Ben Horowitz

Ben Horowitz

Entrepreneur, investor, and author of The Hard Thing About Hard Things

THIS CHAT HAPPENED ON September 03, 2015

Discussion

Ben Horowitz
Ben Horowitz@bhorowitz
Hey, I’m Ben Horowitz, cofounder and partner of the venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz. Prior to a16z I cofounded Loudcloud, a cloud service provider, along with Marc Andreessen. I tell the story of building a company, how Loudcloud became Opsware, and dealing with “the struggle” in my book, The Hard Thing About Hard Things. Ask me anything!
Andrew Chen
Andrew Chen@andrewchen · Uber
@bhorowitz who are your mentors for work and life? Who do you find yourself going to, for advice, besides @pmarca? :)
Ben Horowitz
Ben Horowitz@bhorowitz
@andrewchen At this point in my life, I would probably refer to them as friends rather than mentors. Bill Campbell and Andy Grove are probably the two that I have learned the most from. Andy's whole life is a great lesson in how I should live mine. The way that Bill listens to people is so advanced that I learn something every time I'm with him. There are other people on other fields. Like Nas. Nas has the ability to see the world in such a radically different perspective. We can listen to the same song and he'll hear 30 things that I didn't.
Ryan Allen
Ryan Allen@ryanallen_com · Designer, Dapper Gentlemen
@bhorowitz Any tips on becoming a better listener?
Frankenmint
Frankenmint@frankenmint · The one and only Frankenmint
@ryanallen_com Keep at it .... you're doing a great job :)
Vitaliy Hamuha
Vitaliy Hamuha@vitaliy_hamuha
@ryanallen_com listen for more music. I.e. rap or hip hop :)
Bart Dessaint
Bart Dessaint@8artd · Partner, Andreessen Horowitz
@bhorowitz would you be Kanye's VP for 2020? :-)
Anuj Tyagi
Anuj Tyagi@sultan0fswing · Product Manager, Vee
@8artd interesting to see the combo Kanye + Ben :-)
Erik Torenberg
Erik Torenberg@eriktorenberg · Former Product Hunt
Hey @bhorowitz ! Thanks for joining us on LIVE. Q: You released The Hard Thing About Hard Things last year. If you released it today, what lesson would be added (or changed) in the book? If nothing, what has most surprised you about the book's reception?
Ben Horowitz
Ben Horowitz@bhorowitz
@eriktorenberg I probably would have put in more war stories. I didn't know if people would like those, but they definitely did. The biggest surprise about the book's reception is that I wrote it for a very narrow audience, but everyone from teachers to pastors seems to like it. That's been shocking.
Ben, what you mentioned about Nas hearing 30 things that you didn't when listening to the same song is one of the realest metaphors for why diversity is such an important issue. How do we do a better job of helping founders, VC's, LP's, and others see this as a competitive advantage?
Chase Roberts
Chase Roberts@chsrbrts · BizDev @ Segment
@bhorowitz I would LOVE more war stories!
Vishal Kumar
Vishal Kumar@vishal_kumar2 · Founder @ OneUp(www.oneupapp.io)
@bhorowitz @eriktorenberg Hi Ben, i have made one amazing product but don't know how to get it published by moderators on Product Hunt? Can you help me out ?
Brian Shultz
Brian Shultz@brianlshultz
Hey Ben — I just from graduated Columbia and really enjoyed the graduation speech you gave. What stuck with me was the comment that you made about how a girl growing up in Bangladesh today has a better library/access to information than a student at Columbia/Harvard had 20 years ago. Given the present accessibility of knowledge (MOOCs, Google, etc), in what ways do you think universities need to adapt their curriculum/offerings to provide more educational value to its students? Thanks for taking the time today to answer questions.
Ben Horowitz
Ben Horowitz@bhorowitz
@brianlshultz I'm not sure if Universities adapting are the most interesting thing. I think that the greatest teaching professors making their courses available world wide for free/cheap will be the big breakthrough. Universities do a great job educating the elite/lucky today and I think they will continue to do that very well. It's hard for me to imagine them getting into the high volume business.
Paul Robert Cary
Paul Robert Cary@prcary · CEO, Findie | www.findie.me
@brianlshultz Hey Brian - fellow Columbia alum here. Great question :)
Sergey Elizarov
Sergey Elizarov@sergey_elizarov · Co - Founder AdBike
@bhorowitz @brianlshultz University studies are mostly outdated today. We live in the fast moving world, books and modules can't keep with the new data everyday. From my point of view, studies will move to online resources where everyone will be able to choose what to learn and where to get most reliable information from
Ben Horowitz
Ben Horowitz@bhorowitz
Thank you everyone for joining. Stay strong in the struggle!!!
Shaun Modi
Shaun Modi@shaunmodi · Designing for Product Hunt and TM
@bhorowitz I'm a huge fan of your business philosophy and have worked with several of your portfolio companies on the design side. My question is about your love of hiphop. Why do you personally admire the genre and quote lyrics? I adore hiphop as well and it makes your writings and concepts grounded in another context, which is super interesting.
Ben Horowitz
Ben Horowitz@bhorowitz
@shaunmodi Hip Hop is really just the soundtrack in my head. It's hard to explain why. The great hip hop artists are the top poets of this generation and I have always been a poetry fan. ee cummings is my guy!
Grace Chih Ellis
Grace Chih Ellis@garcegarce · partner, andreessen horowitz
@shaunmodi You should read the backstory to Ben's love of hip hop: http://www.bhorowitz.com/the_leg.... #tictoc
Focus On Risk
Focus On Risk@focus_on_risk · Director of BD at Cashplay, Game Dev
@garcegarce love that! Thanks for sharing!
Grace Chih Ellis
Grace Chih Ellis@garcegarce · partner, andreessen horowitz
@focus_on_risk it's one of my favorites!
Zack Fisch
Zack Fisch@zfiscr · CEO, CoHealth
@bhorowitz Hey Ben! Projecting financials is a difficult thing to do when the numbers are purely hypothetical. What's the best approach to this, and can you offer any input on the best methodology to creating investment friendly financial projections? Thanks!
Ben Horowitz
Ben Horowitz@bhorowitz
@zfiscr If you're an enterprise company, then the best way to do it is probably salesforce math. I.e. add up the quota of the productive people that you have. If you are a consumer company, financials are usually a derivative of some other metric. I'd just be explicit about how you get there.
Bruno Vilela
Bruno Vilela@bruno_vilela_ · CDO
@bhorowitz If the direct sale of advertising (non-programatic) is your main source of revenue, would it qualify as enterprise since you have to rely on a sales force to bring in the numbers?
Sydney Liu
Sydney Liu@sydney_liu_sl · Co-Founder of Commaful.com
Hey Ben, Thanks so much for dropping the knowledge on your blog and here today! You always talk about unconventional ideas and working on the truths that other people don’t. What advice would you give to founders that most investors or founders would think initially disagree with you on or think is crazy? Thanks, Sydney
Ben Horowitz
Ben Horowitz@bhorowitz
@sydney_liu_sl Nobody who ever built a great company wasn't ridiculed along the way. If you are driven by social signals, you shouldn't be an entrepreneur. That's not say that you shouldn't ever listen to input, but you have to decide for yourself.
Paul Robert Cary
Paul Robert Cary@prcary · CEO, Findie | www.findie.me
@sydney_liu_sl You're always asking great questions, Sydney. Thanks.
Sydney Liu
Sydney Liu@sydney_liu_sl · Co-Founder of Commaful.com
@paulrobertcary Thanks Paul :)
Julie Delanoy
Julie Delanoy@syswarren · Design at Product Hunt
Hi @bhorowitz ! Awesome to see you here. I read that you didn’t invest in TransferWise at first because they were based in London. Distance seemed to be the problem. Did this experience give you a new perspective about remote/long-distance working?
Emiliano Velazquez
Emiliano Velazquez@emiliano_velazquez
@bhorowitz with the advent of companies disrupting regulated markets, (uber, tesla, spacex, airbnb) do you see this happening with goverment, and if so, what's your take on it?
