Table of Contents
- If you are an entrepreneur who wants to learn how to build and run a startup in the face of hard problems and decisions, then this book is for you. In this article, we will summarize and review the book The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers by Ben Horowitz, and show you how it can help you overcome the challenges and dilemmas that you may encounter in your entrepreneurial journey.
- Are you ready to face the hard thing about hard things? Then read on to find out more about this book and how it can help you succeed in your business.
Creating your own startup might sound like a dream come true, but the unfortunate reality is that entrepreneurship involves more stress than joy. In this book summary, you’ll learn about the professional path of entrepreneurial expert and venture capitalist Ben Horowitz. He shares his expert tips for managing stress as a CEO, dealing with employees, improving workplace culture, and making peace with failure.
Learn how to make tough decisions when starting your business.
READ THIS BOOK SUMMARY IF YOU:
- Are interested in entrepreneurship and risk management
- Want guidance for your leadership journey
- Are curious about the best strategies for improving workplace morale
Ben Horowitz guided Loudcloud through life-or-death struggles before selling it to Hewlett-Packard for $1.65 billion. He argues that no formula can promise entrepreneurial success. Horowitz is a first-rate storyteller and a refreshingly irreverent teacher who uses allusions ranging from Jay Z to Clint Eastwood to Dr. Seuss. Any business leader will find worthy guidance in this exhortation to persist through “the Struggle.” We recommend Horowitz’s part autobiography, part tip sheet to anyone building a company.
- You may start a company with high hopes, but eventually – like Ben Horowitz at Loudcloud – you’ll experience “the Struggle.”
- Horowitz didn’t struggle alone; he enlisted the best minds in order to address his company’s problems.
- His advice: Put your people first, then your products, and then your profits.
- People with “the right kind of ambition” care about the team’s success.
- Don’t convey only optimism; be honest about threats to the company.
- Managers should deliver news of firings to their people with compassion; never outsource this task to HR.
- Minimize politics about pay, promotion and territory with well-designed processes.
- Company culture drives behavior that moves the firm toward its goals.
- Build your knowledge daily through small interactions with customers and employees.
- The founders of successful start-ups like Loudcloud share one quality: They don’t quit.
Being a CEO requires you to constantly confront difficult choices. Should you restructure a flawed product just days before its launch? How do you maintain positive morale without being disingenuous about your company’s shortcomings? What’s the best way to carry out a series of painful layoffs?
In these scenarios, no answer feels especially desirable, but the ability to parse out difficult situations and choose between imperfect options is at the heart of entrepreneurship.
An Unexpected Journey
As a young software engineer, Ben Horowitz cut his teeth working for internet service providers Netscape and AOL in the mid-1990s. He went on to create Loudcloud, one of the first companies to market a cloud-based computing platform to other businesses. In 2002, Horowitz transformed Loudcloud into a more expansive software company called Opsware. Over the next five years, Horowitz grew Opsware into a flourishing franchise worth $1.65 billion and eventually sold it to Hewlett-Packard. Despite his many achievements, Horowitz’s professional path wasn’t a straight shot to success. During his career, his startups faced the threat of bankruptcy on multiple occasions. After Horowitz sold a portion of Loudcloud and laid off 150 people, what remained of his company suffered from plummeting stock prices that fell to just 35 cents per share. The Nasdaq informed Horowitz that if he couldn’t get his stock prices above a dollar, his new company would be removed from the exchange.
Entrepreneurship comes with unexpected challenges and failures, and even the most successful startups endure close calls with failure. The following lessons represent the most important wisdom that Horowitz gathered during his career — not only from his triumphs, but from his trials as well.
Every startup begins with the best intentions. You envision the kind of product that will revolutionize how people live, and you dream up the ideal work environment to maximize the creativity of your employees. But in reality, your startup is more likely to resemble your worst nightmare than your most appealing fantasy. Your employees will lose their gusto, your product will be difficult to fix, and you’ll upset a loyal customer base. These hardships will become your new norm.
CEOs typically make their most important and memorable decisions when the company is in a state of turmoil, and your leadership will be defined by how you handle those lean times. As a CEO, you’ll frequently encounter situations in which you must make a choice — even when all your options feel wrong — so you must get used to the anxiety of picking between uncomfortable options. Such is the struggle of being a CEO.
