The Hard Thing About Hard Things Quotes

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The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers by Ben Horowitz
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“Every time I read a management or self-help book, I find myself saying, “That’s fine, but that wasn’t really the hard thing about the situation.” The hard thing isn’t setting a big, hairy, audacious goal. The hard thing is laying people off when you miss the big goal. The hard thing isn’t hiring great people. The hard thing is when those “great people” develop a sense of entitlement and start demanding unreasonable things. The hard thing isn’t setting up an organizational chart. The hard thing is getting people to communicate within the organization that you just designed. The hard thing isn’t dreaming big. The hard thing is waking up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat when the dream turns into a nightmare.”
Ben Horowitz, The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers
“No matter who you are, you need two kinds of friends in your life. The first kind is one you can call when something good happens, and you need someone who will be excited for you. Not a fake excitement veiling envy, but a real excitement. You need someone who will actually be more excited for you than he would be if it had happened to him. The second kind of friend is somebody you can call when things go horribly wrong—when your life is on the line and you only have one phone call.”
Ben Horowitz, The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers
“Note to self: It’s a good idea to ask, “What am I not doing?”
Ben Horowitz, The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers
“Until you make the effort to get to know someone or something, you don’t know anything.”
Ben Horowitz, The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers
“TAKE CARE OF THE PEOPLE, THE PRODUCTS, AND THE PROFITS—IN THAT ORDER”
Ben Horowitz, The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers
“Life is struggle.” I believe that within that quote lies the most important lesson in entrepreneurship: Embrace the struggle.”
Ben Horowitz, The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers
“Great CEOs face the pain. They deal with the sleepless nights, the cold sweats, and what my friend the great Alfred Chuang (legendary cofounder and CEO of BEA Systems) calls “the torture.” Whenever I meet a successful CEO, I ask them how they did it. Mediocre CEOs point to their brilliant strategic moves or their intuitive business sense or a variety of other self-congratulatory explanations. The great CEOs tend to be remarkably consistent in their answers. They all say, “I didn’t quit.”
Ben Horowitz, The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers
“Sometimes an organization doesn’t need a solution; it just needs clarity.”
Ben Horowitz, The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers
“Early in my career as an engineer, I’d learned that all decisions were objective until the first line of code was written. After that, all decisions were emotional.”
Ben Horowitz, The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers
“Hard things are hard because there are no easy answers or recipes. They are hard because your emotions are at odds with your logic. They are hard because you don’t know the answer and you cannot ask for help without showing weakness.”
Ben Horowitz, The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers
“Build a culture that rewards—not punishes—people for getting problems into the open where they can be solved.”
Ben Horowitz, The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers
“IF YOU ARE GOING TO EAT SHIT, DON’T NIBBLE”
Ben Horowitz, The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers
“One of the great things about building a tech company is the amazing people that you can hire.”
Ben Horowitz, The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers
“Marc: “Do you know the best thing about startups?” Ben: “What?” Marc: “You only ever experience two emotions: euphoria and terror. And I find that lack of sleep enhances them both.”
Ben Horowitz, The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers
“the most important lesson in entrepreneurship: Embrace the struggle.”
Ben Horowitz, The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers
“How can we walk away from requirements that we know to be true to pursue something that we think will help?” It turns out that is exactly what product strategy is all about—figuring out the right product is the innovator’s job, not the customer’s job.”
Ben Horowitz, The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers
“No matter who you are, you need two kinds of friends in your life. The first kind is one you can call when something good happens, and you need someone who will be excited for you. Not a fake excitement veiling envy, but a real excitement. You need someone who will actually be more excited for you than he would be if it had happened to him. The second kind of friend is somebody you can call when things go horribly wrong—when your life is on the line and you only have one phone call. Who is it going to be? Bill Campbell is both of those friends.”
Ben Horowitz, The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers
“what is the difference between a hero and a coward? What is the difference between being yellow and being brave? No difference. Only what you do. They both feel the same. They both fear dying and getting hurt. The man who is yellow refuses to face up to what he’s got to face. The hero is more disciplined and he fights those feelings off and he does what he has to do. But they both feel the same, the hero and the coward. People who watch you judge you on what you do, not how you feel.”
Ben Horowitz, The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers
“Spend zero time on what you could have done, and devote all of your time on what you might do.”
Ben Horowitz, The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers
“Most business relationships either become too tense to tolerate or not tense enough to be productive after a while. Either people challenge each other to the point where they don’t like each other or they become complacent about each other’s feedback and no longer benefit from the relationship.”
Ben Horowitz, The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers
“Startup CEOs should not play the odds. When you are building a company, you must believe there is an answer and you cannot pay attention to your odds of finding it. You just have to find it. It matters not whether your chances are nine in ten or one in a thousand; your task is the same.”
Ben Horowitz, The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers
“We have a very high churn rate, but as soon as we turn on email marketing to our user base, people will come back.” Yes, of course. The reason that people leave our service and don’t come back is that we have not been sending them enough spam. That makes total sense to me, too.”
Ben Horowitz, The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers
“That’s the hard thing about hard things—there is no formula for dealing with them.”
Ben Horowitz, The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers
“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. The Struggle is when your employees think you are lying and you think they may be right. The Struggle is when food loses its taste.”
Ben Horowitz, The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers
“People at McDonald’s get trained for their positions, but people with far more complicated jobs don’t. It makes no sense. Would you want to stand on the line of the untrained person at McDonald’s? Would you want to use the software written by the engineer who was never told how the rest of the code worked? A lot of companies think their employees are so smart that they require no training. That’s silly. When I first became a manager,”
Ben Horowitz, The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers
“I don’t believe in statistics. I believe in calculus.”
Ben Horowitz, The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers
“An early lesson I learned in my career was that whenever a large organization attempts to do anything, it always comes down to a single person who can delay the entire project.”
Ben Horowitz, The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers
“As a technology startup, from the day you start until your last breath, you will be in a furious race against time. No technology startup has a long shelf life. Even the best ideas become terrible ideas after a certain age.”
Ben Horowitz, The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers
“MANAGING STRICTLY BY NUMBERS IS LIKE PAINTING BY NUMBERS Some things that you want to encourage will be quantifiable, and some will not. If you report on the quantitative goals and ignore the qualitative ones, you won’t get the qualitative goals, which may be the most important ones. Management purely by numbers is sort of like painting by numbers—it’s strictly for amateurs. At HP, the company wanted high earnings now and in the future. By focusing entirely on the numbers, HP got them now by sacrificing the future.”
Ben Horowitz, The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers
“One of the most important management lessons for a founder/CEO is totally unintuitive. My single biggest personal improvement as CEO occurred on the day when I stopped being too positive.”
Ben Horowitz, The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers

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