Ben Horowitz
Ben Horowitz@bhorowitz
@emivelazquez6 I hope so. My partner Balaji has a very interesting theory that God was the original leviathan then the state and in the future the network. At a very basic level, people behaved themselves originally because they feared God then later the rise of uniformed police and the state and eventually their reputations on the Network. If he's right, we are in for a lot of changes :-).
Emiliano Velazquez
Emiliano Velazquez@emiliano_velazquez
@bhorowitz Great answer. Balaji has some amazing ideas, and love what they're doing with 21inc. Thanks for the reply!
Ghost Kitty
Ghost Kitty@ghost-kitty-279800
Comment Deleted
Emiliano Velazquez
Emiliano Velazquez@emiliano_velazquez
@danprisk you can read "The magic Kingdom" by Cory Doctorow, where reputation translates to money if you want to kick it up a notch ;)
Jon Anderson
Jon Anderson@jonjonandy · Operations Manager, Clear Health Stratgs
@bhorowitz brb, making subscription-based "Heavens" for networks. Pay more if you have a bad reputation and still want to enjoy access to the nicest VR rooms.
Troy Shu
Troy Shu@troyshu
From what you’ve noticed, what are the 20% of techniques, mindsets, skills, etc. new/first-time entrepreneurs have that result in 80% (or a large part) of their success?
Ben Horowitz
Ben Horowitz@bhorowitz
@troyshu The big thing is to focus all of your energy on product/market fit. I.e., get to a product that people are adopting very quickly or that you can reliably sell repeatedly. To some extent, everything else culture, management, etc is secondary. Don't take your eyes off the prize.
Tom Klein
Tom Klein@tdrewk · Product founder: LOOP Messenger
@bhorowitz This quote should be an opening statement to...I pledge of allegiance to my vision that I will "focus all of my energy on product/market fit, and get to a product that people are adopting very quickly or that I can reliably sell repeatedly". We all witness that most founders spend far to much effort being distracted by startup events, fundraising, networking, team brainstorming, corp formation, IP protection, legal, admin functions, and the myriad of other distractions instead of the singular focus of customer development to ensure PMF.
Kamil
Kamil@kamilszybalski · Growth Entrepreneur. Was @Hootsuitelabs
@bhorowitz Ben, what are some books you're currently reading or have on your shelf?
Grace Chih Ellis
Grace Chih Ellis@garcegarce · partner, andreessen horowitz
@kamilszybalski I do know that one of @bhorowitz's favorite books on leadership is The Black Jacobins: Toussaint L'Ouverture and the San Domingo Revolution
Kamil
Kamil@kamilszybalski · Growth Entrepreneur. Was @Hootsuitelabs
@garcegarce Thanks for that. Ben, we have 13 people now who are curious about your shelf.
Kamil
Kamil@kamilszybalski · Growth Entrepreneur. Was @Hootsuitelabs
@kamilszybalski here's what Marc Andreessen is reading -
Mitali Pattnaik
Mitali Pattnaik@mitali · Co-founder @IntroHQ. pm @ TWTR, GOOG
@bhorowitz the current state of public markets has scared a lot of people, and there is a talk of some unicorn and "decacorn" startups being affected. how do you think this downturn will affect early stage companies (seed / A) or will it? how will early stage investing be impacted?
Ben Horowitz
Ben Horowitz@bhorowitz
@mitali I think that early stage investing, if done right, is pretty disconnected from the public markets. The average Venture Capital exit is over 8 years, so the public markets will change a lot by then. Having said that, a lot of hobbyist investors will stop if the markets crash and that will make it more difficult to raise money for sure. In addition, if you are a VC and you pay a bubble price even at an early stage that can be hard to recover from (for both you and the company) if the climate changes radically. .
Corley
Corley@corleyh · COO @ Product Hunt
@bhorowitz thanks for making the time to answer our questions! much appreciated! What excited you the most about the future? And what trend to you worry that if not changed or stopped could be problematic in the future?
Andrew Torba
Andrew Torba@torbahax · CEO, Gab.ai #SpeakFreely
@bhorowitz what are your thoughts on the future of digital advertising? With the rise of Adblocking (especially soon on mobile with iOS9,) what is the next step for digital advertising business models over the next 5-10 years?
Mitali Pattnaik
Mitali Pattnaik@mitali · Co-founder @IntroHQ. pm @ TWTR, GOOG
What are some things you miss about being a founder/ CEO now that you're a VC? Do you find yourself reverting back to "CEO muscle memory"? :)
Ben Horowitz
Ben Horowitz@bhorowitz
@mitali I don't know if I miss much, but there are definitely times when I can see what needs to be done extremely clearly and I am working with a less experienced CEO and I get carried away. I need to control myself in those situations.
Christopher B.
Christopher B.@chrstphr_
@bhorowitz What do you mean by "carried away"? To what extent?
Ben Center
Ben Center@benhcenter · Investor Relations Associate, Onevest
@bhorowitz Thanks for being generous with your time. What do you believe is the best way to get into VC as a young professional?
Ben Horowitz
Ben Horowitz@bhorowitz
@benhcenter Start a company or join a start up and learn what the process of building a company feels like. It's almost impossible to learn any other way.
Sameer Noorani
Sameer Noorani@sameernoorani · CEO, Roomvine
@bhorowitz Whats AH's perspective of taking on a failed entrepreneur as a VC?
Ben Center
Ben Center@benhcenter · Investor Relations Associate, Onevest
@bhorowitz Thanks so much!
christian stewart
christian stewart@stewart_cc · Freelance Strategist
What keeps you up at night?
Eli Laipson
Eli Laipson@elilaipson
@bhorowitz One of my favorite parts of your book was the description of hiring Mark Cranney. How the frak does one get their hands on his sales training bible?
Arti
Arti@ajpeddakotla · Product Manager
@elilaipson +1000 on this question. Just read this chapter and am wondering what was in that bible! @bhorowitz, give us some insights please!
Terry Xu
Terry Xu@coolnalu · SmackHighTeam, ex. Twitter, TripAdvisor
Q1: Stealing Peter Thiel's question: "What important truth do very few people agree with you on?" Q2: How do you take notes / manage information? Thanks!
Alex Stanton
Alex Stanton@alexstanton17
@bhorowitz what is the best rap cd of all time?
Blake McDowall
Blake McDowall@blakemcdowall · Executive Talent - Adobe
@alexstanton17 Liquid Swords or Illmatic. hard to choose.
Focus On Risk
Focus On Risk@focus_on_risk · Director of BD at Cashplay, Game Dev
@alexstanton17 Ready to Die
Christopher B.
Christopher B.@chrstphr_
@blakemcdowall I'll take the Purple Tape over Liquid Swords any day.
Alex Stanton
Alex Stanton@alexstanton17
@chrstphr_ @focus_on_risk @blakemcdowall I know this will be met with some disagreement, but I grew up through the 90s and 2000s for rap, so mine is Get Rich Or Die Trying, followed closely by College Dropout and The Eminem Show.
Christopher B.
Christopher B.@chrstphr_
@alexstanton17 Get Rich or Die Trying was a classic in its own right. My personal fav is 'It Was Written'. Nas showcased true professional skills on that one.
ilan abehassera
ilan abehassera@ilan · Co-Founder, COO at Willo ✨
@bhorowitz Hi Ben, what are your thoughts on the new wave of Hardware companies? How do you think about it at a16z?
Hi Ben! What are your thoughts on bitcoin/blockchain and where do you think the opportunities lie?
Ben Horowitz
Ben Horowitz@bhorowitz
@fornaio It may be the most important computer science breakthrough since packet switching. We are in the very early days though. TCP/IP was invented in 1973 (I think) and it took 20 years to get to the beginning of what we consider the Internet today. Bitcoin is still a baby by that measure.
Terry Xu
Terry Xu@coolnalu · SmackHighTeam, ex. Twitter, TripAdvisor
@bhorowitz really put it into perspective...
Mustafa
Mustafa@_camara_ · Co-founder Egyncy
@bhorowitz Not a question really, more of a thank you note, Thank you for sharing your knowledge with us, I read your book twice, and watched all of your interviews online. I've learned alot from you and your advice helped me save my company from multiple crisis.. Thank you, sincerely.
