our final guest speaker of the day and boy oh boy first show hands who has read the hard thing about hard things okay we're doing good we're doing good it's certainly me personally one of my favorite entrepreneurial books and it's got a lot of inspiration in it and actually I'm going to read one of my favorite quotes from it it goes every time you make the hard correct decision you become a bit more courageous and every time you make the easy wrong decision you become a bit more cowardly you're a CEO these choices will lead to a courageous cowardly company ben horowitz ladies and gentlemen is a phenomenal entrepreneur and investor he has pretty much done everything from loud cloud to Opsware and being one of the co-founding partners of quite possibly one of the most phenomenal venture firms in Silicon Valley and the globe ladies and gentlemen Ben Horowitz all right thank you so it's a very nice introduction all right how's everybody doing okay we're going to get into it let's get into it so I'm going to talk about culture and revolution today and so I know a lot of you guys are saying well this is startup grind and that's an interesting title for a talk but why the hell are you talking about that bin and let's start with culture so culture is one of those things where when I was a an entrepreneur I was then I first started out I asked everybody smart I knew had run a company or was a venture capitalist or somebody you know like what did I need to focus on from like a company building management perspective and like I like got a wide variety of answers and a lot of VCs which is you know hiring players and that kind of thing so there's always great advice because I was going to hire a bunch of idiots and it cleared it right up for me but the advice that I got from the guys who really knew how to build companies was like culture is really important they were all taking a culture you got to focus on the culture Ben and I'd be okay do you have anything beyond the platitude or is like not just it like culture like could you explain to me what do you mean by culture even and it was always very difficult for them to do that and then as I became a venture capitalist and I work with companies and work with CEOs this is the main thing that people don't even know where to begin okay so first of all what is culture this is not culture so dogs at work yoga organic food that's like culture perks difference between culture and perks this is not about perks this isn't culture either you know corporate above and beyond dependent integrity these are could be aspects of culture but like you create corporate values and you put them on a wall like that's not going to get you a culture and this is not a talk about corporate values and revolution this is about culture so what is culture so this is a picture of me in the middle you might recognize me on the left to me is Admiral John Richardson a friend of mine he who runs the Navy and when I say he runs the Navy this isn't the Secretary of the Navy the appointee this is a CNO the guy who spent 10 years under water running nuclear subs the guy who really runs the Navy the guy who came up that way and then the guy on my right is my friend Shaka Senghor who spent 19 years in prison and while in prison ran one of the largest I'll call it prison their organizations and we got together I thought I'd get them together to talk about culture because they were two of the best guys I knew with insights about running organizations and if you think that was just my crazy idea you can see the Admirals holding Jacques book so like they had a they had a lot in common we talked about culture and the reason I wanted to talk to them is they both had organizations where culture really mattered because if somebody comes into the Navy and they don't become part of the culture and they don't do things in the way you need to do them in the Navy they die and that's the same thing in prison you come into prison you don't do things the right way you die and it's not that funny if you're in prison but anyway and so in talking to them and Admiral Richardson went through look you know it starts with who comes into the organization and he pointed out like we have an advantage because we're a volunteer service we're a volunteer Navy and it turns out that nearly half of our people actually come from people who were also in the Navy or in somewhere in the Armed Forces and so they're already into the culture as soon as we get them and he said I'll take it even further it's like in the Navy SEALs program like anybody can try out and go through the training and there's a very high failure rate and I know who's going to fail with 95 percent accuracy just based on a psychological exam that we give them going in so it's your psychological it's not a physical thing it's a physical test but it's your psychology that determines it do you have are you ready for that culture on the other side talking to Chaka Chaka you know one thing that really shaped the culture is the decisions that you make said well give me example of that he said well look if a guy comes in and steals one of my guys toothpastes what I do there that decision is going to matter a lot and I'm like well if he seals the toothpaste he's just very concerned with dental hygiene like aren't you going to let him go on that like he wants clean teeth with it you know come on man he's like no no he's like you don't steal toothpaste in prison because you care about your teeth that's a diagnostic that's the determine if I can rape you if I can kill you if I can hurt you or anybody associated with you that's a diagnostic so how I react that