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Ex-Facebooker reveals how the ‘cult’ of Silicon Valley really works

With an inside look at Silicon Valley's "cult"-like culture, one author poked some holes in how technology gurus get ahead.

"If I were to criticize anything about Silicon Valley, it's this sort of assumption of meritocracy: that if someone succeeds, it was due to skill alone," said Antonio Garcia Martinez, author of "Chaos Monkeys: Obscene Fortune and Random Failure in Silicon Valley." "When the reality is that happenstance, faith, luck and timing all play a role."


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Chris Ratcliffe | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Entrepreneurs know how to craft a narrative that depicts their journey from steely-eyed vision to flawless execution, Garcia Martinez told CNBC's "Squawk Alley" on Friday. But behind the scenes, there's a lot of flailing and floundering, he said.

In contrast, Garcia Martinez said he saw plenty of gritty, dogged entrepreneurs who didn't become success stories — and some who did.

"Watching this process happen was really one of the more courageous and inspirational things that I saw in Silicon Valley," he said.

"Chaos Monkeys" aims to be an "irreverent" expose from a founder-turned-Facebook employee and Twitter advisor. But he did have reverence for one of his old bosses in particular:

"I think [Facebook CEO Mark] Zuckerberg is a genius," Garcia Martinez said. Facebook did not immediately respond to CNBC's request for comment.

He also had high praise for Facebook's chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg, who he said manages all of Facebook's "competing egos." Still, while the enthusiasm at companies like Apple and Facebook may be "cult"-like, Garcia Martinez said it works.

"I believed in it just as much as anyone else at Facebook," he said. "In fact, that, I think, is Mark Zuckerberg's genius: He created this company and culture where everyone is motivated to give everything for a really ambitious vision."