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Trillion Dollar Coach: The Leadership Playbook of Silicon Valley's Bill Campbell by Eric Schmidt, Jonathan Rosenberg, Alan Eagle
Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, augmented reality, Ben Horowitz, cloud computing, El Camino Real, Erik Brynjolfsson, fear of failure, Jeff Bezos, longitudinal study, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Sand Hill Road, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, speech recognition, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Tim Cook: Apple
Bill had been a transcendent figure in the technology business since moving west in 1983, playing a critical role in the success of Apple, Google, Intuit, and numerous other companies. To say he was tremendously respected would be a gross understatement—loved is more like it. Among the audience that day were dozens of technology leaders—Larry Page. Sergey Brin. Mark Zuckerberg. Sheryl Sandberg. Tim Cook. Jeff Bezos. Mary Meeker. John Doerr. Ruth Porat. Scott Cook. Brad Smith. Ben Horowitz. Marc Andreessen. Such a concentration of industry pioneers and power is rarely seen, at least not in Silicon Valley. We—Jonathan Rosenberg and Eric Schmidt—sat among the audience, making subdued small talk, soft sunshine contrasting with the somber mood. We had both worked closely with Bill in the previous fifteen years, since we had joined Google as the CEO (Eric, in 2001) and the head of products (Jonathan, in 2002).
He coached John Donahoe, former CEO of eBay. He coached former U.S. Vice President Al Gore. He coached Dick Costolo, former CEO of Twitter. He coached Mike McCue, CEO of Flipboard. He coached Donna Dubinsky, CEO of Numenta. He coached Nirav Tolia, CEO of Nextdoor. He coached Lee C. Bollinger, president of Columbia University. He coached Shellye Archambeau, former CEO of MetricStream. He coached Ben Horowitz, partner at venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz. He coached the boys and girls flag football teams at Sacred Heart. He coached Bill Gurley, general partner at venture capital firm Benchmark. He coached NFL Hall of Famer Ronnie Lott. He coached Danny Shader, CEO of Handle Financial. He coached Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google. He coached Dan Rosensweig, CEO of Chegg. He coached Charlie Batch, fellow Homestead native and former quarterback for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
If you are a manager, executive, or any other kind of leader of teams, in any kind of business or organization, you can be more effective and help your team perform better (and be happier) by becoming the coach of that team. Bill’s principles have helped us and many others do that; we believe they can help you, too. There was only one Coach Bill. But this book, we hope, captures his insights in a way that makes them available to current and future leaders, so those leaders can benefit from his wisdom and humanity as much as the people who knew him did. As Ben Horowitz puts it, “You don’t want to channel Bill, because no one can be him. But I learned from him how to get better: a higher level of honesty, a better understanding of people and management.” DON’T F*** IT UP In writing this book, we interviewed dozens of people whose lives have been profoundly touched by Bill in one way or another. Boyhood friends, Columbia teammates, players he coached at Boston College and Columbia, fellow football coaches, colleagues at Kodak, Apple, Claris, GO, and Intuit, business executives he coached, Stanford players who regularly crashed at his Palo Alto home, family, friends, and even kids at Sacred Heart he coached as middle schoolers on the flag football team.
Secrets of Sand Hill Road: Venture Capital and How to Get It by Scott Kupor
activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, Airbnb, Amazon Web Services, asset allocation, barriers to entry, Ben Horowitz, carried interest, cloud computing, corporate governance, cryptocurrency, discounted cash flows, diversification, diversified portfolio, estate planning, family office, fixed income, high net worth, index fund, information asymmetry, Lean Startup, low cost airline, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Myron Scholes, Network effects, Paul Graham, pets.com, price stability, ride hailing / ride sharing, rolodex, Sand Hill Road, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, software as a service, sovereign wealth fund, Startup school, Travis Kalanick, uber lyft, VA Linux, Y Combinator, zero-sum game
A few years into my job, on the eve of finishing an IPO for E.piphany, one of the marketing executives I had worked with to help them prepare for the IPO told me he was leaving to join a new startup called LoudCloud. Cofounded by Marc Andreessen, the already revered cofounder of Netscape, LoudCloud was trying to create a compute utility (much like Amazon Web Services has now created). Among the other cofounders was Ben Horowitz. This was the fall of 1999, and the dot-com excitement was in full swing. I had finally opened my eyes to what was happening around me, and I wanted to be a part of it. When my friend at E.piphany offered me the chance to meet Marc Andreessen and Ben Horowitz and see what they were doing, it was too much to pass up. My wife, who was about five months pregnant at the time with our first child and who was busy closing on the first house we were buying together, didn’t see it quite the same way. She had a pretty good argument, to be honest.
Contrast that to today, where we have about 2.5 billion smartphone users with ubiquitous connectivity to the internet and the potential for that number to double over the next ten years. All of a sudden, businesses that couldn’t work profitably at 50 million users take on a very different look when they can appeal to a mass-market audience. After meeting with Marc, I also interviewed with a number of other members of the team, including cofounder Ben Horowitz. The setting for that interview was more normal, as we met on a Saturday at the company’s offices. But I remember being surprised by Ben’s attire—he was fully decked out in Oakland Raiders garb, including T-shirt, watch, and baseball hat. I now know, after many years of working side by side with Ben, that his attire was completely in character. In fact, to this day, Ben keeps a life-size dummy of a fully outfitted Oakland Raiders football player in his office.
Prior to this time, the entrepreneurial community was more dispersed, and therefore knowledge sharing between members of the community was decidedly limited. But with knowledge comes power, thus the second material driver of the changing balance of power between entrepreneurs and VCs. Something More And that takes us to the founding of Andreessen Horowitz, started in 2009 by Marc Andreessen and Ben Horowitz. What Marc and Ben saw was this fundamental shift in the landscape that would no longer make access to capital alone a sufficient differentiator for VC firms. Rather, in their view, VCs would need to provide something more than simply capital, for that was becoming a commodity, and instead, in this post-2005 era of VC, firms would need to compete for the right to fund entrepreneurs by providing something more.
The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers by Ben Horowitz
Airbnb, Ben Horowitz, business intelligence, cloud computing, financial independence, Google Glasses, hiring and firing, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, new economy, nuclear winter, Peter Thiel, Productivity paradox, random walk, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, six sigma, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs
We lined everything up for a major launch on March 5, 1996, in New York. Then, just two weeks before the launch, Marc, without telling Mike or me, revealed the entire strategy to the publication Computer Reseller News. I was livid. I immediately sent him a short email: To: Marc Andreessen Cc: Mike Homer From: Ben Horowitz Subject : Launch I guess we’re not going to wait until the 5th to launch the strategy. — Ben Within fifteen minutes, I received the following reply. To: Ben Horowitz Cc: Mike Homer, Jim Barksdale (CEO), Jim Clark (Chairman) From: Marc Andreessen Subject: Re: Launch Apparently you do not understand how serious the situation is. We are getting killed killed killed out there. Our current product is radically worse than the competition. We’ve had nothing to say for months.
I’m going to do everything I can to get you guys thrown out of here.” Frank revealed his plan to remove all of our software immediately, demanding all funds to be returned. He was dead serious. Anthony remained calm, looked him in the eye, and said, “Frank, I will do exactly as you say. I’ve heard you loud and clear. This is a terrible moment for you and for us. Allow me to use your phone, and I will call Ben Horowitz and give him your instructions. But before I do, can I ask you one thing? If my company made the commitment to fix these issues, how much time would you give us to do that?” He responded, “Sixty days.” Anthony told him the clock had just started ticking and left his office immediately. It was good news: We had exactly sixty days to fix all the problems and make the deployment work. If we did not, we were done.
Love you always, Sarah. I thank the late, great Mike Homer for his wisdom, help, and love. I thank Andy Rachleff for being a great gentleman and friend. Thank you, Sy Lorne, for keeping me out of trouble. Thank you, Mike Volpi, for being on the board of a very scary company. Finally, thank you, Boochie, Red, and Boogie, for being the best children that I could imagine. ABOUT THE AUTHOR BEN HOROWITZ is the cofounder and general partner of Andreessen Horowitz, a Silicon Valley–based venture capital firm that invests in entrepreneurs building the next generation of leading technology companies. The firm’s investments include Airbnb, GitHub, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. Previously he was cofounder and CEO of Opsware, formerly Loudcloud, which was acquired by Hewlett-Packard for $1.6 billion in 2007.
The End of Jobs: Money, Meaning and Freedom Without the 9-To-5 by Taylor Pearson
"side hustle", Airbnb, barriers to entry, Ben Horowitz, Black Swan, call centre, cloud computing, commoditize, creative destruction, David Heinemeier Hansson, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Frederick Winslow Taylor, future of work, Google Hangouts, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, loss aversion, low skilled workers, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, market fragmentation, means of production, Oculus Rift, passive income, passive investing, Peter Thiel, remote working, Ronald Reagan: Tear down this wall, sharing economy, side project, Silicon Valley, Skype, software as a service, software is eating the world, Startup school, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Stewart Brand, telemarketer, Thomas Malthus, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, unpaid internship, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, web application, Whole Earth Catalog
Your Middle Class existence isn’t just being squeezed by overseas workers, it’s being squeezed by technology being developed just down the street. 2 The Acceleration of Technology All That Is Old Is New Again Venture capitalist firms are famous for their investment theses, the basic premise that fuels their investing strategy. These are simple statements which result in the investment of billions of dollars. Andreessen-Horowitz, a Venture capital firm started by Marc Andreessen and Ben Horowitz, that manages $4 billion as of March 2014, operates on an investment thesis of five words: Software is Eating the World. What is so profound in those five words that it directs how they invest billions of dollars? The trend Andreessen Horowitz is betting on may seem new and disruptive, but it’s just the next step in a well-understood process that’s been happening for hundreds of years: technological innovation.
