubSpot; also, Lyons started performing as an author for HBO’s severely liked TV series named Silicon Valley, and this just contributed to the organization’s fascinating narrative.

This was beneficial to Lyons because this extra buzz assisted him to retain his work regardless of HubSpot’s usual ageist perspective.

The fifty-plus Lyons never actually suited to the HubSpot team, most of the employees were around twenty years old and adhering to a fellowship-culture state of mind. However, he actually needed health insurance.

Therefore, they tolerate each other in spite of HubSpot’s age discriminatory behavior, and this was well mentioned when the New York Times interviewed one of the entrepreneurs of HubSpot: He stated that gray hair and job experience actually exaggerated in the technology industry and that the organization wished to create a place that was particularly made to appeal to “Gen Y.”

Lyons authored these comments from that talk on his individual Facebook account and got a lot of backing from followers.

Eventually, a lot of individuals owned other tales. They had gone through age discrimination in the technology industry as well and were perplexed that such comments, which would trouble CEOs in the majority of industries, were accepted.

The author and HubSpot ultimately went their separate ways at the time Silicon Valley of HBO was making well enough that Lyons was given occupation to be the author for Valleywag of Gawker Media.

Oddly enough, the company put a really hard effort for a negative image on the author’s leave, writing the announcement that was spread to make it seem as if he was sacked.

Strangely, at the time Lyons’s book came out, one of the top managers at HubSpot quit and some other manager was sacked after an effort at illegally getting the document turned out needing the participation of the Cyber Division of FBI.

Disrupted: My Misadventure in the Start-Up Bubble by Dan Lyons Book Review

The way of doing business at technology ventures is not as clear as assumed. Companies normally drive their organization to attain an IPO with no concern for earning a return or developing a successful product. Aside from this, just a handful of venture capitalists and entrepreneurs actually earn huge amounts when organizations really succeed. Whereas, the typical worker received less advantageous outcomes, with a bit of or without occupation security with bad work-life equilibrium.

Buy this book from Amazon

Download Pdf


Download Epub



Savaş Ateş

I'm a software engineer. I like reading books and writing summaries. I like to play soccer too :) Good Reads Profile: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/106467014-sava-ate

Recent Posts