Chaos Monkey is about Silicon Valley which is one of the most interesting places in the world. First, chaos monkey is a metaphor for Silicon Valley which resembles a monkey running crazy through a server farm literally punching boxes, pulling on cables etc. So like Travis Kalanick at Uber once have said – you know what, we are not going to have taxis anymore. We’re just going to have a mobile app and anybody can be a taxi driver. You’re just going to hail a taxi through your phone.
Another example is Brian Chesky who once have said – you know what. We’re not going to hotels anymore. We’re just going to have an app and monetise an underutilised asset which is your spare bedroom and everyone would be a hotel keeper. So Silicon Valley is like the Zoo where the chaos monkeys are kept and there’s a lot of bananas, a lot of money to chase after.
Anyway, Antonio Garcia Martinez, the author of the book, tells the honest story of working in Silicon Valley the way it really looks like. He goes into great details about meetings, planning and everything else that goes on in Silicon. He takes the reader from Goldman Sachs all the way to his stint at Facebook where he focuses in the middle of the book. It was really interesting to read his opinion that Facebook didn’t have any vision and still doesn’t have the idea where it should be heading. The thing which the company is really great at is a combination of the agile approach, a quick response towards customer needs, marketing trends and luck. You might treat his story as a kind of revenge on his former employees as he writes in a bit ranty way. Nevertheless, I believe there is much truth in his stories and reflections.
The reader would see what it is like to work in the tech start-up environment. How challenging it is and how downright vicious people you could meet there. The book hits the status quo and describes certain companies in very high regard as the gold standard for corporate culture. However, the truth is whatever mess that you can find in a small or medium-sized enterprise it is magnified in a large corporation. The same mess exists in large companies, but in larger quantity and in greater magnitude.
In this book, you would see many aspects of running your own business and start-up and the relationship between partners, lawyers etc. It tells you about his path as a business owner as well as an employee in the most known tech corporations. This entire process is definitely not for everyone. The book would be great for those who are aspiring to be a technopreneur or entrepreneur and I think it’s really important to know what you’re getting yourself into.
Chaos Monkeys: Obscene Fortune and Random Failure in Silicon Valley
by Antonio García Martínez
In the article I made use of a few authors’ interviews.
Size: 528 pages
Other information and reviews of this book on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/28259132-chaos-monkeys
Other useful links:
Martínez’ website: https://www.antoniogarciamartinez.com/
Antonio García Martínez on Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antonio_Garc%C3%ADa_Mart%C3%ADnez_(author)
Travis Kalanick on Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Travis_Kalanick
Brian Chesky on Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brian_Chesky
Other books about how to start a startup company: Lost and Founder book by Rand Fishkin & Rework by Jason Fried