Writer for HBO's Silicon Valley, Marketing Fellow at Hubspot
Dan Lyons had a great run as a technology journalist, serving as the Technology Editor of Newsweek, a technology columnist at Forbes, and Editor-in-Chief of ReadWrite, one of the world’s top tech news sites. But while writing his Fake Steve blog he started to see that media was entering a new world where old boundaries were fading away, and where traditional companies would not be able to survive.
Can you imagine what it’s like to be the tech writer at a place like Newsweek, cheering on the new technologies that are destroying the company that pays your salary? Awkward doesn’t begin to describe it. The good news, however, was that even as newspapers and magazines crumble, a new form of media business has been rising from the ashes, as companies across every industry (Nissan, Intel, Microsoft) are building their own news organizations. Journalists, ironically, are in more demand than ever before—just not at newspapers!
In 2013, Lyons joined the revolution by taking a role at HubSpot, a software company in Cambridge that is leading the shift toward company-generated media. As a Marketing Fellow at HubSpot, Lyons is writing and speaking about the massive disruption that is taking place in the media business, and how this disruption is reshaping the world of marketing, advertising and brand evangelism. “The rise of mobile devices, wearable computing and social software platforms is creating a new mass medium, one that will displace television as the dominant medium of our age,” Lyons says. “Everything is being reinvented. We’re creating new forms of journalism, new forms of entertainment, new ways for brands to connect with consumers.”
Dan is an expert on consumer tech (Apple, Google, social media, mobile computing) as well as esoteric topics like fusion energy and supercomputers. He is fascinated by artificial intelligence, robotics and the Singularity movement. He was featured in recent Discovery Channel documentary about the Singularity, and has appeared as a guest on CNBC, MSNBC, CNN, BBC, Bloomberg TV, Fox Business News and National Public Radio.
In addition to his work as a journalist, Lyons has published three works of fiction and dabbled in screenwriting for television. He is a writer for season two of HBO's hit show Silicon Valley, a satirical comedy about the tech industry. His book, Options: The Secret Life of Steve Jobs, a sharp send-up of Silicon Valley, published in 2007 to critical acclaim. His previous books are Dog Days (a novel) and The Last Good Man (short stories). As a fiction writer Dan has been the recipient of both a prestigious National Endowment for the Arts Literary Fellowship and the somewhat notorious Playboy College Fiction Prize. He also was named one of the “Fabulous 52″ in the 1996 Best Young American Novelists competition sponsored by Granta.
Content Marketing: Do's and Don’ts
Content marketing is hot. From GE to Google, from Maersk to Microsoft, across every industry companies are building media operations and creating some incredibly sophisticated original content—blogs, video, podcasts, and multimedia packages that put the mainstream to shame. In this engaging and instructive talk, Dan Lyons—a veteran journalist (Forbes, Newsweek) turned content marketer—explains how you can use content marketing to boost your brand and generate leads. Better yet, it can save you money. But how do you build a media operation? What are the pitfalls, and how can you avoid them? What are the do’s and don’ts? Lyons draws on examples from GE, Microsoft, Google, and HubSpot, a software company that has been an innovator in content marketing and where Dan is a “marketing fellow,” helping guide HubSpot’s content strategy.
Comedy by Committee: Lessons in Collaboration From the World of TV Writing
Creativity and collaboration are key to your company’s success. But how do you create an environment where people can work in groups and build consensus to create new products and ideas? What does a creative, collaborative culture look like? In this talk, Dan Lyons, a writer on HBO’s hit comedy series Silicon Valley, shows how companies can learn from the world of TV comedy.
TV writers work in big teams of 10 or more people. They work on tight deadlines, and they iterate constantly, rewriting and rethinking episodes dozens of times. Hollywood writers have developed an effective brainstorming system, and have figured out things like this: How do you make people feel comfortable and confident, so that they’ll participate? How do you deal with writer's block? How do you create groups that are less intimidating and more productive?
Over the course of an eclectic career, Lyons has been a journalist, a marketing executive, a novelist, a university creative writing professor, and a blogger. He’s a lively, funny speaker, as you might expect from someone who makes a living writing comedy. Be warned: a few brave souls might get called up to do some improv on stage, but no audience members will be harmed! The goal is to have a good time, and take away real-world lessons that your organization can start using right away.
How Smart Companies Adapt to Constant Connection in the Age of Google Glasses
Can you imagine being surrounded by intelligent sensors and interacting with them as easily as you talk with the people around you? Can you imagine being connected to the Internet so intimately and so constantly that you become part of it? Can you imagine glasses that connect you to a supercomputer and augment your intelligence so profoundly that you won’t want to live without them? This world is just around the corner, and the Internet itself is going through a massive evolutionary leap into what author and technology expert Dan Lyons calls “the immersive Internet.” It’s a world where voice commands and gestures replace keyboards, where wearable computers and the “Internet of things” embed intelligence into everything around us, giving us profound new power to control our environment. In this thought-provoking talk, Lyons describes the emerging products in this space (Leap Motion’s 3D controller, Google’s Project Glass, Nest’s “learning thermostat,” the nascent “no user interface” movement, voice technology from Apple, Google and Nuance) and explores implications both profound and practical. Will all this technology change what it means to be human? Will it widen the “digital divide” between technology haves and have-nots? How will companies market to consumers who are empowered with so much information and computing power? How will we “sell to cyborgs”? This dazzling view of the future will leave your audience informed, inspired -- and maybe a little bit freaked out.
