Ben Horowitz on hiring and diversity

This long extract is from a fantastic interview with Ben Horowitz – it’s great on a load of aspects of building strong organisational culture, and especially on diversity. Highly recommend. Brian Koppelman: How do you avoid [hiring people who look like you]? How do you train it out of people? Ben Horowitz: Look, we all fall into it. Let me…

Creeds and values

Creeds and value-statements can be useful ways to remind your team who you are, and how you work. They can help your team to develop a shared vocabulary and shared principles, which can be a powerful way to start shaping a shared culture. On Vox’s (excellent) Land of the Giants podcast, for example, host Jason Del Rey comments how often…

Podcast recommendation: Ben Horowitz on organisational culture vs product (a16z podcast)

Episode 503 of the a16z podcast, The Stories and Code of Culture Change, is a great overview of Horowitz’s book, You Are What You Do, and features some highly memorable (and hilariously violent) stories that illustrate what culture is, and some ways you might build it. Here he is on the relative importance of culture and product: Let’s not get…

Ben Horowitz on leadership and management

Can you think about systems? Can you think about how broad-scale systems interactions occur and what the implications are? … In order to make that system work you have to be able to see the company through the eyes of the people who are doing the work, which are usually the people who are not in the room when you’re…

Ben Horowitz on leadership and making unpopular decisions

This is from Ben Horowitz in a fantastic interview on building a successful culture in your organisation. Highly recommend. If you make decisions that everybody likes all the time then those are the decisions they would have made without you, so you’re not actually adding any value. So almost by definition a lot of the most important decisions end up…

Resources: Clayton Christensen on disruptive innovation

Clayton Christensen’s The Innovators Dilemma is a business classic, providing a framework for understanding how technological or business model innovations (or more usually, both) allow new businesses to gain a foothold in markets or to create new ones. It’s been hugely influential – and has come in for its share of criticism. This post contains links to a range of…

Ben Horowitz on trust and communication in organisations

Without trust, communication breaks down. More specifically: in any human interaction, the required amount of communication is inversely proportional to the level of trust. Consider the following: If I trust you completely, then I require no explanation or communication of your actions whatsoever, because I know that whatever you are doing is in my best interests. On the other hand,…

Ben Horowitz – The Hard Thing About Hard Things

This is a great cut-the-crap book about management and building a company. It’s most relevant to the the tech world, but there are plenty of gems here that are relevant to anyone – he’s especially good on shaping your culture (hint: yoga at work is not your organisational culture). Here’s the introduction: Every time I read a management or self-help…