It’s not clear what to do next, because you exhausted the expertise you gained through education. The problem is solved, instead, by testing new solutions and seeing the reaction. Chaotic is the domain where there is no relationship between cause and effect. We must act in spite of the disorder, to develop ways to survive. In his book, The Hard Thing About Hard Things, venture capitalist and former CEO Ben Horowitz recounts taking his company public during the 2001 crash. In the midst of layoffs and and sales falling off a cliff as the tech bubble crashed, he had to convince investors they should put more money into the company. There’s no guide book for that nor college course. Over the course of the 20th century, we’ve started moving the workforce around the Cynefin graph. The rise of credentialism was the result of a need to train people to operate in the complicated domain.
Google Documents, a cloud based version that fills the same need as Microsoft office, is completely free. Those are three specific examples, but this is true for all the different tools required to start a business. The advantages are profound: Dramatic reduction in risk and cost—you’re often paying just 1% of the cost to get started compared to ten years ago. Dramatic increase in potential—because you can only buy as much as you need, you can buy best-in-class software. Venture capitalist Ben Horowitz, the CEO of the first cloud computing company, Loudcloud, said his customers were paying approximately $150,000 a month in 2000 to run a basic Internet application. Running that same application today in Amazon’s cloud costs about $1,500 a month. If the same decrease had happened to cars and homes, a $50,000 luxury car would cost $500 today and a half million dollar home would cost $5,000. Because technology develops faster than biological systems (like our brains), we’re not very good at understanding these kind of changes, but they happen all the time in the modern world.
The Launch Pad: Inside Y Combinator, Silicon Valley's Most Exclusive School for Startups by Randall Stross
affirmative action, Airbnb, AltaVista, always be closing, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, barriers to entry, Ben Horowitz, Burning Man, business cycle, California gold rush, call centre, cloud computing, crowdsourcing, don't be evil, Elon Musk, high net worth, index fund, inventory management, John Markoff, Justin.tv, Lean Startup, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, medical residency, Menlo Park, Minecraft, minimum viable product, Paul Buchheit, Paul Graham, Peter Thiel, QR code, Richard Feynman, Richard Florida, ride hailing / ride sharing, Sam Altman, Sand Hill Road, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, social graph, software is eating the world, South of Market, San Francisco, speech recognition, Stanford marshmallow experiment, Startup school, stealth mode startup, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, TaskRabbit, transaction costs, Y Combinator
See Mike Cassidy, “Silicon Valley Tour Travels Rough Road,” San Jose Mercury News, October 24, 2011. 2. Marc Andreessen, “Why Software Is Eating the World,” Wall Street Journal, August 20, 2011, http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424053111903480904576512250915629460.html. Andreessen devotes the essay to illustrating the phrase. Andreessen’s partner, Ben Horowitz, mentioned the phrase briefly two months earlier in an essay that challenged the contention that “we are in a new tech bubble,” in an online debate hosted by The Economist: Ben Horowitz, “Against the Motion,” The Economist, June 14, 2011, www.economist.com/debate/days/view/710. 3. PG described his reaction to the Y Combinator function when he first encountered it: “You wouldn’t necessarily have expected such a thing to be possible. We named the company after it partly because we thought it was such a cool concept, and partly as a secret signal to the kind of people we hoped would apply.”
Realize that some VCs you’re going to talk to are going to like you and some VCs aren’t, and whatever reasons they give you are going to be bullshit. They’re going to say, ‘It’s because people can circumvent you,’ or they don’t understand the market, or one of their standard ‘It’s not you, it’s me’ lines. Don’t try and fight them. If they say, ‘You’re circumventable,’ don’t say, ‘Oh, no! But we’re not!’ Because what they really mean is, ‘We don’t like the way you look.’” Knox says, “You said it, but Ben Horowitz, I think, also said it: ‘Listen to the answer, don’t listen to the reason.’ So, no is no. Got it.” “So who knows?” Graham sums up. “Whether any will be interested, what the valuation will be—it’s totally unpredictable. That’s true in general, but most of all with you guys.” The session ends without a cheery note to neutralize the depressive speculation about investors turning Science Exchange away.
Parse and Vidyard each raised about $7 million, and Codecademy raised $10 million in a second round of financing1 to add to the $2.5 million it had raised earlier. The largest sum raised, however, was by Rap Genius, which for its first venture capital round landed $15 million from Andreessen Horowitz. Marc Andreessen composed the announcement, which, fittingly, was posted and annotated on Rap Genius’s Web site. He observed that his partner Ben Horowitz was “a noted rap fanatic,” but more important, Andreessen was gripped by the idea of annotating the entire world, creating “the Internet Talmud.”2 Taking the first steps to expand beyond rap and realize that grand ambition, Rap Genius set up two new sites as online gathering places for those with shared interests in poetry and literature (PoetryBrain.com) and rock ‘n’ roll (StereoIQ.com). As of spring 2013, however, the company had yet to begin collecting revenue.
The Upstarts: How Uber, Airbnb, and the Killer Companies of the New Silicon Valley Are Changing the World by Brad Stone
Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, Amazon Web Services, Andy Kessler, autonomous vehicles, Ben Horowitz, Boris Johnson, Burning Man, call centre, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable:, collaborative consumption, East Village, fixed income, Google X / Alphabet X, housing crisis, inflight wifi, Jeff Bezos, Justin.tv, Kickstarter, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, Mitch Kapor, Necker cube, obamacare, Paul Graham, peer-to-peer, Peter Thiel, race to the bottom, rent control, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ruby on Rails, Sand Hill Road, self-driving car, semantic web, sharing economy, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, South of Market, San Francisco, Startup school, Steve Jobs, TaskRabbit, Tony Hsieh, transportation-network company, Travis Kalanick, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, ubercab, Y Combinator, Y2K, Zipcar
“I was like, ‘Okay, I’m ready.’”12 Hoffman could seize the Airbnb opportunity in part because the other VC firms Chesky approached still didn’t get the concept and weren’t able to look beyond the obvious risks—that someone could get hurt in an Airbnb, or an apartment could get ransacked, or a host could stash a secret video camera somewhere. They couldn’t see a company that might end up appealing not just to twenty-somethings from Europe but to real adults, even retired couples, who were seeking more authentic experiences when they traveled. Marc Andreessen, the Netscape founder and investor, had just started his own venture capital firm with partner Ben Horowitz when he passed on Airbnb’s Series A round of funding. Andreessen liked to say that the goal of their firm, Andreessen Horowitz, was to identify the fifteen or so tech startups every year that actually mattered and back as many of them as possible.13 The firm took a long look at Airbnb and whiffed. “Marc struggled with the idea that this would be mainstream,” Chesky says. Andreessen Horowitz would rectify the oversight the following year and lead the Series B, a less lucrative but still hugely profitable investment.
Kalanick, the combative CEO who had something to prove in the wake of his past business failures, and Gurley, the seasoned investor who intimately understood the benefits and challenges of building an internet marketplace, were a potent combination. With fresh capital in the bank, they agreed, Uber needed to do one thing right away—expand out of San Francisco and into every major city in the world. PART II EMPIRE BUILDING CHAPTER 6 THE WARTIME CEO Airbnb Fights on Two Fronts The Peacetime CEO does not resemble the Wartime CEO. —Ben Horowitz, Ben’s Blog1 The pall hanging over Silicon Valley from the financial crisis started to lift in 2011. Facebook led the way in January, raising half a billion dollars from an investor group headed by Goldman Sachs after announcing that it had signed up more than five hundred million users. The professional networking site LinkedIn went public in May, scoring a four-billion-dollar market capitalization.
A few other firms expressed interest, but Kalanick’s clear favorite was the newest sugar daddy on Menlo Park’s Sand Hill Road: Andreessen Horowitz, the two-year-old firm that a few months before had led the Series B round in Airbnb, making the home-sharing startup a unicorn. The attraction for Kalanick was the same as it had been for Brian Chesky. The firm was led by entrepreneurs Marc Andreessen and Ben Horowitz and known for offering favorable terms at muscular valuations. Like Chesky, Kalanick wanted to enlist the services of Andreessen’s newest partner, Jeff Jordan, an expert in the peculiar dynamics of online marketplaces. At first, Andreessen Horowitz was the most aggressive pursuer, offering to value the startup at more than $300 million. But then Marc Andreessen, the Netscape co-founder, changed his mind and, at dinner with Kalanick, told him that Uber’s financials didn’t yet support such a rich valuation and changed it to $220 million, according to a report in Vanity Fair.12 Though disappointed, Kalanick tentatively agreed to the new terms but then felt further blindsided when he saw the fine print.
Disrupted: My Misadventure in the Start-Up Bubble by Dan Lyons
activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, Airbnb, Ben Horowitz, Bernie Madoff, bitcoin, call centre, cleantech, cloud computing, corporate governance, disruptive innovation, dumpster diving, fear of failure, Filter Bubble, Golden Gate Park, Google Glasses, Googley, Gordon Gekko, hiring and firing, Jeff Bezos, Lean Startup, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, minimum viable product, new economy, Paul Graham, pre–internet, quantitative easing, ride hailing / ride sharing, Rosa Parks, Sand Hill Road, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, Snapchat, software as a service, South of Market, San Francisco, Stanford prison experiment, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, telemarketer, tulip mania, uber lyft, Y Combinator, éminence grise
Venture capitalists will insist that they don’t engage in “pattern matching” and are not just looking for people who look like Mark Zuckerberg. But they are, and this makes perfect sense, because that’s what mom-and-pop investors want to buy. Investors in the public markets want to get in on the ground floor of the next Facebook. So that’s what venture capitalists in Silicon Valley try to make for them, selecting “college dropouts with insane ideas going after tiny markets with no idea how to monetize,” as venture capitalist Ben Horowitz of Andreessen Horowitz once put it. At one time, venture capitalists who invested in a tech start-up with a young founder would insist on bringing in “adult supervision,” meaning an experienced executive to help build the business. But today the conventional wisdom among venture capitalists is that it’s better to leave a young founder in charge and give him (and it’s almost always a him) free rein.