Every entrepreneur endures the same problems: the self-doubt, relentless pressure, and pain of choosing an imperfect path. The good news is that there are steps you can take to ease your way through these struggles:
- Don’t do it alone. As a CEO, you’ll take your losses and challenges more personally than anyone else on your team. Every setback will hit you hardest. Because you’re going to feel the full weight of your startup’s growing pains, make sure you use your expert peers and employees whenever you can. Invite the maximum possible number of brains to work out a kink in your software or strategize a solution to your plummeting stock prices. You’re more likely to find a solution if you rely on multiple minds, and you won’t have to bear quite so many burdens on your own.
- Play chess, not checkers. At any juncture, there are multiple pathways that your business can take. Don’t just think in terms of a single move: Brainstorm all the possible outcomes of a given choice. Remember that the pieces in your game are complex and share nuanced relationships with each other. Know how your game functions, so you can find your move, even if the odds are against you. Horowitz successfully went public with his company in 2001, a year that was widely regarded by many as the worst time to go public. Even when his chances looked grim, Horowitz knew how to work out the best move and produce a win.
- Stay in the game. The world of technology changes by the day. A concept that seemed like a flop last week might seem like the next big thing in a few months. If you don’t succeed right away, don’t worry. The future may still contain the perfect moment for your idea.
- Don’t take it personally. When your brainchild is the bedrock of a company, it’s easy to feel wounded if you hit a few bumps in the road or have a brush with bankruptcy. These intense reactions might tempt you to write yourself off as a failure or beat yourself up for your mistakes. But excessive selfcriticism won’t help you find solutions to your problems. It won’t solve your management conflicts or magically erase your budget crisis. Negative thoughts will only make you feel worse about yourself. In these moments of self-doubt, remind yourself that every CEO makes thousands of mistakes, and you knew the risks when you began your venture. Pick yourself up and move on.
The Importance of Being Honest
When Horowitz first became a CEO, he experienced constant anxiety. He knew that he was responsible for tens of millions of investment dollars, as well as the jobs of his employees. Whenever he failed to impress a customer or missed a roll-out date for a new product, he took the loss to heart.
However, Horowitz didn’t want to turn his stress into a burden for his employees, so instead of publicizing his anxieties about the company, Horowitz projected a happy demeanor to bolster the team’s morale. But Horowitz’s colleagues quickly realized that his sunny disposition was a façade, and his reluctance to be straight with them ended up hurting their collective faith. Horowitz eventually realized that the positivity illusion was having the opposite of its intended effect on his team.
Being truthful with your partners and employees about the health of your startup is crucial. Honesty conveys a sense of trust. Your employees will feel better about their professional community and their work if they know you’re giving it to them straight. Your employees can tell if you’re sugarcoating the truth, and that knowledge will diminish their respect for the company — and for you. Honesty is also the foundation of effective communication. When your team is troubleshooting a product on the fly, strong communication will be very important. Honesty is also important because it allows you to include more problem solvers in your dilemma. Surrounding yourself with smart people is pointless if you don’t put their expertise to work on your biggest problems.
Whenever a company fails, it usually turns out that the employees knew about the problem long before their superiors did. If everyone was already aware of the fatal issue, why didn’t anyone bring it up to management? Generally, most failing companies discourage the dissemination of bad news. No one wanted to embarrass their manager or anger the CEO by mentioning something that’s wrong with a product or strategy. One of the most outdated maxims of management is, “Don’t bring me a problem without bringing me a solution.”
But this really isn’t the best way for a startup to thrive. If one of your best engineers can’t fix a bug in your product, do you want them to simply ignore the problem? Your startup will be better positioned to improve and grow if you cultivate a culture of honesty in which everyone feels safe sharing their concerns, questions, and observations.
How to Lay People Off
Tasked with the challenge of rebuilding Opsware from the ground up, Horowitz had no choice but to enact three different rounds of layoffs, which resulted in the loss of 400 employees. Years later, Opsware was able to bounce back and become a successful franchise worth more than a billion dollars. However, this incredible outcome is rare for a company that undergoes such extensive layoffs.
Layoffs are usually a sign of a company’s eventual demise, not because they signal financial hardship, but because they destroy a company’s morale. Employees who once believed in the startup’s mission feel less willing to work hard and make sacrifices after witnessing their friends take the fall. But Horowitz managed to defy the odds because he knew how to conduct his layoffs the right way:
- Find the right headspace. When a company’s shortcomings make layoffs a necessity, it’s easy to get bogged down in your failures. Remind yourself that layoffs are necessary for your business to have a better future. Keep your gaze fixed on your improvements, not your failures.
