Ben Horowitz

Every time your company gives someone a promotion, everyone at that person’s organizational level evaluates the promotion and judges whether merit or political favors yielded it.

The Hard Thing about Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers

“Every chapter of Horowitz’s no-holds-barred book offers hard-won lessons for the CEOs of startups and rapid-growth tech companies. Unlike the pablum that many business book authors deliver, this entrepreneur and VC (Horowitz is a co-founder of Silicon Valley firm Andreessen Horowitz) refuses to sanitize the story: for instance, he admits that CEOs often don’t have great choices and, instead, must find the least-worst option to … [ Read more ]

Ben Horowitz

One of the biggest things that can work against a startup being good is growth. A lot of what makes a company good is common knowledge. If everybody 
in a company knows everything, then generally it is going to be a pretty good place to work. Communication is super high fidelity. Everybody is on the same page, and 99 percent of the work people do … [ Read more ]

Ben Horowitz

Big companies have plenty of great ideas, but they do not innovate because they need a whole hierarchy of people to agree that a new idea is good in order to pursue it. If one smart person figures out something wrong with an idea–often to show off or to consolidate power–that’s usually enough to kill it. This leads to a Can’t Do Culture.

The trouble … [ Read more ]

Hiring Executives: If You’ve Never Done the Job, How Do You Hire Somebody Good?

The biggest difference between being a great functional manager and being a great general manager—and particularly a great CEO—is that as a general manager, you must hire and manage people who are far more competent at their jobs than you would be at their jobs. In fact, often you will have to hire and manage people to do jobs that you have never done. … [ Read more ]

The Right Kind of Ambition

Ben Horowitz believes companies should strive to hire people with the right kind of ambition. Here he aims to clarify why you should care about senior managers having the right kind of ambition and give some tips on how to screen for them in an interview.

How To Minimize Politics in Your Company

Political behavior almost always starts with the CEO. Now you may be thinking: “I hate politics, I’m not political, but my organization is very political. I clearly didn’t cause this.” Sadly, you needn’t be political to create extreme political behavior in your organization. In fact, it’s often the least political CEOs who run the most ferociously political organizations. Apolitical CEOs frequently accidentally encourage intense political … [ Read more ]

How Andreessen Horowitz Evaluates CEOs

No position in a company is more important than the CEO and, as a result, no job gets more scrutiny. Sadly, little of this analysis benefits CEOs as most of the discussions happen behind their backs. This post is a step in the opposite direction. By describing how Andreessen Horowitz evaluates CEOs, I am at the same time describing what I think the job of … [ Read more ]

Why Startups Should Train Their People

Conventional wisdom: startups don’t have the time or dollars to invest in training. Training is only for big companies who can afford it, both cash- and time-wise. Ben Horowitz picks a fight with this conventional wisdom by describing why and how even startups should invest in training. No company operates so flawlessly that the right training at the right time doesn’t make a huge, measurable … [ Read more ]

Ben Horowitz

Some employees make products, some make sales; the CEO makes decisions. Therefore, a CEO can most accurately be measured by the speed and quality of those decisions. Great decisions come from CEOs who display an elite combination of intelligence, logic, and courage.