Ben Horowitz
Ben Horowitz@bhorowitz
@_camara_ Thank you!
Christopher B.
Christopher B.@chrstphr_
@bhorowitz Why do VC's / Investors allow MAU as a focus in growth when companies like Twitter and Facebook play so loose with the context?
Paul Robert Cary
Paul Robert Cary@prcary · CEO, Findie | www.findie.me
@chrstphr_ IMO it totally depends on the company and the MAU type. What kind of engagement are you getting? For me it's value creation vs value capture. Where are you creating value for your users and where are you capturing the value they create in return?
Hey @bhorowitz what are the 5 most important criteria your team and you consider when evaluating a prospective investment?
Kristin Eberth
Kristin Eberth@kristineberth · Dir of Marketing, PressReader
@bhorowitz Thanks for doing this AMA! I'm wondering: what secondary skill set or technical ability do you think someone in marketing should invest their time in developing? Data science? Programming? Something else?
Lavanya
Lavanya@thesignoffive
@kristineberth : +10 from my side!
Paul Robert Cary
Paul Robert Cary@prcary · CEO, Findie | www.findie.me
@kristineberth Data - though I would consider it the primary skill of a marketeer. Even the slightest misread of data can be fatal to a startup. Don't make the data fit your assumptions.
Mark Jenkins
Mark Jenkins@markjenkins · UX Consultant & Designer
@bhorowitz Hi Ben, great to see you doing one of the Product Hunt live! I was wondering what you thought about the influx of apps that are trying to act as a personal assistant to the people who use them. Chinese and Korean markets have a lot of things built into their chat apps, and seem to be exploding. I'm very interested to hear your thoughts on how the combination of AI and chat can be leveraged to provide people with an Uber for X service?
Anuj Tyagi
Anuj Tyagi@sultan0fswing · Product Manager, Vee
@bhoriwitz a big fan of your writing, what do you think about Indian startups ? Any plan to visit India :-) and any plan to invest in Indian startups ?
Suzy Ryoo
Suzy Ryoo@suzywillow · Atom Factory & Cross Culture Ventures
@bhorowitz Thank you for sharing with us on Product Hunt today. Would love to hear about a particularly impactful moment or experience during those formative years -- undergrad at Columbia & grad school at UCLA. One that comes to mind immediately & you still think about to this day as life/perspective changing. Much respect from beautiful & sunny LA!
Michael Joyce
Michael Joyce@emteajay · graduate student at Tufts University
@bhorowitz If you had to start your career all over again? Where would you start today? What would you build (if anything)?
Ben Horowitz
Ben Horowitz@bhorowitz
@emteajay I think that I would be a bio hacker. Computational biology is the most exciting thing that I've ever seen. I'd love to work in that field.
Blake McDowall
Blake McDowall@blakemcdowall · Executive Talent - Adobe
@bhorowitz at what stage should the CEO step away from "product owner" and broaden their focus to the rest of the business? Is there a optimal time to bring on or assign a Head of Product? Thanks!
Ben Horowitz
Ben Horowitz@bhorowitz
@blakemcdowall I wrote a post on that called Why Product Founders Fail or something like that. I don't think that you step away from the product, but as soon as you get in market, you have to start paying a lot of attention to the rest of the company.
Grace Chih Ellis
Grace Chih Ellis@garcegarce · partner, andreessen horowitz
@blakemcdowall Why Founders Fail: The Product CEO Paradox - http://www.bhorowitz.com/why_fou...
Blake McDowall
Blake McDowall@blakemcdowall · Executive Talent - Adobe
thanks @bhorowitz ! I found it in case anyone else is curious: http://www.bhorowitz.com/why_fou...
Blake McDowall
Blake McDowall@blakemcdowall · Executive Talent - Adobe
@garcegarce great timing ;) thanks!
Paul Sondhi
Paul Sondhi@paulsondhi · Student
@bhorowitz What would you be pursuing if you were graduating college today? (coming from a freshly minted junior)
Ben Moore
Ben Moore@benmoore82 · Owner, Jambo Sunglasses
@bhorowitz since taking a board seat at Transferwise has anything surprised you about the UK startup scene?
Paul Robert Cary
Paul Robert Cary@prcary · CEO, Findie | www.findie.me
@benmoore82 Good question. Kristo is an awesome guy - I meet him when TW was just starting to grow. UK startup scene is on the rise thanks to SEIS. Gotta love it.
Carmelo Colon
Carmelo Colon@carmelocolon · Founder, Limelight
@bhorowitz Was there ever a time during your struggle as an entrepreneuer that you were perilously close to failure and luck was nowhere in sight, but you somehow survived and succeeded? What help did you get and how did you find it in those situations?
Marko Islamovic
Marko Islamovic@marko_is · Founder @ Gigrove
Hi Ben :D Ecosystems around the world that are trying to copy Silicon Valley usually fail. What do you think, what is the main cause of their failures? Thanks.
Danielle Newnham
Danielle Newnham@daniellenewnham · Founder, The Junto Network. Author
What surprises you most about the tech industry today vs when you started out? How different is it?
Qi Su
Qi Su@suqidan
Hi Ben, has a16z ever looked into investing in CAD(computer aided design) software industry?
Rory McLaughlin
Rory McLaughlin@txredking · Javascript Developer, Aspiring Maker.
@bhorowitz So many events oriented toward startups nowadays like TechCrunch Disrupt, hackathons, startup weekends, pitch contests. Which events are truly valuable in your opinion for a startup to attend?
Patrick maloney
Patrick maloney@malopatrick · Marketing & Partnerships @ Startup Grind
Rory McLaughlin
Rory McLaughlin@txredking · Javascript Developer, Aspiring Maker.
@malopatrick Thanks!
Juan Antonio Karmy
Juan Antonio Karmy@jkarmy · Maker | Engineer | Musician
@bhorowitz Hey Ben, nice to have you here. Some people say there's a new bubble, especially in the Valley, created by VC going to companies that still, after a few years, don't have any revenue. What are your thoughts on that? Are we headed down a path similar to the one back in 2001? How can we tell/do anything about it?
Ben Horowitz
Ben Horowitz@bhorowitz
@jkarmy Having been CEO in 2001, I don't think that we're anywhere near where we were then. Valuations have gotten high in certain tech sectors in the private markets only, but they have actually corrected themselves pretty quickly. For example, enterprise software started to get over valued privately, but after several companies went public at lower valuations than their last private rounds, the private markets corrected as well. I don't see a massive crash on the horizon like 2001. In 2001, Nasdaq lost 80% of its value. I'll bet any bubble believer everything that I have that Nasdaq won't drop 80% in the next 5 years.
Maria Tucker
Maria Tucker@mariatucker3 · Circle
@bhorowitz Would you make the same bet on a 30% or 40% drop?
Emily Snowdon (née Hodgins)
Emily Snowdon (née Hodgins)@emilyjsnowdon · Operations @ Product Hunt
@bhorowitz thanks so much for joining us today! Outside of work and writing, how do you like to relax? Do you have any hobbies?
Ben Horowitz
Ben Horowitz@bhorowitz
@ems_hodge My hobbies are hip hop, BBQ, and macro economics. @pmarca is better than me at macro economics, but I can destroy him in BBQ and hip hop.
Trevor Young
Trevor Young@_tyoung · Product Designer @ Square
When (if ever) is it appropriate to seek some seed money for something still at the idea stage?
Maurizio Wagenhaus
Maurizio Wagenhaus@m_wagenhaus · Professional procrastinator
@bhorowitz Sorry for offtopic, but what are your top 3 rap albums of all time? Really need to know.
Ben Horowitz
Ben Horowitz@bhorowitz
@m_wagenhaus Illmatic, Paid in Full, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
Mitali Pattnaik
Mitali Pattnaik@mitali · Co-founder @IntroHQ. pm @ TWTR, GOOG
@bhorowitz My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy is also in my top 5 albums (of any genre!) Its Kanye's absolute best and was an inflection point for hip hop like there was before and after
Danny Fiorentini
Danny Fiorentini@dannyfiorentini · Founder of @MuzeekHQ
@bhorowitz where's "The Infamous!"
rohit sawhney
rohit sawhney@sawhney_rohit · Product Lead, Punjabi Papa Consulting
@bhorowitz In your experience, where is the best place for Product Mgmt. to fit within an org? Mkt, Eng or does it just depend on the nature of the biz + org? Interested in your thoughts (as a product manager)
Ben Horowitz
Ben Horowitz@bhorowitz
@sawhney_rohit I think that's specific to the company, the product, and the people. Be careful about generic org design. It all needs to be custom. You wouldn't organize AirBnB the way you organize Workday. That would be insane.
