The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers by Ben HorowitzA lot of people talk about how great it is to start a business, but only Ben Horowitz is brutally honest about how hard it is to run one.
In The Hard Thing About Hard Things, Ben Horowitz, cofounder of Andreessen Horowitz and one of Silicon Valleys most respected and experienced entrepreneurs, draws on his own story of founding, running, selling, buying, managing, and investing in technology companies to offer essential advice and practical wisdom for navigating the toughest problems business schools dont cover. His blog has garnered a devoted following of millions of readers who have come to rely on him to help them run their businesses. A lifelong rap fan, Horowitz amplifies business lessons with lyrics from his favorite songs and tells it straight about everything from firing friends to poaching competitors, from cultivating and sustaining a CEO mentality to knowing the right time to cash in.
His advice is grounded in anecdotes from his own hard-earned rise—from cofounding the early cloud service provider Loudcloud to building the phenomenally successful Andreessen Horowitz venture capital firm, both with fellow tech superstar Marc Andreessen (inventor of Mosaic, the Internets first popular Web browser). This is no polished victory lap; he analyzes issues with no easy answers through his trials, including
demoting (or firing) a loyal friend;
whether you should incorporate titles and promotions, and how to handle them;
if its OK to hire people from your friends company;
how to manage your own psychology, while the whole company is relying on you;
what to do when smart people are bad employees;
why Andreessen Horowitz prefers founder CEOs, and how to become one;
whether you should sell your company, and how to do it.
Filled with Horowitzs trademark humor and straight talk, and drawing from his personal and often humbling experiences, The Hard Thing About Hard Things is invaluable for veteran entrepreneurs as well as those aspiring to their own new ventures.
The hard thing about hard things
Managing a business as a founder or a CEO is a long and hard road. The Hard Thing About Hard Things talks about the difficulties in managing a business and how to handle the inevitable mistakes along the way. This means that there is an emotional investment in your company from hundreds, thousands, or even millions of people. By discussing the problems openly, your entire team can work on fixing it, rather than just you and a few higher-ups- who are probably too busy trying to keep the bad news hidden than do anything about it anyway. However, this is the attitude of many companies, even though their mission statement says otherwise.
Read in: 4 minutes Favorite quote from the author:. When I saw that this book was one of the favorites of our own CEO at coach. The Hard Thing About Hard Things had been on top of my library for quite some time, but I was a little scared because it was quite long, to be honest. Today I decided to suck it up and see what Mr. If you want to save this summary for later, download the free PDF and read it whenever you want. Download PDF.
Bell curves and random walks define what the future is going to look like. The standard pedagogical argument is that high schools should get rid of calculus and replace it with statistics, which is really important and actually useful. There has been a powerful shift toward the idea that statistical ways of thinking are going to drive the future. Nonetheless, there are many bits of advice and experience that can help with the hard things. There are no shortcuts to knowledge, especially knowledge gained from personal experience. Following conventional wisdom and relying on shortcuts can be worse than knowing nothing at all. Most business relationships either become too tense to tolerate or not tense enough to be productive after a while.
In 'The Hard Thing about Hard Things' he shares his experience of being a founder-CEO and the hard decisions he has had to make — offering advice on.
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Lesson 1: The CEO should be the first one to shout when a crisis occurs.
Horowitz opens by describing his time as a part of the core management team at Netscape, then his tenure as CEO of LoudCloud and OpsWare, finally providing insights from his current position as head of a venture capital company. Along the way, he highlights many of the key challenges he was faced with and describes the decisions he made to lead the companies through challenges. He spends time dissecting the situation and providing lessons learned. While the book is a fascinating read about the rise, struggles, and shifts in IT companies during the Tech Bubble burst, it is the decision making and the lessons about why the decisions were effective that make this a valuable read for leaders and those who aspire to leadership in their futures. LoudCloud started at the peak of the Tech Bubble, and with their Netscape pedigree, money was being thrown at them from venture capitalists and banks. Six months later, while they had been growing team size with little product progress, the bubble burst and the next influx of money they would need could not be found anywhere. Ben Horowitz frequently describes points in his career where he was in a period of terror, something extremely challenging was happening with the company and the only way forward would be by making hard decisions.