In 2005 Andreessen co-founded Ning, a social network that fizzled out. At some point it seems to have dawned on Andreessen that the people who make the most money in Silicon Valley are not the ones who found companies or run them, but rather the ones who put up the capital. (At Netscape, he reportedly made as much as $100 million, while his investor and co-founder, Jim Clark, made $2 billion.) In 2009 Andreessen and his friend and former business partner Ben Horowitz launched Andreessen Horowitz, or a16z, as it is known. (The name is a “numeronym,” a way of shortening a word or phrase by using a number to represent the number of letters that have been left out. A, then sixteen letters, then Z. Tech geeks love stuff like this.) Andreessen and Horowitz developed a reputation for overpaying to get into deals, offering valuations that I’ve been told were 30 percent higher than what other venture capitalists would pay.
Horowitz wrote a book about his experience as an entrepreneur and posed for a Fortune magazine cover with his hands wrapped like a boxer, though he apparently does not actually box. He hangs out with rappers and spouts rap lyrics, cultivating a streetwise image—though in fact he was born in London and grew up in Berkeley, and his father is David Horowitz, a well-known author and conservative commentator. As the tech blog Valleywag summed it up, “Ben Horowitz Is Desperate for You to Think He’s Cool.” Andreessen and Wennmachers assiduously court the press. Andreessen has even invested in online publications that cover the tech industry, like Business Insider and Pando Daily. The result has been mostly favorable coverage for Andreessen Horowitz and the start-ups in its investment portfolio. When Andreessen put money into Rockmelt, a middling start-up with the lame idea of developing a new kind of web browser, the tech press went into a frenzy; a few years later, when Rockmelt was sold for scrap to Yahoo, nobody held Andreessen’s feet to the fire.
Tools of Titans: The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers by Timothy Ferriss
Airbnb, Alexander Shulgin, artificial general intelligence, asset allocation, Atul Gawande, augmented reality, back-to-the-land, Ben Horowitz, Bernie Madoff, Bertrand Russell: In Praise of Idleness, Black Swan, blue-collar work, Boris Johnson, Buckminster Fuller, business process, Cal Newport, call centre, Charles Lindbergh, Checklist Manifesto, cognitive bias, cognitive dissonance, Colonization of Mars, Columbine, commoditize, correlation does not imply causation, David Brooks, David Graeber, diversification, diversified portfolio, Donald Trump, effective altruism, Elon Musk, fault tolerance, fear of failure, Firefox, follow your passion, future of work, Google X / Alphabet X, Howard Zinn, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, Jeff Bezos, job satisfaction, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, John Markoff, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, Lao Tzu, lateral thinking, life extension, lifelogging, Mahatma Gandhi, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Mason jar, Menlo Park, Mikhail Gorbachev, MITM: man-in-the-middle, Nelson Mandela, Nicholas Carr, optical character recognition, PageRank, passive income, pattern recognition, Paul Graham, peer-to-peer, Peter H. Diamandis: Planetary Resources, Peter Singer: altruism, Peter Thiel, phenotype, PIHKAL and TIHKAL, post scarcity, post-work, premature optimization, QWERTY keyboard, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, rent-seeking, Richard Feynman, risk tolerance, Ronald Reagan, selection bias, sharing economy, side project, Silicon Valley, skunkworks, Skype, Snapchat, social graph, software as a service, software is eating the world, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, superintelligent machines, Tesla Model S, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas L Friedman, Wall-E, Washington Consensus, Whole Earth Catalog, Y Combinator, zero-sum game
If the person closest to the deal has a very strong degree of positive commitment and enthusiasm about it, then we should do that investment, even if everybody else in the room thinks it’s the stupidest thing they’ve ever heard . . . however, you don’t get to do that completely on your own without stress-testing. If necessary, we create a ‘red team.’ We’ll formally create the countervailing force to argue the other side.” TF: To avoid the potential problem of newer hires getting battered more than senior folks, Marc and his founding partner, Ben Horowitz, make a point of smashing each other. “Whenever [Ben] brings in a deal, I just beat the shit out of it. I might think it’s the best idea I’ve ever heard of, but I’ll just trash the crap out of it and try to get everybody else to pile on. And then, at the end of it, if he’s still pounding the table saying, ‘No, no, this is the thing . . .’ then we say we’re all in. We’re all behind you. . . .
Here are the top 17—everything with 3 or more mentions—in descending order of frequency: Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu (5 mentions) Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand (4) Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari (4) Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse (4) The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss (4) The Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande (4) Dune by Frank Herbert (3) Influence by Robert Cialdini (3) Stumbling on Happiness by Daniel Gilbert (3) Superintelligence by Nick Bostrom (3) Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman! by Richard P. Feynman (3) The 4-Hour Body by Tim Ferriss (3) The Bible (3) The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz (3) The War of Art by Steven Pressfield (3) Watchmen by Alan Moore (3) Zero to One by Peter Thiel with Blake Masters (3) Enjoy! * * * Adams, Scott: Influence (Robert B. Cialdini) Altucher, James: Jesus’ Son: Stories (Denis Johnson), The Kite Runner; A Thousand Splendid Suns (Khaled Hosseini), Antifragile; The Black Swan; Fooled by Randomness (Nassim Nicholas Taleb), Brain Rules (John Medina), Outliers (Malcolm Gladwell), Freakonomics (Steven D.
Grove), Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future (Peter Thiel with Blake Masters), Walt Disney: The Triumph of the American Imagination (Neal Gabler), Schulz and Peanuts: A Biography (David Michaelis), The Wizard of Menlo Park: How Thomas Alva Edison Invented the Modern World (Randall E. Stross), Born Standing Up: A Comic’s Life (Steve Martin), The Hard Thing About Hard Things (Ben Horowitz) Arnold, Patrick: Jack Kennedy: Elusive Hero (Chris Matthews), From Chocolate to Morphine: Everything You Need to Know About Mind-Altering Drugs (Andrew Weil), Guns, Germs, and Steel (Jared Diamond) Attia, Peter: Mistakes Were Made (but Not by Me): Why We Justify Foolish Beliefs, Bad Decisions, and Hurtful Acts (Carol Tavris and Elliot Aronson), Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman!
Dogfight: How Apple and Google Went to War and Started a Revolution by Fred Vogelstein
Apple II, Ben Horowitz, cloud computing, commoditize, disintermediation, don't be evil, Dynabook, Firefox, Google Chrome, Google Glasses, Googley, John Markoff, Jony Ive, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Peter Thiel, pre–internet, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, software patent, spectrum auction, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Tim Cook: Apple, web application, zero-sum game
With a TV you have to be at home—to be sitting still—to watch it.” Andreessen sounds giddy when he talks about all this. He has been thinking about these issues and watching them evolve for more than twenty years, and he has been doing it from one of the best vantage points in the world—with the access to people and information only available to a select few Silicon Valley insiders. At the moment he and his partner, Ben Horowitz, are known as two of the top VCs in technology. But many have forgotten that Andreessen was also the cocreator of the first Internet browser, Mosaic, which became Netscape Communications in 1994. He helped sell it to America Online for $4 billion in 1999—despite losing the browser wars to Microsoft. Then in 2000 he cofounded one of the first cloud-computing companies, Loudcloud. It nearly failed when the Internet bubble popped.
and; YouTube, see YouTube Google Maps; Android and; on iPhone; raw data from Google search; Android and; on iPhone; on Sidekick Go On Gore, Al gorilla glass Gosling, James Gould, Gordon GPS GrandCentral Communication graphical user interface Gray, Elisha GRiDPad Grignon, Andy; career of; competitive streak of; on Forstall and Fadell; iPhone development and; iPhone launch and; Jobs and Guardian, The, newspaper Gumstix boards Gundotra, Vic; at Google; Google Voice and; Jobs and; at Microsoft Hand, Learned Hawkins, Jeff HBO Heinen, Nancy Hertzfeld, Andy Hewitt, Joe Hewlett-Packard (HP) Homeland Horowitz, Ben Horowitz, Steve Hotelling, Steve House of Cards Howe, Elias, Jr. HTC; Apple’s lawsuit against; Evo 4G; Microsoft and; Nexus; One & Co. acquired by; in Open Handset Alliance; Sense; T-Mobile G1 Hulu Huppi, Brian Hurwitz, Mitchell iAd IBM iBooks iChat iMac Infineon Ingle, Laura Intel; Microsoft and Internet; Android and; Apple’s radio service; broadband; bubble; smartphones and Internet browsers; Chrome; Mosaic; Netscape In the Plex (Levy) IntoNow iOS software by Apple iPad; and Apple v.
The Middleman Economy: How Brokers, Agents, Dealers, and Everyday Matchmakers Create Value and Profit by Marina Krakovsky
Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, Al Roth, Ben Horowitz, Black Swan, buy low sell high, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable:, Credit Default Swap, cross-subsidies, crowdsourcing, disintermediation, diversified portfolio, experimental economics, George Akerlof, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, income inequality, index fund, information asymmetry, Jean Tirole, Joan Didion, Kenneth Arrow, Lean Startup, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, market microstructure, Martin Wolf, McMansion, Menlo Park, Metcalfe’s law, moral hazard, multi-sided market, Network effects, patent troll, Paul Graham, Peter Thiel, pez dispenser, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Metcalfe, Sand Hill Road, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, social graph, supply-chain management, TaskRabbit, The Market for Lemons, too big to fail, trade route, transaction costs, two-sided market, Uber for X, uber lyft, ultimatum game, Y Combinator
Mike Maples didn’t come up with the idea of investing in ventures that are nonconsensus and right, and he is certainly not the only venture capitalist to think this way. Marc Andreessen, perhaps the best-known VC working today, plots start-ups on a two-by-two matrix in which VCs should aim for the quadrant corresponding to nonconsensus and successful.28 It should go without saying that you cannot know for sure which ones will be successful, and even the best VCs are often wrong, but you do know which are nonconsensus. Andreessen and partner Ben Horowitz picked up much of their investment philosophy, probably including this idea, from investment advisor Andy Rachleff, a former partner at Benchmark Capital and founder of Wealthfront, a firm that uses technology to transform the investment advisory business.29 Rachleff, in turn, credits his “investment idol,” Howard Marks, with this framework.30 When the entrepreneur-turned-VC Peter Thiel asks, “What important truth do very few people agree with you on?”