Michael Ahdoot
Michael Ahdoot@mikeyahdoot · Co-founder of Habit Nest
Hey Ben! What daily routines / habits do you take that have made the biggest impact on your life? Why?
Samantha Strom
Samantha Strom@samstromsf · CEO Nancy
@bhorowitz What are your thoughts on the marijuana industry?
BHS
BHS@bhs_wizard
Hi Ben - great to have you on here. My question: what is your most unusual or contrarian view about companies?
Doron David
Doron David@dorondavid1 · COO, Agora
Dropbox, Google Drive, or Box and why?
Mitali Pattnaik
Mitali Pattnaik@mitali · Co-founder @IntroHQ. pm @ TWTR, GOOG
Mitali Pattnaik
Mitali Pattnaik@mitali · Co-founder @IntroHQ. pm @ TWTR, GOOG
@dorondavid1 because files are commodity. the network's the thing
Doron David
Doron David@dorondavid1 · COO, Agora
@mitali then where do you create? edit? see changes?
Mitali Pattnaik
Mitali Pattnaik@mitali · Co-founder @IntroHQ. pm @ TWTR, GOOG
@dorondavid1 on any of those tools you mentioned. commodity doesn't mean a thing you don't need, it means a thing that does not have much value beyond its utility like salt or oil. you need them but you dont care about the brand as much
Doron David
Doron David@dorondavid1 · COO, Agora
@mitali all that would be true if you stripped them of features. Would love to hear your thoughts on https://agora.co/
Alexandra
Alexandra@itsalexgarey · freelance product designer
Hi Ben, Thank you for your time. Question: How do you know if you're pursuing the right idea and if you're not, what are the indicators? -Alex
Paul Robert Cary
Paul Robert Cary@prcary · CEO, Findie | www.findie.me
@itsalexgarey If you never lose your enthusiasm for using the product you make, it's the right idea. Just find a few million people like you.
Courtland Allen
Courtland Allen@csallen · Founder @ Indie Hackers
Hi @bhorowitz! What ideas/spaces do believe to be low-hanging fruit for a small team of smart engineers to execute on? Or, alternatively, what advice would you give to such a group for finding said low-hanging fruit?
Andrew Chen
Andrew Chen@andrewchen · Uber
@bhorowitz was the effect of writing a book different than what you thought? Should other folks in tech consider writing one, rather than blogs and tweets, which seem to be our more common medium?
Troy Shu
Troy Shu@troyshu
Hey Ben! Thanks so much for answering our questions today, and for helping all of us start and/or manage our companies better! Is there anything about Hard Things that you would revise, change, or add onto knowing what you know today?
Erik Torenberg
Erik Torenberg@eriktorenberg · Former Product Hunt
@troyshu I asked this above :)
Troy Shu
Troy Shu@troyshu
@eriktorenberg Oops, you beat me to it! thanks :)
Ed Choudhry
Ed Choudhry@edch2020 · Founder and CEO of Sample Labs
@eriktorenberg Better yet, What would be one more line to what song if he could add it today?
Marty McFly
Marty McFly@mcflyinthechi
@bhorowitz What issues or problems are you currently facing personally or with a16z?
Ian Collins
Ian Collins@iancollins_uk · CEO Woto
@bhorowitz I love what you have created in Andreessen Horowitz and enjoy reading your blog. I'm currently raising a Series A round for my startup Woto (http://woto.com/gba-portfolio-wo...). My question is; while we need to demonstrate growth, traction and active users, what numbers will a VC like you look for?
Kaushal Vyas
Kaushal Vyas@deleted-1426067
@bhorowitz My question is regarding market entry: In a new / disruptive market, if there's a player who is well funded and has some traction in some geographies, and if you know that your offering is going to be similar (not the same), where would you look at from the point of view of building a competitive advantage?
Paprika Xu
Paprika Xu@paprikaxu · Product Design, Canva
@bhorowitz How do you think of Hong Kong as a place to start up? How do you think of entrepreneurs from HK vs entrepreneurs from mainland China (say, Beijing)?
Steven Haddadian
Steven Haddadian@stevenhaddadian · VC, serial entrepreneur - Panama / LA
What piece of advice would you give to a first-time entrepreneurs in raising their first formal series seed? What do you like to see in their team?
lynn
lynn@remixnine · CEO
What is the toughest decision you had to make in the last few months?
Julian Miller
Julian Miller@julianmiller · Founder @Learnmetrics
@bhorowitz - I recently reread your book and couldn't get past the section about how Ernst & Young got away with the most egregious case of professional malfeasance I've ever heard of. If their move had killed the deal, what would you have done and what should companies do (besides not working with Ernst & Young) to avoid being on the line for a similar situation?
Ben Horowitz
Ben Horowitz@bhorowitz
@julianmiller That's a great question. If the deal had fallen apart, I would have kept running the company. I don't know what I would have done differently. The E&Y partner, Dave Price, reviewed every contract that was in question and we followed his recommendation exactly. The whole thing had nothing to do with the business, because we got all the cash up front. It was just the worst big company CYA imaginable.
Mauro Sicard
Mauro Sicard@maurosicard · Bookicious.com
@bhorowitz Hi Ben! Thanks a lot for answering questions on PH. Which advice would you give to an ambitious 18 years old guy (me) who started programming and developing things on Internet since 14 and want to keep learning and accomplishing things as fast as possible? BTW, some months ago I made a book collection of recommended books by you: http://www.bookicious.com/ben-ho..., besides these, do you recommend any other books 😊?
Bruno Vilela
Bruno Vilela@bruno_vilela_ · CDO
@bhorowitz Hey Ben! Your book changed my view of business. I would like to follow Mark Cranney's work a little closer but found no blog beyond a16z's and no published books. How can I get more info on his approach to building a winning sales process and system? Cheers! @bruno_vilela_
Anwaar Ansari
Anwaar Ansari@anwaaramjad · Student
@bhorowitz what is your advice to young entrepreneurs?
Erik Torenberg
Erik Torenberg@eriktorenberg · Former Product Hunt
@anwaaramjad it's all in The Hard Thing About Hard Things :)
neeharika sinha
neeharika sinha@neeeharika · Google, Threadchannel
@bhorowitz If you had to which one metric would you choose to determine that a recently launched App is in its growth phase?
Amrit Pal
Amrit Pal@amritpa1 · Product Manager @Square
@bhorowitz In your book, you mention hardship selling to enterprises. If given the choice today, will you start a consumer or an enterprise company?
Offir Gutelzon
Offir Gutelzon@offirg · Founder & CEO at Keepy
@bhorowitz Thanks for taking the time to join us here, in your book you are often speaking about the pain in growing your team, What is the one thing you would change when growing from 3 to 10 people to keep the team communication effective, while keeping it flat? Thanks @offirg, Founder of @keepyme
Andre Albuquerque
Andre Albuquerque@albuquerquing · Head of Growth, Uniplaces
@bhorowitz Big fan of your book, really recommend everyone buying and reading. Quick question: you went through hell and back with loudcloud and opsware, what kept you fighting to make it succeed? Was it a sense of mission, was it the responsibility of not failing your people or your pride/ego, or any other? Which of these should a founder nurture more to make him/her stronger?
Ben Horowitz
Ben Horowitz@bhorowitz
@albuquerquing I really felt that I couldn't quit. I raised all the money, recruited everyone in, my friends and relatives bought the stock on the public market. I would have rather died than quit.
C.J.
C.J.@craiwai
@bhorowitz this is an amazing response, and probably tells us more about you than any other answer on here. Appreciate the honesty.
Kevin Park
Kevin Park@kevinepark · Business Development Manager @PitchBook
@bhorowitz If you were to choose a song that describes your work ethic, which song would that be?
