Ben Horowitz is the Co-founder of VC firm Andreessen Horowitz that invests in early-stage startups and established growth companies across mobile, gaming, social, ecommerce, education, and enterprise IT (including cloud computing, security, and SaaS) industries.
Prior to being a venture capitalist, Ben co-founded Loudcloud, a managed services provider, which became Opsware, a data centre automation software provider, later acquired by HP for $1.6 billion in cash. He is the author of The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers, a book about startups, and What You Do Is Who You Are: How to Create Your Business Culture.
Horowitz earned a BA in Computer Science from Columbia University in 1988, and did his MS in Computer Science from UCLA in 1990.
Here are 15 powerful quotes from the 53-year-old American businessman, investor, blogger, and author that may give you the extra push you need to get started and to keep going.
“A CEO needs great intelligence and great courage. And I always found my courage was tested more.”
“Breakthrough ideas usually come from guys who look like they’re hallucinating.”
“Every time you make the hard, correct decision you become a bit more courageous, and every time you make the easy, wrong decision you become a bit more cowardly.”
“Hire sales people who are really smart problem solvers, but lack courage, hunger and competitiveness, and your company will go out of business.”
“In my experience as CEO, I found that the most important decisions tested my courage far more than my intelligence.”
“It turns out that is exactly what product strategy is all about—figuring out the right product is the innovator’s job, not the customer’s job.”
“Nothing motivates a great employee more than a mission that’s so important that it supersedes everyone’s personal ambition.”
“Startup CEOs should not play the odds. When you are building a company, you must believe there is an answer and you cannot pay attention to your odds of finding it.”
“The only thing that prepares you to run a company is running a company.”
“The most important thing you can learn as CEO - one of the hardest things to do is, you have to discipline yourself to see your company… through the eyes of the people that you’re working through.”
“There are no shortcuts to knowledge, especially knowledge gained from personal experience. Following conventional wisdom and relying on shortcuts can be worse than knowing nothing at all.”
“When you’re making a critical decision, you have to understand how it’s going to be interpreted from all points of view.”
“You know what the difference between a vision and a hallucination is? They call it a vision when other people can see it.”
“Nobody is born knowing how to be a CEO. It’s a learned skill and unfortunately you learn it on the job.”
“You can have a great product, but a compelling story puts the company into motion. If you don’t have a great story it’s hard to get people motivated to join you, to work on the product, and to get people to invest in the product.”
(Edited by Teja Lele Desai)