Top 5 Takeaways With Ben Horowitz

May 15, 2024
1 min read

We hosted Ben Horowitz, Co-Founder and General Partner of Silicon Valley venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, for a fireside chat at our Mountain View HQ, where he talked about the keys to business success.  

Here are the top five key takeaways from that discussion: 

1. Your company needs to be an oasis from moral and political issues.

“It’s important not to cede moral authority at work, because once the focus shifts toward moral and political issues, and away from building products and serving customers, it creates a cultural drift. There’s a time and place for everything. When it comes to activism and politics, those are fine to pursue in one’s personal life, but employees should bring their professional selves to work.”

2. Bad workplace culture spreads like a virus.

“Culture isn’t a set of values you have as a company; it’s a set of behaviors you want. Culture is how you treat each other and how you treat people on the outside. It’s impossible for the CEO to enforce culture because there’s just no way to see everything that goes on in the company. The employees have to enforce the culture–otherwise, the culture will drift. It’s very important because you spend most of your time at work. Imagine building a great company that’s worth a lot of money, but you dislike going to work.”

3. A tell-tale sign of an organizational design issue at work is constant conflict. 

“Any time two great employees hate each other, it’s the organizational structure that has pitted them against each other. Proper reorganization requires a redistribution of power, which is very challenging. It’s especially difficult for the high-performing employees, because they have to lose power in order for the organization to work best for everyone. Getting it right is so critical.”

4. The new hire training process should become progressively more structured and systematic as the company grows.

“When a company starts out, the products and processes start from scratch. As the company scales, insights and knowledge increase, and the corporate infrastructure develops and strengthens. Over time, it’s important to be more systematic about training and making sure people can play back the training they’ve received. Otherwise, new hires won’t be equipped to effectively contribute to the team, thereby impacting output efficiency. Remember to catalog knowledge, train people on that knowledge, and open up the bandwidth for the rest of the team.”

5. When it comes to the sales process, methodology is key. 

“Structuring your sales process and creating a methodology over time will make training new hires easier. Create a high level of precision and discipline in the sales process: What should customers be educated on? What will the customer education process look like? Which decision-makers in the customer organization should be targeted? Executing the sales process consistently every time points companies to the product as a potential cause for declining sales, rather than the sales process itself.”