- Don’t delay. Once you and your board decide that layoffs are the best course of action, implement them right away. Don’t invite the risk that word will leak out before you can make an announcement. A leak will create panic within your workplace and make the transition more difficult for all parties involved.
- Know your reasons. Be straight with yourself about why your company has reached this point. This isn’t a market fluke or some kind of coincidence. Likewise, never put a positive spin on your layoffs. Reckon with the fact that you’re having layoffs because your company failed to hit its plan. Admit your failure and be real with yourself and your employees. Layoffs shatter the trust of a professional community, and to reestablish that trust, you must begin by coming clean.
- Train your managers. Managers ought to be responsible for laying off members of their departments. Don’t relegate this unpleasant assignment to your tougher, less personable managers. Your loyal employees deserve to hear this type of news from the very people they’ve worked with. Thus, you must prepare each manager for the layoff conversation.
- Be visible. Don’t slink off to the bar and lose yourself in a pitcher of margaritas while your managers do all the dirty work. Stay visible and engaged so that all your employees — those who depart and those who remain — can see that you care about them. Be available to talk and make sure everyone knows how much you appreciate their hard work.
Using Lead Bullets
During his tenure at Netscape, Horowitz discovered that Microsoft’s new web server was five times faster than Netscape and that they were giving it away for free. As a result, Netscape was getting trounced in sales. Horowitz’s first reaction was to seek solutions that would enable his team to salvage their product. He began planning acquisitions and partnerships that might expand the Netscape product line and help the company survive. But Horowitz quickly realized that all his new ideas were the equivalent of sticking a Band-Aid on a gangrenous wound. Netscape didn’t need new bells and whistles — it needed a better product.
When your product develops bugs or lags behind the competition, you might feel a similar temptation to devise easy solutions in order to avoid the real problem. The idea that a few, small tweaks will reverse your negative sales trajectory is highly seductive. Everyone hopes they can find the simple, silver bullet that will magically resuscitate a drowning business.
In these instances, remind yourself that lead bullets are more powerful than silver bullets. There is no escape hatch; instead, you must start over and build a better product. Take a hard, honest look at your work and recognize the difference between solutions that are genuinely useful and those that simply create an excuse for you to look the other way.
The Most Difficult CEO Skill
The most taxing part of being a CEO is managing your own mind. Anyone can learn the fundamentals of organizational design, metrics, and firing. But keeping your brain in line is much more difficult. Horowitz has met hundreds of CEOs who have this same issue. Fortunately, there are certain techniques you can implement to make your mind a better place to live:
- Make peace with the fact that things will go wrong. Most CEOs are brainy and ambitious. They already have a natural tendency to set outrageously high standards, so they’re especially critical of themselves when their startup doesn’t live up to their perfectly-laid expectations. In fact, many CEOs report that they feel bad about their performance even when business is going well. If you share this propensity for excessive self-criticism, try to remind yourself that there’s no guidebook for becoming a CEO. Every CEO learns the trade by jumping in and just doing it. The nature of the game means that you’ll make mistakes because you won’t know everything when you’re leaving the gate.
- Maintain an outward focus. Bad CEOs have one of two main faults: They either take everything too personally, or they don’t take it personally enough. The trick is to find balance between these two extremes. When your company falls short of its budget projections, treat that matter with a sense of urgency but don’t let it destroy your self-worth. Avoid the temptation to sugarcoat your failures but don’t beat yourself up with them either. Be aggressive about improving your company but don’t view your setbacks as a symbol of personal inadequacy. Direct your gaze toward the company, not yourself. Focus on solving problems instead of wallowing in shame.
- Deal with your nerves. When your professional anxiety threatens to destabilize your internal landscape, develop a set of reliable coping mechanisms. Write down your anxieties, so you can articulate them and get them out of your head. Make friends with other CEOs who can commiserate about the process with you. Finally, keep your attention on the road, not the roadblock. Sinking share prices are a normal setback for a startup, as are layoffs and frustrating design sessions. All these unpleasant experiences are consequences of being in the game. This is what you signed up for. Stressors are a sign that you’re a real CEO.
