This is an email I posted on the newsletter for The CEO Library, as part of a Startup Founder Reading plan. Here’s the entire 16 books list
I’ve read Chaos Monkeys: Inside the Silicon Valley Money Machine by Antonio Garcia Martinez at the end of 2016, about the time it was published. I don’t remember where I’ve heard of it, but it seemed like a good summary of what life is as the founder of a VC backed business.
I wasn’t sorry I read the book. Aside from what I already said, the author tells the story of his Y Combinator time (when he launched his business), the story of his failure, the talks of selling and his relationship with his founders during that time – he wanted something else so the deal was almost killed.
I also found interesting his story of the time when he joined Facebook. He was there in 2014, when Facebook was revamping their ads platform and he talks about the chaos that was there at that time. It struck really close to home since we had some really big issues with Facebook ads during the same time and all the people that we talked to at Facebook gave us different suggestions that never worked. And that’s when I understood why: they didn’t really know what was happening.
Finally, I think this is the kind of book you write when you never want to start a VC backed business again. He probably pissed a lot of people with how openly he talked about the issues, including investor Chris Sacca, who was an investor in his business.
The book is quite easy to read, light, so it shouldn’t take long. But it doesn’t mean it’s not good for you, to understand what you might be getting into.
The “bonus” book, the one you should read if you have more time or you already read Chaos Monkeys, is Smartcuts: How Hackers, Innovators, and Icons Accelerate Success by Shane Snow. The book shows some methods and tells the stories of people that managed to use those methods to accelerate their success. I think it’s a good thing to understand as an entrepreneur short on time and money. And almost any other resource, for that matter.
P.S.: One more thing: if you read any of the books, let me know through the contact page on the site or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or reply to this email. I want to hear from you, to better understand what you want to read and if the books are interesting for you.