Dan Lyons’ Disrupted is ‘wildly entertaining’: Ashlee Vance

One book I’m wating for is former HubSpotter Dan Lyon’s Disrupted, which he describes as ‘My Misadventure in the Start-up Bubble’. Read HubSpot?

Now don’t get me wrong. Hubspot’s a strong player in its space today, and has been a favuorite source of excellent blogs and how-to pieces for the inbound/ digital/contextual/social/content marketer, agency and professional alike. I share a lot of their pieces online. And now, there’s something else to look forward to – a book called Disrupted, written by Dan Lyons, a respected magazine writer who joined HubSpot as a ‘content fellow’ after he lost his job, and once he was out of his “bouncy-ball chair” at HubSpot too, decided to reminisce about “his life in the second tech bubble”. The book is up for preorders at Amazon, and will also ship to India, starting 5th April 2016. Oh, and it might disrupt some people’s peace of mind if  the fears of a former HubSpot CMO come true.

The news that Lyons was writing a book about his experiences which included his stint at HubSpot caused so much anxiety in the then CMO Mike Volpe, that he got fired following an FBI investigation, for having violated “the Company’s Code of Business Conduct and Ethics in connection with attempts to procure a draft manuscript of a (read ‘the aforementiond’) book (Disrupted).


And HubSpot Chairman and CEO Brian Halligan was “suitably sanctioned” by the Board.

Since I haven’t read the book yet, I’m reproducing what Amazon.com has shared to try and sell the book. It begins with what Ashlee Vance, New York Times-bestselling author of Elon Musk, has said about the book: “Wildly entertaining … Lyons has injected a dose of sanity into a world gone mad.”

And here’s the rest of the description, from Amazon.com:

For twenty-five years Dan Lyons was a magazine writer at the top of his profession–until one Friday morning when he received a phone call: Poof. His job no longer existed. “I think they just want to hire younger people,” his boss at Newsweek told him. Fifty years old and with a wife and two young kids, Dan was, in a word, screwed. Then an idea hit. Dan had long reported on Silicon Valley and the tech explosion. Why not join it? HubSpot, a Boston start-up, was flush with $100 million in venture capital. They offered Dan a pile of stock options for the vague role of “marketing fellow.” What could go wrong?

Wildly entertaining … Lyons has injected a dose of sanity into a world gone mad: Ashlee Vance, New York Times-bestselling author of Elon Musk

HubSpotters were true believers: They were making the world a better place … by selling email spam. The office vibe was frat house meets cult compound: The party began at four thirty on Friday and lasted well into the night; “shower pods” became hook-up dens; a push-up club met at noon in the lobby, while nearby, in the “content factory,” Nerf gun fights raged. Groups went on “walking meetings,” and Dan’s absentee boss sent cryptic emails about employees who had “graduated” (read: been fired). In the middle of all this was Dan, exactly twice the age of the average HubSpot employee, and literally old enough to be the father of most of his co-workers, sitting at his desk on his bouncy-ball “chair.”

Image for Disrupted by Dan Lyons MediaBrief.comMixed in with Lyons’s uproarious tale of his rise and fall at Hubspot is a trenchant analysis of the start-up world, a de facto conspiracy between those who start companies and those who fund them, a world where bad ideas are rewarded with hefty investments, where companies blow money lavishing perks on their post-collegiate workforces, and where everybody is trying to hang on just long enough to reach an IPO and cash out. 

With a cast of characters that includes devilish angel investors, fad-chasing venture capitalists, entrepreneurs and “wantrapreneurs,” bloggers and brogrammers, social climbers and sociopaths, Disrupted is a gripping and definitive account of life in the (second) tech bubble. 

As I said, the book is up for pre-ordering on Amazon.com and also ships to India.

And now here’s the press release HubSpot issued detailing why Volpe was sacked, and informing that Brian Halligan, HubSpot’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, was “appropriately sanctioned” by the board for having taken his time to report the questionable actions of Volpe and Chernov. I’m not commenting on that, just reporting it.

So, the press release from 26 July 2015 from Hubspot, announcing that Kipp Bodnar had replaced Mike Volpe as CMO, and why, and also saying that Halligan had been sanctioned:

HubSpot Appoints Kipp Bodnar as Chief Marketing Officer

Former CMO Terminated as Result of Internal Review for Ethical Violations

CAMBRIDGE, Mass., July 29, 2015 /PRNewswire/ — HubSpot HUBS, -1.04%(“HubSpot” or the “Company”), a leading inbound marketing and sales software company, today announced that Kipp Bodnar has been appointed Chief Marking Officer, effective immediately. This role will continue to report to JD Sherman, HubSpot’s President and Chief Operating Officer.  Mr. Bodnar joined HubSpot in 2010, and has served as Vice President of Marketing for HubSpot for the past two years. 

Mr. Bodnar replaces Mike Volpe who has been terminated for cause following a determination that Mr. Volpe violated the Company’s Code of Business Conduct and Ethics in connection with attempts to procure a draft manuscript of a book (Disrupted, by Dan Lyons – insertion from mediabrief.com) involving the Company.  This determination was made in connection with an independent review overseen by the Board, with assistance from outside counsel. 

The Company announced that Joe Chernov, Vice President of Content, resigned before the Company could determine whether to terminate him for similar violations.  The Company has notified the appropriate legal authorities about these matters.

In addition, the Board concluded that Brian Halligan, HubSpot’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, was recently made aware of Mr. Volpe’s and Mr. Chernov’s actions and did not report their actions in a timely manner.  The Board determined that Mr. Halligan was not involved in the underlying conduct and that his lack of timely reporting did not impede the review.  Mr. Halligan fully cooperated with the Company’s review and has been appropriately sanctioned by the Board.

Lorrie Norrington, Lead Independent Director, said, “While we wish Brian had reported promptly, we are confident as a Board in his ability to lead HubSpot and our outstanding team of dedicated employees going forward.  We are disappointed by the actions of Mike and Joe.  Our Board and HubSpot took these matters seriously and acted swiftly and thoroughly once learning of this through an internal report.”

These matters did not involve the Company’s operational performance, financial condition or financial reporting. (I’ve edited out the rest of the release, but you can read it all here.)

Your thoughts, please