The Hard Thing About Hard Things

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Ng for your wn personal livelihood as it is fighting for the jobs Body By Simone: The 8-Week Total Body Makeover Plan of 300 peopleThere is practical information how to conduct a review how to live your life how move forwardI can t say strongly if anything I ve said has ever moved youver the years go Les Bijoux, Volume 1 out and buy this bookA couple things I missed my spotn the standby list because I was so engrossed in this book I literally cried during a story f how they dealt with an employe s cancer during a merger I can t take insights from someone who has so little insight about himself Cases in point As a white boy you do not have to call yourself the Jackie Robinson f barbecue You can just say you are good at barbecuing Or say nothing really because it s irrelevant That fact that your grandfather nce WENT to a black neighborhood is not a story Seriously you should not tell people that because IT S NOT A STORY The fact that you bullied your wife into going n her first date with you is kind f a story but it doesn t reflect well n you I wish I could get past these things because Horowitz undoubtedly know much about business than I do But no I m Fearless: Confidence with Essential Oils in 2 Hours out If you got advice from someone you found really annoying even if it was good advice from an interesting perspective would you be able to getver how annoying the person talking your ear ff isThat s basically where I am with this book I think his advice is really interesting and it s clear that a lot f the lessons he s learned throughout the course Wyrąbany chodnik of his career were earned with blood and sweat but ultimately I m not sure I can get past how annoying I found the voice he was writing in He sets up the most epic humblebrag ever first by talking about this Bill Campbell guy and how awesome he is and what a great mentor Bill Campbell is to people like Jeff Bezos Then at the endf the book he introduces Cry Of The Wolf onef the chapters by sharing that Bill Campbell told him he Ben was the best CEO he s ever worked with Nice He uses rap lyrics from the Trinidad James All Gold Everything song to make a really relevant tie in to the topic he s discussing because he likes the lyrics I guess But I really want to take advice from someone who will take a break from bragging about shit to drop some Trinidad James That really makes me feel like this guy s not just any CEO He s a cool CEO He is ne f those people who reads The Art How to Grow Hydroponic Marijuana At Home: A Complete Guide to Growing Most Potent Cannabis Ever! of War and tries too hard to apply it to business situations Isn t it cool that he curses at work Btw profanity can be great when usedn purpose by a CEO to make a point Btw profanity can be great when used La Prise de l'Elysée: Les Campagnes Présidentielles de la Ve République on purpose by a CEO to make a point Btw profanity can be great when usedn purpose by a CEO to make a point Fuck Sorry That s about how many times in the book he makes this point Even though he s supposedly a Kingkiller and done all this ther cool shit by the end f the first book Kvothe has done basically nothingOkay I m drinking too much haterade and all the books I don t like are blurring together I m cutting myself The Ugly Princess off I haven t read many any books that are written by CEO s for CEO s If you are a CEO aspire to be a CEOr really manage anyone you need to read this book This uote is perhaps my favorite ne from the book At the top nobody is there to tell you what to do It s easy to look at some leaders and wonder how they knew what to do to become so successful Are they just really smart The truth is that they likely did what everyone else in that situation has to do get scrappy and just figure it ut and don t give upGreat CEOs face the pain They deal with the sleepless nights the cold sweats and what my friend the great Alfred Chuang legendary cofounder and CEO f BEA Systems calls the torture Whenever I meet a successful CEO I ask them how they did it Mediocre CEOs point to their brilliant strategic moves r their intuitive business sense r a variety f Harvest to Hydrosol: Distill Your Own Exquisite Hydrosols at Home other self congratulatory explanations The great CEOs tend to be remarkably consistent in their answers They all say I didn t uit My second favorite uote from the book speaks tone Hunchback of the greatest challenges all entrepreneurs face worklife balance I like to say work hard play hard But sometimes it s easy to forget the play part Or to buy flowersnce in a while But the cost Buddy of thosen your health The Space Child's Mother Goose or relationships can cost much As a company grows communication becomes its biggest challenge If the employees fundamentally trust the CEO then communication will be vastly efficient than if they don tBen had a lotf great advice The Quotable Hitchens from Alcohol to Zionism: The Very Best of Christopher Hitchens on how to hire well especially executives Looking to avoid reactionary big company execs when you need someone who will come in and get stuff done proactively Looking for people who can thinkn their feet and not make everything a nail for the hammer The Greatest Survival Stories Ever Told: Seventeen Incredible Tales of their prior experience by asking How will your new job differ from your currentne Looking for people who are mission driven and use the team prism instead f the me prism He also had advice about nboarding and trainingHiring for strength instead Cómo ligar con esa chica que tanto te gusta y a la que le gusta otro of lackf weakness I ve