What does Ben Horowitz:, a Silicon Valley investor, mean for a "good" company?


Image source: Visual China

Image source: Visual China

Titanium Media Note: this article is from Public Yourseeker (yourseeker2018), by Zeng Xiang, reproduced by authorized Titanium Media.

Each of us has different identities and may be a participant, owner, investor, observer of a company. But have you ever thought about what a company means? What does a "good" company mean?

More than six years ago, Ben Horowitz, Silicon Valley's top former entrepreneur, gave the answer:

A good place to work.

What he's trying to say is, even if a company can't do anything, it's still good place, and that's worth your work for it.. I have carefully compiled his article and hope to enlighten you.

Here's Ben's article on A16Z:

Because of the conviction of employee training, I have given many training courses to employees at Opsware. At the time, I made it clear that I hope that every manager can have a short meeting with his staff on a regular basis. I even gave specific methods to avoid possible problems.

But one day, I went to work happily and was surprised to find that one of my managers hadn't had a short meeting with any of his employees for more than six months.

I am very surprised. I have not opened it for more than six months. I spent so much time on employee management, preparing a lot of materials to train them, and actually got such a result? If everyone does not listen to me, what is the point of me coming to work?

I have always believed that by example, people in the company can grow the way I expected. But why didn't everyone get into such a good habit? Have I lost my authority?

I recalled a conversation with my father many years ago, the subject of which was related to Tommy Heinsohn (who was then the Boston Celtics basketball team coach).

Tommy Heinsohn was one of the world's most successful coaches, leading the team to two NBA championships. However, he quickly went downhill and still holds the league's worst record.

I asked my father why this had happened. He said:

"The players are no longer concerned about his bad temper. Heinsohn used to yell at the team and they can always respond. But now, everyone is starting to ignore him."

I am thinking, my team is now starting to ignore me? Is it because I used to yell at them?

I went on thinking about the question and realized that although I told the team what to do, I didn't tell them why.

Maybe it’s because there are so many things on hand that you can’t prioritize? Obviously, the manager didn't think how important it was to meet with his employees, and I didn't explain to him why it was important to do so.

If so, why should I ask every manager to do so? I thought about it for a long time, thought about it, then called the manager's boss-hereinafter Steve-I told him I wanted to see him right away.

When Steve walked into my office, I asked him a question: "Steve, do you know why I am coming to work today?" Steve: "What do you mean?" I: "Why should I get up? Why come to the company?" If you just want to make money, can you sell more money tomorrow? I don’t want to make more money.” Steve: “Well, I understand.” I: “So you think, why should I come to work? Steve: "Frankly, I don't know." I: "Well, let me explain. I came to work because it would be very important for me to grow Opsware into a great company. Those everyday. People who are willing to spend 12 hours or more here spend most of their lives here. If I can make everyone have a good life, it makes sense to prove that I am here to work.” Steve: “Understand "I: "Do you know the difference between a good workplace and a bad workplace?" Steve: "Oh, I know." I: "What is the difference?" Ste Ve: "Hey, I think..." I: "I will tell you. In a good organization, people can focus on their work and believe that if they finish their work, the company and they will have Good results. Working in such an organization will be very happy. Everyone knows that if the work they do is efficient and effective, it can bring good changes to the organization and to them personally. The work at hand will make them feel both fulfilling and have a sense of purpose. "On the other hand, in a bad organization, people spend most of their time fighting, consuming and struggling with the organization. They don't even know what their work is, so they can't judge whether they actually finished their work. Even if there was a miracle, they took some time to complete their work and didn't know what it meant for the company or themselves. Worse still, when they finally got the courage to tell management how bad the situation was, management denied the problem and continued to maintain the status quo. Steve: "Okay. "I: "Do you know that your manager Tim has not had a short meeting with any of his employees in the past six months?" Steve: "I don't know." "I: "Now you know it. Have you realized that he has no way of knowing whether the organization he is in is good or bad?" Steve: "I realized it." "I: "So, you and Tim are now the obstacles to achieving my goals. If Tim doesn't meet his staff for the next 24 hours, I can only fire him and fire you. do you understand? Steve: "Fully understand. ”

Now looking back, is it really necessary for me to do this?

You might think that no matter how well managed the company is, it will fail if the product does not meet market demand. Or you might say, there are a lot of companies that are poorly managed, but products that are very good for the market, and they are quite successful.

Both statements are true. So is it really necessary for me to talk to one of my executives and threaten him?

I think there are three necessary:

When the wind goes smoothly, the value of a good company is not easy to show; once the environment is worse, this may be the difference between life and death. It's hard to get things done. To be a good company is the purpose.

1) The difference between life and death

When everything goes well, there are many reasons why you stay in the company:

Your career path is bright, as the company grows, there will be lots of interesting jobs. Your friends and family think that everyone didn't expect the company to be so good and you made a very wise choice. Working in the golden years of a good company, your resume will benefit. Well, you should have made a lot of money for it.

But when the environment starts to get worse, the opposite of these reasons may make you choose to leave. In fact, when the environment gets worse, the only reason to keep an employee in a company-apart from the fact that he needs it, is that he likes it.

2) things are difficult to smooth sailing

There are no companies whose stock prices are rising forever. In poor companies, the economic benefits are gone, and employees will naturally leave. This often leads to a vicious circle: the company's market value declines, the best employees leave; because of the lack of good talent, the company's market value continues to decline, so the second best employee has gone. This cycle is difficult to reverse.

3) To be a good company is the purpose

When I first met Bill Campbell, he was chairman of Intuit, then a board member of Apple, and a mentor to many of the industry's top CEO, including Steve Jobs and Jeff Bezos.

But these things are not as impressive as the company he runs a company called GO. What GO wants to do is simply to make an iPhone in 1992. The company raised almost the most money in history and lost the most, and in 1994 it sold itself to AT&T.

Now you may sound indifferent. But at the time, this was a complete failure.

Later in my career, I met dozens of GO employees, including people like Mike Homer,Danny Shader,Frank Chen and Stratton Sclavos.

Surprisingly, every GO employee I met had considered GO to be the most dazzling part of their work experience. Although their careers have not developed well, they have been defined as losers by many people. But they still believe that it is the best work experience, GO is a good company.

This made me realize how amazing Bill is. Moreover, John Doerr (chairman of KPCB) thinks so too.

Although in the GO case, John lost a lot of money because of Bill. But later, when Scott Cook needed to recruit a CEO for Intuit, John still chose to recommend Bill.

For years, everyone who met GO employees knew who Bill was. He is the one who can build a "good" company.

So I thought, since I'm in this company, if I can't do anything else, at least like Bill, start with a "good" company?

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