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Disrupted

My Misadventure in the Start-Up Bubble

By Dan Lyons
16-minute read
Audio available
Disrupted: My Misadventure in the Start-Up Bubble by Dan Lyons

Disrupted (2016) demystifies the culture and practices of tech start-ups by taking a revealing, behind-the-scenes look at Boston’s HubSpot software company. After 25 years as a technology journalist, Dan Lyons was fired from Newsweek and accepted a new job at a start-up. These blinks follow Lyons’s bumpy and humorous journey as he tries to navigate a weird new world filled with candy walls and other bizarre instances of HubSpottiness.

  • Anyone curious about how technology start-ups operate
  • Potential investors in any start-up
  • People who work for a small business or start-up

Dan Lyons is a journalist, novelist and screenwriter. He was a technology editor at Newsweek for many years and is currently on staff at the HBO series Silicon Valley. His blog, The Secret Diary of Steve Jobs, was a tremendous success.

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Disrupted

My Misadventure in the Start-Up Bubble

By Dan Lyons
  • Read in 16 minutes
  • Audio & text available
  • Contains 10 key ideas
Disrupted: My Misadventure in the Start-Up Bubble by Dan Lyons
Synopsis

Disrupted (2016) demystifies the culture and practices of tech start-ups by taking a revealing, behind-the-scenes look at Boston’s HubSpot software company. After 25 years as a technology journalist, Dan Lyons was fired from Newsweek and accepted a new job at a start-up. These blinks follow Lyons’s bumpy and humorous journey as he tries to navigate a weird new world filled with candy walls and other bizarre instances of HubSpottiness.

Key idea 1 of 10

Traditional journalists like the author have been forced to reinvent themselves in the modern media industry.

In 2012, journalist Dan Lyons, who’d previously been employed as the technology editor at Newsweek magazine, was in his 50s and desperately looking for work. He’d just been fired and was now facing a radically different job market.

He wasn’t alone. The internet-technology boom of the 2000s was causing many older professionals to reevaluate their positions in the media industry.

During the early 2000s, new internet-based tech companies, including Google, Facebook, Zynga and Groupon, were on the rise. Meanwhile, traditional media industries, such as newspapers and magazines, were struggling to survive and adapt.

These newly ascendant companies were offering products and services that were changing central human activities – how we shop and socialize, how we get our news and information.

Instead of relying on newspapers and magazines, readers could now get all the information they needed with a simple click. Print magazines like Newsweek were in free-fall as advertisers began moving to online platforms and people began canceling their subscriptions.

All of this led to Lyons being let go, just after Newsweek – the very company he was working for – published an article entitled “The Beached White Male.” Ironically, it was about a generation of experienced, older professionals who were suddenly finding themselves bereft of work due to company cutbacks.

To find a new job, Lyons needed to reinvent himself – and his attempt at transformation led him to the new world of start-ups.

Lyons was married, had two young kids and was the sole breadwinner, all of which made a steady job and good health insurance imperative.

His first new job took him to San Francisco, where he worked for a tech-news website called ReadWrite.

It was okay, but not ideal, since his family was rooted on the other side of the country, in Boston. However, while in San Francisco, he also got a first-hand look at the booming start-up businesses of Silicon Valley.

This got him thinking: Maybe he could reinvent himself as a writer in the marketing department of a start-up?

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