Dan Lyons Survives HubSpot to Teach Lessons about Culture in “Disrupted: My Misadventures in the Start-Up Bubble”

The abrupt ouster of Mike Volpe, HubSpot’s former Chief Marketing Officer, was all over the Boston business news scene last summer.  The story piqued my interest then and so I queried Dan Lyons’ “Disrupted:  My Misadventures in the Start-Up Bubble” with intrigue and curiosity.  I pre-ordered the Kindle edition ahead of my vacation to Marco Island, but grossly underestimated the book’s entertainment value as an easy beach read.

Did the book make me thank my lucky stars that I trusted my gut not to proceed with in-person interviews for a HubSpot Customer Success Manager position back in March 2015?  Sure.  Did the book hit a little close to home at times?  Absolutely.

Despite his dismissal of marketing as a profession, please keep an open mind when reading Dan Lyons’ satirical story.  Though Lyons alludes to the HubSpot software-as-a-service (SaaS) product’s inferiority, he plants more than seeds in his rebuke of the start-up and the larger venture capital investment community.  It grazes the serious topics of ageism, sexism, and inflated egos with a sarcastic wit that I appreciate.

Yes, I’m growing older.  Yes, I’m acutely aware that I am surrounded by millennials at my workplace.  Yes, I often sit in reflective wonderment and awe of the atypical benefits offered by my current employer.

But this book isn’t just for Generation Xers.  I believe this book could be used as a reference guide for undergraduate career centers, graduate career centers, and (un)employment centers.  Why?  Because the stories recounted teach lessons about culture.  Priceless lessons about company cultures that could have benefitted me earlier in my career and are bound to help others.

I wish I had this book to reference when I dutifully noted to “ask about the company culture” after meeting with one of my college career counselors, preparing for one of my first job interviews.  Call me naive, but I had no idea what she really meant.  I was clueless that this “fluff” question could save me from angst, tears, or frustration and instead I stumbled into ill-fitting cultures and blamed myself when things didn’t work out.  Now I know better.  Now, I know the profound impact that cultural fit has with job satisfaction, performance, and overall happiness…in family-owned businesses, start-ups, and corporate America.  And I want to share that lesson earlier in people’s careers.  It deserves to be shared.

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