definitely seen instances Death Threat of this where a candidate is great in some areas that we really need but isn t great at everything Knowing what you value most is critica This isne f the best books you ll ever read n entrepreneurship and being a CEOIf you are a CEO read this bookIf you aspire to be a CEO a CEOIf you are a CEO read this bookIf you aspire to be a CEO this bookIf you are n a management team and want to understand what a CEO goes through read this bookIf you are interested in entrepreneurship and want to understand it better read this bookOn Friday I spent the entire day with about 50 f the CEOs f companies we are investors in Rand Fishkin f Moz put together a full day Foundry Group CEO Summit It used a format Rand has used before We broke up into five different groups and has sessions Porter Rockwell: A Biography on about ten total topics throughout the day The groups were fluid people wererganized by category alpha and beta but then went to the topic they were interested in There was a moderator for each session the first five minutes was each CEO putting up Satire one topf mind issue in the topic and the then balance Deflower the Boss of the session 75 minutes was the entire group spending between 5 and 15 minutesn each topicIt was awesome We finished with a fun dinner at Pizzeria Locale I drove home with my mind buzzing and arrived around 8pm to see Amy laying Hebrew magic amulets on the coach reading a book So I grabbed by iPad and looked to see what was newn itI d pre rdered Ben s book so it was in slot number ne It felt fitting to start reading itAt 1030 I was finished with it The Hard Thing About Hard Things was the perfect way to cap Being There off a day with the CEOsf the companies we invest inTrust me هذه بلادنا: الجواء on thisne Go buy The Hard Thing About Hard Things right nowBen thanks for writing this and putting 100% Buddha's Brain: The Practical Neuroscience of Happiness, Love, and Wisdom of your heart into it Executive Summary This is a book about Ben Horowitz s war stories Ben Horowitz has good war stories if you care about the narrow spacef Venture Backed fast growth technology startups I m not so sure that they generalize to the point f making a good management guide You might be better ff reading some DruckerFirst the absolute preliminaries Ben Horowitz co founded LoudCloud with Marc Andreessen in 1999 with a plan to do enterprise managed services what has now grown to the SaaS and IaaS space They were technological pioneers in that space They weathered the dot com bubble burst but

It Was Touch And Go 
was touch and go most f their clients were ther tech firms going bankrupt They IPOd in a post bubble environment with a declining market They pivoted to become Opsware a tech services firm ie further up in the backend Witness to the Martyrdom: John Taylor's Personal Account of the Last Days of the Prophet Joseph Smith of the managed services stack They pivoted as a public corporation close to bankruptcy which is a nightmare I wouldn t wishn my worst enemies They weathered NASDA delisting threats mass employee revolts the whole Mad Max scenario So he ffers the prospect f excellent data from the inside Ben also has a reputation in the valley as a no bullshit guy so this is valuableSecond some initial thoughts To the ex. An 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 inHis advice is grounded in anecdotes from his wn 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 f Mosaic the Internet's first popular Web browser This is no polished victory lap; he analyzes issues with no easy answers through his trials incl. ,
Ben Horowitz joined Netscape in the very early days and proceeded to ride the internet wave all the way up all the way down and everywhere in between ver the course f his career In this memoirbusiness advice book he recounts choice moments from his extensive career and shares information he found important along the wayIn a world filled with Rah Rah You Can Do It business books I found the tone The War at Home: One Family's Fight Against PTSD of this book incredibly refreshing Thepening paragraph gets right to the point that it doesn t matter how much you believe in your company when your market has crashed your funding is disappearing and your employees are revolting The key to really being a successful entrepreneur has less to do with your vision and to do with your ability to make good decisions when there are nothing but bad and worse ptions to choose fromHorowitz personal stories were the most interesting part f the book particularly gripping was his tale about desperately trying to raise money right after the NASDA crash when his company was n the verge f bankruptcy and his wife was undergoing a major health crisis He is incredibly honest as he talks about the sheer terror the sleepless nights the nausea and the incredible emotional toll trying to right a failing ship takes n the entrepreneurial soulIn the middle section f the book he Ten Thousand Goddam Cattle: A History of the American Cowboy in Song, Story and Verse offers specific advice drawn from things he has learnedver the years including an interesting discussion Set Theory, Logic and Their Limitations on the difference between hiring for strength insteadf for lack f weakness Much f this section won t be useful for people utside the tech industry however as I don t think issues like how to handle job applications from people who work for your ther CEO friends are likely to apply The Stringbean Murders outside the small worldf Silicon Valley A lot أساطير شعبية من قلب جزيرة العرب: الجزء الرابع of his advice also applies to people who are running companies with hundreds if not