determines the safety of all my guys so the easy thing to do is kill the guy not easy but like that's the easy decision right like you kill them you protect your crew but I make that decision to be that violent my culture is that violent everybody making their own decision is just that violent so this is how culture grows and something when we talk about culture these are the things we're talking about we're talking about important decisions we're talking about how you recruit how you run the organization decisions you make and in a company it ends up manifesting itself in a lot of different ways but what it really comes down to is it is the collective behavior of your organization this is who you are you know it's funny to Rica CEOs go well that's not us it's like well that's how you act that's what you do it's not us it is you it's it's your collective behavior it's your culture that creates that environment and it's what you do it's what your people do when you're not giving them a direction which is guess what anybody's run anything 99% of the time you're not telling people what to do they're doing it on their own they're making their own decisions what do they do when you're not looking well you do what your way of doing things is and if you don't make that explicit it will just create itself it'll just grow that way it'll just do those things people want to harass each other they'll harass each other you know people want to lie to customers they'll lie to customers unless you set it it'll just be what it is so some examples of how this shows up in a company does you're coming to get back to people when they come like or do they just like drop them on the floor because like we're great like we don't need to call you back are you open to new ideas is data more important or is intuition more important does the job title impact who's right and wrong do you show up on time or just people wait half-hour for your meetings this is all your culture do you use your own products just crash them and should matter so okay to take risks is watching what you spend important one empty box do you even tell the truth right like you tell because you're the CEO you're gone I'll tell you one thing and I'll tell you something else you think that doesn't run downhill you don't think that that doesn't matter and like everybody from your HR person to your managers feels totally comfortable just making stuff up well they will if that's the culture you set so I know if you were like me and you're an entrepreneur you're going okay great this is great Ben you're telling us all about culture and how important it is but guess what like I already missed the topless stuff I've made a lot of decisions I even know that what I was getting into so like is it possible to change and the good news is it is and I'm going to take you through it a historical example so and this brings me to Tucson and the entire history of humanity there's been exactly one successful slave revolution one so think about that slavery is around long time basically all of written history it's endorsed by the Bible and the Koran if you don't believe me you don't know your Bible because it not only endorsed they have like special rules about it it's 1,600 I think nearly half the world's population was enslaved and yet there's never been a successful revolution or there's only been one so why plenty of motivation like widen the slaves of the Han Dynasty rise up and win why does the Gauls rise up and defeat the Romans when the Christians rise up and take down the Ottoman Empire why didn't that Turner like fail so fast like what is it that stops all stop every revolution but one from winning culture turns out slave culture is absolutely detrimental to winning a revolution what is it about slave culture well one when you're a slave you're worth your life isn't worth much you know anything you at your relationships are nothing your family can be taken away from you at any point you can't invest in your future and then you're not even generally allowed to like learn to read or anything so what does that mean well you have then a culture that's got real challenges you've got low trust you've got no long-term planning the population is generally ignorant and superstitious and there's very low loyalty and none of this none of this is conducive to winning a war so how did an ex-slave a person was a slave most of his life like well in his middle age reprogram his culture reprogram himself reprogram an entire slave culture and lead the only successful slave revolution ever like how did that happen and a lot of you guys are probably engineers and you're going well like maybe these circumstances of that slavery weren't as bad as the slavery we've read about so I thought I would read you a little bit about the slavery that you thought came up in whipping was interrupted in order to pass a piece of hot wood on the buttocks of the victim salt pepper citron cinders aloes and hot ashes were poured on bleeding wounds mutilations were common limbs ears and sometimes private parts to deprive them of the pleasures which they could indulge in without except they're masters toward burning wax on their arms hands and shoulders emptied boiling cane sugar over their heads brendham alive roasted em on slow fires fill them with gunpowder and blew them up with a match not mainly going to go on anymore it's hard to read this was the worst slavery this is some of the worst slave conditions in the history of humankind so bad I'll quantify it u.s. slavery is known as a pretty brutal form of slavery during the slave trade a million slaves were brought to the u.s. at the end of slavery