Behind the Startup

Video description

In recent years, dreams about our technological future have soured as digital platforms have undermined privacy, eroded labor rights, and weakened democratic discourse. In light of the negative consequences of innovation, some blame harmful algorithms or greedy CEOs. Behind the Startup focuses instead on the role of capital and the influence of financiers. Drawing on nineteen months of participant-observation research inside a successful Silicon Valley startup, this book examines how the company was organized to meet the needs of the venture capital investors who funded it.

Investors push startups to scale as quickly as possible to inflate the value of their asset. Benjamin Shestakofsky shows how these demands create organizational problems that managers solve by combining high-tech systems with low-wage human labor. With its focus on the financialization of innovation, Behind the Startup explains how the gains generated by these companies are funneled into the pockets of a small cadre of elite investors and entrepreneurs. To promote innovation that benefits the many rather than the few, Shestakofsky compellingly argues that we must focus less on fixing the technology and more on changing the financial infrastructure that supports it.

Product information

  • Title: Behind the Startup
  • Author(s): Rick Adamson, Benjamin Shestakofsky
  • Release date: May 2024
  • Publisher(s): Ascent Audio
  • ISBN: 9781663736611