Set in New York City instead of Silicon Valley’s startup culture, Startup begins with Mack McAllister. His mindfulness app TakeOff is one of the hottest pieces of tech in NYC. TakeOff’s valuation keeps rising and he’s getting ready to launch a new version that he hopes will take them over the $1 billion mark. That’s billion with a b. Meanwhile tech reporter Katya Pasternack is hunting down leads and doing everything she can to write the newest and hottest story in the tech world. Sabrina Choe Blum who wants nothing more than to just squeak by. A failed creative writer, she spends her days toiling away at TakeOff in the social media department, something she has very little professional experience in. However just as Mack is about to get another round of funding (an important step to that all important B in billion), rumors start hitting social media that he is getting a little too close to someone in his office.
Startup is a really fun novel. But to only say that wouldn’t do the entire story justice. Sure it’s a humor book at heart, but it definitely has a larger theme to it and that’s it’s poke at startup culture. Similarly named, it seems to have many parallels to (specifically) the fourth season of the podcast that delves into the rumors and wrongdoings of former American Apparel CEO Dov Charney. But additionally it also pokes fun and maybe even attempts to criticize the way the world of social media affects almost everything around us. Shafrir’s characters are constantly embedded in the world of Twitter, Snapchat and Instagram; rarely ever putting down their devices to realize the world around them continues to move. However the world does and they will soon find out that each of their actions carries heavy consequences.
Rating: 4 out of 5 – Startup maintains itself as both a piece of humor and one of social commentary. It’s humor manages to both entertain and worry about the aspects of social media and the world of startup culture.