Writer for HBO's Silicon Valley, Editor of Valleywag
Dan Lyons is the editor of technology blog Valleywag and a writer for season two of HBO's hit show Silicon Valley. He previously served as Technology Editor of Newsweek, a technology columnist at Forbes, and Editor-in-Chief of ReadWrite, one of the world’s top tech news sites.
He 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. 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.
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."
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.
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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