Startup
Doree Shafrir

Longform Says

Those who cover Silicon Valley usually worship or loathe, but it takes a special writer like Doree Shafrir to find the humor and sadness. After covering culture for years for everyone from Gawker to Rolling Stone, she now covers the L.A. tech scene as a Senior Tech Writer for BuzzFeed News. Her debut novel, Startup, satirizes the toxic blend of youth, ambition, and cash that builds companies and destroys people. Doree and her husband, comedian Matt Mira, also co-host the podcast Matt & Doree’s Eggcellent Adventure, about “what IVF is really like.”

Excerpt from Startup

They came from all over the city in the predawn hours, a merry band of highly optimized minstrels in purple leggings and shiny headbands and brightly colored sneakers, walking the fifteen minutes from the L train or directing an Uber to the former spice factory in the no-man’s-land between Williamsburg and Greenpoint. The neighborhood’s normal early-morning crowd—the dog walkers, the constructions workers, the marathon trainers—mostly looked upon them with amused curiosity. Nothing fazed them anymore.

Once they got into the club, they either headed straight for the dance floor or descended on the bar, which this morning was not selling alcohol but rather providing free sustenance in the form of granola bars and coconut water and green juice (all sponsored by an on-demand laundry app), which they drank greedily before, or in some cases while, slithering onto the dance floor.

This was the October edition of MorningRave, a monthly gathering devoted to the idea that the best way to start the day was with the excited energy of a clean-living dance party. It was a movement that in a previous generation might have been derided as corny, or Mormon. But this was a different New York. The cynical echo of Generation X had finally been quieted and, along with it, most of the dive bars, rent-stabilized apartments, bands, underground clubs, clothing boutiques, and fashion magazines that used to define the city. In its place had arisen a PRomised Land of Duane Reades and Chase ATMs on every corner, luxury doorman buildings, Pilates studios, and spin classes, eighteen-dollar rosemary-infused cocktails and seven-dollar cups of single-origin coffee—all of which were there to cater to a new generation of twentysomethings, the data scientists and brand strategists and software engineers and social media managers and product leads and marketing associates and IT coordinators ready to disrupt the world with apps.


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