“Special Characters is a wild ride through a transformative decade that pulls back the curtain on the exclusive world of billionaire founders, entrepreneurs and mainstream media. With wit and candor, Laurie Segall offers an intimate account of a young woman finding her voice in the boys' clubs of Silicon Valley and cable news. Laurie Segall's memoir is funny, charming, and sincere, and a staggeringly good book.” —Sophia Amoruso, New York Times bestselling author of #Girlboss
Sweetbitter meets Brotopia in a story of self-discovery and breaking barriers by award-winning investigative reporter and former CNN Senior Tech Correspondent Laurie Segall.
In 2008, 23-year-old Laurie Segall was a newly minted assistant at CNN and was living in an East Village walk-up apartment. As Wall Street was crashing down, Segall began discovering a group of scrappy misfits who were rising from the ashes of the recession to change the world: the tech entrepreneurs.
A misfit herself, Segall gained entrance to New York’s burgeoning tech scene, with its limitless cash flow and parties populated by geeks-turned-billionaires. Back at the news desk, she rose through the ranks at CNN, while these entrepreneurs went from minnows to sharks, building companies that would become our democracy and our social fabric: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Uber, Tinder.
Over the course of a decade, Laurie Segall became one of the first reporters to give airtime to many of these founders—from Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook) to Jack Dorsey (Twitter) to Kevin Systrom (Instagram) to Travis Kalanick (Uber)—while tracking their evolution and society’s cultural shift in the CNN startup beat she created. By the end of her tenure at CNN, she had become its on-air senior technology correspondent and had witnessed the rise of second-wave tech, from the boom to the “complicated years” to the backlash, as her misfits emerged as some of the world’s most influential leaders.
A coming-of-age narrative chronicling an era transformed, Special Characters is, at its core, a young woman’s origin story—in love, in career, and in life—and an account of the humans behind the companies that have shaped our modern society. Filled with emotional heft and razor-sharp observations, Segall’s empowering memoir is a richly rendered backstage pass to the tech bubble that reimagined the ethos of our social, political, and cultural experience.
About the Author
Laurie Segall is an investigative journalist who has created award-winning series and specials. She is currently the founder and executive producer of Dot Dot Dot Media, a correspondent for 60 Minutes+ on Paramount Plus, and a national correspondent for CBS News. Previously, Segall was CNN’s Senior Technology Correspondent and Editor-at-Large for CNN Tech, covering the intersection of technology and culture for more than a decade. She lives in New York City.
“Special Characters is a wild ride through a transformative decade that pulls back the curtain on the exclusive world of billionaire founders, entrepreneurs and mainstream media. With wit and candor, Laurie Segall offers an intimate account of a young woman finding her voice in the boys' clubs of Silicon Valley and cable news. Laurie Segall's memoir is funny, charming, and sincere, and a staggeringly good book.”
— Sophia Amoruso, New York Times bestselling author of #Girlboss
“With Special Characters, Laurie Segall rips away the filters and brings to life both the glamour and grit of her journey from newsroom assistant to CNN Senior Technology Correspondent during the second wave tech revolution. Like the Carrie Bradshaw of technology journalism—her storytelling is sharp, sophisticated, and illuminating. This book is a seductive, insightful coming-of-age story of both Segall and the world as we know it.”
— Nicole Lapin, New York Times bestselling author of Rich Bitch
“Laurie Segall's memoir is a witty, surprising and page-turning take on the grueling but exhilarating journey of becoming a television news reporter who finds herself covering the most powerful industry in the world -- technology. For anyone trying to find themselves, her tale might just give you the courage to make hard choices and take the road not taken, with the hope of finding what you've only dared to dream."
— Emily Chang, author of Brotopia