What Would Steve Do: The 8 Simple Secrets to Apple's Success
Over the past 15 years Apple has gone from being nearly bankrupt to being the biggest company in the world, with a market value exceeding half a trillion dollars. How did they do it? Dan Lyons, author of the critically acclaimed book, Options: The Secret Life of Steve Jobs, and one of the world's top experts on all things Apple, explains the simple principles that enabled Steve Jobs to lead Apple through the most amazing comeback in corporate history. In this talk, Lyons tells an engaging tale that captures the spirit of Steve Jobs and leaves his audience with eight rules that can be applied in any organization or industry. Why did Steve Jobs shun focus groups and trust its own taste instead? How does Apple evoke such strong responses from its fans and get thousands of people to line up outside Apple stores, turning each new product release into a kind of cultural event? Who was the little-known mentor who guided Steve Jobs in the early years of Apple and created the three words that have guided Apple's marketing philosophy since its origins? Why does Apple dare to take risks while its competitors play it safe? How is that other companies sell products, while Apple sells an experience? What drove Steve Jobs to be such a fanatical perfectionist? Lyons spent five years writing the world's most popular Apple-centric blog, "The Secret Diary of Steve Jobs," and hopes that the legacy of Steve Jobs will inspire a new generation of innovators and risk-takers who will dare to "think different."
The Social-Mobile Revolution: The New Platform That Is Changing the Way We Work, Play, Make Friends and Do Business
By 2013 there will be 1 billion smartphones on the planet, and by the end of this decade that number may soar to 5 billion. What happens when almost everyone on the planet is constantly connected to the Internet, and to each other, via social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter and Google+? What's being created is a new mass medium that changes virtually everything about our society. This new platform, with its ubiquitous, constant, peer-to-peer connections, is disrupting established industries, forcing us to rethink the definition of friendship and privacy, and utterly reinventing the way we entertain ourselves. Games like Farmville and Mafia Wars may be inane but people are devoting huge amounts of time and spending billions of dollars playing them. Apps like Foursquare are turning life itself into a kind of real-time video game. Sites like YouTube and Facebook have become performance spaces, almost a new kind of TV where everyone can be part of the show. In this entertaining and insightful talk, Dan Lyons explores the profound social implications and huge opportunities created by this new medium, and wonders, Are we ready for this?
Zuckerberg's Panopticon: The Rise of the Social Internet and the End of Privacy
In the 1790s, British philosopher Jeremy Bentham devised a new kind of prison, called a panopticon. The panopticon consisted of a round building with a central watchtower, with a viewing mechanism that enabled any prisoner to be watched at any time, without his knowledge.The idea was that prisoners would never know when they were being watched and so would have to assume they were being watched at all times. Thus they would behave themselves, and a large prison population could be controlled with very few guards. In some ways this is what the Internet is now becoming. The only way to be a member of Facebook, for example, is to sacrifice all of your privacy and to assume that everything you do is being watched, somewhere, by someone. We are living in Mark Zuckerberg's digital panopticon. And it's not just Facebook. An entire multibillion-dollar industry is being built around targeted advertising and a business model in which service providers make money by gathering and reselling personal information about users. Of course we all have the option of simply getting off the Internet. But few people will take that route. Instead, we'll stay online, and most of us will slowly adapt to a new reality. In a remarkably short period of time, our entire notion of privacy will be radically transformed. What are the implications, both positive and negative, of living in a world like this? How do we deal with a world in which our personal information has been turned into a form of currency, and used to pay for online services? How do we know how much we're actually paying, and whether we're getting a good deal? Dan Lyons, a lively and engaging speaker, offers an insightful take on the grand bargain we are making as we enter the age of the social Internet.
Options: The Secret Life of Steve Jobs - A Parody
Welcome to the mind, to the world of Fake Steve Jobs.
Fake Steve the counterintuitive management guru: "Obviously we can't literally put our employees' lives at risk. But we have to make them feel that way."
Fake Steve the political hobnobber: "I can see why they keep Nancy Pelosi under wraps. Wacky as a dime watch."
Fake Steve quoting friend/musician/philosopher Bono on road etiquette: "Tink about dat next toim yer cuttin off some bloke and you don't know who it is, right? Could be Jay-sus. Or Boutros Boutros-Ghali or sumfin."
And Fake Steve on, yes, himself: "Geniuses have feelings, too."
In the tradition of Thank You for Smoking and in the spirit of The Onion, Options is a novelistic sendup and takedown of Silicon Valley, Hollywood, and Washington, D.C., as viewed by a central character who exists, to his immense self-satisfaction, at the crossroads of all three worlds: "It's like in one of those movies where a guy realizes he's got telekinetic powers and it's just too bad if he doesn't want them, he's got them. Likewise, I have this gift. It's who I am."
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