there were four million slaves people had babies the population grew in the Caribbean two million slaves were brought during the course of slavery at the end of slavery in the Caribbean 700,000 slaves were left that's how many people got killed that's how bad it was that's how brutal it was this was the environment in which he changed the culture but it went beyond that the advantages of being white were so obvious that race prejudice against Negroes permeated the minds of the mulatos who so bitterly represented the same thing from the whites black slaves and mulatos hated each other the man of color who was nearly white despised the man of color who is only half white who in turn despised a man of color was only a quarter white and so on through the chase this is the environment we're talking about it was not an easy environment to change the culture beyond that in the region there were many previous attempts I'll talk quickly about two of them the first was led by gentleman by name by Francois Mackin Dahl 1758 now Mac and Dahl was a super charismatic guy tall much taller than Toussaint very good-looking great warrior but not at all focused on culture so not focused on culture and he would do the whole thing they would win they'd rape they pillage and then if somebody did something wrong to him he would poison them like some one of his own guys he would poison his own guys if stated something he didn't like now think about how deceptive is like not confront them not deal with them poison them some people no corporate cultures like that now the way this ended for him was his own people turn him over to slave masters who burned him alive and so he was actually defeated by the culture he set the second example guy by the name is Vincent oj he tried to run the revolution to finesse it so he said look we're going to have a revolution to get equal rights for freed black people but we're not going to end slavery and that way maybe I can get enough white people supporting me that I can you know kind of split the baby I don't have to take an ethical stand enough to take a moral stand I'll just kind of try and walk down the middle and it turned out the white people didn't really vibe with that so that didn't work so I'm about to get into how he actually did it but I want to set the tone because I think this is really important so if you go to 1797 at this point Toussaint has already basically running Haiti and the guy and this guy vincent de leblanc leblanc was lobbying the french government and because he's running to south running haiti but still a French colony and he's already free displays and this guy's like look I need to lobby the government because we can't let black people run this colony like that's crazy and he writes basically the most racist attack you could ever imagine and he's like these guys are ignorant and brutish Negros they're savages you can't have savages running the island they're going to destroy the economy like it's going to be the end like we're going to lose a colony what are you doing guys and to sponsors to sauce response was key because it's indicative of all the things that he did he said look stop blacking out lazy and ignorant savages slavery makes him so he he separated the color from the culture the culture was driving the behavior and then he goes on to show the Haitian Revolution has been less brutal and less savage than the French Revolution was the economy is actually booming he proved that it was a culture so how did he change the culture so I got one behind in my slide apologize there four keys to how he change it or four keys that I'm going to highlight there were probably a lot more keys enough so the first is he kept what worked would get into that the second he created very shocking roles that cause people to change their behavior the third was he incorporated people from other cultures and adopted their way of doing things and then finally his decisions demonstrated his priorities so first keeping what works so when they started the revolution he thought let everybody want to join he's a very charismatic guy very well-connected guy he knew everybody they all knew he was super smart and so everybody wanted to join in he said look I'm willing to take a small group at first because the tactics that I'm going to use we can win with just a small group of people because we're going to introduce a communication technology that the opposition doesn't have and that technology came from one of the strengths of slave culture which is music and so what to thought did was he set up particularly the women on the outside and had them sing certain songs that all his guys knew with encoded with the exact maneuvers and attacks that he wanted them to do so by doing that he had long-range communication he was fighting the British in the Spanish early on and they were like passing messages walking stuff around lining up so they had to be all together in the middle as a picture depicts because they didn't have any way of communicating with each other otherwise where Susanne could he had more advanced technology based out of slave culture second thing he did is he created shocking rules and shocking rules like particularly when you get into a company end up being the important thing because people have to question they have to ask themselves why does this rule even exist in order to change their behavior and so the really crazy shocking rule that he created was officers cannot cheat on their wives and remember like everybody is raping and pillaging in these days like you win you get to rape and pillage that is a perk that's like dogs at work so how do you go from