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"The Startup Wife" | Reviewed by Joan Kletzker

“The Startup Wife” is a quick, good read. The main character Asha is an ace genius coder. Her husband, Cyrus, is a dreamer and reads everything he can get his hands on. He weaves things together from poetry, to economics, to history, to legends, to politics, to religion, faith and everything in between. Jules, his friend, is from a moneyed New England family. They have been the beset of friends from childhood.

Cyrus and Jules build a social media app that attempts to fill the place religion had previously filled. The online site creates custom rituals for individuals. People answer a variety of questions and the algorithm assembles a ritual that’s tailor made for them. Their project builds, and fame ensues, communities within communities emerge.

Cyrus, the face of the company, quickly becomes the most famous person in the world. He is compared to a shaman, the Messiah, a Buddhist, an Enlightened Presence, a guru. Asha is the brains behind the online endeavor and Jules raises money to finance the operation.

The story moves quickly and deftly as various problems arise. Raising money from the venture capitalists is not easy in the beginning, and as the narrative progresses, the friendships and the marriage evolve and cracks in the veneer of both suffer.

Asha begins wondering about her marriage and also denies any problems she sees or thinks about. Cyrus is prone to disappearing at times, in the name of research, and Jules has his own issues with his family.

The company and its philosophy grow. The threesome hold things together, grow and develop as a unit, until a decision is made which leads to a domino effect that becomes very, very difficult.

I enjoyed “The Startup Wife.” It raises cultural questions about women claiming what is rightfully theirs. It also brings to light the iffy intersection that occurs between tech and mankind—leaving readers to question if tech should be able to solve all of mankind’s needs?

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