Ben Horowitz has built and sold companies, and now is the co-founder of Andreessen Horowitz, the venture capital firm. This is my most recommended book of the moment – it’s packed full of great insight, whether you are an entrepreneur, manager or CEO. It is hard to pick only one “key” point, but that is the aim of this series…
Horowitz (as both the author and a CEO) asks some great questions throughout the book, such as “What are we not doing?” We often get lost in our list of actions and busyness; this asks us to think about where we are not putting our effort and if it would be more helpful elsewhere. This question was used as an agenda point in meetings, to move the conversation on from reviewing and evaluating, taking the team into a space of new thinking and action.
Framing agendas round questions rather than points leads to more action-focused meetings. For example, imagine the difference in outcome when you don’t have an agenda item saying “2018 Budget” but instead rewrite this as “How much additional budget would we need to increase sales by 50%?”
Two other great questions he deploys are “What would I do if we went bankrupt?” and “Is there a way to do that without going bankrupt?” This generated an unexpected answer for Horowitz: recognising the most potentially valuable part of the business, which at the time was not a core strategy. It is a form of the bank game I play with business clients: “What would you do if you only had enough money in the bank to last you till the end of the month?” It challenges the status quo and makes you apply creativity to problems.
Upgrading the quality of our questions leads to better outcomes for the hard things in business. I could have written 10 blogs on 10 different points from this book. The hard thing about hard things has been picking only one. It is an invaluable read.
This is part of the One Point series of blogs. If you ever finish reading a book, decide you love it, then promptly forget about it… that makes two of us. This blog captures one insight from each non-fiction book that I have read and enjoyed, to act as a conversation starter and a prompt for now and the future. Each post is not a summary of the book and may not even include the main thrust of it, but they will feature an interesting point that you can quickly digest, bookmark and maybe even share. Check out One Point in Categories.