VC-ing Like a Boss: Ben Horowitz Educates with Sick Rhymes and One Liners at #PandoMonthly

ben horowitz sarah lacy pandomonthlyIt only seems appropriate to recap my first experience at PandoDaily‘s PandoMonthly event, featuring venture capitalist and Silicon Valley veteran Ben Horowitz (pictured, left) with a little Lil’ Wayne playing in the background. That might seem odd to you, but this white guy in tech knows his hip hop like you. wouldn’t. BELIEVE.

I think the thing that really blew me away about the night was how much I felt like I belonged there. I don’t know near enough about the startup scene, venture funding, or old time Silicon Valley, and that’s a lot of what Sarah Lacy (pictured, right) talked about in her interview with Ben the other night.

So maybe I didn’t follow every word, but I know there couldn’t have been a better first opportunity for me to attend. Ben was more relatable and interesting than I could have ever imagined. And Sarah’s perspective and the way she questioned him was really cool to see as well, being that she’s a new CEO and still digging her heels into learning the role (a process I’m figuring out never seems to end) in order to make Pando succeed.

I really just wanted to share a couple of the one-liners that Ben dropped while on stage. They were so epic, I can’t even tell you.

When you don’t have courage, you’re a zero character person.
Click to tweet.

It was a hot topic to ask Ben his thoughts on characteristics of a CEO that he would think about funding (especially funny coming from Sarah because Ben opted not to invest in her and his two partners have). His answer always revolved around being a courageous founder. “Aristotle said ‘courage is the first of human qualities because it is the quality which guarantees the others.’ and that’s so true,” he said. “Being honest is easy. But can you be courageous when being honest is hard?”

Every CEO is made, not born. Not one says it feels natural for them because it’s actually the most unnatural thing you can do.
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It’s really incredible to learn by way of stories from someone who has had a career of such big ups and such tremendous downs. So many lessons learned as a technology CEO from loyal employees to going public. Invaluable to the CEOs of the future because even though technology might change, the fundamentals of doing business right and being a good leader are consistent for success.

We believe in great strength over lack of weaknesses. Great strength often goes hand in hand with weakness.
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Wow.  If you ever need a quote to boost your confidence in embracing your shortcomings, this is it. You need to tweet that, for real. Investors know what it’s like to be imperfect, so don’t be afraid to make them clear and find ways to work on it.


Huge props to Sarah Lacy. She’s greatly exceeding her goals with what PandoMonthly is all about and who it’s meant for. I would know because a little Midwestern marketing girl like me can attend and get connected to the startup space with nothing more than desire and $20 bucks.

Going out with one more from Ben…

Jealousy is just love and hate at the same time.  – Drake
Click to tweet. 

See the whole event in the video below: