: New: Book Report: The Hard Thing About Hard Things

Real-life Tech CEO worst case scenarios from Ben Horowitz. What to do when there's no clever fix for the company's problems. Choosing the least-bad of awful choices. Layoffs. Failures. Perhaps this book's most important lesson for someone who aspires to be a Tech Founder CEO for the glamour is: That's a terrible idea.

Another reason to read this book, if you're an ex-Geoworker, were the cameos by ex-Geoworkers.

…The fourth member of our team was In Sik Rhee, who had cofounded an application server company named Kiva Systems, which Netscape had acquired. He had been acting as CTO of the ex-commerce division that I ran and, in particular, worked closely with the partner companies in making sure that they could handle AOL scale.

As we discussed ideas, In Sik complained that every time we tried to connect an AOL partner on the AOL e-commerce platform, the partner's site would crash, because it couldn't handle the traffic load. Deploying software to scale to millions of users was totally different from making it work for thousands. And it was extremely complicated.

Still true, more than 10 years later, though I guess nowadays you could downgrade that "extremely" to "rather". Another cameo:
I turned to Jordan Breslow, my general counsel and said, "Do we have to disclose this to the acquirers right away?" Horrifyingly, he said, "Yes."
So maybe the lesson is: Hard things are hard. If you want to know of the existence of a hard thing in your organization, hang out with ex-Geoworkers, and eventually they'll mention one.

Tags: book work

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