Memoir that sparked HubSpot ethics scandal to hit stores two months earlier

Dan Lyons signs copies of an earlier book, oPtion$, in 2007.
Dan Lyons signs copies of an earlier book, oPtion$, in 2007.

If you simply can’t wait to read the book that spawned an executive shakeup and corporate ethics scandal at HubSpot, you’re in luck.

Hachette Book Group has moved up the publication date of “Disrupted: My Misadventure in the Start-Up Bubble,” a forthcoming memoir from longtime tech-industry writer Dan Lyons. According to the publisher’s website, Lyons’ book is now expected to go on sale Feb. 2, rather than in April as previously advertised.

In late July, marketing software company HubSpot disclosed that it had fired chief marketing officer Mike Volpe for violating the company’s ethics policy in connection with an attempt to get a hold of the unpublished manuscript of Lyons’s book.

A second executive, vice president of content Joe Chernov, resigned before the company could determine whether he should be fired. HubSpot also fined CEO Brian Halligan for failing to tell the company’s board soon enough when he found out about the incident.

HubSpot has refused to discuss the details of what Chernov or Volpe may have done in pursuit of the unpublished book, but Halligan has said that the incident involved “fishiness” and “really aggressive tactics.”

Chernov, who declined to comment on the incident, was hired Thursday as the marketing vice president at Cambridge sales-software startup Insight Squared. Attempts to reach Lyons and Volpe were unsuccessful Thursday.

Lyons has covered the technology industry for many years, with stints at publications including Newsweek and Forbes. He gained notoriety as the author of “Fake Steve Jobs,” a blog that poked fun at the late Apple CEO’s demanding persona. Lyons’ satirical style was also employed in his stint as a writer on the HBO series “Silicon Valley,” which lampoons tech industry culture.

Lyons worked at HubSpot for less than two years as a “marketing fellow,” writing articles about marketing, advertising, and the tech industry. Lyons has said that his book would be “scathing,” and the blurb promoting it says Lyons found “the office vibe was frat house meets cult compound.”

HubSpot has said it notified legal authorities about the matter. In its latest quarterly earnings report, the company said that it was working on a new training and certification program to reinforce its ethics code, which it said “will help ensure that similar situations do not arise in the future.”

HubSpot declined to comment on Lyons’ book publication date. Hachette declined to comment beyond noting the new publication date.

Disrupted Cover
Book cover image via Hachette.

Updated 7:35 p.m. with detail on Chernov.