Hold on to your bling.
Our guest for this month's PandoMonthly San Francisco is one of the top investors in the business, Ben Horowitz. Like most people who grace our stage, Ben needs little introduction, but I’ll give one anyway. He was a key executive at Netscape: One of the most iconic Internet companies in the history of the Valley. He was frequently the calm, voice of reason for a brash, junk-food eating young Marc Andreessen. They had their fights, but the two also created a life-long friendship and partnership that has made people who believed in them filthy, stinking rich.
While Netscape was a rocketship, their second company Opsware was anything but. No offense to Marc, but the biggest reason it managed to eventually sell to Hewlett-Packard for $1.6 billion was the steady management hand of Ben. While Marc was the cover boy for both companies, Ben has recently developed a cult following for his profanity, his rap-lyric laced blog posts, and quotes like the one in our story about venture scouts where he called other investors "the cry babies of Silicon Valley."
Ben and I are going to talk about a lot of things on stage. We’ll talk about those early Netscape days, why they didn’t give up after Loudcloud (Opsware’s first name) was dubbed “the IPO from Hell,” and the duo’s third startup Andreessen Horowitz Partners. We’ll also talk about the recent sex appeal of things that he and Marc built their careers on, like browsers and enterprise software.
But I want to reserve a big chunk of the evening to talk about the art of management. It is a hot topic these days at a lot of the dinners and cocktail parties I go to. A lot of product-based founders are grappling with the art of becoming a CEO, lest they have to give up control to someone more seasoned. And Ben is one of the single best CEO coaches in Silicon Valley. We’ll leave time for questions, so founders won’t want to miss this opportunity to learn from one of the Valley’s best.
(Disclosure: Ben is not an investor in PandoDaily, but his partners Marc Andreessen and Jeff Jordan are. In fact, Marc spent close to four years convincing me to do this. If that’s not messy enough, Ben’s daughter Sophia is interning for us this summer. In fact, she probably served you pizza at the last event. I’ve already pumped her for embarrassing questions to ask him.)