Ben Horowitz sat down with Mark Suster at Startup Grind to talk about how he was a “successful entrepreneur eventually.” Essentially, it was hella hard and Ben messed up everything but what he stands by from that experience is that founders should run their own companies because they know what is wrong with it. All of the long lasting companies are run by founders but VC’s were based on not running its founders – so Mark and Ben teamed up to start their VC around this realization. Returns are persistent across the years so the mission was to make things better for founders & CEOs.
on Accelerators: Pros is they give you a Bugatti. Cons is they left cigarette butts in the ashtray.
Ben just published a book called “The Hard Thing About Hard Things“
on Founding a Company: there is a lot of anxiety so theres a tenancy to grab the closest co-founder for comfort. That’s a big mistake.. John D. Rockefeller said, “A friendship founded on business is better than a business founded on friendship.” The Beetles were friends making music versus the Monkeys were a put together band by the record labels.
on Prenuptial Agreements for founder percentage splits: Ben won’t fund a company if there is no CEO (if both co-founders run the company). Sharing command is negative in the moments you can’t agree & decisions have to be made two times. “Cause two suckas can’t agree on something a thousand motherfuckers dying for nothing” – Bushwick Bill. 50/50 stock with 1 CEO that can make final decisions.
on Knowing When it’s Time to Fire Someone: When you ask yourself that question, it’s probably too late. Everyone is sending you a message that they are suffering. The good of the individual must sacrifices for the good of the whole.
on Teams or Founders Who Worry About Being Liked: If you are a good CEO then over a long time you’ll be liked, even if not at the moment. CEO goes against anthropology because we want to be liked to survive but as CEO you have to not be liked in the short term. Sometimes people don’t like you for too much of a knowledge gap, this job takes courage to make unpopular decisions – you think you are right and making a prediction on the future. You think you are right but you don’t know if you’re right. Pressure is high despite if staying the course is easy, it is worse long term. If you DON’T go with the crowd and you are wrong, then you are the biggest idiot. There is a big difference between leader & politician because one is doing something unpopular. Steve Jobs was a dick but people at Apple loved him because he took the business up.
The CEO’s job is 90% you have to do and 10% you want to do. It’s a grind.
on Fundraising: Capitol markets swing around. Multiples in public markets change routinely and private is even worse.
on What a Pitch Meeting @ Andreessen Horowitz looks like:
- Everyone is on time
- No one is on the phone or computer, but listening
- Start with your background, from growing up to this point, you co-founder’s story
Is this something where you would if you don’t do it? You live with this problem and have to solve it?
What leadership qualities were developed in your life? Are you saying things because you believe it or are you trying to impress? If they give you an idea and you roll with it, that’s a bad sign.