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What ex-Facebook employee wants you to know about Silicon Valley

Ex-Facebook employee's account of life in Silicon Valley
Ex-Facebook employee's account of life in Silicon Valley 06:24

Ex-Facebook employee Antonio Garcia Martinez wants people to know Silicon Valley isn't really the way it's portrayed.

"It's often painted as a very meritocratic sifting of the best and the brightest," Martinez told "CBS This Morning" Tuesday. In fact, he says, "It's all connections, happenstance, sheer luck, fate, etc."

Martinez sold his own start-up company to Twitter before getting hired by Facebook -- a company that later ousted him. In his new book, "Chaos Monkeys," he provides an unvarnished account of Facebook's stop-at-nothing culture, detailing 14-hour work days, eating all three meals at the office and doing nothing but writing and reviewing code.

Martinez said he wanted to capture the moment in Facebook's history when it went from "scrappy startup" to one where "middle managers were fighting it out for fiefdoms and somebody loses and becomes the 'Game of Thrones.'"

Comparing Mark Zuckerberg to Napoleon and Fidel Castro, Martinez describes the Facebook CEO as a "keeper of a messianic vision... that presents an overwhelming and all-consuming picture of a new and different world."

Martinez -- whose parents were Cuban exiles -- said he was referring specifically to a moment when Zuckerberg gathered his employees in a big tent in the parking lot of the then-unfinished campus of Facebook and gave a rousing speech, shortly after announcing the company was going public.

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"We had slogans on the walls, we were all wearing a uniform. It all felt very North Korean or Cuban, almost. And so in that moment, I just realized... the motive force in history, which is one egomaniac's twitchy drive and then the common man's desire to be part of a compelling story -- which is what we were, we just were bit players in Zuckerberg's story," Martinez said.

What do the "chaos monkeys" of the book title represent?

"Picture a wild monkey running through a computer data center, punching boxes and pulling on cables," Martinez explained. "There's actually a software that tests -- built by Netflix actually -- the back ends of a lot of the services that you use. As a metaphor, what I mean is that Silicon Valley is like the 'chaos monkeys' of society."

As an example, he said, entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley "run around and they pull the plugs on things -- like taxi medallions via Uber or hotels via Airbnb," and then "we as a society see if we survive their depredations."

In the book, Martinez also describes women in the Bay area -- where the tech industry is notoriously dominated by single, young men -- as "soft," "weak," "naive" and "full of s***."

"What I try to portray in 'Chaos Monkeys' is the truth of Silicon Valley, obviously without any judgment whatsoever," Martinez explained. "That is a part of Silicon Valley, for better or worse." He notes that he was making a comparison to a woman in the book "who is now the mother of my children, who is very much not that."

Martinez also said that he believes the work culture varies across different companies. Speaking about his own experiences with Facebook and Twitter, Martinez said while Facebook was similar to the Roman empire where "the strong emperor in power tries to conquer the world," Twitter was more chaotic and impromptu.

"CBS This Morning" reached out to Facebook for comment, but the company declined.

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