Chaos Monkeys: Obscene Fortune and Random Failure in Silicon Valley

INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER 

“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?

An Amazon Best Book of July 2016: If you think you know the back-story of the founding of Facebook because you saw The Social Network, think again: Antonio Garcia Martinez’s Chaos Monkeys tells a more complete and sometimes darker story about the founding and development of Mark Zuckerberg’s multi-billion-dollar invention. This is not a whodunit (we know who did – Zuckerberg, those rowing twins, and assorted Harvard frenemies) so much as a procedural, a chronicle by the data-guru who was eventually forced out of Facebook (he went to Twitter) – but not before gathering some pretty interesting social data of his own: about Zuckerberg, about other Silicon valley “chaos monkeys,” and about the culture that spawned all of them. Others who have toiled in tech will recognize some universal truths: for example, that despite the great wealth, most are not in it for the money so much as the mission; Facebook, Garcia Martinez asserts, was a “church of a new religion,” its practitioners true believers. While there may be a little TMI for the casual reader, there are enough specific scenes and characters – Sheryl Sandberg included, of course — that, geek or not, you can’t help but be fascinated. Me, I can’t help but wonder how many “likes” you’d get if you posted about it on your FB page… –Sara Nelson, The Amazon Book Review

INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER 

“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?

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3 Responses to Chaos Monkeys: Obscene Fortune and Random Failure in Silicon Valley

  1. Amazingly accurate coverage of Facebook’s internal culture, the good, the bad, and the ugly. (Plus much, much more!)

  2. You will either love or hate Martinez’s voice (I found myself doing both …

  3. Pray for the soul of Antonio Garcia Martinez

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