See Irina Patterson and Candice Arnold, “Seed Capital from Angel Investors: Mike Maples, Founder and Managing Partner, Floodgate (Part 3),” One Million by One Million Blog, July 14, 2010, retrieved from http://www.sramanamitra.com/2010/07/14/seed-capital-from-angel-investors-mike-maples-founder-and-managing-partner-floodgate-part-3/. 26.Interview with Mike Maples Jr., September 17, 2014. 27.Paul Graham, “A Unified Theory of VC Suckage,” PaulGraham.com, March 2005, retrieved from http://www.paulgraham.com/venturecapital.html. 28.Russ Roberts, “Marc Andreessen on Venture Capital and the Digital Future,” EconTalk, May 19, 2014, retrieved from http://www.econtalk.org/archives/2014/05/marc_andreessen.html. 29.Ben Horowitz mentions Rachleff’s influence in an interview with Stanford engineering professor Tom Byers, “Disrupting the Venture Capital Industry,” Stanford Technology Ventures Program, Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders Series, November 19, 2014, retrieved from http://ecorner.stanford.edu/authorMate rialInfo.html?mid=3438. 30.Andy Rachleff, “Demystifying Venture Capital Economics, Part I,” Wealthfront Blog, June 19, 2014, retrieved from https://blog.wealthfront.com/venture-capital-economics/. 31.
The Airbnb Story: How Three Ordinary Guys Disrupted an Industry, Made Billions...and Created Plenty of Controversy by Leigh Gallagher
Airbnb, Amazon Web Services, barriers to entry, Ben Horowitz, Bernie Sanders, cloud computing, crowdsourcing, don't be evil, Donald Trump, East Village, Elon Musk, housing crisis, iterative process, Jeff Bezos, Jony Ive, Justin.tv, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, medical residency, Menlo Park, Network effects, Paul Buchheit, Paul Graham, performance metric, Peter Thiel, RFID, Sam Altman, Sand Hill Road, Saturday Night Live, sharing economy, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, South of Market, San Francisco, Startup school, Steve Jobs, TaskRabbit, the payments system, Tony Hsieh, Travis Kalanick, uber lyft, Y Combinator, yield management
He calls his practice “going to the source”: instead of talking to ten people about a particular topic and then synthesizing all their advice, he reasons, spend half of your time learning who the definitive source is, identifying the one person who can tell you more about that one thing than anyone else—and then go only to that person. “If you pick the right source, you can fast-forward,” he says. He’d already begun this process with Airbnb’s earliest advisers: first, the weekly office-hours sessions with Michael Seibel and Y Combinator’s Paul Graham; then, breakfasts at Rocco’s with Sequoia’s Greg McAdoo. Airbnb’s next investment rounds unlocked access to Silicon Valley icons like Reid Hoffman, Marc Andreessen, and Ben Horowitz, all seen as gurus when it came to the art of building tech companies in Silicon Valley. The more successful Airbnb became, the more top people the founders had access to, and as it began to get bigger, Chesky started seeking out sources for specific areas of study: Apple’s Jony Ive on design, LinkedIn’s Jeff Weiner and Disney’s Bob Iger on management, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg on product, and Sheryl Sandberg on international expansion and on the importance of empowering women leaders.
It helped Chesky make the decision to build Airbnb’s own European business in order to compete with the Samwers. In the more recent crisis around the widespread discriminatory behavior on the Airbnb platform—even bigger in some ways than the EJ crisis—he pulled in outside sources like former attorney general Eric Holder and ACLU veteran Laura Murphy, but he also went to Andreessen Horowitz cofounder Ben Horowitz and his wife, Felicia, as well as to TaskRabbit CEO Stacy Brown-Philpot. Those closest to him praise Chesky for his vision. “You take a picture of Brian’s mind, [and] he’s in 2030 or 2040 already,” says Lisa Dubost, one of the company’s first employees, who worked on culture and then moved to the business-travel team before leaving the company in 2016 to move to Europe to be with her family.
Hacking Growth: How Today's Fastest-Growing Companies Drive Breakout Success by Sean Ellis, Morgan Brown
Airbnb, Amazon Web Services, barriers to entry, Ben Horowitz, bounce rate, business intelligence, business process, correlation does not imply causation, crowdsourcing, DevOps, disruptive innovation, Elon Musk, game design, Google Glasses, Internet of things, inventory management, iterative process, Jeff Bezos, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, Lean Startup, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, market design, minimum viable product, Network effects, Paul Graham, Peter Thiel, Ponzi scheme, recommendation engine, ride hailing / ride sharing, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, Snapchat, software as a service, Steve Jobs, subscription business, Travis Kalanick, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, working poor, Y Combinator, young professional
PRODUCT MANAGER The ways in which businesses organize product development teams vary, and this will affect the personnel who are assigned to work on a growth team, and may also determine how the team fits into the organizational structure of a company, which we’ll discuss more later in the chapter. In general product managers oversee how the product and its various features are brought to life. As venture capitalist Ben Horowitz put it simply, “A good product manager is the CEO of the product.”4 In most types of company, the role is well suited to assisting in the growth hacking mission of breaking down the silos between departments and identifying good candidates in engineering and marketing to help start the growth team. This is in large part because product managers’ experience with customer surveying and interviewing, as well as with product development, allows them to make vital contributions to the idea generation and experimentation process.
Adam M. Kleinbaum, Toby E. Stuart, and Michael L. Tushman, “Communication (and Coordination?) in a Modern, Complex Organization,” Harvard Business School’s Working Knowledge blog, July 31, 2008, hbswk.hbs.edu/item/communication-and-coordination-in-a-modern-complex-organization. 3. Ranjay Gulati, “Silo Busting: How to Execute on the Promise of Customer Focus,” Harvard Business Review, May 2007. 4. Ben Horowitz, “Good Product Manager/Bad Product Manager,” Andreessen Horowitz website (no exact date given), a16z.com/2012/06/15/good-product-managerbad-product-manager/. 5. Noah Kagan, “What Happens After You Get Shot Down by Mark Zuckerberg?” Fast Company, July 24, 2014, fastcompany.com/3033427/hit-the-ground-running/what-happens-after-you-get-shot-down-by-mark-zuckerberg. 6. Harry McCracken, “Inside Mark Zuckerberg’s Bold Plan for the Future of Facebook,” Fast Company, Long Read/Behind the Brand (blog), November 16, 2015. 7.
The Startup Way: Making Entrepreneurship a Fundamental Discipline of Every Enterprise by Eric Ries
activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, basic income, Ben Horowitz, Black-Scholes formula, call centre, centralized clearinghouse, Clayton Christensen, cognitive dissonance, connected car, corporate governance, DevOps, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, fault tolerance, Frederick Winslow Taylor, global supply chain, index card, Jeff Bezos, Kickstarter, Lean Startup, loss aversion, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, means of production, minimum viable product, moral hazard, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, obamacare, peer-to-peer, place-making, rent-seeking, Richard Florida, Sam Altman, Sand Hill Road, secular stagnation, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, six sigma, skunkworks, Steve Jobs, the scientific method, time value of money, Toyota Production System, Uber for X, universal basic income, web of trust, Y Combinator
HOW THE STARTUP WAY ENCOURAGES CULTURAL ACCLIMATION True success at adopting the methods of the Startup Way means more than just applying them to already-existing products and processes in an organization. The most impact happens when the ideas and way of working become deeply baked into a company’s DNA. Innovation is no longer being applied only to specific projects or even divisions—it’s just, as Viv Goldstein at GE puts it, “the way we work now.” The new way of working becomes, in other words, part of the culture. Ben Horowitz, co-founder of the VC firm Andreessen Horowitz, defines it clearly: “Dogs at work, yoga, organic food—that’s not culture. [Culture] is the collective behavior of everyone in the organization. It’s what people do when left to their own devices. It’s the organization’s way of doing things.”14 I want to share a few more stories that illustrate the Startup Way of thinking at low levels in the organization.
Ibid. 9. wsj.com/articles/ge-does-away-with-employee-ratings-1469541602. 10. Matt Mullenweg spoke at the 2013 Lean Startup Conference in San Francisco; youtube.com/watch?v=adN2eQHd1dU. 11. obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/blog/2013/05/15/rfp-ez-delivers-savings-taxpayers-new-opportunities-small-business. 12. ads.18f.gov. 13. seattlechildrens.org/about/seattle-childrens-improvement-and-innovation-scii/. 14. a16z.com/2017/03/04/culture-and-revolution-ben-horowitz-toussaint-louverture/. 15. currentbyge.com/company. 16. fastcompany.com/3069240/how-asana-built-the-best-company-culture-in-tech. 17. Ibid. 18. give.intuitlabs.com. CHAPTER 9 1. These can be things as simple as the percentage of customers who preorder an MVP, the percentage of customers who agree to take part in a training program, or the percentage of customers who use an IT system (if it’s an internal project). 2. quora.com/What-was-it-like-to-make-an-early-investment-in-Twitter-What-was-the-dynamic-like; nbcnews.com/id/42577600/ns/business-us_business/t/real-history-twitter-isnt-so-short-sweet/#.WKZpShCOlaU. 3. medium.com/@dbinetti/innovation-options-a-framework-for-evaluating-innovation-in-larger-organizations-968bd43f59f6. 4. paulgraham.com/growth.html. 5.
