Ben Horowitz: Venture Capital Investor, Proponent of Rap

Ben Horowitz is a prominent venture capital investor. He started the venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz with Marc Andreessen, the co-founder of Netscape, and the firm made vast amounts of money on investments in companies like Groupon and Skype (and will make even more when Facebook files for IPO).

But it’s his stance on the importance of rap in teaching business lessons that is intriguing. Throw business classes and books out the window, Mr. Horowitz says, and listen to rap lyrics instead:

Mr. Horowitz uses rap as an introduction as he philosophizes about business challenges like how to fire executives, why founders run their companies better than outside chief executives and how to stand up to difficult board members.

“All the management books are like, ‘This is how you set objectives, this is how you set up an org chart,’ but that’s all the easy part of management,” Mr. Horowitz said in an interview in his spacious office here on Sand Hill Road, the epicenter of tech investing.

“The hard part is how you feel. Rap helps me connect emotionally.”

How to deal, for instance, with the stress of the 11th-hour, late-night auditing mishap that almost stymied the $1.6 billion sale of Opsware?

Listen to the Kanye West song “Stronger”: “Now that that don’t kill me/Can only make me stronger/I need you to hurry up now/’Cause I can’t wait much longer/I know I got to be right now/’Cause I can’t get much wronger.”

Much of rap is about business, whether the drug business, the music industry or work ethic, said Adam Bradley, an associate professor specializing in African-American literature at the University of Colorado at Boulder who wrote “Book of Rhymes: The Poetics of Hip Hop” and co-edited “The Anthology of Rap.”

Read more at The New York Times.

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