Loudcloud, Opsware and “the Struggle”
Every start-up encounters the Struggle. Your product turns out to have costly flaws. Your cash runs low, and your venture capitalist tells you fund raising seems unlikely. A loyal customer leaves you. A valuable employee walks away.
There’s no way around the Struggle and no formula for fixing your problems. Your company might not make it. Entrepreneurs who make it share one characteristic: They don’t quit.
“Hard things are hard because there are no easy answers or recipes…They are hard because you don’t know the answer and you cannot ask for help without showing weakness.”
Netscape veterans Ben Horowitz and Marc Andreessen founded Loudcloud, a cloud services provider, in 1999 and soon hit a rocky road. Seven months after they launched Loudcloud – its name marked the first time “cloud” had been used popularly to describe a computing environment – Horowitz and Andreessen had booked $10 million in contracts. They were hiring so fast – 30 employees a month – that workers had to sit in the hallways.
“There are no shortcuts to knowledge, especially knowledge gained from personal experience.”
Then came the dot-com crash of 2000; the NASDAQ fell by 10%. Loudcloud needed capital but faced long odds. After Horowitz pitched one set of prospective backers, a colleague told him the skeptical investors “thought you were smoking crack.” Loudcloud raised a total of $120 million, but with so many start-ups collapsing, the company’s bookings fell far short of its forecasts.
“The Struggle is when you wonder why you started the company in the first place. The Struggle is when people ask you why you don’t quit and you don’t know the answer.”
Horowitz and his board, seeing few prospects for investment from the private market, decided to take Loudcloud public. It was a risky move, with just six weeks of cash remaining in the worst possible environment for a technology IPO. The company took a pounding in the press: BusinessWeek called it “the IPO from hell.” The offering debuted at $6 a share and the company raised $162.5 million, but nobody celebrated. As the dot-com downturn worsened, the company laid off 15% of its workforce and its stock fell to $2.
“Every great entrepreneur from Steve Jobs to Mark Zuckerberg went through the Struggle…so you are not alone. But that does not mean that you will make it.”
Horowitz engineered a deal to sell the cloud business to EDS for $63.5 million and remake Loudcloud as a software company built around its intellectual property, Opsware. Investors balked: Its share price plummeted to 35 cents before slowly recovering.
As Horowitz built the software business, he again responded to crises with bold moves. When a key customer threatened to defect, Opsware bought a North Carolina company that provided the client the software he wanted. When a major new competitor began pummeling Opsware in the marketplace, Horowitz launched the Darwin Project, during which staffers worked 14 hours per day, seven days per week, for six months.
“Managers must lay off their own people. They cannot pass the task to HR…if you hired me and I busted my ass working for you, I expect you to have the courage to lay me off yourself.”
After Herculean labors, Opsware’s software business “approached a $150 million revenue run rate,” and its stock sometimes traded at a market capitalization of more than $800 million. Horowitz decided to entertain offers for Opsware, but only at $14 or more a share. Eventually, Hewlett-Packard agreed to acquire the company for $14.25 a share or $1.65 billion in cash.
“The first thing that any successful CEO must do is get really great people to work for her.”
Selling the company was wrenching, but Horowitz came to regard it as the smartest move of his career. “We’d built something from nothing, saw it go back to nothing again and then rebuilt it into a $1.65 billion franchise.”
Getting Through the Hard Times
As he guided Loudcloud and then Opsware through difficult days, Horowitz drew strength from the lessons he learned:
- “Don’t put it all on your shoulders” – As CEO, you can’t share everything, but remember that you don’t have to bear every burden alone. Muster as many brains as possible to attack a problem.
- Remember “there is always a move” – Running a company is like playing chess: When you think you’re out of moves, think again. You always have a move.
- “Play long enough and you might get lucky” – The technology environment changes so fast that you might find the elusive answer another day, if you can just hang on.
- “Tell it like it is” – At first, Horowitz thought his role as CEO required him to set a positive tone and avoid letting the workforce know the gravity of the company’s problems. Instead of motivating the troops, that approach compromised his credibility. As CEO, you’re better off sharing information about your firm’s problems with those who can harness their energy toward solving them.
Dealing with Layoffs and Firings
Horowitz’s company went through three separate layoffs involving a combined 400 employees. Few start-ups recover from consecutive layoffs of that magnitude, because they break the trust of those left behind. Horowitz believed Loudcloud was able to keep its best employees after multiple layoffs because “we laid people off the right way.”