that to like I'm not even allowed to cheat on my wife like that's like a big like back off of getting able to rape and pillage and the reason he did that is because remember one of the big problems with slavery is there's no loyalty because like you spear in an environment where tomorrow doesn't matter and so how do you build loyalty well you say look you gave your word when you got married if you're not keeping that word how can we trust you to keep any word you can't be you can't be part of this if you can't keep your word and he famously said I'd rather relinquish my command than break my word and so by saying look officers cannot be officers if they cheat on their wives he made it clear to everybody in his organization that keeping your word that was one of our corporate values that was part of our culture you couldn't play in this culture without doing that next thing he did was incorporate other cultures and so and this was very unusual because you have to remember he's running a slave army you know he's been oppressed they you know horrible oppression by the white people on the island and he decides based on and he was although he was a slave he's not know how to not only didn't know how to read but he had read the complete works of Julius Caesar and one of the things he got from Caesar was that when Caesar built the Roman Empire he won't kill the people he conquered so would he go in the conquering area he'd leave them in place and the reason he left them in places they were going to be part of the Empire and he needed somebody who knew that culture running that region so he did not what we did when we went into Iraq and kind of cut the top off of the country and then it went crazy and chaos he knew but it was funny Julius Caesar knew that we know to do that but he knew not to do that he knew to leave those guys in place so that they could succeed and go on Toussaint also wanted to do something culturally but he didn't want to preserve the culture he wanted to change his culture and so when he defeated the Spanish or just defeated the British what he did was he incorporated them and made those guys officers in his army in that move the culture much much faster than it otherwise would have moved because they had much more advanced cultures they came from cultures who had a lot of the elements that he needed to build a winning army and then finally make decisions that demonstrate priorities so it was a big decision he had well he abolished his slavery he kind of defeats his enemies what are you going to do with the slave masters that's a big thing right like when what would your instinct be kill those guys right but what he did was he said look we need them for the economy because they're the ones who know how to run these plantations so we're not only not going to kill them we're going to say you can't have slaves but you have to pay your labor but we'll lower your taxes to make that possible so he completely changed he just removed the past and said we're going forward together this is going to be one country so what were the results of this first result something called the teutonic clause so in 1799 just to demonstrate how powerful this in 1799 the French and US were in something that was known as the quasi war they didn't called the war so be fake news the quasi war they're just shooting each other over stupid stuff and as part of that the u.s. put an embargo on all the French colonies including Haiti now Haiti was already kind of breaking from Frandsen Toussaint needed that trade in order to basically kind of continue the prosperity of the island so he sends a white diplomat to the United States the white diplomat meets with John Adams president John Adams Timothy Pickering the secretary of state and basically convinces them to exempt only Haiti and they had to do it in the secret language because they didn't want France to get mad but it was so transparent that in the u.s. in the Congress and all the documentation they just call it the Toussaint clause and you have to understand he brokered this deal this is a black ex-slave cutting a deal with the United States who did outlawed slavery for another 65 years in 1799 and as a footnote to that Timothy Pickering cents to sign a note telling him this and signs it your obedient servant which is the way they signed a lot of stuff but imagine that the United States signing that to the next slave I'm your servant how about that that's a result of culture so it's only successful slave revolt in human history creates a booming economy in a world-class culture under Toussaint Haiti had more export income the United States so super successful as a country and he ended up he defeated the Spanish the French and ultimately they defeated Napoleon actually after Toussaint got captured and his successor Bannen the cultural thing once they defeated Napoleon he killed all the white people in Haiti and the economy fell apart and all those things that you would expect so culture really mattered okay great that was a lot how does it apply to me what about me van weather what is this southern startup grind it's like Haiti grind so keep what works so some of you guys know Steve Jobs Steve Jobs came back down but when Steve Jobs came back to Apple they were about three weeks away from bankruptcy and the conventional wisdom crossed the board everybody sent us every financial analyst every industry analyst the problem with Apple is they need to be more like Microsoft anybody Elden up would remember this they have to be more like Microsoft you remember this I'm just picking on him because he's in the front row you have to be more like Microsoft you've