Dan Lyons’s book Disrupted is an often-delightful tour through startup culture, based on the author’s experience working at online marketing firm HubSpot. Despite taking the faux-curmudgeonly attitude of an anthropologist exploring the strange world of business dudes — is a sales funnel really that much of a novelty? — Lyons’s dissection of the startup world is warmly humorous far more often than it’s coldly cynical.
But there are parts of his book that should send shivers down the spine of anyone who uses the Internet — like his tale of writing blog copy that prioritizes lead generation above all else, to the point of explicitly eschewing smart content. Or his account of email marketers who automate the pestering process, sending message after message to anyone who was foolish enough to indicate some kind of interest in what they’re selling. Or his anecdote about corporate executives exhorting employees to use their own Twitter accounts to post tweets the company had authored for them, in the hope of driving traffic to a single web page.
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