Martin Skakala
Martin Skakala@mskakala · Founder & CEO WakesApp.com
@bhorowitz your book was amazing read Ben, my personal top 3 with Grove's & Thiel's one. What would be you advice for non-tech founders so they get familiar with tech in the right & faster way? And thanks Ben again for doing the AMA for us.
Aditya Kanitkar
Aditya Kanitkar@adityakanitkar · Cyber Risk Consultant, Deloitte Advisory
@bhorowitz Hello Ben What are your thoughts on negative perception surrounding the MBA hires in early stage tech startups and what do you suggest is the best unique value a MBA can bring to a startup
John Reynolds
John Reynolds@reynolds_wrap · director
Fintech? what the landscape looking like and/healthcare?
Adam Conrad
Adam Conrad@adam_conrad · UX Lead, CoachUp
@bhorowitz I've worked at a few startups and want to branch into entrepreneurship myself in the near future. But I don't come from money or the massive connections to grab seed funding from day 1. Any tips for the unconnected on building a network and fostering lasting connections? Thank you for your time.
CHÜKA
CHÜKA@chukachase · Designer
Yo @bhorowitz thanks for your time, im a longtime fan and follower of your thought leadership! As someone who has one foot in the tech industry and the other in the music industry (we've actually got a mutual friend in Santi) I've got to ask Drake or Meek Mill? Ok serious question now, how many minority led startups have you funded in the last 3 years and who's your favorite?
Cecelia Shao
Cecelia Shao@ceceliashao · Dartmouth '16—Product Lead @ Comet.ml
@bhorowitz looking forward to reading all your answers for the live chat! What do you think VC (as a career) is going to look like in a year, five years, or even ten years from now? More specifically, will there be different job functions or different expectations for younger people entering VC (from both the partner's perspective and a founder's perspective)?
James Lethem
James Lethem@sycren · Head Mentor of Google Launchpad
Hi @bhorowitz Thanks for doing this, I love what you have created in Andreessen Horowitz with the eco system helping startups grow by supporting them with more than just money. I'm going to be a bit greedy with more than a few questions: - How do you think the US government could help startups more? (laws, regulations, tax, funding etc) - In the startups that you invest in, what one mistake do you see repeated time and again? - What do you think is the biggest reason why businesses are failing? (this isn't startup centric) - What one problem would you love to see a startup solve? Thanks :D
Pritish Sanyal
Pritish Sanyal@sanyalpritish · Director Business Development
@bhorowitz Thanks for your time. You are an investor: What I would like to know do you think we can improve the way or reduce the friction in connecting StartUps and Angel Investors and do it in a better way than angel list
Craig Stanford
Craig Stanford@craigstanford · Co-Founder & VP of BizDev @ StageHound
Who are the Top 10 rappers of all-time? You have 10 seconds to start typing...or would if this was actually live. ;)
Prasad Pingali
Prasad Pingali@prasad_pingali · CEO, Veooz Labs Pvt Ltd
We are a startup in news space. Apple news, Samsung news, smartnews, fb instant articles and a ton of others getting into news space in the last 6 months. Why do you think this space suddenly heated up? And what would be the ideal company that will succeed.
James Lethem
James Lethem@sycren · Head Mentor of Google Launchpad
@prasad_pingali I think this is an interesting article which partially explains it: http://www.fool.com/investing/ge... "The parity between Facebook and Twitter when it comes to providing news to users shows a failure of execution on Twitter's part. About 100% of Twitter users should be getting news from the platform; it's by far its most useful application. A focus on news content going forward could lead Twitter to higher engagement rates and renewed user growth. It could also help differentiate the company from Facebook as a news source before Facebook takes complete control of how we use the Internet. The Pew survey found that 9% of Twitter news users consider it their most important source (versus just 4% for Facebook). Increasing that percentage is key to increasing engagement on the platform. That will lead to better ad revenue growth, better margins, and better earnings."
Prasad Pingali
Prasad Pingali@prasad_pingali · CEO, Veooz Labs Pvt Ltd
@sycren yeah, but apple? Samsung? Looks like everyone is throwing a hat in the ring which is surprising.
James Lethem
James Lethem@sycren · Head Mentor of Google Launchpad
@prasad_pingali With Apple & Samsung, could it be that they are trying to lock users onto their own platform? These 2 companies are each others biggest competitors in the phone space.
Lukas Lukoševičius
Lukas Lukoševičius@lukaslukcom · CEO, TableAir
@bhorowitz Do you use a standing table? How do you boost productivity of your employees?
Josh Barkin
Josh Barkin@joshbarkin · Co-founder @ Janis.ai
@bhorowitz do you enjoy the thrill of building a startup, in the trenches, or on the other side of that (as a VC) more?
Eddy Sabbagha
Eddy Sabbagha@eddysabbagha · Startups & Stuff
Hi @bhorowitz, big fan of your work here. Was wondering what's your take on the future of social media? Should we expect new social network unicorns in the coming years or do you think the market is kind of saturated with all the products out there?
かいかい
かいかい@kyeshimizu
@bhorowitz Any marks about Japan and its Startup Scene? Anything more that you would like to see? See you next week at Tech in Asia haha.
Ben Horowitz
Ben Horowitz@bhorowitz
@kyeshimizu I am looking forward to learning about it next week!
Emily Keller-Logan
Emily Keller-Logan@em_keller_logan · Mission-driven creator and communicator
@bhorowitz-- I love that you're doing this live chat today! Thanks for being here. I just bought your book and am looking forward to digging into it. In addition to all of the other great questions here, I wanted to ask: how do you stay positive and confident when the things are indeed very hard, and you’re not seeing immediate impact in the work that you're doing?
Robin Greenwood
Robin Greenwood@robincgreenwood · Founder of Verni.io
@bhorowitz do you collect art? - Thanks
Carlos Jaramillo
Carlos Jaramillo@cabad79 · Fundador Krecr
@bhorowitz thanks for writing your book!!! It have given me a lot of inspiration to make things better in my life and work :) My questions is: If you have the opportunity to create or reform B2B sales what will you focus on?
Ambi Valento
Ambi Valento@quit_t · Studygu.ru
Hey Ben! Is your personality changed much after wartime CEO time? Is there any particular qualities or habits that you had to enforce to succeed? Big thanks for your book, one of the best reads for work attitude.
Sameer Noorani
Sameer Noorani@sameernoorani · CEO, Roomvine
@bhorowitz There is a lot of pressure on entrepreneurs to "impress" VCs: making the perfect pitch, getting an intro to even start a conversation, gettting into incubators etc etc. I feel its equally as much the responsibility of a VC to identify opportunities through the noise, despite an imperfect pitch etc. How many good opportunities do you feel are lost because the "motions" are not followed or good deals never come before able VCs?? Disclaimer: Never interacted with AH so this is not a directed question :)
Steven Pesavento
Steven Pesavento@stevenpesavento · Action Over Perfection GrowthHacking.com
Hi Ben, Thank you for being here. In your experience what are some of the biggest challenges in "growth" and how can they best be overcome?
Pénélope Romand-Monnier
Pénélope Romand-Monnier@penelope_rm · Associate @Hardware Club
Hi @bhorowitz! Loved your graduation speech "don't follow your passion". My question: what is the most important quality for a young student who wants to succeed in the tech startup scene?
Ben Horowitz
Ben Horowitz@bhorowitz
@penelope_rm Have the courage to think for yourself!
Arthur Itey
Arthur Itey@atudotio · Founder of Nomad House
@bhorowitz Nice to have you here. Do you have any books recommendation who change your mind about startups.
Anibal Damião
Anibal Damião@damiansen
@bhorowitz What's the weirdest thing you had to do as a founder and VC?
jay_azhang
jay_azhang@jay_azhang · CEO @ Krue
What's one truth you believe in that nobody else agrees with you on?
Santiago Merea
Santiago Merea@santiagomerea · CEO & Founder @ Raised Real
Any recommendations/stories around strategic investors?
kylie_brusch
kylie_brusch@kyliebrusch · Senior Account Executive, Method Comms
@bhorowitz - you always hear stories about "what successful entrepreneurs do every morning when they wake up," or "what 10 traits these millionaires do every week," etc., but would you say that there's anything to that? Have any of your personal experiences or lessons learned helped contribute to where you are today, and is there a common thread you've noticed amongst your peers and colleagues? Thank you!
