The Hard Thing About Hard Things

Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers

Ben Horowitz

The biggest value of this book is that it is written by a technical CEO  at a venture start-up at the onset of the age of the Internet. His  experience matters a lot because as an early pioneer of the Internet  startups, he co-founded LoudCloud, which developed the early web browser  Mosiac, ran into the dot-com bubble burst, remarkably stepped out of  the crisis, went public as a final  solution to keep LoudCloud survive, sold it anyway at the end and turned  the whole team of the world-class employees 360 degrees to build  Opsware. He is now a venture capitalist and considers himself as a  wartime CEO. Ben’s career is briefly encapsulated in the first part of  the book

In the following chapters, self-claiming as a wartime  CEO, Ben analyzes dilemmas a wartime CEO faces every day. Well..all CEO  suffers intolerable levels of mental hardships which is not a rare  story. However, I like the fact that he does not generalize his advice  to all CEOs. He explains the differences between peacetime CEOs (top  businesses on the market) and wartime CEOs (start-ups), why Facebook CFO  is likely to fail to be a CFO of a startup, why promoting a COO to be a  CFO might corrupt the whole system, how to pick up the right executive  at a particular time, etc. This book is typical writing of realism where  the smallest details matter, everybody should understand the dynamic  shape of business shaped by myriad factors.

Frankly, the  knowledge and advice in this book do not benefit me much in the short  run. However, I feel satisfied to know there is a good book I can refer  to when I need later.

Summer 2020

April 23, 2020, 3:00:00 PM

4.5

business, autobiography

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The Hard Thing About Hard Things