Ben’s last post on minimizing corporate politics generated a bunch of interesting comments. One set of commenters essentially asked, “gee, why should an employee be motivated first by a company’s success rather than by their own success”? Frankly, this surprised both of us.
So I suggested that Ben answer this line of questioning directly, which he does in his latest post The Right Kind of Ambition. In addition to his trademark rap quote, he also quotes esteemed management philosopher Theodore Geisel—a.k.a. Dr. Seuss—speaking in the voice of Yertle the Turtle. That’s got to be the first time Drake and Dr. Seuss appear on the same page of, well, anything.
As companies grow, they often get more political—by which I mean, people start advancing their own agendas by means other than merit or contribution.
Ben explains in his latest blog post what a CEO can do to minimize corporate politics. It’s not intuitive. For example, Ben points out that CEOs need to give career guidance to junior employees in a very different way from giving advice to executives. Read the post to learn how to minimize politics—especially around the traditional flash points of performance reviews, promotions, and re-orgs.
These days, entrepreneurs spend a lot of time thinking about scaling their products. No one wants to build the next Facebook only to watch their technical infrastructure crumble when user growth takes off.
Entrepreneurs rarely think as much or as deeply or as rigorously about how to scale their companies. Best practices for scaling human organizations are harder to find, and the whole endeavor feels much more like an art than a science.
Ben leaps into this information void with his latest blog post titled Taking the Mystery out of Scaling a Company. This post will be the first of a series Ben will write on this topic because each skill CEOs must learn to scale their companies—such as designing and rolling out re-organizations, hiring functional executives for functions they’ve never done personally, optimizing incentive systems, and so on—need a post (or three) of their own.
Ben Horowitz and I co-founded one of the first cloud computing companies which we named, appropriately enough, Loudcloud. So we’ve been thinking about the cloud longer than most folks. In fact, we had to call ourselves a “managed services provider” in those days since no one was talking about “cloud providers” in the year 2000. I have to say it’s gratifying to see both the cloud name and the cloud computing architecture going mainstream in the past few years.
This time around, we’re thinking about cloud computing as investors rather than entrepreneurs. On his blog, Ben walks through why we invested in Okta, our first cloud investment. We couldn’t be more excited.
As the ranking officer, the CEO has a huge impact on their company’s culture. This is especially true in startups where the whole company is watching the CEO’s every move, every interaction, every decision. As a result of this micro-scrutiny, CEOs can feel like they need to be the company’s Chief Morale Officer, continuously and relentlessly accentuating the positive and downplaying the negative.
As Ben shares in latest blog post, he often felt this way as a first-time CEO. He also shares how (and why) he quickly got over this need to be unfailingly positive—and how this was a turning point in his development as a CEO. Go find out why CEOs need to tell it like it is.
Conventional wisdom: startups don’t have the time or dollars to invest in training. Training is only for big companies who can afford it, both cash- and time-wise.
Not surprisingly, Ben picks a fight with conventional wisdom in his latest post, Why Startups Should Train Their People. The post describes why and how even startups should invest in training. No company operates so flawlessly that the right training at the right time doesn’t make a huge, measurable difference.