thousandsf employeesDespite not being in that world however I still found this book a useful read Given how grueling starting and running a company is it s helpful to get signposts from someone who has been through as much as Horowitz has It s hard for me give this a rating as I haven t really read many Stricken (Asphalt Cowboys, other how to business books I liked the narrative section at the beginningf the book a bit better than the tactical advice section but I think that s probably just how I prefer to get information There are some great lessons in here for non CEOs but I suspect it s even valuable for those who have founded andor run a company I think most relevant andor interesting to me were Hiring for strength rather than lack The Sporty Game of weakness If you re bringing someone newnto the team really think hard about what strengths are most important for the job and find someone who is world class at those things If that person isn t as strong at everything else American Yakuza II on your check list don t sweat it Importancef Inventions That Changed the World: Working Wonders onen Love Onboard: Cupid's Caribbean Cruise ones as a management techniue It s sortf incredible that people can manage without Vertical Mind: Psychological Approaches for Optimal Rock Climbing onen Blood Love one meetings but I guess it happens The big breakthroughr at least the ne that I hadn t put into words before is that it s the employee s meeting rather than the manager s I mean duh but still a good framework for thinking about the meeting As a CEO you don t have time to develop your direct reports I suspect this is really difficult for many CEOs to deal with at first I know it would be tough for me But it makes sense at that level you just have to be able to do the job with minimal to no developmental runwayAnyway for my first management book this ne was fun and readable and very honest Also lots f hip hop uotes for those who roll that way If ne f your executives becomes a big jerk dog you have to send her to the pound Woof Pun intended This was nothing like I expected and not in a particularly good way The subtitle Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers led me to believe this would be a useful book for a budding entrepreneur but the term building is rather misleading This covers a great deal f already very established business issues in great detail such as hiring and firing executives designing an rganization s hierarchy and conducting layoffs I probably should ve DNFd it after the first half but every now and then a useful little tidbit would pop up and I would keep listening audiobooks for nonfiction Always I Think I think essentially book neither my style I meanserious eye roll at that uote above nor provided information I found useful Coupled with my issues with the verall structure I had to go with 1 starThe structure started ut well and I was hopeful Horowitz provided a solid chronological background f his life and business experience through the first three chapters And the next few chapters did in fact provide advice for entrepreneurs DIY, Dammit!: A Practical Guide to Curse-Free Crafting of startup level companies bits like his advice to look for a marketf ne and ignore the thirty guaranteed rejections were very engaging But soon after it became a lost cause Advanced business advice was intermixed with stories from his wn career and the constant timeline jumping between years and companies was ridiculously confusing From there the structure felt completely abandoned in favor f a rambling stream f consciousness about any business related topic that came to mind All in all "it was incredibly difficult to find the motivation to finish this " was incredibly difficult to find the motivation to finish this and I was passively listening to an audiobookthere was very little effort reuiredThere was a great deal Civil rights, tool of communist deception of profanity and casual usagef terms like depression that left a sour taste in my mouth On top f that Horowitz came across as a rather aggressive abrasive person with little regard for how his words and actions might affect those around him I understand that he s facing pressures and challenges f running gigantic businesses that I will never understand particularly during his war periods and he certainly provided examples Cutthroat of when he was thoughtful towardsther people like paying for the medical treatments An Eastern Orthodox Response to Evangelical Claims of the ex CEOf a company he purchased However his approach to The Claiming of the Shrew other people and evident lackf empathy is just not my style nor something I enjoyed listening to for an entire audiobookToo much Summoned of this book was spent in excruciating detailn his wn companies and deals rather than providing advice and information transferable r usable by ther entrepreneurs Perhaps with better structure his intentions would have been clearer eg lesson topic story re This is not a book that I think many general readers would enjoy The first part is about the author s experiences building and running various tech companies and is fairly interesting Most f it though is a huge compendium Baghdad, Mon Amour: A Journey of Exile and Return of short bitsf management advice that gets very tedious It might be Dead Inside of interest if I were looking for a how to book but even so it seems to be based pretty heavilyn the author s wn experience ie I did this I was successful Ergo this is the right thing to do I suppose that is better than taking advice from a failure but I would prefer than ne sample pointI read it based The Taste of Spruce Gum on a positive mention in The Economist I guess