The Messy Middle: Finding Your Way Through the Hardest and Most Crucial Part of Any Bold Venture by Scott Belsky
23andMe, 3D printing, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, Anne Wojcicki, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, Ben Horowitz, bitcoin, blockchain, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable:, commoditize, correlation does not imply causation, cryptocurrency, delayed gratification, DevOps, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, endowment effect, hiring and firing, Inbox Zero, iterative process, Jeff Bezos, knowledge worker, Lean Startup, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, minimum viable product, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, NetJets, Network effects, new economy, old-boy network, pattern recognition, Paul Graham, ride hailing / ride sharing, Silicon Valley, slashdot, Snapchat, Steve Jobs, subscription business, TaskRabbit, the medium is the message, Travis Kalanick, Uber for X, uber lyft, Y Combinator, young professional
These updates almost always start with “Things are going really well!!” and then, buried on page 5 of the update, is the news that the team has been pared down to two people, they’ve had to move out of their coworking space, and they have five months of funding left before they stop paying salaries. “But Forbes gave us a great write-up last month!” It’s the business equivalent of the grimacing emoji. As Ben Horowitz, founder and general partner of venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, once explained in a blog on the topic, “The truth about telling the truth is that it does not come easy for anyone. It’s not natural or organic. The natural thing to do is tell people what they want to hear. That’s what makes everybody feel good . . . at least for the moment. Telling the truth, on the other hand, is hard work and requires skill.”
average life expectancy: “Medicine and Health,” Stratford Hall, accessed March 22, 2018, www.stratfordhall.org/educational-resources/teacher-resources/medicine-health. 40 percent of people: “Death in Early America,” Digital History, December 30, 2010, https://web.archive.org/web/20101230203658/http://www.digitalhistory.uh.edu/historyonline/usdeath.cfm. DON’T SEEK POSITIVE FEEDBACK OR CELEBRATE FAKE WINS AT THE EXPENSE OF HARD TRUTHS. “The truth about telling”: Ben Horowitz, “How to Tell the Truth,” Andreessen Horowitz, accessed March 22, 2018, https://a16z.com/2017/07/27/how-to-tell-the-truth. FRICTION BRINGS US CLOSER. the case for friction: Hugo Macdonald, “Friction Builds Fires, Moves Mountains, and Makes Babies—And May Be the Key to Social Progress,” Quartz, March 29, 2017, https://qz.com/944434/friction-builds-fires-moves-mountains-and-makes-babies-and-may-be-the-key-to-social-progress/.
Digital Gold: Bitcoin and the Inside Story of the Misfits and Millionaires Trying to Reinvent Money by Nathaniel Popper
4chan, Airbnb, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, banking crisis, Ben Horowitz, bitcoin, blockchain, Burning Man, buy and hold, capital controls, Colonization of Mars, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, David Graeber, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, Extropian, fiat currency, Fractional reserve banking, Jeff Bezos, Julian Assange, Kickstarter, life extension, litecoin, lone genius, M-Pesa, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Occupy movement, peer-to-peer, peer-to-peer lending, Peter Thiel, Ponzi scheme, price stability, QR code, Ross Ulbricht, Satoshi Nakamoto, Silicon Valley, Simon Singh, Skype, slashdot, smart contracts, Startup school, stealth mode startup, the payments system, transaction costs, tulip mania, WikiLeaks
In the spring of 2013, Balaji was quietly assembling a team of top engineers to build a Bitcoin mining chip that would go beyond anything that had been contemplated before—rolled out in data centers built exclusively for the 21e6 machines. If the chips worked as promised they would mint money for investors. This was a simple enough proposition, and the price of Bitcoin was rising fast enough that it attracted interest from venture capitalists who were still queasy about tying their firms to Bitcoin. Both of the founders of Andreessen Horowitz, Marc Andreessen and Ben Horowitz, signed up to put some of their own personal money into Balaji’s project, as did several of the original founders of PayPal, including Peter Thiel and David Sacks. Soon enough, Balaji was closing in on a $5 million fund-raising round. The Bitcoin arms race had begun. THE TYPE OF chip was not the only thing about Bitcoin mining that had changed since late 2010. Over the course of 2011 and 2012, more and more users were joining collectives that pooled their mining power.
The gathering also served as a stark reminder of how Silicon Valley had, more broadly, emerged as the big winner after the financial crisis. With Wall Street in retreat, these were the new billionaire power brokers, flying around the country in private jets. On Saturday night Ehrsam was invited to an exclusive party hosted by Andreessen Horowitz. At the party, which was attended by celebrities like Ashton Kutscher, Ehrsam talked about Bitcoin with Ben Horowitz and the rapper, Nas, whom Horowitz had brought on as an investor in Coinbase. The big names like Horowitz at SXSW reiterated what world-changing new technologies, such as Bitcoin, the tech industry was helping to bring to the world. In an onstage conversation between Nas and Horowitz, Horowitz called Bitcoin “the internet of money,” with the potential to help billions of people. Andreessen Horowitz had recently closed a $1.5 billion fund, and the partners said privately that they wanted to spend as much as $200 million of that on Bitcoin and blockchain startups, if they could find deserving ones.
Think Like a Rocket Scientist by Ozan Varol
Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, airport security, Albert Einstein, Amazon Web Services, Andrew Wiles, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, Arthur Eddington, autonomous vehicles, Ben Horowitz, Cal Newport, Clayton Christensen, cloud computing, Colonization of Mars, dark matter, delayed gratification, different worldview, discovery of DNA, double helix, Elon Musk, fear of failure, functional fixedness, Gary Taubes, George Santayana, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, Inbox Zero, index fund, Isaac Newton, James Dyson, Jeff Bezos, job satisfaction, Johannes Kepler, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, late fees, lateral thinking, lone genius, longitudinal study, Louis Pasteur, low earth orbit, Marc Andreessen, Mars Rover, meta analysis, meta-analysis, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, multiplanetary species, obamacare, Occam's razor, out of africa, Peter Thiel, Pluto: dwarf planet, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman: Challenger O-ring, Ronald Reagan, Sam Altman, Schrödinger's Cat, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Simon Singh, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Thomas Malthus, Upton Sinclair, Vilfredo Pareto, We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters, Whole Earth Catalog, women in the workforce, Yogi Berra
“A real advantage is conferred on people who can do things that are first-order negative, second-order positive,” Parrish writes.39 These people delay gratification in a world that has become obsessed with it. They don’t quit simply because their rocket blew up on the launch pad, they had a bad quarter, or their audition fell flat. They reorient their calibration for the long term, not for the short. When it comes to creating long-lasting change, there are no hacks or silver bullets, as venture capitalist Ben Horowitz says. You’ll need to use a lot of lead bullets instead.40 Inputs over Outputs Think back on the failures you’ve had in your life. If you’re like most people, you’ll picture the bad outcomes—the business that never took off, the penalty kick you missed, or the job interview you bombed. Poker players, as Annie Duke explains in Thinking in Bets, refer to this tendency to “equate the quality of a decision with the quality of its outcome” as “resulting.”41 But as Duke argues, the quality of an input isn’t the same as the quality of the output.
Shane Parrish, “Your First Thought Is Rarely Your Best Thought: Lessons on Thinking,” Farnam Street (blog), February 2018, https://fs.blog/2018/02/first-thought-not-best-thought. 38. Chris Hadfield, An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth: What Going to Space Taught Me About Ingenuity, Determination, and Being Prepared for Anything (New York: Little, Brown and Company, 2013). 39. Parrish, “Your First Thought.” 40. Ben Horowitz, “Lead Bullets,” Andreessen Horowitz, November 13, 2011, https://a16z.com/2011/11/13/lead-bullets. 41. Annie Duke, Thinking in Bets: Making Smarter Decisions When You Don’t Have All the Facts (New York: Portfolio/Penguin, 2018). 42. Lars Lefgren, Brennan Platt, and Joseph Price, “Sticking with What (Barely) Worked: A Test of Outcome Bias,” Management Science 61 (2015): 1121–1136. 43. James D.
The Code: Silicon Valley and the Remaking of America by Margaret O'Mara
"side hustle", A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, accounting loophole / creative accounting, affirmative action, Airbnb, AltaVista, Amazon Web Services, Apple II, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, autonomous vehicles, back-to-the-land, barriers to entry, Ben Horowitz, Berlin Wall, Bob Noyce, Buckminster Fuller, Burning Man, business climate, Byte Shop, California gold rush, carried interest, clean water, cleantech, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, commoditize, computer age, continuous integration, cuban missile crisis, Danny Hillis, DARPA: Urban Challenge, deindustrialization, different worldview, don't be evil, Donald Trump, Doomsday Clock, Douglas Engelbart, Dynabook, Edward Snowden, El Camino Real, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, Frank Gehry, George Gilder, gig economy, Googley, Hacker Ethic, high net worth, Hush-A-Phone, immigration reform, income inequality, informal economy, information retrieval, invention of movable type, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, Joan Didion, job automation, job-hopping, John Markoff, Julian Assange, Kitchen Debate, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, market bubble, mass immigration, means of production, mega-rich, Menlo Park, Mikhail Gorbachev, millennium bug, Mitch Kapor, Mother of all demos, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, mutually assured destruction, new economy, Norbert Wiener, old-boy network, pattern recognition, Paul Graham, Paul Terrell, paypal mafia, Peter Thiel, pets.com, pirate software, popular electronics, pre–internet, Ralph Nader, RAND corporation, Richard Florida, ride hailing / ride sharing, risk tolerance, Robert Metcalfe, Ronald Reagan, Sand Hill Road, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, shareholder value, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Silicon Valley startup, skunkworks, Snapchat, social graph, software is eating the world, speech recognition, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, supercomputer in your pocket, technoutopianism, Ted Nelson, the market place, the new new thing, There's no reason for any individual to have a computer in his home - Ken Olsen, Thomas L Friedman, Tim Cook: Apple, transcontinental railway, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, Unsafe at Any Speed, upwardly mobile, Vannevar Bush, War on Poverty, We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters, Whole Earth Catalog, WikiLeaks, William Shockley: the traitorous eight, Y Combinator, Y2K
Within a few years of Google’s IPO, a thousand of its current or former employees had a net worth of $5 million or more, including the in-house massage therapist the founders hired back in 1999. Page and Brin were worth about $20 billion apiece. The dot-com kings of the 1990s who reinvented themselves as angel investors and venture capitalists saw their net worth climb. At the head of the pack was Marc Andreessen, who in 2009 founded a new-style VC firm with partner Ben Horowitz designed to nurture young technical founders into savvy company leaders, rather than shoving them aside to bring in adult supervision. Mark Zuckerberg was a perfect example of how it could be done. “The Valley’s fearlessness is coming back,” Andreessen told a reporter.9 Also coming back: the star analysts of 1990s Wall Street. Mary Meeker had never flagged in her faith in the Internet, even amid the plunging prices and shareholder lawsuits of the dot-com bust.