“Even with all the advice and hindsight in the world, hard things will continue to be hard things.”
If you must cut staff, begin the layoffs as soon as possible after deciding to do so, because word about dismissals leaking out may cause further and even greater problems. Have managers deliver the news to their own people; never outsource it to human resources. Managers should explain that the layoffs stem from a company failure, not the employees’ personal failures. They should make clear the decisions are nonnegotiable and should explain severance packages fully.
“Build a culture that rewards – not punishes – people for getting problems into the open where they can be solved.”
When you fire an executive, the first step is figuring out why you hired the wrong person in the first place, or you’ll be firing another executive soon. Maybe you hired “for lack of weakness rather than for strengths.” Or maybe you didn’t define the position correctly at the outset.
The Three P’s
Jim Barksdale, Horowitz’s old boss at Netscape, once said, “We take care of the people, the product and the profits – in that order.” If people like working for your company and you look out for them, they will reward you with loyalty and hard work. If you don’t take care of your people, the product and the profits won’t matter.
“The most important thing I learned as an entrepreneur was to focus on what I needed to get right and stop worrying about all the things that I did wrong or might do wrong.”
Taking care of people means training them well and having managers regularly meet one-on-one with their direct reports. It also means avoiding “management debt.” That accumulates when you make a short-term management move that has costly, long-term consequences. Examples would be overcompensating an employee who has a competing job offer or putting two people in the same job because you want to keep both in the company. The best CEOs avoid acquiring management debt. Faced with cutting a popular project that’s not in the company’s long-term plans or keeping it for morale purposes, they’ll cut it every time. They make hard decisions that “ruffle the feathers.”
Running Your Growing Company
If you’re fortunate enough to see your company reach 1,000 employees, it will be a profoundly different organization than when you employed 10 people. You must cope with new challenges:
- Minimizing company politics – Political behavior can seep into a variety of corporate activities, including performance reviews, pay, organizational structure, territory and promotions. Curtail political behavior by designing strict processes and following them relentlessly. Be sure everyone understands your promotion process. When you decide to reorganize, do it quickly, without leaving time for lobbying.
- Hiring employees with the “right kind of ambition” – Go for candidates who see through a “team” lens and whose ambition focuses on being part of a winning company.
- Promoting a strong culture – Some start-ups boast about letting employees bring pets to work or offering yoga classes. Those are perks, not culture. True culture drives behavior. Consider Amazon: To keep costs down, Jeff Bezos declared that the company would make all its desks out of cheap doors from Home Depot.
What Makes a Leader?
A CEO should have some combination of the following traits:
- “The ability to articulate the vision” – Steve Jobs persuaded Apple employees to believe in his vision even when the company was near bankruptcy.
- “The right kind of ambition” – A leader creates an atmosphere of shared ambition and trust, a quality Bill Campbell exemplified at Intuit and other organizations.
- “The ability to achieve the vision” – This quality helped Andy Grove win the trust of Intel employees as he led them through a brilliant gambit: moving from the memory business to the microprocessor business.
“Every really good, really experienced CEO…tend[s] to opt for the hard answer to organizational issues…They’ll ruffle the feathers.”
As CEO, work on all three qualities, even though you might be stronger in one or two. Each quality enhances the others. If you can persuasively articulate a vision, for example, employees will trust you and be patient with you as you lead them toward it.
Ask three questions to judge how well a CEO performs: 1) “Does the CEO know what to do?” 2) “Can the CEO get the company to do what she knows?” and 3) “Did the CEO achieve the results against an appropriate set of objectives?”
“Peacetime CEO focuses on the big picture…Wartime CEO cares about a speck of dust on a gnat’s ass if it interferes with the prime directive.”
Knowing what to do involves using strategy and sharp decision making. Acting strategically takes courage, because you’ll never have enough time to gather all the information you really need. That’s why you must keep acquiring knowledge, day by day, from many small interactions with customers and employees. When you must make a decision, you’ll be better prepared to answer questions like: How might our competitors respond? What’s the financial risk? How will employees take this?
“Focus on where you are going rather than on what you hope to avoid.”
To get the company to “do what you know,” build a workplace where employees can get things done. “The employees must be motivated, communication must be strong, the amount of common knowledge must be vast and the context must be clear.” The scale of your objectives should align with the scale of your company’s opportunities.
