Talking with friends and subscribers, I often find myself referencing books that I read and how that's influenced my thinking. In an attempt to consolidate and drive more value specifically for startup investors, I'll be test driving a new format called "The Bookish Investor" (working title.) This type of content is very popular, as you'll see at the bottom, and I will outsource much of my work to those sites. The specific value add here is to deliver a recommendation as well as specific takeaways for the startup investor. I will only write these posts for books I've actually read/listened to completion. As always, feedback welcome, feel free to comment on this post or write me at firstname.lastname@example.org—thanks!
Recommended for Startup Investors?
Horowitz authoritatively introduces surprising structure to a popular and often "soft" concept that startups pursue (a strong "culture".) Horowitz, one half of Andreessen Horowitz, is also one of the gold-standard venture capitalists in the Valley today. Book might be useful more useful to startup founders/operators.
- To remember who you are, remember who your heroes are.
- Accidental behaviors of leaders cause accidental precedent.
- Ethics is about hard choices.
- A16z's rules for treating founders: "Show on time, respond timely, give useful feedback, don't insult a founder in public, and tell the truth even if hard."
- Many Muslim prison gangs in Michigan during Shaka Senghor's time.
- Another way to drill home culture is constant contact.
- Culture and strategy have to support each other, one does not eat the other.
- Scarcity vs Abundance CEO
- Different companies delivering different strengths will have different cultures they can pull off, there is no one size fits all (Amazon can't be Apple and vice versa.)
- Case studies of four startling strong culture builders: Toussaint Louverture, the Samurai, Shaka Senghor, Genghis Khan
- Maggie Frontier "Listening" tour
- Clinton's laxness about email security causing Podesta's email leak
- Kalahnick actually built a hyper intentional culture... but the competitive nature he built eventually became the dominant feature
- Okta built integrity into their culture because their a cybersecurity company... this is pivotal.
- To improve diversity on real diversity, and not tokenism, write job descriptions and have people with different backgrounds evaluate your job descriptions.
- Tell thorough rules but also vivid stories to demonstrate points
- Oprah's rule for interviewing "What is your intention?" "I will help you, but you have to trust me."
- Shocking rules – so surprising that people ask why it’s here – will reinforce key cultural elements
- virtues: justice, courage, honor, loyalty, benevolence, politeness, self control, voracity/sincerity
- Good deep dives into each of the case studies