Antonio García Martínez

Author, Chaos Monkeys

An insider view on social media and the hi-tech economy

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Antonio García Martínez is an insider expert with attitude on the hi-tech economy, especially social media, online marketing, big data analytics, and the back-room workings of Silicon Valley entrepreneurship. His book Chaos Monkeys: Obscene Fortune and Random Failure in Silicon Valley offers a close look at the way social media and online marketing have evolved to produce our must-have digital stuff and where this careening juggernaut will take us.

Chaos Monkeys is a wild but informative ride through the back lots of the tech, social media, and financial services industries, providing both insight and biting commentary on the people, the businesses, and the chaotic corporate cultures that are stress-testing our social and economic lives.

“Chaos monkeys” are the software packages developed to stress-test online services. That’s exactlly the role that tech entrepreneurs play in society — disrupting and straining to the limit every aspect of our lives and our economy. Think Uber for transportation, or AirBnB for the hospitality industry. Anywhere where code and algorithms rule — that’s García Martínez’s specialty.

He started out as a “quant,” someone who builds financial models for traders, pricing and modeling credit derivatives for traders at Goldman Sachs just as the credit bubble was about to explode. He then moved on to online advertising, where he “tortured every piece of data until it confessed” for Silicon Valley’s leading startup incubator, then as an advisor to Twitter, and finally, at Facebook, where he became their first ads-targeting product manager. Then he wrote Choas Monkeys.

Antonio García Martínez has a way with words. He’s energetic and entertaining, a great storyteller, and he shines a new kind of ultra-revealing light on the way the tech world works.


Chaos Monkeys

Obscene Fortune and Random Failure in Silicon Valley

Antonio García Martínez

2016 Financial Times/McKinsey Business Book of the Year Long list

“Incisive.... The most fun business book I have read this year.... Clearly there will be people who hate this book — which is probably one of the things that makes it such a great read.”
— Andrew Ross Sorkin, New York Times

— Vanity Fair

Liar’s Poker meets The Social Network in an irreverent exposé of life inside the tech bubble, from industry provocateur Antonio García Martínez, a former Twitter advisor, Facebook product manager and startup founder/CEO.

The reality is, Silicon Valley capitalism is very simple:
Investors are people with more money than time.
Employees are people with more time than money.
Entrepreneurs are the seductive go-between.
Marketing is like sex: only losers pay for it.

Imagine a chimpanzee rampaging through a datacenter powering everything from Google to Facebook. Infrastructure engineers use a software version of this “chaos monkey” to test online services’ robustness — their ability to survive random failure and correct mistakes before they actually occur. Tech entrepreneurs are society’s chaos monkeys, disruptors testing and transforming every aspect of our lives, from transportation (Uber) and lodging (AirBnB) to television (Netflix) and dating (Tinder). One of Silicon Valley’s most audacious chaos monkeys is Antonio García Martínez.

After stints on Wall Street and as CEO of his own startup, García Martínez joined Facebook’s nascent advertising team, turning its users’ data into profit for COO Sheryl Sandberg and chairman and CEO Mark “Zuck” Zuckerberg. Forced out in the wake of an internal product war over the future of the company’s monetization strategy, García Martínez eventually landed at rival Twitter. He also fathered two children with a woman he barely knew, committed lewd acts and brewed illegal beer on the Facebook campus (accidentally flooding Zuckerberg's desk), lived on a sailboat, raced sport cars on the 101, and enthusiastically pursued the life of an overpaid Silicon Valley wastrel.

Now, this gleeful contrarian unravels the chaotic evolution of social media and online marketing and reveals how it is invading our lives and shaping our future. Weighing in on everything from startups and credit derivatives to Big Brother and data tracking, social media monetization and digital “privacy,” García Martínez shares his scathing observations and outrageous antics, taking us on a humorous, subversive tour of the fascinatingly insular tech industry. Chaos Monkeys lays bare the hijinks, trade secrets, and power plays of the visionaries, grunts, sociopaths, opportunists, accidental tourists, and money cowboys who are revolutionizing our world. The question is, will we survive?

Harper (28 Jun. 2016)


'Chaos Monkeys: Inside the Silicon Valley Money Machine'Financial Times
Chaos in the ValleyBloomberg Businessweek


“Feels darkly true.... Garcia Martinez is brilliant at describing the relaxed yet self-centered attitudes of high-powered Californians.”
Financial Times

“Reckless and rollicking... perceptive and funny and brave.... The resulting view of the Valley’s craziness, self-importance and greed isn’t pretty. But it’s one that most of us have never seen before and aren’t likely to forget.”
— Margaret Sullivan, Washington Post

“Michael Lewis was never a top Wall Street bond salesman, but in Liar’s Poker he captured an era. Chaos Monkeys aims to do the same for Silicon Valley, and bracingly succeeds.”
— David Streitfeld, (New York Times Book Review*

“This year’s best non-business book about business.... Garcia Martinez is a real writer.... A classic tale, well told.”
— John Biggs, Techcrunch

“There are some books that are just too good to miss.... In his insider-tells-all book, García Martínez discusses everything from goofy stories to cultural secrets about some of the country’s most powerful and influential businesses.”
The Atlantic

“Unlike most founding narratives that flow out of the Valley, Chaos Monkeys dives into the unburnished, day-to-day realities: the frantic pivots, the enthusiastic ass-kissing, the excruciating internal politics.... [García] can be rude, but he’s shrewd, too.”
Bloomberg Businessweek

“An irresistible and indispensable 360-degree guide to the new technology establishment.... A must-read.”
— Jonathan A. Knee, New York Times

“An unvarnished account… of Silicon Valley.”
CBS This Morning

“Romps through Martínez’s wild trajectory from Wall Streeter to pre-IPO Facebook employee, with the dramatic sale of his Y Combinator-backed ad-tech startup (to Twitter) in between.” — Jillian D'Onfirio Business Insider

“Traces the evolution of social media and online marketing and reveals how it’s become a part of our daily lives and how it will affect our future.”
— Leonard Lopate, WNYC

“If you’re in a startup or even plan to sue one, Chaos Monkeys is the book to read.”
— John Biggs, (TechCrunch*

“This gossipy insider account from the former Twitter adviser, Facebook product manager, and start-up CEO dishes dirt while also explaining the ins and outs of Silicon Valley.”
— Neal Wyatt, Library Journal


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