AI, Data, Culture: In Conversation with Ben Horowitz, GP, a16z

This post is by mattturck from Matt Turck

Ben Horowitz resoundingly falls in the category of “needing no introduction”: a highly successful entrepreneur who navigated a perilous situation with his business (Loudcloud, which became Opsware) to a $1.65B acquisition by HP, he’s also the founder of premier Silicon Valley venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz (aka “a16z”), and the best selling author of two … Continue reading AI, Data, Culture: In Conversation with Ben Horowitz, GP, a16z

Wartime CEO

I read Ben Horowitz’s The Hard Thing About Hard Things last weekend. This is the third time I’ve read it. It gets better each time. If you are a CEO and you haven’t read it, buy it right now and read it next weekend.

There are endless gems in the book, many of them from Ben’s own experience. My favorite of all time, that stays with me through all the work I do, is his distinction between “peace time” and “war time.”

I think the first time he wrote about this was in his post in 2011 titled Peacetime CEO/Wartime CEO. There has been plenty of commentary on the web about it (see The Myth of the Wartime and Peacetime CEO, which really only says a CEO has to be effective in both wartime and peacetime to be successful.)

Ben has an incredible rant in the post

Continue reading “Wartime CEO”

Online VC FundersClub launches Network Search to better connect its 17,000 members

fundersclub-logo-square-light-background 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

Yes And

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”

SnapLogic Survives Its Re-do and Raises $37.5 Million

SnapLogic Chief Executive Gaurav Dhillon
Barry Robinson

Not all startups are allowed the luxury of redoing their products, and not all CEOs survive the process.

But SnapLogic Inc. did it, and Chief Executive Gaurav Dhillon has lived to tell the tale, fueled by a fresh $37.5 million in funding. The Series E round comes from Microsoft Corp. and Silver Lake Waterman, along with several current investors.

One of the first startups backed by Andreessen Horowitz in 2009, the year Mr. Dhillon became CEO, SnapLogic made an early bet that businesses would move computing to the cloud.

The company started out letting customers build “snaps” that connected cloud applications to on-premise applications so they could shift data back and forth.

But cloud technology was continuing to evolve, and SnapLogic wasn’t able to work in “pure cloud fashion,” Mr. Dhillon said. Every customer had to have its own SnapLogic software, running Continue reading “SnapLogic Survives Its Re-do and Raises $37.5 Million”

a16z Podcast: Belief — An Interview with Oprah Winfrey – Ben Horowitz and Oprah Winfrey

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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

a16z Podcast: Straight Outta Compton, The Interview (including Ice Cube and Ben Horowitz) – with Ice Cube, F. Gary Gray, Corey Hawkins, Ben Horowitz, O’Shea Jackson Jr., and Jason Mitchell


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”.

12 Things I Learned from Ben Horowitz about Management, Investing, and Business – by Tren Griffin

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”

Hot Seat by Dan Shapiro: A Book Every Startup CEO Should Read

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.

  1. Startup CEO: A Field Guide to Scaling Up Your Business by Matt Blumberg
  2. The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers by Ben Horowitz

and now #3: Hot Seat: The Startup CEO Guidebook by Dan Shapiro.

All three are from experienced CEOs. Each is a delightful mix of stories, advice, and experiences. They are all contemporary, highly relevant, and fun to read. Regardless of the number of times you’ve

First Email Between Shapiro and Feld

Continue reading “Hot Seat by Dan Shapiro: A Book Every Startup CEO Should Read”

ClearStory Data Names Tim Howes as First CTO

ClearStory Chief Technology Officer Tim Howes
ClearStory Data

Big-data software company ClearStory Data Inc. has named long-time Silicon Valley technologist Dr. Timothy Howes as chief technology officer, the company told VentureWire.

Dr. Howes, who has a Ph.D. in computer science and engineering from the University of Michigan and is the author or co-author on six patents, has also held CTO positions at Netscape Communications Inc. (acquired by AOL Inc.), Opsware Inc. (acquired by Hewlett-Packard Co.), HP’s enterprise software business and RockMelt Inc. (acquired by Yahoo Inc.).

