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.
THE FAMILY FEELING: WHAT DOES A HEALTHY CULTURE LOOK LIKE?
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.
DISRUPTED: WHAT BIG COMPANIES CAN LEARN FROM STARTUPS
Across every industry, from retail to media to finance, incumbent market leaders are faced with 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 someone who went into the belly of the startup beast to find out which things are worth copying and which ones to ignore.
How do startups create a culture that supports innovation? How can an established company change its culture without wrecking the things that made it successful in the first place? Which companies are doing this right? Which perks really matter? What do Millennials really want? How do we manage a multi-generational workforce? What is “culture fit,” and why does it lead to a lack of diversity? 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.
Dan Lyons was an excellent fit for our executive audience! He was funny, humble, and shared important messages on real corporate culture: what it is, and what it isn’t. He hilariously lifted the veil on his views of the often-phony “startup culture.” He raised important issues about what it means to be an employee in the modern era, questioned the changing relationship between employers and employees, and even raised his concerns about wealth inequality. He did all of this with humility, in a way that executives and employees of all experience levels could relate to and appreciate. Our executive audience walked away saying things like, “brilliant,” “awesome,” “hilarious,” and “insightful.” Working with Dan was a pleasure, from beginning to end. He is an utmost professional in every sense and I would not hesitate to invite him to future events.— Benjie Davis, ThoughtWorks (October 2016)
Dan spoke at our Cambridge office in May 2016 as part of our Talks at Google program. He was the perfect guest — self-effacing, funny, and insightful both in his prepared remarks and thoughtful responses to the many questions afterward. He’s a wise, genuine, down-to-earth guy who charmed our tough audience, and I have no doubt he’ll have the same effect on yours.— Jonathan Ostrowsky, site lead, Talks at Google (May 2016)
“My cheeks hurt from laughing!” “This was hilarious, thanks for organizing!” “Such a great perk for employees!” These were just some of the comments I received from the team. No, this wasn’t a Las Vegas comedy show — this was Dan Lyons talking about startup culture, corporate life, and backstage stories from the Silicon Valley show. Not only was it hilarious, engaging and refreshing, it also hit home on so many levels. Loved to have Dan here!— Eugene Yamnitsky, Director, Product Management and Innovation, Citrix. (September 2016)
With Dan Lyons, the formula for success is simple. Take a powerful and experienced journalist, plus a dash of opinion and spunk, add in curiosity about technology and corporate culture, and I guarantee your audience will come away more than satisfied.— Eric Kaplan, Looking Ahead conference, Chicago. (May 2016)
Dan Lyons — the shining star of our European startup festival! Not only was he brave enough to present his strong, critical opinion on a doubtful ecosystem condition, but he did it right in front of the people he challenged: CEOs, startupers, and investors. Yet he still won everyone’s hearts and earned a big round of applause! Dan’s practical knowledge and down-to-earth analysis of the startup industry was something that brought crowds to the lecture room and resulted in attracting media attention. If you look for a charismatic speaker who will rock the stage and stir up a hornet’s nest with crucial facts and inspiring thoughts — invite Dan.— Sylwia Wojtas, Bitspiration Festival, Warsaw. (June 2016)
The response to Dan Lyons keynoting our annual user conference, SugarCon, was so positive that we invited Dan back to speak again. Dan delivers insightful commentary on the broader technology industry wrapped in humor. Dan’s humor keeps people engaged, but they leave debating important issues such as diversity and business ethics. I would not hesitate to recommend Dan as a keynote speaker.— Larry Augustin, CEO, SugarCRM