Entrepreneurship: The art of the struggle

These are halcyon days in Silicon Valley and other hives of entrepreneurship around the world. Barely a week goes by without some newly minted billionaire hitting the headlines and some bizarrely named young company getting an eye-wateringly high valuation from financiers. But for every starry success there will be a multitude of failures, and it is easy to forget that the job of an entrepreneur is often nasty, brutish and in danger of being cut short by impatient investors, rebellious co-founders and other hazards. Nobody knows this better than Ben Horowitz. One of the Valley’s most prominent venture capitalists, Mr Horowitz was previously the chief executive of a prominent startup and personally experienced what he dubs “the Struggle”. This is the terror that strikes young bosses when their beautifully crafted business plans are shredded by aggressive competitors or a lousy economy. Short of new ideas, cash and confidence, many young leaders throw in the towel rather than battle on. Mr Horowitz thinks that this is a waste and that, if they were given better advice, more entrepreneurs could turn things round and go on to build great companies. The problem is that too many management books and courses focus on telling people what they should do right, but rarely offer any detail about how to rebound when they inevitably screw up. And the advice they give about what to do right is sometimes badly wrong. For a number of years, Mr Horowitz has written a popular blog in which he offers opinions on how to manage businesses in posts sprinkled with lyrics taken from songs by rappers and hip-hop artists such as Jay-Z, Drake and Kanye West. Plenty of the topics that he covers in “The Hard Thing About Hard Things” were aired there first, and the book assembles them into a handy compendium. Read the entire article here: http://www.economist.com/news/books-and-arts/21598951-new-book-about-startups-should-be-required-reading-business-builders-everywhere

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