Reading List for Leaders in Uncertain Times
Peacetime CEO/Wartime CEO by Ben Horowitz: From Ben’s classic post: “Peacetime and Wartime management techniques can both be highly effective when employed in the right situations, but they are very different. The Peacetime CEO does not resemble the Wartime CEO.”
We’re often told to “just be yourself” — and yet it’s so easy to try and be someone else, especially when you’re a founder or CEO. So why does it matter that you be yourself? And what are the unintended consequences if you don’t?
Leadership is about more than management — there’s also passion, humor, and resilience. Dick Costolo, entrepreneur and former CEO of Twitter, talks with a16z General Partner Peter Levine about the role of improv and imagery in leadership moments big and small.
by Dick Costolo and Peter J. Levine
From becoming the youngest assistant secretary of state to her role as US Ambassador to the United Nations, Ambassador Susan Rice has learned what it means to drive forward in the face of challenges. In this discussion with a16z General Partner Kathryn Haun, Susan reflects on the many lessons she’s learned throughout her career, including how to be a tough yet compassionate leader in times of crisis.
Of all the skills he’s had to master as a founder, CEO, and leader, the most difficult one for Ben has been how to master himself–and the same goes for hundreds of other CEOs he’s talked to. (Hint: if you’re the CEO, it’s always your fault)
When a16z General Partner David Ulevitch founded OpenDNS, little did he know the rollercoaster he had just boarded. From CEO to CTO back to CEO, from consumer to enterprise, from being acquired (by Cisco in 2015) to being the acquirer, David shares his journey and advice for founders–not least of which relates to how you manage your own psychology, and learn how to trust your leadership, in times of change.
“To CEO or not to CEO?” a16z General Partner Martin Casado shares his journey founding Nicira Networks, title fetishism, and the tensions and nuances around “founder-led companies.”
Dapper Dan is known for having pioneered high-end streetwear in the 1980s, but his story as a founder, gambler, and lifelong learner–hustler–who keeps reinventing himself through hard times has lessons for other makers and leaders.
Many smart businesses know that they could get disrupted, and yet it happens anyways–why? Clay Christensen, the author of The Innovator’s Dilemma, Harvard Business School Professor and the pioneer behind disruption theory, and a16z co-founder Marc Andreessen discuss the theories and frameworks that can help companies survive, in this conversation led by longtime tech writer and editor Steven Levy.
by Marc Andreessen and 2 others
Editor’s note: Here are some of our best pieces on leadership, grit, and managing a startup in times of uncertainty, culled from our past (almost) decade of archives.