Skip to content

Ben Horowitz on building companies: “the horror”

I love Ben Horowitz’s frankness about the struggle and mess of building organisations. Be encouraged.

… there’s was a lot of focus on business models and market sizing and segmentation and these things, but when you’re in the company and when you’re building it, you know it really is about a whole other set of things. It’s about the struggle, and the horror, and doing something for each other, and what that means even when it’s falling apart.

It’s hard. And a lot of it comes down to thinking of it as a company and as a whole… it’s how people communicate, a lot of it is the communication architecture of the company. How do people get work done? If you go there and you’re an engineer, what does your day look like? How do you understand what you should be working on, how do you get credit for your work, how do you contribute, how do you know that the work that you’re doing contributes to the outcome?

And that’s constant work figuring out, as the company grows, how you keep it being a good place to work. But that’s really what it comes down to: is your company a place where, when you come to work at it – not for the head of sales of the head of marketing, but the people who actually do the work – is their day what you would expect it to be? Is it something that they grow from and get something out of? And that’s something that it’s really hard to do.

Ben Horowitz – Fireside Chat with Bill Campbell

More from Ben Horrowitz…
On hiring and diversity
On leadership and making unpopular decisions
On leadership and management
On organisational culture vs product
On trust and communication
The Hard Thing About Hard Things

I'd love to hear your thoughts and recommended resources...