The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers

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The Struggle is where we turn adversity into opportunity. It is easy to think that the things that bother you will upset your people more. The opposite is true. Nobody takes the losses harder than the person most responsible. Nobody feels it more than you. Get the maximum number of brains on the problems even if the problems represent existential threats. Nobody blinked.

The team rallied, built a winning product and saved my sorry ass. Technology businesses tend to be extremely complex. The underlying technology moves, the competition moves, the market moves, the people move. As a result, like playing three-dimensional chess on Star Trek, there is always a move. You think you have no moves? I made that move. I made it in , widely regarded as the worst time ever for a technology company to go public. I made it with six weeks of cash left. There is always a move.

When they teach you how to drive a racecar, they tell you to focus on the road when you go around a turn. They tell you that because if you focus on the wall, then you will drive straight into the wall. If you focus on how you might fail, then you will fail. Even if you only have one bullet left in the gun and you have to hit the target, focus on the target. In the technology game, tomorrow looks nothing like today.

If you survive long enough to see tomorrow, it may bring you the answer that seems so impossible today. The predicament that you are in is probably all your fault. You hired the people. You made the decisions. But you knew the job was dangerous when you took it. Everybody makes mistakes. Every CEO makes thousands of mistakes. If you want to be great, this is the challenge.

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Stop me if this sounds familiar. There is a person who toils alone for years in relative obscurity before finally cracking the code to become a hero. The myth of the lone genius. The Pygmalion Effect is a powerful secret weapon.

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Without even realizing it, we can nudge others towards success. In this article, discover how expectations can influence performance for better or worse. How Expectations Influence Performance Many people believe that their pets or children are of unusual intelligence or can understand everything they say. Some people […]. On this episode of The Knowledge Project, Patrick Collison patrickc , CEO, and co-founder of Stripe shares wise insights on success, failure, management, decision making, learning and so much more. The Struggle is when you wonder why you started the company in the first place.

The Struggle is when your employees think you are lying and you think they may be right. The Struggle is when food loses its taste. The Struggle is when you want the pain to stop. The Struggle is unhappiness. The Struggle is when you go on vacation to feel better and you feel worse.

Most people are not strong enough. The reason for this, is that "humans, particularly those who build things, only listen to leading indicators of good news. We can always find reasons to excuse away bad news, and reasons to believe good news means more than it should.

Podcast Episode

Ben closes with a quote I really believe in - life is about the journey, not the destination. So you have to embrace the journey. Be so mission driven that the struggles you inevitably face are worth it. View 1 comment. If you got advice from someone you found really annoying - even if it was good advice from an interesting perspective - would you be able to get over how annoying the person talking your ear off is? That's basically where I am with this book.

The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Ben Horowitz’s Honest And Real Take On Entrepreneurship

I think his advice is really interesting, and it's clear that a lot of the lessons he's learned throughout the course of his career were earned with blood and sweat, but ultimately, I'm not sure I can get past how annoying I found the voice he was writing If you got advice from someone you found really annoying - even if it was good advice from an interesting perspective - would you be able to get over how annoying the person talking your ear off is?

I think his advice is really interesting, and it's clear that a lot of the lessons he's learned throughout the course of his career were earned with blood and sweat, but ultimately, I'm not sure I can get past how annoying I found the voice he was writing in.


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But I really want to take advice from someone who will take a break from bragging about shit to drop some Trinidad James. That really makes me feel like this guy's not just any CEO.


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He's a cool CEO. Btw profanity can be great when used on purpose by a CEO to make a point. That's about how many times in the book he makes this point. Okay, I'm drinking too much haterade and all the books I don't like are blurring together. I'm cutting myself off. View all 10 comments.

The Hard Thing About Hard Things : Ben Horowitz :

Apr 19, Chris Johnson rated it it was amazing. This is the very best business book I have ever read. I would estimate that I've read roughly 1, I've loved maybe This one is in it's own category, a book that both documents the times about years ago and paints a picture of what we can do today. I cannot recommend it highly enough, and I cannot say more strongly: read it. If you know me - email me at my personal address and I'll buy it for you. There are a few things that happen to an entrepreneur. I've faced down the belly of the This is the very best business book I have ever read.

I've faced down the belly of the 'no cash, people might find out that we are phonies' thing a few times, but this adds a vocabulary to the emotions that I've felt off and on all my life. These are my people, this is what I aspire to be, how I aspire to live, and the journey I aspire to take. Some will say that the book is for funded startups - and I'm a 'hustler for life'. I say nonsense: the struggle scales. It is just as scary fighting for your own personal livelihood as it is fighting for the jobs of people.

The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business Where There Are No Easy Answers

There is practical information: how to conduct a review, how to live your life how move forward. I can't say more strongly: if anything I've said has ever moved you over the years go out and buy this book. A couple things: I missed my spot on the standby list because I was so engrossed in this book. View all 3 comments. Jan 16, Patrick Brown rated it really liked it Shelves: readathon-day It's hard for me give this a rating, as I haven't really read many other how-to business books.

I liked the narrative section at the beginning of the book a bit better than the tactical advice section, but I think that's probably just how I prefer to get information. If you're bringing someone new onto the team, really think hard about what strengths are most important for the job and find someone who is world class at those things.

The Hard Thing About Hard Things Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers

If that person isn't as strong at everything else on your check-list, don't sweat it. It's sort of incredible that people can manage without one-on-one meetings, but I guess it happens. The big breakthrough or at least, the one that I hadn't put into words before is that it's the employee's meeting, rather than the manager's.

I mean, duh, but still a good framework for thinking about the meeting. I suspect this is really difficult for many CEOs to deal with at first. I know it would be tough for me. But it makes sense -- at that level, you just have to be able to do the job with minimal-to-no developmental runway. Anyway, for my first management book, this one was fun and readable and very honest.

Also lots of hip-hop quotes, for those who roll that way. Apr 08, Angie Boyter rated it it was ok Shelves: didn-t-finish. This is not a book that I think many general readers would enjoy. The first part is about the author's experiences building and running various tech companies and is fairly interesting. Most of it, though, is a huge compendium of short bits of management advice that gets very tedious.