got a separate Mac OS off of the Mac and you've got to get clone makers to make you know it and you got to go into the operating system market because PC economics is wiped it out and like that's what you have to do and actually his predecessor job his predecessor Gil Amelio was doing just that jobs content he says like what are you talking about that's not who we are let me tell you what we're good at we're good at building integrated stuff and so not only am I going to kill all the clone manufacturers but I'm going to make it more vertical I'm going to build more hardware I'm not a music player I'm going to build stores I'm going to go completely vertical because that's what we're good at design we're good at the end-to-end experience that's our culture so you have to keep what's work you want to change the culture but you got to keep what's good about your culture second example create shocking roles so Mark Zuckerberg has this great rule move fast and break things now it's like he could have said we are innovative we've got a company value of innovation put that on the wall innovative and you everybody would like that and going innovative but you go move fast and break things you're like what what break things you want me to break things hold an engineer I don't fix things or break things why you have that rule that's the key if you get your employees asking themselves why are we doing it this way then they're going to think about that answer when it comes and the answer is innovation is even more important than like breaking things getting into trouble quality at times even anybody who is a developer on Facebook gnosis just kidding hosenki's I love Facebook but you guys some of you had some Facebook developers here all right but move fast and break things creates that shock value that actually makes them an innovative culture and if you look at them today like one of the things they do is they move fast coorporate an outside leadership this is a funny one Google like had they built Google Apps like what like five years before Microsoft really got going with office 365 and a Microsoft ran right by him right by him why because there was no enterprise culture in Google none none nobody would Steve Ballmer ease to go to see like CIOs and he'd go are you going to buy from me or from Google well why don't you see if Larry Page will come visit you guess what Larry Page never visited any of those guys because that wasn't their culture their culture was an enterprise so they went out and got Diane Greene and Diane great one of the great enterprise people ever but this was like an impossible thing to do because she was on the board of alphabet she still is on the board of alphabet how do you take a board member and like put them under sundar under Google under you know Larry and have her run this well you have to be very convincing and the final thing you have to make decisions to demonstrate priorities so this is Reed Hastings CEO of Netflix and this is without our tech summit and we're asking read mark my partner Marcus asked irate he's like read like so you start out in the DVD delivery business like and then you went to streaming like how did you make that transition how did you do it like culturally how did that happen and Reed said you know it's interesting because we started out like you know the metaphor was like it was a network you know the DVD delivery thing is a network it was high bandwidth like we could deliver a lot of big payload but it was really high latency like three days no networking gigs like not three milliseconds three days so that was the network he said and then we knew streaming was going to happen at some point we just didn't know when he said but we really wanted to be a first-class streaming company we could do that if we were totally focused on like DVD delivery logistics he said well how did you handle that and basically Reed said well it all happened one day and on that day and DVDs was a hundred percent of our revenue and we had a whole like giant team running that business and one day I said you guys aren't allowed to come to staff meeting anymore because it was a really hard day they were really sad can you imagine that like the team running all of your revenue is no longer allowed in the executive staff meeting where you're talking about the future of the strategy of the company like that's an extreme decision why would you make that well if you're really going to be number one in streaming and you're going to beat all of the people every startup that's going into it you've got to make it really clear to the company that's the future we're not messing around here and he did just that so look I know that culture sounds abstract and I know it sounds hard but I'm telling you just like the old guys told me it's really important when you build a company there's almost nothing that's more important than culture and if this guy could overcome being a slave for 40 years and completely change a slave culture and defeat the French the British and the Spanish and free the slaves of Haiti sixty-five years before they were freed the United States then you can change your company and make it great so thank you [Applause]

Author Since: Mar 11, 2019

  1. Their culture is DARPA. All US citizens is under Martial law. Fascist country where quazi-government run by Corporations hired by Military. Even fucking BAR-association whos job is to probate your estate for FRS. And these stupid compartmentalized TECH-fucks work for it.

  2. Yes, yes, all very good – but when are you going to tell us how to purge away all former capitalist traditions through violent class struggle?