a16z Podcast

a16z Podcast: Teams, Trust, and Object Lessons

Ben Horowitz and Dick Costolo

Posted April 2, 2016

Some of the best management books are actually military books, argues Ben Horowitz. There’s just a certain mental toughness and focus that that experience gives you, adds Dick Costolo based on his observations.

So how then do you build trust on a team in a company, when it’s not (literally) life or death as it is in the military? When giving someone a public “object lesson” — the equivalent of Sun Tzu’s chopping someone’s head off — could mean losing talent … or being more tyrant than leader? How do you tell the difference?

This conversation — between Horowitz and Costolo (entrepreneur, former CEO of Twitter, comedian and consultant on the HBO show “Silicon Valley”) — took place before a group of 25 veterans who participated in the BreakLine education and hiring program (one week of which was hosted at Andreessen Horowitz) for veterans shifting into careers in the tech industry.

photo credit: Rene Tate for Breakline