Wednesday, May 04, 2016

Disrupted by Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus in Silicon Valley

Finished Disrupted by Dan Lyons ( @realdanlyons ) yesterday, as well as Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus. by Douglas Rushkoff.

It was kind of a weird juxtaposition.  I had just finished the chapters of TRatGB that dealt with the economics of Silicon Valley start ups when I watched S3E2 of Silicon Valley


It was weird because the two thing fit so well together.  Rushkoff was explaining the out of control valuations of companies like Uber, or previously Facebook, twitter, Snapchat, etc. and then Silicon Valley put it up on screen, albeit in a far more enjoyable fashion.  Tobolowsky explaining the conjoined triangles of success is a classic and I can't be the only one who noticed that :

a) Engineering / Manufacturing and Sales  / Growth are diametrically opposed.
b) Growth is the base of the entire thing.

What that tells me is that in the world of Silicon Valley (both real life and TV show) growth is everything.  The product is an after thought.  In fact at one point Tobolowsky (as Action Jack Barker) breaks the news to Richard (the former CEO, creative genius and now CTO) that the product isn't even really the "product" it's the stock and the hype surrounding it. Of course if you have ever worked in a start up (I have twice, three times if you count when they split us into business divisions and put us in "start up mode" which basically meant making horrible business decisions and refusing to sell product until the company shut us down.) none of this was surprise.

Immediately after Silicon Valley, Disrupted popped up in my Amazon suggestions.  I had seen Lyons on TWiT (I think) a couple times and occasionally read his Fake Steve Jobs twitter feed so I took s shot on it.  Immediately it seemed familiar.  Of course it did.  Lyons is one of the writers for Silicon Valley.  The book dovetailed perfectly Rushkoff and the TV show and was extremely enjoyable, although I felt Lyons pain,   The discussion of the CTOs business philosophies (i.e. delightion) has to strike a cord with anyone who has ever had to sit thru one of those bullshit corporate team building exercises.  Not only that but Lyons nails the economics behind start up culture on the head and does it in a far more entertaining fashion, at points referring to various venture capitalists as braying jackasses (I think) and buffoons (I'm sure)..

In case you didn't pick up on it I am highly recommending Disrupted.  My only real complaint was that he could have done more to explore the role of tech journalism in all this, but then again that would have made it a different book.

Speaking of different books - a Business book by Action Jack Barker would be hilarious.

Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus, was a bunch of Picketty-ish nonsense for the most part but the bits about Silicon Valley were pretty good.  I don't recommend it so much.

No it is on to Naked Money by Charles Whelan.
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