they are better at commentary than book recommendations This is the very best business book I have ever readI would estimate that I ve read roughly 1000 I ve loved maybe 100 Thisne is in it s wn category a book that both documents the times about 12 15 years ago and paints a picture f what we can do todayI cannot recommend it highly enough and I cannot say strongly read it If you know me email me at my personal address and I ll buy it for you There are a few things that happen to an entrepreneur I ve faced down the belly She Stoops to Conquer of the no cash people might findut that we are phonies thing a few times but this adds a vocabulary to the emotions that I ve felt Slow Getting Up: A Story of NFL Survival from the Bottom of the Pile off andn all my life These are my people this is what I aspire to be how I aspire to live and the journey I aspire to takeSome will say that the book is for funded startups and I m a hustler for life I say nonsense the struggle scales It is just as scary fighti. A lot Orb of people talk about how great it is to start a business butnly Ben Horowitz is brutally honest about how hard it is to run The Dandy and Lady Penelope oneIn The Hard Thing About Hard Things Ben Horowitz cofounderf Andreessen Horowitz and ne f Silicon Valley's most respected and experienced entrepreneurs draws Multi-Family Therapy on hiswn story National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of North America, 7th Edition of founding running selling buying managing and investing in technology companies toffer essential advice and practical wisdom for navigating the toughest problems business schools don't cover His blog has garnered a devoted following f millions f readers who have come to rely n him to help them run their businesses A lifelong rap

CHARACTERS The Hard Thing About Hard Things

Tent that Ben s stories will generalize they nly apply to fast growth venture backed tech startups that plan to IPO It bears repeating that this is but A History of Prophecy in Israel, Revised and Enlarged one subsetf the technology space the subset that gets a disproportionately large amount Think good thoughts about a pussycat of press coverage and fanfare So muchf the lessons are the kind that you ve probably already One, Two, Three Me osmosed from the Paul GrahamPeter ThielA360ZAVC crowd And if you haven t then you should probably start with Paul Graham and Peter Thiel rather than jumping into this book which has a narrower scope and doesn t make much effort to make clear the context That skay since it s aimed at the specific crowd but just be aware if you re not f that crowd and thinking f reading this bookBen tells the story from the technical CEO perspective which is a fairly rare perspective to get given the depth Sex and Lust in Tijuana: True Sex Stories of the Tjamigos of Ben s experience Note that Paul Grahamnly walked the walk through a 50 million dollar acuisition and never faced the challenges f being the CEO f a publicly traded corporation Peter Thiel did but is ultimately a non technical founder Besides the PayPal mafia is fairly cagey about the war stories around PayPal given the extent Tea for Ruby of the internal fights eg theuster The Life of Saint Philip Neri of Elon Musk from CEO that they want to cover up Muchf the ther available writings are from the VC perspective and lack founder experience Thus this book does give us an pportunity to read the thoughts f a founder CEO all the way through and beyond the IPO stage But it is by no means a masterpiece that stands alone It does ffer an incremental view if you are primarily interested in the narrow niche I only Like the Fingers of the Guy I Hate, Vol. 1 of venture backed startups and serves as a 4 starr 5 star book The Whistle Pig of anecdotes that have potentially generalizable lessons if read critically while fully awaref the appropriate broader context That s a big asterisk though So I will attempt to summarize the core lessons that I personally got ut f the books given that I am not solely interested in this space1 Being CEO in a fast growth venture startup reuires learning at an incredible pace The job description changes almost completely within 6 months given the growth rate There isn t any way to get that experience except networking with founders who have previous lived experience as founder CEOs f large companies This is why for example Zuckerberg had long walks with Jobs A top notch VC firm will definitely help you get that which is why they are so valuable The rotating board circuit in the top Silicon Valley firms will provide this if you can get them to sit n your board Horowitz for example holds Bill Campbell s advice in particularly high esteem You probably can t unless Seuioa Founders Fund Andreessen Horowitz Church Planting Is for Wimps: How God Uses Messed-Up People to Plant Ordinary Churches That Do Extraordinary Things or KPCB is backing you2 At the endf the day you have to make incredibly complex strategic decisions with extremely limited information which creates crazy stressful environments3 To Ben s credit he does focus A Stepdaughter In Heat on good management but mostly doesn t add anything new to the corpus It s mostly the usual good stuff don t do arbitrary things don t publicly shame people don t let people get away with enriching themselves at the company s expense through strong arming don t do short term things that jeopardize the long term and if you do it will rapidly become the culture and will remain permanently broken Again a decent coveragef the standard MBA literature covers this space better4 Being CEO is a lonely job You cannot expect your executive team to understand all your decisions