“If you don’t want to be great, then you should never have started a company.”
During the toughest times, take care of your own psychological state. “Techniques to calm your nerves” include recruiting trusted confidantes, putting your thoughts on paper, and focusing on your destination rather than on what might go wrong.
When to Sell Your Company
One of your toughest decisions may be when to sell. Consider two questions: Are you very early in a potentially large market? Do you stand a good chance of reaching number one in that market? If the answer to either question is no, you should consider selling. When Google was young, the company received multiple purchase offers for more than $1 billion. But Google did not sell. Its answer to both questions would have been yes. Google was very early in a market that would be larger than all the markets the would-be buyers owned. And Google had built a high-quality product that would be number one.
When Horowitz first fielded inquiries about selling Opsware, the company had fewer than 50 customers. Horowitz believed Opsware had at least 10,000 potential customers and could reach number one. By the time Opsware had attained several hundred customers, it became clear that a company called BMC was going to acquire either Opsware or a competitor, BladeLogic. In order to be number one, Horowitz concluded, Opsware would have to beat BMC and BladeLogic together. A new technology, virtualization, was transforming the market, which would push the company into a costly R&D race. In the end, Horowitz decided to sell.
After selling Opsware to Hewlett-Packard, Horowitz joined with Andreessen to form a venture capital firm that would aid technology entrepreneurs. Besides investing in companies, their firm, Andreessen Horowitz, advises CEOs on the skills that company founders sometimes lack – managing executives, designing an organization and running a sales force. The most important lesson Horowitz tries to convey to entrepreneurs is that running a company is hard, a tough process with no easy answers. “The only thing that prepares you to run a company is running a company.” The solutions lie in the executive’s instinct, in the confidence that comes from experience and in the performance of this vital duty: “Embrace the struggle.”
Creating a startup doesn’t come with a road map, and the role of CEO doesn’t have a user’s manual. There is no right way to pursue these goals, nor is there a singular path that guarantees success. Being a CEO means making forward-thinking choices, even when none of your options feel right, and continuously confronting uncomfortable realities.
No one will tell you how to do this. Instead of waiting for approval, do what CEOs do: Jump in. Don’t shy away from the difficulties of your position; embrace them. And embrace your unique ability to lead.
Ben Horowitz is a co-founder and general partner of Silicon Valley venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz.
Business, Entrepreneurship, Technology, Nonfiction, Leadership, Management, Biography, Memoir, Self-Help, Education
The book is a collection of lessons and advice from Ben Horowitz, a successful entrepreneur, investor, and co-founder of Andreessen Horowitz, one of the most influential venture capital firms in Silicon Valley. The book covers the challenges and dilemmas that Horowitz faced while building, running, selling, and investing in technology companies, such as Loudcloud, Opsware, Netscape, and Skype. The book is divided into three parts:
- Part One: From Communist to Venture Capitalist. This part tells the story of Horowitz’s early career and how he became interested in entrepreneurship and technology. It also describes his experiences working at Netscape, where he met his partner Marc Andreessen, and his decision to start Loudcloud, a cloud computing company, in the midst of the dot-com bust.
- Part Two: When Things Fall Apart. This part focuses on the hard problems and decisions that Horowitz had to deal with while running Loudcloud and its successor, Opsware, a software company. It covers topics such as hiring, firing, scaling, culture, politics, competition, innovation, fundraising, selling, and surviving. It also reveals the personal and emotional toll that running a startup can take on the founder and the team.
- Part Three: Take Care of the People, the Products, and the Profits—In That Order. This part offers practical wisdom and tips for managing the most important aspects of a business: the people, the products, and the profits. It covers topics such as training, feedback, titles, promotions, demotions, compensation, layoffs, organizational design, product quality, sales, marketing, and leadership.
The book is a candid and insightful guide for entrepreneurs who want to learn from Horowitz’s successes and failures. The book is not a typical business book that offers generic formulas or best practices, but a personal and honest account of what it really takes to build and run a startup in the face of uncertainty, adversity, and competition. The book is full of anecdotes, stories, and examples that illustrate the concepts and principles that Horowitz learned and applied in his career. The book is also infused with Horowitz’s passion for rap music, which he uses to introduce each chapter and to emphasize his points. The book is not only informative and educational, but also entertaining and inspiring.