@bhorowitz what's up Ben, are you currently working on any fun side-projects of your own on the weekends/free time involving programming? If you got the urge to sit down and code, what project or idea would you work on?
Stephen Fox
Stephen Fox@stephenfox
@bhorowitz Thanks for doing this! Love the book, grateful for the insight. Your support of, wisdom about, & investment in social media is awesome. Question: As a leading VC, to what extent do you include analysis/consideration of a company's social media brand/voice/efficacy as part of your team's investment due diligence? Does social make a difference to investors?
AJ
AJ@alanaut24 · Engitrepresigner
@bhorowitz Huge, huge fan! Love your blog as well. Any plans on starting a social impact fund in emerging markets? Would love to discuss this is greater detail.
@bhorowitz Thanks for your time today! What makes for a good VC? What should entrepreneurs be looking for in their own due dilligence of potential investors?
Kumar Thangudu
Kumar Thangudu@datarade · Technologist
@bhorowitz What's the single most impactful thing you've ever done?
Vitaliy Hamuha
Vitaliy Hamuha@vitaliy_hamuha
@bhorowitz Much of the disruption came from smartphone/mobile internet penetration. What else can change the world this much?
Mohamed Sayed
Mohamed Sayed@ma7madsayed · CEO, HeuroLabs
@bhorowitz What are the 3 hardest decisions you made through your life? What are you most proud of?
Hi @bhorowitz, what are your top 3 favorites non-fiction books? ( but non-business, we already have those :) ) Thanks!
Nicholas Spinazze
Nicholas Spinazze@spinoodle · CEO, Lynxus
Hi @bhorowitz, Thanks so much for taking time out of what I'm sure is an incredibly busy schedule, to impart some of your knowledge and experience on the up and comers here on Product Hunt. @rrhoover I'm not sure if this is a breach of etiquette, but I have two questions. The first, with so much chatter about us being near the bursting point of another tech bubble, which of the unicorn startups do you feel is best positioned to weather the storm and why? The second, what advice would you give to a startup that is just starting to try and raise funding in this environment?
Ben Horowitz
Ben Horowitz@bhorowitz
@spinoodle First, AirBnB, because they are a great company with a great culture and a massive network effect. Brian Chesky is amazing. Second, historically speaking this is a very easy time to raise money. So just do your thing.
Andrew Torba
Andrew Torba@torbahax · CEO, Gab.ai #SpeakFreely
Question #2: who are your top 5 hip hop artists in the game today?
Sérgio Marcelo
Sérgio Marcelo@superherointj · Smace Labs
@bhorowitz Which question did you want me to ask you? And what would be the answer?
Ben Tossell
Ben Tossell@bentossell · Makerpad.co
@bhorowitz Hey Ben! What is one of the craziest situations you've been in while being pitched?
Marc
Marc@mlinne
@bhorowitz how would you incentivise your managing team in a growth-stage organization to deliver the best possible outcome at work?
Praveen
Praveen@voxpraveen · co-founder, NoApp.io
@bhorowitz What do you do when faced with a great team with a mediocre idea or suboptimal plans of execution: Fund because of team / Convince them to rethink their plans / Pass on the opp? (p.s. Please do more blog posts about war stories)
Eric William Dolan
Eric William Dolan@eisforinnovate
@bhorowitz what opportunity lies in health care + wearables? BONUS QUESTION: Favorite lil wayne and birdman jam?
Maxime Drouet
Maxime Drouet@maxime_drouet · Junior manager Accelerate, NUMA
@bhorowitz are you planning to come to Paris soon? If yes, you should come to visit NUMA, and meet the amazing entrepreneurs working there.
Diego Sanchez
Diego Sanchez@diesanx · Product Owner @Typeform
To what extent do you believe a team can create an app for a market different to their current location?
Ben Horowitz
Ben Horowitz@bhorowitz
@dsanchez794 Maybe, but I don't know why you would try. Why start a company with a massive disadvantage? Probably better to move (if possible).
mikhail.kuznetsov
mikhail.kuznetsov@mvkbiz · VP of Sales @ Simple Pickup
@bhorowitz How do you go about balancing planning and iteration when it comes to developing a new idea?
Rebecca Kantar
Rebecca Kantar@rebeccakantar
@bhorowitz are there any types of tasks (games, optimization challenges, daily to-do-list items) that you'd expect most successful entrepreneurs to approach/complete in a similar way?
Josue Gio
Josue Gio@josuegio · Breaking.com.mx - Independent news media
Hey @bhorowitz , I am a mexican entrepreneur, which one could be your best recommendation to entrepreneurs outside US? A16Z is thinking in to invest in teams that are in different countries? I think there are a lot of talent around the world but maybe the issue is that there are not a lot investors that have a vision as A16Z and your team, here in Mexico people as always asking for numbers and not for what are you looking to build. I love this phrase from Suhail Doshi, the CEO of Mixpanel: "Mediocre V.C.s want to see that your company has traction. The top V.C.s want you to show them you can invent the future." Thanks for your time!
Dave Gerhardt
Dave Gerhardt@davegerhardt · VP of Marketing at Drift
@bhorowitz what do most regular (non-founding) startup employees miss when negotiating an offer?
Malcolm Levy
Malcolm Levy@mal_levy · Founder, Generate
@bhorowitz, what is the best way you like to get pitched products? considering you must get so many? for instance we have a creative app and i was thinking of sending you a bunch of hip hop videos using the app, would that make sense in addition to our deck?
Chris Schroeder
Chris Schroeder@cmschroed · investor
Ben: you and yours have discussed worlds of ubquitous smart devices -- two thirds of humanity and more having the same computing capacity in their pockets as put a man on the moon. What do you think that will mean for globally successful software innovation (or what if anything limits it), and how will US VC's engage short of opening offices (with that mixed batting average) in the next decade?
Rainer Dechet
Rainer Dechet@rainerdechet · Founder: Adatch, Tinder for ad campaigns
@bhorowitz Should we (startups) use PH more often? ... and why?
Joshua Decker
Joshua Decker@jdbt · Founder & CEO, Tagboard
@bhorowitz Thank you for joining us! Your book "The Hard Things About Hard Things" is the single most impactful thing I've read in the 4+ years of running @Tagboard. It helped me make some monumental decisions and I have read it now 5 times and recommend it to everyone. I just wanted to say thank you! My question for you - any advice you can give for someone considering a major investment from overseas (Asia)? I'm concerned about potential pitfalls and unnecessary complexities. I obviously can't share much detail but in general are there any red flags to watch out for?
Ben Horowitz
Ben Horowitz@bhorowitz
@jdbt In general, the first principle of raising money is get the money. If you have choices, the positive about an Asian investor is usually access to connections in Asia. On the negative side, the big ones are a) not a strong positive signal for the next round of investors b) if the investor is Chinese, it may raise flags in the US Defense and Intelligence markets c) They may have different ethics about when they exit than US investors (although there is a lot of variance with US investors too).
Joshua Decker
Joshua Decker@jdbt · Founder & CEO, Tagboard
@bhorowitz Thank you so much for taking the time to reply! Great advice.
Which verticals or businesses do you think machine learning is not being applied enough to?
Konrad Holubek
Konrad Holubek@konradholubek · Entrepreneur | Business Developer
Hi @bhorowitz. Thank you for sharing your experience in THTAHT. It has helped me a lot in certain of my everyday decisions. Q: All through your book it's obvious that the support of the family is an essential aspect in the startup journey. Any advice on how to keep a good balance between personal and startup life ?
Adham Badr
Adham Badr@adhambad
@bhorowitz can creating a friendly company culture (e.g being loved by your employees) and a culture of productivity coexist ? reading your book and p.graham's essays on culture, founders' personality & how being nice pays off .. theres definitely a contrast on how you did/do business
Ben Horowitz
Ben Horowitz@bhorowitz
@adhambad I don't think there's really a contrast between Paul and me on this. The culture can and should be friendly, but the expectations, standards and accountability need to be high.