Palihapitiya became an observer on Yammer’s board, whose members included Peter Thiel and Sean Parker.14 The new generation of money men wore designer T-shirts instead of sport coats, drove Teslas instead of Mercedes, and used rap lyrics as business metaphors. They had more flash and cash than their VC forebears, but the same relentlessness, elbowing past slower-moving East Coast competition to latch on to early-stage deals. They were brilliant and lucky, and they knew it. “This is not checkers,” Ben Horowitz advised would-be entrepreneurs. “This is motherfuckin’ chess.”15 AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH Among those made very wealthy in this era: Al Gore, who already was living one of the more extraordinary afterlives in American political history. Gore had first turned media mogul, embarking on a cable news venture called Current TV. He then had gained fame as a bearded prophet of climate change after a 2006 documentary in which he starred, An Inconvenient Truth, became an Oscar-winning smash.
.: International Tax and Ownership Nationality,” Tax Law Review 68, no. 2 (2015): 207–74; Rebecca Greenfield, “Senators Turn Tim Cook’s Hearing into a Genius Bar Visit,” The Atlantic, May 21, 2013. 13. David Kirkpatrick, “Inside Sean Parker’s Wedding,” Vanity Fair, August 1, 2013. 14. “Yammer Raises $17 Million in Financing Round Led by The Social+Capital Partnerhip,” Marketwire, September 27, 2011. 15. Ben Horowitz, The Hard Thing about Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers (New York: HarperBusiness, 2014), 62. 16. Ellen McGirt, “Al Gore’s $100 Million Makeover,” Fast Company, July 1, 2007. 17. John Doerr, “Salvation (and profit) in Greentech,” TED2007, March 2007; Marc Gunther and Adam Lashinsky, “Cleanup Crew,” Fortune 156, no. 11 (November 26, 2007). 18. Jon Gertner, “Capitalism to the Rescue,” The New York Times, October 3, 2008. 19.
Googled: The End of the World as We Know It by Ken Auletta
23andMe, AltaVista, Anne Wojcicki, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, Ben Horowitz, bioinformatics, Burning Man, carbon footprint, citizen journalism, Clayton Christensen, cloud computing, Colonization of Mars, commoditize, corporate social responsibility, creative destruction, death of newspapers, disintermediation, don't be evil, facts on the ground, Firefox, Frank Gehry, Google Earth, hypertext link, Innovator's Dilemma, Internet Archive, invention of the telephone, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, John Markoff, Kevin Kelly, knowledge worker, Long Term Capital Management, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, Network effects, new economy, Nicholas Carr, PageRank, Paul Buchheit, Peter Thiel, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Richard Feynman, Sand Hill Road, Saturday Night Live, semantic web, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Skype, slashdot, social graph, spectrum auction, stealth mode startup, Stephen Hawking, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, strikebreaker, telemarketer, the scientific method, The Wisdom of Crowds, Upton Sinclair, X Prize, yield management, zero-sum game
By the summer of 2008, Bianchini said, there were 465,000 social networks on Ning, with 10 million registered users, 40 million unique users each month, 5 billion monthly page views, and 116 employees working from a building in Palo Alto. As chairman, Andreessen has an office there, but appeared only a couple of days each week, and rarely in the morning. “I wouldn’t be sitting here without him,” said Bianchini. “He funded Ning and made me CEO. He put up the money, and he took only 50 percent of the equity.” His closest friend, Ben Horowitz, who worked with him at Netscape and in early 2009 became his partner in starting a $300 million venture capital fund, describes Andreessen as a Renaissance man. “You can talk about the economy, fashion, military strategy, whatever, with Marc. I don’t know anybody else like that who goes across so many domains.” Andreessen likes to be alone, to stay up most of the night surfing the Web and reading, and rising late and avoiding meetings.
CHAPTER 8: Chasing the Fox (2005-2006) 144 sixteen million monthly visitors; that number would quadruple over the next fourteen months: ComScore, BusinessWeek, November 5, 2007. 144 ”Sumner told Tom he did not want to get into a bidding war“: Julia Angwin, Stealing Myspace: The Battle to Control the Most Popular Website in America, Random House, 2009. 144 ”I think we have replaced MTV“: Tom Anderson in Der Spiegel, cited in Bill Wise, Search Insider, January 22, 2007, and Lotta Holmström in Grassroot Media, January 21, 2007. 145 ”I left“: author interview with Albie Hecht, January 15, 2008. 146 2005 study of media usage: ”Generation M: Media in the Lives of 8-18 Year-Olds,“ A Kaiser Family Foundation Study, March 2005. 146 A later study: Forrester Research report chart on YouTube and Internet use, Wall Street Journal, November 19, 2008. 147 Jason Hirschhorn was another Viacom refugee: author interviews with Jason Hirschhorn, February 12 and 21, 2008, and e-mail exchanges, March 2009. 149 Marc Andreessen has spent much of his life... an investor and board member: author interviews with Marc Andreessen, May 9, 2007, and June 9, 2008. 150 They named the site Ning: author interview with Andreessen, March 30, 2009. 150 ”I wouldn’t be sitting here without him“: author interview with Gina Bianchini, September 15, 2008. 150 ”You can talk about the economy“: author interview with Ben Horowitz, February 20, 2009. 152 thirty-four million monthly viewers: Nielsen/NetRatings, August 2006. 152 ”When we started“: author interview with Chad Hurley September 11, 2007. 153 ”If that works“: author interview with Eric Schmidt, June 11, 2008. 153 ”Right now“: Steve Ballmer Q&A with the editors of Business Week, October 11, 2006. 153 thirteen of the twenty most popular videos: Kevin J.
Startupland: How Three Guys Risked Everything to Turn an Idea Into a Global Business by Mikkel Svane, Carlye Adler
Airbnb, Ben Horowitz, Burning Man, business process, call centre, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable:, cloud computing, credit crunch, David Heinemeier Hansson, Elon Musk, housing crisis, Jeff Bezos, Kickstarter, Menlo Park, remote working, Ruby on Rails, Sand Hill Road, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, software as a service, South of Market, San Francisco, Steve Jobs, subscription business, Tesla Model S, web application
For more information, please visit www.zendesk.com. Carlye Adler is an award-winning journalist and bestselling author. Her writing has been published in BusinessWeek, Fast Company, Fortune, Forbes, Newsweek, TIME, and Wired and has been anthologized in The Best Business Stories of the Year. Her latest book collaborations include two New York Times bestsellers: The Promise of a Pencil by Adam Braun and The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz. She is the coauthor of the New York Times bestseller Rebooting Work with Maynard Webb and the national bestsellers Behind the Cloud and The Business of Changing the World with salesforce.com chairman and CEO Marc Benioff. She is also a coauthor with Jennifer Aaker and 194 Svane bother01.tex V2 - 10/03/2014 12:42 A.M. Page 195 About the Authors Andy Smith of The Dragonfly Effect. Her books have been translated into Chinese, German, Greek, Hebrew, Korean, Indonesian, Japanese, Romanian, Russian, Turkish, and Vietnamese.
Ego Is the Enemy by Ryan Holiday
activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, Airbnb, Ben Horowitz, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, Burning Man, delayed gratification, Google Glasses, Jeff Bezos, Joan Didion, Lao Tzu, Paul Graham, Ponzi scheme, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Richard Feynman, side project, South Sea Bubble, Stanford marshmallow experiment, Steve Jobs, Upton Sinclair
It’s here where abstraction meets the road and the real, where we trade thinking and talking for working. “You can’t build a reputation on what you’re going to do,” was how Henry Ford put it. The sculptor Nina Holton hit the same note in psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s landmark study on creativity. “That germ of an idea,” she told him, “does not make a sculpture which stands up. It just sits there. So the next stage, of course, is the hard work.” The investor and serial entrepreneur Ben Horowitz put it more bluntly: “The hard thing isn’t setting a big, hairy, audacious goal. The hard thing is laying people off when you miss the big goal. . . . The hard thing isn’t dreaming big. The hard thing is waking up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat when the dream turns into a nightmare.” Sure, you get it. You know that all things require work and that work might be quite difficult.
Dual Transformation: How to Reposition Today's Business While Creating the Future by Scott D. Anthony, Mark W. Johnson
activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, additive manufacturing, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, Amazon Web Services, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, Ben Horowitz, blockchain, business process, business process outsourcing, call centre, Clayton Christensen, cloud computing, commoditize, corporate governance, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, death of newspapers, disintermediation, disruptive innovation, distributed ledger, diversified portfolio, Internet of things, invention of hypertext, inventory management, Jeff Bezos, job automation, job satisfaction, Joseph Schumpeter, Kickstarter, late fees, Lean Startup, Lyft, M-Pesa, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Minecraft, obamacare, Parag Khanna, Paul Graham, peer-to-peer lending, pez dispenser, recommendation engine, self-driving car, shareholder value, side project, Silicon Valley, Skype, software as a service, software is eating the world, Steve Jobs, the market place, the scientific method, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, transfer pricing, uber lyft, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, Y Combinator, Zipcar
Automotive companies will need to deal with the reality that their core business is likely to contract, and they need to make sure they reconstruct their business model appropriately. And they need to think about the new opportunities that will emerge as cars and computers increasingly converge, in terms of products as well as new business models. Professional Services After founding Netscape and Opsware, in 2009 Marc Andreessen cofounded a venture capital firm with entrepreneur Ben Horowitz (who was also part of the founding team at Opsware) called Andreessen Horowitz. In a few years the firm became one of the most influential in Silicon Valley, investing in companies like Twitter, Airbnb, Jawbone, Oculus VR, and many more. In a piece in the Wall Street Journal in 2011, Andreessen summarized one of his key investment theses with a phrase that rings true to entrepreneurs and executives of companies under disruptive assault: “Software is eating the world.”
