“The hard thing is not setting a big hairy audacious goal. The hard thing is laying off people when you miss the big goal. The hard thing is not hiring great people. The hard thing is when those great people develop a sense of entitlement and start demanding unreasonable things. The hard thing is not 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.”
A lot of people talk about how great it is to start and run a business, but only Ben Horowitz, one of Silicon Valley’s most respected and experienced entrepreneurs, is brutally honest about how hard it is to run one. His new book The Hard Thing About Hard Things is invaluable for veteran entrepreneurs and owners as well as those aspiring to their own companies.
His advice is grounded in anecdotes from his own hard-earned experience—from co-founding the early cloud service provider Loudcloud to building the successful Andreessen Horowitz venture capital firm, both with fellow tech colleague Marc Andreessen (inventor of Mosaic, the Internet’s first popular Web browser). He analyzes issues with no easy answers through his trials, including:
- demoting (or firing) a loyal friend;
- whether you should incorporate titles and promotions, and how to handle them;
- if it’s OK to hire people from your friend’s company;
- how to manage your own psychology, while the whole company is relying on you;
- what to do when smart people are bad employees;
- why Horowitz prefers founder CEOs, and how to become one;
- whether you should sell your company, and how to do it.
I highly recommend this book to all my readers. Contact me to discuss the Horowitz lessons and how they can help your business.