Dan Lyons is a journalist, novelist, and screenwriter whose work centers around technology and its impact on society. His latest book, Disrupted: My Misadventure in the Startup Bubble, was hailed by the Los Angeles Times as “the best book about Silicon Valley today.” Disrupted became an instant New York Times best seller.

In recent years Dan has been been a writer on the award-winning HBO comedy series, Silicon Valley. Previously he was editor-in-chief of ReadWrite; technology editor of Newsweek; and a technology reporter at Forbes. Dan also created a blog, The Secret Diary of Steve Jobs, from which he developed a critically acclaimed novel,Options.

Dan has spoken at Google, Microsoft, Adobe, and other companies, as well as at conferences around the world, including DLD in Munich, Bitspiration in Poland, and Thinking Digital in the U.K. He has been a guest commentator on network and cable TV and been interviewed by Terry Gross for the NPR show, Fresh Air. His work has appeared in the New York Times, GQ, Vanity Fair, Wired, the New Yorker, and many other publications.



Across every industry, from retail to media to finance, incumbent market leaders face the threat of disruption and are racing to reinvent themselves. Many are looking to Silicon Valley for inspiration. In this talk, Dan shares the perspective of a tech industry veteran who spent two years working inside a fast-growing startup “unicorn” as a kind of “corporate anthropologist,” and explains the key things that make these organizations nimble, flexible and able to achieve rapid growth.

How do startups foster innovation? What is a “conversational culture”? How do startups use social media, externally and internally? How can an established company change its culture without wrecking the things that made it successful in the first place? Which perks really matter? What do Millennials really want? How do we manage a multi-generational workforce? Do we really have to get a foosball table? Really?

Dan’s talk draws on case studies as well as his own experience. He blends self-deprecating humor with insight about how the workplace is changing and how the right culture creates a healthy, agile, competitive, and sustainable organization.


The past decade has produced an explosion in billion-dollar “unicorns.” These new companies have brought tremendous innovation but also a great deal of dysfunction, especially in the way they treat employees. An industry that prides itself on being progressive has in many ways moved backward, eroding a century of progress in worker rights. Bro culture, bias, and stress have become hallmarks of this new workplace. The collateral damage includes growing income inequality and anger at the voting booth around the world.

But the age of unicorns is drawing to a close, and the world is ready for a reset. The next generation of startup founders will start fresh and build a different kind of company, with new values and priorities. In this talk, Dan Lyons lays out a vision for how startups can make the world a better place by starting with their own employees, and presents examples of people who are working to create this reality.


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Dan Lyons is available for speaking engagements such as keynotes at large-venue conferences and smaller, more intimate events addressing employees or the management team of individual companies. He’s passionate about helping companies and individuals make sense of the massive change taking place in the corporate world, offering perspectives on how to transform organizations and how to navigate a new workplace.

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