The War on Normal People: The Truth About America's Disappearing Jobs and Why Universal Basic Income Is Our Future by Andrew Yang
3D printing, Airbnb, assortative mating, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, basic income, Ben Horowitz, Bernie Sanders, call centre, corporate governance, cryptocurrency, David Brooks, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, falling living standards, financial deregulation, full employment, future of work, global reserve currency, income inequality, Internet of things, invisible hand, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Khan Academy, labor-force participation, longitudinal study, low skilled workers, Lyft, manufacturing employment, Mark Zuckerberg, megacity, Narrative Science, new economy, passive income, performance metric, post-work, quantitative easing, reserve currency, Richard Florida, ride hailing / ride sharing, risk tolerance, Ronald Reagan, Sam Altman, self-driving car, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, single-payer health, Stephen Hawking, Steve Ballmer, supercomputer in your pocket, technoutopianism, telemarketer, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, unemployed young men, universal basic income, urban renewal, white flight, winner-take-all economy, Y Combinator
They are hiring the strongest contributors with the right mix of qualities to help an early-stage company succeed. Most jobs in a startup essentially require a college degree. That excludes 68 percent of the population right there. And some of these companies are lifting further inefficiencies out of the system—reducing jobs in other places even while hiring their own new workers. There’s a scene in Ben Horowitz’s book The Hard Things about Hard Things in which he depicts the CEO of a company meeting with his two lieutenants. The CEO says to one of them, “You’re going to do everything in your power to make this deal work.” Then he turns to the other and says, “Even if he does everything right, it’s probably not going to work. Your job is to fix it.” That’s where we’re at with the American economy. Unprecedented advances are accelerating in real time and wreaking havoc on lives and communities around the country, particularly on those least able to adapt and adjust.
Facebook: The Inside Story by Steven Levy
active measures, Airbnb, Airbus A320, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, augmented reality, Ben Horowitz, blockchain, Burning Man, business intelligence, cloud computing, computer vision, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, don't be evil, Donald Trump, East Village, Edward Snowden, El Camino Real, Elon Musk, Firefox, Frank Gehry, glass ceiling, indoor plumbing, Jeff Bezos, John Markoff, Jony Ive, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, Lyft, Mahatma Gandhi, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, Metcalfe’s law, MITM: man-in-the-middle, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, natural language processing, Network effects, Oculus Rift, PageRank, Paul Buchheit, paypal mafia, Peter Thiel, pets.com, post-work, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, Robert Mercer, Robert Metcalfe, rolodex, Sam Altman, Sand Hill Road, self-driving car, sexual politics, Shoshana Zuboff, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, slashdot, Snapchat, social graph, social software, South of Market, San Francisco, Startup school, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Steven Pinker, Tim Cook: Apple, web application, WikiLeaks, women in the workforce, Y Combinator, Y2K
The July 2018 meeting was one of the first of these held after Cambridge Analytica. It started out as usual. In M-team meetings, the executives all do a brief check-in, saying what’s on their minds both in business and in life. It can get pretty emotional: my kid’s sick . . . my marriage ended . . . When it was his turn to talk—he always goes last—Zuckerberg made a startling announcement. He had been reading a book by venture capitalist Ben Horowitz, the partner of Facebook board member Marc Andreessen. Horowitz defined two kinds of CEOs: wartime and peacetime. A good CEO, he wrote, has to interpret circumstances in a given time and decide which to be. “In wartime, a company is fending off an imminent existential threat,” he writes. Wartime CEOs must be ruthless in confronting those threats. Since Facebook had been under siege for the past two years, this made a big impression on Zuckerberg.
a Norwegian writer: The story of the Napalm Girl on Facebook is told in detail in Gillespie, Custodians of the Internet. pulled the plug: James Vincent, “Facebook Removes Alex Jones Pages, Citing Repeated Hate Speech Violations,” The Verge, August 6, 2018. ban him as “dangerous”: Casey Newton, “Facebook Bans Alex Jones and Laura Loomer for Violating Its Policies Against Dangerous Individuals,” The Verge, May 2, 2019. CHAPTER EIGHTEEN: Integrity two kinds of CEOs: Ben Horowitz, The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers (HarperCollins, 2014), 224–28. advised against buying it: Aisha Hassan, “These Brutal Reviews of Facebook’s Portal Device Shows Why No One Wants It in Their Home,” Quartz, November 9, 2018. Some major companies: According to a “Note by Damian Collins MP, Chair of the DCMS Committee,” Facebook had entered into white-listing agreements with certain companies, which meant that after the platform changes in 2014–15 they maintained full access to friends’ data.
Exponential Organizations: Why New Organizations Are Ten Times Better, Faster, and Cheaper Than Yours (And What to Do About It) by Salim Ismail, Yuri van Geest
23andMe, 3D printing, Airbnb, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, Ben Horowitz, bioinformatics, bitcoin, Black Swan, blockchain, Burning Man, business intelligence, business process, call centre, chief data officer, Chris Wanstrath, Clayton Christensen, clean water, cloud computing, cognitive bias, collaborative consumption, collaborative economy, commoditize, corporate social responsibility, cross-subsidies, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, dark matter, Dean Kamen, dematerialisation, discounted cash flows, disruptive innovation, distributed ledger, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Ethereum, ethereum blockchain, game design, Google Glasses, Google Hangouts, Google X / Alphabet X, gravity well, hiring and firing, Hyperloop, industrial robot, Innovator's Dilemma, intangible asset, Internet of things, Iridium satellite, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, Joi Ito, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, Kodak vs Instagram, Law of Accelerating Returns, Lean Startup, life extension, lifelogging, loose coupling, loss aversion, low earth orbit, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, market design, means of production, minimum viable product, natural language processing, Netflix Prize, NetJets, Network effects, new economy, Oculus Rift, offshore financial centre, PageRank, pattern recognition, Paul Graham, paypal mafia, peer-to-peer, peer-to-peer model, Peter H. Diamandis: Planetary Resources, Peter Thiel, prediction markets, profit motive, publish or perish, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, RFID, ride hailing / ride sharing, risk tolerance, Ronald Coase, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, skunkworks, Skype, smart contracts, Snapchat, social software, software is eating the world, speech recognition, stealth mode startup, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, subscription business, supply-chain management, TaskRabbit, telepresence, telepresence robot, Tony Hsieh, transaction costs, Travis Kalanick, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, uber lyft, urban planning, WikiLeaks, winner-take-all economy, X Prize, Y Combinator, zero-sum game
In his book The Advantage: Why Organizational Health Trumps Everything Else In Business, Patrick Lencioni argues that the single best way to determine the health of an organization is by “observing the leadership team during a meeting.” Leadership interaction proves to be an accurate barometer of team dynamics, clarity, decisiveness and cognitive biases. Furthermore, the key to putting together a successful ExO founding team is that everyone shares a passion for the MTP. Ben Horowitz, co-founder of Andreessen-Horowitz, one of the world’s most successful VCs, noted the importance of shared passion in his recent book, The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers: “If founders are in a startup for the wrong reasons (money, ego), it often degenerates into a nasty situation.” Similarly, it’s worth revisiting one of the main points of Aileen Lee’s Unicorn study: companies composed of well-educated thirty-something co-founders with a shared work or school history have the highest success rate.
The Four: How Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google Divided and Conquered the World by Scott Galloway
activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, additive manufacturing, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, Amazon Web Services, Apple II, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, Ben Horowitz, Bernie Sanders, big-box store, Bob Noyce, Brewster Kahle, business intelligence, California gold rush, cloud computing, commoditize, cuban missile crisis, David Brooks, disintermediation, don't be evil, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, follow your passion, future of journalism, future of work, global supply chain, Google Earth, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, Internet Archive, invisible hand, Jeff Bezos, Jony Ive, Khan Academy, longitudinal study, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Network effects, new economy, obamacare, Oculus Rift, offshore financial centre, passive income, Peter Thiel, profit motive, race to the bottom, RAND corporation, ride hailing / ride sharing, risk tolerance, Robert Mercer, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, self-driving car, sentiment analysis, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Snapchat, software is eating the world, speech recognition, Stephen Hawking, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Stewart Brand, supercomputer in your pocket, Tesla Model S, Tim Cook: Apple, Travis Kalanick, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, undersea cable, Whole Earth Catalog, winner-take-all economy, working poor, young professional
This promise assuaged regulators’ concerns over privacy, and the acquisition was approved. Spoiler alert: Facebook figured out how data could jump silos . . . pretty fast. So, feeling lied to, the EU fined Facebook 110 million euros. This is tantamount to getting a $10 parking ticket for not feeding a meter that costs $100 every fifteen minutes. The smart choice: break the law. Chapter 7 Business and the Body IN THEIR BESTSELLING BOOKS, Ben Horowitz, Peter Thiel, Eric Schmidt, Salim Ismaiel, and others argue that extraordinary business success requires scaling at low cost, achieved by leveraging cloud computing, virtualization, and network effects to achieve a 10x productivity improvement over the competition.1 But that explanation ignores a deeper dimension that has nothing to do with technology. From the perspective of evolutionary psychology, all successful businesses appeal to one of three areas of the body—the brain, the heart, or the genitals.
Upscale: What It Takes to Scale a Startup. By the People Who've Done It. by James Silver
Airbnb, augmented reality, Ben Horowitz, blockchain, business process, call centre, credit crunch, crowdsourcing, DevOps, family office, future of work, Google Hangouts, high net worth, hiring and firing, Jeff Bezos, Kickstarter, Lean Startup, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, minimum viable product, Network effects, pattern recognition, ride hailing / ride sharing, Silicon Valley, Skype, Snapchat, software as a service, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, women in the workforce, Y Combinator
And if you’re a first-time founder, then you wake up one morning and there are 80-100 people in the business, and you don’t know how to manage them because no one taught you and they weren’t there a year ago, when [the startup] was just an idea with a bit of traction.’ That sort of stress is ‘definitely not something founders will talk about in a meet-up’, says Sharabi, partly because of a reluctance to puncture the mythology of the Superman founder who defies the odds. ‘One of the most incredible entrepreneurs and VCs in the world, Ben Horowitz, wrote a great book called The Hard Thing About Hard Things, in which he describes in detail the sleepless nights and anxiety attacks [which many founders endure]. But while the book makes you feel like there are a lot of people like you on this crazy emotional rollercoaster, at the same time it does a lot to perpetuate that Superman myth because you see that “Wow this guy went through all of that shit when things were on the absolute cliff edge, but still he survived.”