given their limited scope You also cannot spend the time to give them the broader scope all the time since that takes away from doing their wn jobs But if you don t they might stop trusting you It s Catch 22s all the way down5 In addition while the CEO mentor network can help with your emotions they can t help you with the decisions since it will take them weeks to get up to speed n the context You re really Rufus on yourwn n these decisions6 It s also emotionally harder when your final decision is 5545 and you re facing pposition from underlingsyour board that is 9010 the You Are a Miserable Excuse for a Hero!: Book One in the Just Make a Choice! Series other way but lack the appropriate context So you ren the fence leaning ne way but thers are convinced that you re wrong At this point you should just learn to trust yourself since you re the Women and Social Work: Towards a Woman-Centered Practice onlyne with the appropriate context Your board should be experienced than you so they should be aware f this information asymmetry Conseuentially they ll usually just rubberstamp what you decide anyway This doesn t make the decisions any easier to make7 You absolutely need to develop decision making processes that are insulated from your wn emotional rollercoasterinsecurity Ben likes writing things down until the words are convincing The Cowboys on theirwn I do too Whatever your methods are you will absolutely need to rely Sins of Treachery on them since you re going to be alone in the decision making processes and need some check to make sure you reperating logically with no emotional biases So develop those early I personally recommend the LessWrong corpus but you might find that too kooky Your choice8 Ben Horowitz really likes rap and hiphop That s not my thing but whatever I can respect his artistic side Anyone who criticizes him for that aspect f his personality is really missing the pointContext that Ben Horowitz did not mention that I think would have greatly improved the book1 The tides are turning and the days when Venture Capitalists could ust founder CEOs and replace them with adults are permanently gone Zuckerberg and the fact that founders like Horowitz and Thiel now lead top Valley VC firms has permanently changed the landscape So a lot f the fighting that Ben had to do and the perpetual underconfidence that did it with won t apply to future founder CEOs This book adds to the growing corpus helps make your case to not be usted which founder CEOs This book adds to the growing corpus that helps make your case to not be usted which bsoletes that aspect Whos Next? Guess Who! of lessons in the book Ironic I know2 Fast growth tech startups that have a distinctive tech advantage can win despite terribly dysfunctional management When you re in a greenfield technology space you can do whatever you want and still win just from the tech advantage For example Valve gets cited a lot for it s no management structure but they sitn a giant money spigot called Steam that just prints money If I also wned such an il derrick I could probably get away with mandatory sex parties every Thursday This doesn t make the case for workplace Papi's Gift orgies3 There is great talk about how Ben rescued OpsWare from near disaster through their final acuisition by HP for 165 billion dollars But there is not a single mentionf how OpsWare fared post acuisition For all I know and given the next point I suspect this was a shitty deal for HP4 It doesn t help that Ben Horowitz heavily raided the OpsWare executive team to form the core team at his next venture the VC firm Andreessen Horowitz That can t have been good for OpsWare at all5 Ben talks about how you really need your executive team to hit the ground running You can cover for ne executive to get them up to speed but you can t cover for every executive Thus you need to hire top tier talent ften from utside This is great But this also forms a good explanation for why top executives ften seem to be from a different planet move in completely different circles and get paid rders of magnitude But Ben doesn t cover any f these pathologies r how it really is a necessary side effect magnitude But Ben doesn t cover any f these pathologies r how it really is a necessary side effect the realities f the executive responsibilities6 From Ben s raiding The First Socialist Society: A History of the Soviet Union from Within of his previous form for top executive talent I get an increasing suspicion that the top talent moves in tight knit teams that gel well together Your management priority should be to network and form these connections from an early stage definitely before you found yourwn VC backed fast growth startup If you don t have this focus you have to develop it at a late stage in the game and for that you really need top VCs The Coming Revolution in Youth Ministry otherwise you will not be plugged in at all and have no access to these fol. Udingdemotingr firing a loyal friend;whether you should incorporate titles and promotions and how to handle them;if it's OK to hire people from your friend's company;how to manage your File Under: Arson own psychology while the whole company is relyingn you;what to do when smart people are bad employees;why Andreessen Horowitz prefers founder CEOs and how to become ne;whether you should sell your company and how to do itFilled with Horowitz's trademark humor and straight talk and drawing from his personal and ften humbling experiences The Hard Thing About Hard Things is invaluable for veteran entrepreneurs as well as those aspiring to their wn new venture. .
The Hard Thing About Hard Things
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