Network effects in venture capital are no joke. Sure, people want to close rounds with brand name funds like Sequoia and Andreessen Horowitz because they validate startups. But perhaps more importantly, companies become more likely to succeed after closing high profile rounds because of their newfound access to the friends and connections of prominent investors. Alex Mittal, CEO of… Read More
Last night, my family and I took a Dabble class. It was Improv, and taught by Shelia M. Gagne. This year, instead of traveling at Christmas, my family and I did the 12 Days of Christmas with a twist. We have been blogging about it on Tumblr here. It’s been a lot of fun and last night was no different. I had taken one Improv class before in my life. At a HPA meeting, we brought in two instructors. It was a lot of fun. I have always been intrigued by Improv because like a lot of people, I loved Saturday Night Live as a kid. If I wouldn’t have been so focused and practical, I might have gone there after college and learned the craft. Improv is taught by teaching you word/mind games. One of the first ones you learn is “Yes And”. It’s an incredibly easy game, but Continue reading "Yes And"
[soundcloud url="https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/228715793" params="auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false&visual=true" width="100%" height="450" iframe="true" /] This special episode of the a16z Podcast is based on a Q&A from an early screening we hosted of OWN's "Belief", a week-long documentary series that depicts how people -- with a wide range of faiths and spiritual practices around the world -- search for deeper meaning and connection with the world around them. The Q&A features Oprah Winfrey interviewed by Ben -- or being interviewed by Oprah, depending on how you look at it! MORE
This special episode of the a16z Podcast is based on a Q&A from an early screening we hosted of Universal Pictures’ Straight Outta Compton, the story of the group N.W.A. that revolutionized music and pop culture. The Q&A features Ice Cube, producer, rapper, and one of the original members of N.W.A.; director F. Gary Gray; and Corey Hawkins, Jason Mitchell, and O’Shea Jackson Jr., who play Dr. Dre, Eazy-E, and Ice Cube, respectively. Their wide-ranging conversation — as interviewed by a16z’s Ben Horowitz — covers the struggle, the drive, the creative process, the cycles of history, the city of Los Angeles … and why “it’s cool to be a nerd”.
Ben Horowitz is a co-founder of the venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz. Prior to being a venture capitalist, he co-founded Loudcloud, a managed services provider which became Opsware, a data center automation software provider. He is the author of The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers. Horowitz earned a BA in Computer Science from Columbia University in 1988 and a MS in Computer Science from UCLA in 1990. On his blog Ben suggests that if you want to learn more about him, read his entry in Wikipedia. 1. “You read these management books that say ‘these are the hard things about running a company’. But those aren’t really the hard things.” “My old boss Jim Barksdale said that most management consultants have never managed a hot dog stand.” “Wartime CEO is too busy fighting the enemy to read management books written by consultants who have never managed a fruit stand.” “When I was a CEO, the books on management that I read weren’t very much help after the first few months on the job. They were all designed to give you directions on how not to screw up your company. But it doesn’t take long before you get beyond that and you’re like OK I’ve screwed up my company; now what do I do? Most books on management are written by management consultants, and they study successful companies after they’ve succeeded, so they only hear winning stories.” People who write about management tend to follow a formula that Michael Mauboussin has described: “The most common method for teaching business management is to find successful businesses, identify their common practices, and recommend that managers imitate them… This formula is intuitive, includes some compelling narrative, and has sold millions of books. [The reality is that] attributing a firm’s success to a specific strategy may be wrong if you sample only the winners.…When luck plays a part in determining the consequences of your actions — as is often the case in business — you don’t want to study success to identify good strategy but rather study strategy to see whether it consistently led to success.” Ben Horowitz decided to write a different sort of book that rejects the approach described by Michael Mauboussin in favor of a reality-based approach. He decided to write about what he calls “the Struggle” which is “basically what you feel like when your world is caving in.” Ben Horowitz adds to the point made by Michael Mauboussin by saying, you can do things recommended by these books like setting a “big, hairy, audacious goal” and still have the business flounder. What do you do
Continue reading "12 Things I Learned from Ben Horowitz about Management, Investing, and Business – by Tren Griffin"
On Saturday, I polished off Hot Seat: The Startup CEO Guidebook. I started it last weekend at the tail end of my Weekend Reading on Startup Communities but four books weren’t in me so I didn’t finish it. It was excellent and is now on my “all startup CEOs must read” list. My recommended book list for startup CEOs is very long, but there are only three books on the must read list.
- Startup CEO: A Field Guide to Scaling Up Your Business by Matt Blumberg
- The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers by Ben Horowitz
Continue reading "Hot Seat by Dan Shapiro: A Book Every Startup CEO Should Read"