Insane Mode: How Elon Musk's Tesla Sparked an Electric Revolution to End the Age of Oil by Hamish McKenzie
Airbnb, Albert Einstein, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, basic income, Bay Area Rapid Transit, Ben Horowitz, business climate, car-free, carbon footprint, Chris Urmson, Clayton Christensen, cleantech, Colonization of Mars, connected car, crony capitalism, Deng Xiaoping, disruptive innovation, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, Google Glasses, Hyperloop, Internet of things, Jeff Bezos, John Markoff, low earth orbit, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, margin call, Mark Zuckerberg, megacity, Menlo Park, Nikolai Kondratiev, oil shale / tar sands, paypal mafia, Peter Thiel, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ronald Reagan, self-driving car, Shenzhen was a fishing village, short selling, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Snapchat, South China Sea, special economic zone, stealth mode startup, Steve Jobs, Tesla Model S, Tim Cook: Apple, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, universal basic income, urban planning, urban sprawl, Zipcar
As Tesla moved beyond the Roadster and closer to becoming a mainstream automaker with the Model S, it would find itself fighting to protect its safety record in the wake of a series of high-profile fires; to defend its sales model against auto dealers; and to reassure skeptical consumers about the long-distance drivability of its cars in the face of entrenched “range anxiety.” Each new battle would test the depths of the CEO’s force of will. Edison couldn’t do it, but maybe Musk could. * * * As a business leader, Musk shares at least one thing in common with Steve Jobs: He is a wartime CEO. Such leaders preside over their companies when they face an imminent existential threat, says Ben Horowitz, a Silicon Valley investor and partner with Netscape cofounder Marc Andreessen in the celebrated venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz. The wartime CEO’s companies depend on strict adherence to a mission, Horowitz wrote in his book, The Hard Thing about Hard Things. While a peacetime CEO follows protocol, a wartime CEO violates it in order to win. While a peacetime CEO defines company culture, the wartime CEO lets the war define the culture.
Bitcoin Billionaires: A True Story of Genius, Betrayal, and Redemption by Ben Mezrich
"side hustle", airport security, Albert Einstein, bank run, Ben Horowitz, bitcoin, blockchain, Burning Man, buttonwood tree, cryptocurrency, East Village, El Camino Real, Elon Musk, family office, fault tolerance, fiat currency, financial innovation, game design, Isaac Newton, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, Metcalfe’s law, new economy, offshore financial centre, paypal mafia, peer-to-peer, Peter Thiel, Ponzi scheme, QR code, Ronald Reagan, Ross Ulbricht, Sand Hill Road, Satoshi Nakamoto, Schrödinger's Cat, self-driving car, side project, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart contracts, South of Market, San Francisco, Steve Jobs, transaction costs, zero-sum game
After getting over their initial dismay at being subpoenaed by the government for the first time in their lives—and finding out about it from the press—Tyler and his brother had quickly discovered that the move had not been meant as an accusation of wrongdoing or criminal activities; in fact, the request for documentation and later for them to testify in front of the superintendent was a real opportunity; the twins had been chosen as representatives of the new virtual economy to help the Department of Financial Services understand Bitcoin and virtual currency, and help shape what sort of regulations were necessary, now that Bitcoin was becoming an unavoidable part of New York City’s financial landscape. In a way, the subpoena was actually an honor that had been bestowed on the twins. As Forbes magazine had headlined, EVERY IMPORTANT PERSON IN BITCOIN JUST GOT SUBPOENAED BY NEW YORK’S FINANCIAL REGULATOR. Among the people and companies subpoenaed were venture capitalists Marc Andreessen and Ben Horowitz, along with the founders of Coinbase, Bitpay, CoinLab, Coinsetter, Dwolla, Payward, ZipZap, Boost VC, and even Peter Theil’s Founders Fund—pretty much a who’s who of everyone who had made a major investment in or ran a major company in the Bitcoin space. At the same time, there was reason to believe that the event would be confrontational. Ben Lawsky, the head of the NYSDFS, the man who had signed the subpoenas, had been quoted as calling Bitcoin “a virtual Wild West for narco-traffickers and other criminals.”
Startup CEO: A Field Guide to Scaling Up Your Business, + Website by Matt Blumberg
activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, airport security, Albert Einstein, bank run, Ben Horowitz, Broken windows theory, crowdsourcing, deskilling, fear of failure, high batting average, high net worth, hiring and firing, Inbox Zero, James Hargreaves, Jeff Bezos, job satisfaction, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, Lean Startup, Mark Zuckerberg, minimum viable product, pattern recognition, performance metric, pets.com, rolodex, Rubik’s Cube, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Skype
THE INTERVIEW: FILTERING POTENTIAL CANDIDATES The recruiting process usually focuses on the skills and requirements listed in your job listing. Is this person a good developer? A high-performing salesperson? A talented marketer? Ask a potential hire, and they’ll certainly say yes. If you want the real answer, you have to depend on two things: references (both on and off the list provided by your recruit) and domain experts. As Opsware co-founder and technology VC Ben Horowitz once pointed out, you can’t determine whether someone is going to be an effective head of Japanese sales if you don’t speak Japanese. Find a domain expert, and let them answer that question. As a CEO, your goal should be to look for cultural fit and engagement—the X factors. The best way to do so is by interviewing candidates yourself. The Cleveland Airport Test Most years, we have a board/management offsite for a full 24 hours.
Lean Analytics: Use Data to Build a Better Startup Faster by Alistair Croll, Benjamin Yoskovitz
Airbnb, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, barriers to entry, Bay Area Rapid Transit, Ben Horowitz, bounce rate, business intelligence, call centre, cloud computing, cognitive bias, commoditize, constrained optimization, en.wikipedia.org, Firefox, Frederick Winslow Taylor, frictionless, frictionless market, game design, Google X / Alphabet X, Infrastructure as a Service, Internet of things, inventory management, Kickstarter, lateral thinking, Lean Startup, lifelogging, longitudinal study, Marshall McLuhan, minimum viable product, Network effects, pattern recognition, Paul Graham, performance metric, place-making, platform as a service, recommendation engine, ride hailing / ride sharing, rolodex, sentiment analysis, skunkworks, Skype, social graph, social software, software as a service, Steve Jobs, subscription business, telemarketer, transaction costs, two-sided market, Uber for X, web application, Y Combinator
And for many of the people in these organizations, it’s part of their job to evaluate new solutions, meet with vendors, and share their needs to see if someone can solve them more explicitly. Armed with a decent caffeine allowance, you can talk to actual prospects fairly quickly. That said, there are plenty of important ways that enterprise sales are different and more difficult than selling to a large, unwashed audience. Venture capitalist Ben Horowitz was one of the first to burst this bubble: Every day I hear from entrepreneurs, angel investors, and venture capitalists about an exciting new movement called “the consumerization of the enterprise.” They tell me how the old, expensive, Rolex-wearing sales forces are a thing of the past and, in the future, companies will “consume” enterprise products proactively like consumers pick up Twitter.
MacroWikinomics: Rebooting Business and the World by Don Tapscott, Anthony D. Williams
accounting loophole / creative accounting, airport security, Andrew Keen, augmented reality, Ayatollah Khomeini, barriers to entry, Ben Horowitz, bioinformatics, Bretton Woods, business climate, business process, buy and hold, car-free, carbon footprint, Charles Lindbergh, citizen journalism, Clayton Christensen, clean water, Climategate, Climatic Research Unit, cloud computing, collaborative editing, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collateralized debt obligation, colonial rule, commoditize, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, death of newspapers, demographic transition, disruptive innovation, distributed generation, don't be evil, en.wikipedia.org, energy security, energy transition, Exxon Valdez, failed state, fault tolerance, financial innovation, Galaxy Zoo, game design, global village, Google Earth, Hans Rosling, hive mind, Home mortgage interest deduction, information asymmetry, interchangeable parts, Internet of things, invention of movable type, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, Jaron Lanier, jimmy wales, Joseph Schumpeter, Julian Assange, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, Marc Andreessen, Marshall McLuhan, mass immigration, medical bankruptcy, megacity, mortgage tax deduction, Netflix Prize, new economy, Nicholas Carr, oil shock, old-boy network, online collectivism, open borders, open economy, pattern recognition, peer-to-peer lending, personalized medicine, Ray Kurzweil, RFID, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ronald Reagan, Rubik’s Cube, scientific mainstream, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart grid, smart meter, social graph, social web, software patent, Steve Jobs, text mining, the scientific method, The Wisdom of Crowds, transaction costs, transfer pricing, University of East Anglia, urban sprawl, value at risk, WikiLeaks, X Prize, young professional, Zipcar
After all, VCs usually add more than just money—they make introductions, assist with strategic sales, and help recruit top talent. One solution is to make lots of small investments but spend little time with each one, in the Silicon Valley equivalent of speed dating. This is the strategy of the eponymous fund recently launched by Marc Andreessen (from Netscape, eBay, Facebook, Twitter, and Ning) and Ben Horowitz (from Netscape, OpsWare, and AOL). They plan to invest more than $300 million over ten years, starting with seed investments beginning at $50,000 a pop.18 This speed-dating-for-capital approach results in some matchmaking, but the problem of postinvestment execution still remains: a VC only has so much time on his or her hands. Plus, Andreessen and Horowitz’s speed-dating model fails to address an even bigger issue: the globalization of innovation.