Stephen Drew
Stephen Drew@stephenwdrew
@bhorowitz Thanks for your time. Are you comfortable investing in a startup with the majority of the development taking place offshore?
Javier Torrez
Javier Torrez@jactorrez
@bhorowitz Going off of a Peter Thiel-like question someone asked already: What great businesses do you think nobody is building?
Mohamed Sayed
Mohamed Sayed@ma7madsayed · CEO, HeuroLabs
If you were able to go to Mars, and on a leisurely stroll you ran into some big friendly martian and you had to introduce yourself: how would you identify yourself?An American? A techie?Earthling? If the Martian were to ask, what is the biggest problem earth has, how would you answer that?
Kat Banker
Kat Banker@katbanker · Agency Partner Manager, SocialCode
What would you say to consumer app makers who fear the second they get traction Facebook will rip off their idea and absorb it into the platform, as they have been known to do in the past?
Vipin Chamakkala
Vipin Chamakkala@v1p1n · VC @ Work-Bench
@bhorowitz What advice would you give an early stage enterprise VC Associate in today's startup environment?
Troy Shu
Troy Shu@troyshu
What are a few changes you’ve made to your life that have resulted in the greatest sense of happiness for you?
Diego Sanchez
Diego Sanchez@diesanx · Product Owner @Typeform
@bhorowitz Would you pursue building a consumer app that's not necessarily 10X better than existing apps in the market? It seems difficult to compare things that at plain sight might seem similar, yet are radically different when experienced. How do you know you are comparing things adequately?
V.S.VIVEK
V.S.VIVEK@vsvivek93 · Unoccupied
@bhorowitz We all agree that ideas are cheap but how would you judge a non technical entrepreneur or not a graduated one? I have seen people in India only focusing on people you have back ground before even taking the time to get to know more about the time? How to get around this ?
Dhiren Chatlani
Dhiren Chatlani@dhirench34 · CEO Relendo
Hi Ben, What is your opinion on try before you buy platforms(rent to own), do you think users will move towards this form of consumption in the near future?
Manny Fernandez
Manny Fernandez @mannyfernandez · Co-Founder/ CEO of DreamFunded.com
With companies taking a lot longer to IPO. What are your thoughts when some of your portfolio companies employees start selling their shares?
influencersTV
influencersTV@influencerstv1 · founder, @influencers on periscope.tv
@bhorowitz Thoughts on 'Straight Outta Compton' movie.
Ben Horowitz
Ben Horowitz@bhorowitz
@influencerstv1 They did a great job on that movie. It was so real that it gave me flashbacks.
Dillon Whittier
Dillon Whittier@whittierthany0u · Innovation Intern - Nelnet
@bhorowitz what made you decide to "jump off the cliff" for the first time and start a company? And what made you do it again with getting into VC?
Hey @bhorowitz! Q: What was the hardest thing about writing The Hard Thing About Hard Things and why did you gave this title to your book?
Matt Silverman
Matt Silverman@mattjsilverman · Product Designer
@bhorowitz what is your take on the trend of using more hyper-focused or hyper-localized networks to manage our lives? Meaning using more specialized networks, such as a network of dog walkers, or yogis - rather than trying to use Facebook to handle it all.
Mike Solomon
Mike Solomon@mikedoesnttweet · Product Manager, Thrillist Media Group
What are your thoughts on our government intervening with the growth of Uber?
anuncio rocks media
anuncio rocks media@anuncio_rocks · founder
for founders who have bootstrapped the traditional seed stage funding, and skipped Angel funding to retain equity - how do VC's view startups, coming direct for later funding, without the 'Traditional' introductions & network that Angels can provide.
Irina Jordan
Irina Jordan@irinajordan · Director of Inbound Marketing
@bhorowitz What makes you happy - happy to your core? Thanks!
@bhorowitz Ben, a quick thanks for sharing your experiences. It's formed the foundation for my perspective on the emotional and practical aspects of leadership. Now for my question, how do you think about student loans impact on the risk of starting a company? You mentioned financial health as reason to draw a salary as CEO, such that they don't feel pressure to sell immediately. I've been wondering how much student loans impact the pool of founders. Should a potential founder be concerned to delay those obligations?
Vanessa Mason
Vanessa Mason@vanessamason · CEO, Riveted Partners
@bhorowitz How do you measure and track your success?
Danny Espinoza
Danny Espinoza@abcdannye · Founder @looksyvideo
@bhorowitz What I found fascinating about your book was that so many of your stories are a battle between Intuition and Luck, both of which have been in your favor so many times that perhaps a better way to frame it is a battle between Perseverance and Capitulation. Does that seem apt? Do you think there are specific characteristics required for entrepreneurs to sift success from the randomness?
C.J.
C.J.@craiwai
@bhorowitz At this stage of the "disruption" economy, if someone comes to you in a pitch room or you catch wind of a potential firm and they're touting the same language futurists and vc gurus coined years ago, are you put off, or is disruption (and its ilk) a term that describes an event that we've yet to plunge the depths of?
Ben Horowitz
Ben Horowitz@bhorowitz
@craiwai I think that language matters. If you are so disconnected from the culture that you no longer even know the current buzzwords, that's probably a bad sign.
Drew Page
Drew Page@drewpager · Sales Analyst, Seamgen
Just wanted to say I 'The Hard Thing About Hard Things' has been impactful on my life -- Still trying to grind out a startup while working full-time. But, might be getting fired this week -- which is actually Great! Cheers to the dream.
Tzafrir Rehan
Tzafrir Rehan@tzafrirr · CTO at BeLive.tv
@bhorowitz what's your opinion about balancing innovation vs. risk, as in a product re-defining a category, seeing a wide open opportunity where others see a crowded space, inventing the future vs. entering a known and proved category?
Blaze Arizanov
Blaze Arizanov@ba_blaze · Chief Marketing Officer
@bhorowitz How do you go from $50 to your first $500.000? Is really building the company the best way? What is statistically most proven way - building a company, investing in hedge fund or keeping your job? What is the most important skill that will get you to your first $500.000 Thanks
Mohamed Sayed
Mohamed Sayed@ma7madsayed · CEO, HeuroLabs
Do you feel that empowering people to achieve their dreams is as rewarding as making your own thing? because I'm sure it ain't just about the money
Ben Horowitz
Ben Horowitz@bhorowitz
@ma7madsayed I enjoy it more. I think that it has to do with my personality. I am more excited to see entrepreneurs that I work with succeed than I ever was for myself.
@bhorowitz A lot of what I've seen online and even some personal experiences indicate that the tech community is not a safe place for women to work – especially as programmers. Are there things that investors and entrepreneurs can do in the short-term to change a dynamic where behavior that is unacceptable in most public situations (trolling, stalking, etc.) are considered normal? What are some efforts that already exist and how can we can support them?
@dihaynes By the way, my name is Candida Haynes. It didn't occur to me that logging in with Twitter would obscure my identity. Sorry!
Jacob Catalano
Jacob Catalano@jgcatalano · Founder
@bhorowitz do you think entrepreneurs are born or made?
Ben Horowitz
Ben Horowitz@bhorowitz
@jgcatalano To be an entrepreneur, you have to be willing to be completely vulnerable and think entirely for yourself. I imagine those can be learned, but I am not sure.
JD Carluccio
JD Carluccio@jdcarlu
@bhorowitz What is the most common thing (on problems related to CEO's) that keeps you awake up at night?
JD Carluccio
JD Carluccio@jdcarlu
@jdcarlu add ;) If you could interview one person in the history of the world, who would it be?
ASHWIN R K
ASHWIN R K@rkcertified · Founder, Buzzfactr Technologies
@bhorowitz What do you think about the indian startup landscape and do you have any plans of investing in india?
Priscilla Burch
Priscilla Burch@d_no_vator · Founder/CEO - Fun Club
Good afternoon @bhorowitz, GREAT to "virtually" meet you. I am a first time entrepreneur who is weeding her way through all the wonderful things that come along with building a brand. What would you say is the next most important step after you've taken care of the initial pieces (Research and educating myself on what my product is and the problem I'm trying to solve, Formation of company, tax EIN, Trademarking, URL, Handpicked and worked with developer to create product, Landing page, Creating networks, etc.)? Thanks so much for your time.
