Monthly Archives: April 2017

HBCU Money™ Business Book Feature – Chaos Monkeys: Obscene Fortune and Random Failure in Silicon Valley

An NPR Best Book of the Year

“Incisive…. The most fun business book I have read this year…. Clearly there will be people who hate this book — which is probably one of the things that makes it such a great read.”
— Andrew Ross Sorkin,
 New York Times

“Eye-popping.”
— Vanity Fair

Liar’s Poker meets The Social Network in an irreverent exposé 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?

The Finance & Tech Week In Review – 4/8/17

Every Saturday the HBCU Money staff picks ten articles they were intrigued by and think you will enjoy for some weekend reading impacting finance and tech.

Ford made a crib to trick your baby to sleep / Mashable on.mash.to/2oS5grh

Oldest tooth filling was made by an Ice Age dentist in Italy / New Scientist newscienti.st/2o75Pxp

Octopus, squid and cuttlefish don’t always follow the rules laid out in their DNA / Science News ow.ly/4lbT30aG9Wz

World’s fastest elevator speeds up to super-high view, super quick / New Atlas newatl.as/2o4XGJG

New computer vision challenge wants to teach robots to see in 3D / New Scientist newscienti.st/2nTHs5p

These universities are poised to overtake Harvard and Cambridge / WEF  wef.ch/2okJSue

This is how much you need to earn to be in the top 1% of every #US state / WEF wef.ch/2p4xMoV

As home equity loans rise, here’s the latest pulse on delinquencies / Housing Wire ow.ly/z06u30aGdCc

American women in the labor force is slipping even as it rises in the rest of developed world. / Richmond Fed ow.ly/pfhO30aFvug

Roots of autocracy / NBER bit.ly/2o6elfS