Part of his attraction to ClearStory, whose software aggregates, harmonizes and presents both internal and external data for customers including Colgate-Palmolive Co. and Merck & Co. Inc., is its unusual approach to solving a big problem, he said.

Unlike other big data software, ClearStory “automates what used to be manual and expensive, [freeing users from the IT department and Continue reading “ClearStory Data Names Tim Howes as First CTO”

Slack’s Story Justifies Sky-High Tech Valuations, Ben Horowitz Says

With Nasdaq Composite index last week surpassing an all-time record it set 15 years ago, questions about a tech bubble are beginning to swirl again.


Ben Horowitz, the co-founder and managing partner of the venture-capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, thinks one company shows why the valuation of certain tech companies might be fair — even as they rise exponentially.

Slack, a company where Andreessen Horowitz is an investor, makes enterprise software that allows employees in a company to collaborate online and over mobile devices.

During a conversation at the Milken Institute Global Conference in Los Angeles Tuesday, Mr. Horowitz said that Slack’s chief executive, Stewart Butterfield, started the firm as a video game company called Glitch and raised $25 million for it. (Mr. Butterfield was previously a co-founder of Flickr, the photo-sharing company.)

Roughly $18 million later, Mr. Butterfield told Mr. Horowitz that he needed to spend the rest of his Continue reading “Slack’s Story Justifies Sky-High Tech Valuations, Ben Horowitz Says”

Ben's blog 2015-04-06 10:17:00

“I have seen far too many people who upon recognizing today’s gap try very hard to determine what decision has to be made to close it. But today’s gap represents a failure of planning some time in the past.”
– Andy Grove

<a data-width=”300″ data-height=”200″ data-bop-link href=””>Coco | Listen for free at</a><script async src=””></script>

The truth is hard to swallow, and hard to say, too
But I graduated from that bullshit, now I hate school

—Lil Wayne, “CoCo

<a data-width=”300″ data-height=”200″ data-bop-link href=””>My Nigga | Listen for free at</a><script async src=””></script>

“I said that I’mma ride for my motherf*ckin’ n***as
Most likely I’mma die with my finger on the trigger
I’ve been grindin outside all day with my n***as
And I ain’t goin’ in unless I’m with my n***as
My n***as, my n***as
My n***as, my n***as (My muthaf*cking n***as!)
My n***as, my n***as (My n***as, my n***as)
My n***as, my n***as”

—YG, “My N***a”

<a data-width=”300″ data-height=”200″ data-bop-link href=””>Swiss Francs | Listen for free at</a><script async src=””></script>

“The campaign is global – the dollar ain’t what it used to be
Switch a franc for a dollar, you get like 1.3″
—Ryan Leslie, Swiss Francs

One Management Concept


<a data-width=”300″ data-height=”200″ data-bop-link href=””>Rakim – I Ain’t No Joke | Listen for free at</a><script async src=””></script>

“Even if it’s jazz or the quiet storm
I hook a beat up and convert it into hip-hop form”
-Rakim, “I Ain’t No Joke

<a data-width=”300″ data-height=”200″ data-bop-link href=””>Public Enemy – Prophets Of Rage | Listen for free at</a><script async src=””></script>

“You’re quite hostile,
I’ve got a right to be hostile,
my people been persecuted.”
Public Enemy

<a data-width=”300″ data-height=”200″ data-bop-link href=””>Kanye West – Everything I Am | Listen for free at</a>

“Damn, here we go again
People talking shit, but when shit hit the fan
Everything I’m not, made me everything I am”
—Kanye West, “Everything I Am” 

 Audio version of the post

<a data-width=”300″ data-height=”200″ data-bop-link href=””>Drake – 0 To 100 / The Catch Up | Listen for free at</a>

“Real quick, whole squad on that real sh*t
0 to 100, n***a, real quick”
—Drake, “0 to 100/The Catch Up”

For the audio version of this post click here.