What You Do Is Who You Are

The Hard Thing About Hard Things and What’s Next

I am a raving fan of Ben Horowitz!  He is one of Silicon Valley’s most respected and experienced entrepreneurs. A lot of people talk about how great it is to start and run a business, but Ben is brutally honest about how hard it is to run one. He is the author of two books – one published and one coming out shortly.

The Hard Thing about Hard Things

His first book The Hard Thing About Hard Things is instrumental for veteran entrepreneurs and owners as well as those aspiring to their own companies (yes, even though the book is 5 years old).

“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.”

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.

What You Do Is Who You Are

His forthcoming book, What You Do Is Who You Are, is available October 29. I have pre-ordered it!

What I know so far is that Ben focuses on culture, from ancient to modern.  Yes, culture – one of the underlying foundations of the Scaling Up growth system.

Ben examines the fundamental question for any organization: who are we? “How do people talk about us when we’re not around? How do we treat our customers? Are we there for people in a pinch? Can we be trusted?”

What You Do Is Who You Are spotlights four models of leadership and culture building—including Genghis Khan, who built the world’s largest empire.

“Who you are is not the values you list on the wall. It’s not what you say in a company-wide meeting. It’s not your marketing campaign. It’s not even what you believe. Who you are is what you do. This book aims to help you do the things you need to become the kind of leader you want to be—and others want to follow.”

I highly recommend Ben Horowitz to all my clients and readers. Contact me to discuss the Horowitz lessons and how they can help your business.

All the best

© 2019-2020 David Paul Carter. All rights reserved.

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