The Hard Thing About Hard Things

Building a business when there are no easy answers
By Ben Horowitz ORDER NOW


Ben Horowitz, a leading venture capitalist, modern management expert, and New York Times bestselling author, combines lessons both from history and from modern organizational practice with practical and often surprising advice to help executives build cultures that can weather both good and bad times.

There are lots of people talking about how great it is to start a business, but only Ben Horowitz is brutally honest about how hard it is to run one. Filled with Ben Horowitz’s trademark humor and straight talk, The Hard Thing About Hard Things is invaluable for veteran entrepreneurs as well as those aspiring to their own new ventures, drawing from Horowitz’s personal and often humbling experiences.

This is no polished victory lap. Ben analyzes issues with no easy answers through his trials, including:

  • Demoting (or firing) a loyal friend.
  • Whether or not 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 Andreessen Horowitz prefers founder CEOs, and how to become one.
  • Whether you should sell your company, and how to do it.


No matter who you are, you need two kinds of friends in your life. The first kind is one you can call when something good happens, and you need someone who will be excited for you…The second kind of friend is somebody you can call when things go horribly wrong—when your life is on the line and you only have one phone call.

Ben Horowitz
The Hard Thing About Hard Things

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About the Author Panel

About the Author

Ben Horowitz is a cofounder and general partner at the venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz. He is the author of the New York Times bestsellers, The Hard Thing About Hard Things and What You Do Is Who You Are. He also created the a16z Cultural Leadership Fund to connect the greatest cultural leaders to the best new technology companies, and enable more young African Americans to enter the technology industry.

Prior to a16z, Ben was cofounder and CEO of Opsware (formerly Loudcloud), which was acquired by Hewlett-Packard for $1.6 billion in 2007, and was appointed vice president and general manager of Business Technology Optimization for Software at HP. Earlier, he was vice president and general manager of America Online’s E-commerce Platform division, where he oversaw development of the company’s flagship Shop@AOL service. Previously, Ben ran several product divisions at Netscape Communications. He also served as vice president of Netscape’s widely acclaimed Directory and Security product line. Before joining Netscape in July 1995, he held various senior product marketing positions at Lotus..

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