‘Chaos Monkeys’ Is A Guide To The Spirit Of Silicon Valley: Book Review by via Jonathan A. Knee, The New York Times

There is plenty not to like in Antonio García Martinez’s Silicon Valley tell-all, “Chaos Monkeys: Obscene Fortune and Random Failure in Silicon Valley” (Harper). An author whose biography boasts that he “lives on a 40-foot sailboat on the San Francisco Bay” is not well positioned to lampoon the social mores of the West Coast tech culture.

The book’s dedication “to all my enemies” who made the oeuvre possible confirms the impression that the blizzard of score-settling that follows is less than balanced. The aphorisms are sometimes lazy, the facts can be sloppy, and the studied cool – all the while insisting that “I am the uncoolest person you will ever meet” – can be grating. I also could definitely have done without learning about Mr. García’s weakness for “strenuous fornication” and drunken romps in the Facebook broom closet.

And yet, somehow, “Chaos Monkeys” manages to be an irresistible and indispensable 360-degree guide to the new technology establishment.

Hiding underneath the braggadocio and evisceration of professional nemeses lies the beating heart of a formidable teacher. “Chaos Monkeys” is likely to attract headlines and interest because of the prominent names and institutions mercilessly described. This is unfortunate. Mr. García may apologize for his pedagogical asides, but these actually form the true core of what is a remarkably learned book.

He schools us in three domains worthy of close study.

The first half of “Chaos Monkeys” takes us inside the world of venture capital. After leaving – and litigating with – one early-stage tech company to start another, Mr. García sells out to Twitter, only to immediately abandon his co-founders for Facebook. Along the way, we meet the lawyers, angel investors, venture firms and associated institutions – notably the Y Combinator, which plays an outsize role in securing financing from the most prestigious investors – that drive this ecosystem.

See the full article here.

Chaos Monkeys – Description

Chaos Monkeys: Obscene Fortune and Random Failure in Silicon Valley by Antonio Garcia Martinez

Liar’s Poker meets The Social Network in an irreverent expose of life inside the tech bubble, from industry provocateur Antonio García Martínez, a former Twitter advisor, Facebook product manager and startup founder/CEO.

The reality is, Silicon Valley capitalism is very simple:

Investors are people with more money than time.

Employees are people with more time than money.

Entrepreneurs are the seductive go-between.

Marketing is like sex: only losers pay for it. 

Imagine a chimpanzee rampaging through a datacenter powering everything from Google to Facebook. Infrastructure engineers use a software version of this “chaos monkey” to test online services’ robustness—their ability to survive random failure and correct mistakes before they actually occur. Tech entrepreneurs are society’s chaos monkeys, disruptors testing and transforming every aspect of our lives, from transportation (Uber) and lodging (AirBnB) to television (Netflix) and dating (Tinder). One of Silicon Valley’s most audacious chaos monkeys is Antonio García Martínez.

After stints on Wall Street and as CEO of his own startup, García Martínez joined Facebook’s nascent advertising team, turning its users’ data into profit for COO Sheryl Sandberg and chairman and CEO Mark “Zuck” Zuckerberg. Forced out in the wake of an internal product war over the future of the company’s monetization strategy, García Martínez eventually landed at rival Twitter. He also fathered two children with a woman he barely knew, committed lewd acts and brewed illegal beer on the Facebook campus (accidentally flooding Zuckerberg’s desk), lived on a sailboat, raced sport cars on the 101, and enthusiastically pursued the life of an overpaid Silicon Valley wastrel.

Now, this gleeful contrarian unravels the chaotic evolution of social media and online marketing and reveals how it is invading our lives and shaping our future. Weighing in on everything from startups and credit derivatives to Big Brother and data tracking, social media monetization and digital “privacy,” García Martínez shares his scathing observations and outrageous antics, taking us on a humorous, subversive tour of the fascinatingly insular tech industry. Chaos Monkeys lays bare the hijinks, trade secrets, and power plays of the visionaries, grunts, sociopaths, opportunists, accidental tourists, and money cowboys who are revolutionizing our world. The question is, will we survive?

Chaos Monkeys – Review

Imagine a chimpanzee rampaging through a data center powering everything from Google to Facebook. Infrastructure engineers use a software version of this “chaos monkey” to test online services’ robustness—their ability to survive random failure and correct mistakes before they actually occur. Tech entrepreneurs are society’s chaos monkeys, disruptors testing and transforming every aspect of our lives, from transportation (Uber) and lodging (Airbnb) to television (Netflix) and dating (Tinder). One of Silicon Valley’s most provocative chaos monkeys is Antonio García Martínez.

After stints on Wall Street and as CEO of his own startup, García Martínez joined Facebook’s nascent advertising team, turning its users’ data into profit for COO Sheryl Sandberg and Chairman and CEO Mark “Zuck” Zuckerberg. Forced out in the wake of an internal product war over the future of the company’s monetization strategy, García Martínez eventually landed at rival Twitter. He also fathered two children with a woman he barely knew, brewed illegal beer on the Facebook campus (accidentally flooding Zuckerberg’s desk), lived on a sailboat, raced sports cars on the 101, and enthusiastically pursued the life of an overpaid Silicon Valley cad.

Now this gleeful contrarian unravels the chaotic evolution of social media and online marketing and reveals how it is invading our lives and shaping our future. Weighing in on everything from startups and credit derivatives to Big Brother and data tracking, social media monetization, and digital “privacy,” García Martínez shares his scathing observations and outrageous antics, taking us on a humorous, subversive tour of the fascinatingly insular tech industry. Chaos Monkeys lays bare the hijinks, trade secrets, and power plays of the visionaries, grunts, sociopaths, opportunists, accidental tourists, and money cowboys who are revolutionizing our world. The question is, how will we survive?

The reality is, Silicon Valley capitalism is very simple: Investors are people with more money than time. Employees are people with more time than money. Entrepreneurs are simply the seductive go-between.

Startups are business experiments performed with other people’s money. Marketing is like sex: only losers pay for it.

Chaos Monkeys Obscene Fortune and Random Failure in Silicon Valley by Antonio Garcia Martinez

Chaos Monkeys: Obscene Fortune and Random Failure in Silicon Valley by Antonio Garcia Martinez