Varadh Jain
Varadh Jain@varadhjain
Hey Ben, How do we get you to come hang with us at Bruin Entrepreneurs at UCLA?
Chris Montes
Chris Montes@cmmontes2 · Product Manager
@bhorowitz Hello Ben what do you think of the booming tech culture in Silicon Beach/DTLA? Any chance VC's make the move over town?
JMSainz
JMSainz@patosainz · CEO, printoo
Do I need a lawyer for my first seed round?
Joshua Decker
Joshua Decker@jdbt · Founder & CEO, Tagboard
Joshua Voydik
Joshua Voydik@joshvoydik · Founder, Mindful Makers
@bhorowitz Tupac or Biggie?
Ben Horowitz
Ben Horowitz@bhorowitz
@joshvoydik They are both great, but Biggie is a little closer to my personal taste.
william b
william b@coreybass · Owner, Delwil LLC
Are you @StartupLJackson disguised as Ben Horowitz? :)
Ben Horowitz
Ben Horowitz@bhorowitz
@coreybass I am not, but I am a big fan of his. As you might of noticed, I tend to say what's on my mind regardless of whether it's good for me, so I don't need a pseudonym
Patrick Schmied
Patrick Schmied@schmied · Business Development
@bhorowitz is there something you do every day that you think helps you in your long game?
@bhorowitz Top 3 favorite books? Any books that inspired your own?
Ben Horowitz
Ben Horowitz@bhorowitz
@stella The book that most inspired my book was Andy Grove's High Output Management. It's hard for me to list my top 3 favorites. Some that I like in various categories. The Black Jacobins by C.L.R. James, Fooled By Randomness by Nasim Taleb, and Tuff by Paul Beatty.
Aaron Pollak
Aaron Pollak@aaronjpollak · Owner of all things awesome
@bhorowitz can you describe the most prevalent pain point that you experienced when trying to build a fund?
Javier Torrez
Javier Torrez@jactorrez
@bhorowitz If you could go back in time and tell your 20-year-old-self something that you know now, that you wish you knew then, what would it be?
Ben Horowitz
Ben Horowitz@bhorowitz
@jactorrez This rap career is not going to work out.
Dzaras Mikhail
Dzaras Mikhail@dzarass · Founder at Road Hunter
@bhorowitz Hi Ben, what is your opinion on "Uber for truck drivers", there are several companies who are trying to get that piece of market. Do you think its a future (next 3-10 years) of transportation business?
Richard Sink
Richard Sink@richard_sink · Founder, Critical Connections
In achieving your professional goals, how has it changed you?
Ben Horowitz
Ben Horowitz@bhorowitz
@richard_sink There is a freedom to it in that it enables me to have new goals :-).
sirius1821
sirius1821@sirius1821
@bhorowitz Any advice on successful pitches of non-profit research oriented startups to VC firms?
Tav RG
Tav RG@moofaces · CEO, heychat
@bhorowitz How do you get in front of guys like you? Would love to meet you? Met Marc one time at lean startup.
Mohamed Sayed
Mohamed Sayed@ma7madsayed · CEO, HeuroLabs
Do you see that highly regulated industries like healthcare or products like drugs or resources like airspace will be inevitably opened up as technologists keep pushing? Do you ever foresee a strong lobby out of The Valley or Boston for example?
Ben Horowitz
Ben Horowitz@bhorowitz
@ma7madsayed I really hope so. I think that geographical/regulatory arbitrage will help with this. Already the UK has been very aggressive about easing regulation to spark innovation.
Shashwat Pradhan
Shashwat Pradhan@shashwatpradhan · CEO/Founder @emberify
@bhorowitz what do you think about self tracking technology? (lifelogging/personal analytics/Quantified Self) Do you see them being adopted by consumers in a long term?
Sauli Kiviranta
Sauli Kiviranta@sksauli · Co-founder
@bhorowitz What were the signs you followed as guiding light on the darkest moments when none else recognized or understood the positive signals but you? How did you believe in what you saw instead of falling to despair on the signs being just hallucination e.g. on your 60 days to death moment? Just keep going forward no matter what?
Ekaterina Klink
Ekaterina Klink@ekaterinaklink · Growth & International Bizdev
Hi Ben! How do you think, which changes in professional banking ecosystem would be the most significant within the next several years?
@bhorowitz What emerging startup ecosystems (domestic or international) are you most interested in and why?
h chung
h chung@gnuhcyrneh
@bhorowitz There's been a glut of SaaS companies entering the debt capital markets (both high yield and levloans) post recession and we have yet to see how these companies fare during a downturn. Any thoughts on what the key liquidity access points might be when the capital markets are closed off and do you have a view on liquidation value in these cases?
Fieber
Fieber@fiebernl · CEO
@bhorowitz Hi Ben, do you see a fundamental difference between a pure software / technology business and a technology-enabled service business (in our case: IT & telecoms for SMB, sold as monthly subscriptions) in terms of the way you should go about scaling your business?
rachel
rachel@serial_milk · co-founder, Kip
Hey Ben, thanks for taking the time for an AMA! For a consumer facing product, what do you think is the best indicator of traction? How do you prevent getting false positives from early interest at launch?
Michael Smaili
Michael Smaili@michaelsmaili · HeartEdu
Hey Ben! Do you still believe there's a place for "free" products, i.e., not charging the consumer/user directly?
Andrew Graunke
Andrew Graunke@8ndw · Principal, No Capital LLC
Hi @bhorowitz, thanks for being here! You have a decision to make. Your choices are A, B, C. How do you choose?
Danny Denhard
Danny Denhard@dannydenhard · Founder & CEO of Denhard Media
Hey, as a soon to be start up founder what 3 pieces of advice would you give anyone for future proofing and ensuring your product passes the toughest critics? Thanks (and loved your book btw)
Liat Mordechay
Liat Mordechay@liatmord · Co Founder CMO at 24me
@bhorowitz what do you think about Israeli startups, and will you ever have an a16z office in TLV?
Home Scene Pro
Home Scene Pro@homescenepro · Co-founder, Home Scene Pro
Hey, Ben. How do you feel about business incubator and accelerator programs and what advice would you give entrepreneurs participating in them?
Muhammad Saad Khan
Muhammad Saad Khan@invinciblesaad · Growth Hacker, Cloudways
Hi @bhorowitz -- 3,000+ startups approach Andreessen Horowitz each year and only 15 of them get funding. How can startups persuade you and @pmarca?
Riz
Riz@riz · Maker of things cool & sometimes quirky.
Do you fund tech startups with bin tech founders?
Lyn Gon
Lyn Gon@busoni73
@bhorowitz - Hi Ben, what is your take on hackathons? Thanks for taking time for this AMA
Mohamed Sayed
Mohamed Sayed@ma7madsayed · CEO, HeuroLabs
you are dope, one of the nicest and most genuine people I watched, listened to or read. I think if there were more people like the world would be a better fucken place. Peace
Muhammad Saad Khan
Muhammad Saad Khan@invinciblesaad · Growth Hacker, Cloudways
Hi @bhorowitz, 3,000+ startups approach Andreessen Horowitz each year and only 15 of them get funding. How can startups persuade you and @pmarca?
mtrajan
mtrajan@mtrajan · Helping DeepTech IndiaStartup,iSPIRT M&A
@bhorowitz have you seen evidence of lean startup working in your portfolio startups or otherwise. Marc has been subtle in his answer in past, Peter Thiel bold in his assertion. What's your take ?
Muhammad Saad Khan
Muhammad Saad Khan@invinciblesaad · Growth Hacker, Cloudways
@bhorowitz -- I work for a Cloud company known as @Cloudways. A PaaS that helps developers and agencies manage their servers of DigitalOcean, Amazon AWS and Google Compute Engine. We have grown upto 5000 customers in not more than a year. How do you see PaaS growing over IaaS cloud providers?
thundR
thundR@thundrapp · CEO
hey Ben- what do you envision for mCommerce in the next 5 years? Where do you want to see mCommere going?