之所以说到真诚，除了书中的建议几乎全部来自于作者在失败中的教训，或者说他作为一个Wartime CEO的血泪史，更因为尽管宣传为顶级VC、尽管这本书很大程度上也是Horowitz强调VC也要做PR的宣传品，他还是非常清楚地说明Andreessen Horowitz只是一个起步不足10年、Portfolio Company不多（Airbnb、Github、Facebook、Twitter、Pinterest）、大部分员工（Partner）来自于原来创业团队Loudcloud/Opsware各部门的不是那么高大上的VC。
书的编排也很聪明，至少没有用Shit Sandwich格式，而是上来就是Shit（从这一点看，作者默认本书的读者不是创业小白，是直奔干货而来的），前3章是作者从90年代中期到2007年把公司卖给HP的经历陈述。这里是唤起共鸣的。They would say, “How can we walk away from requirements that we know to be true to pursue something that we think will help?” 创业者经常会陷入用小修小补（通常又明显又真实）来替代真正的变革（通常又隐晦又艰难，还只是“可能”有用）的诱惑，这种小甜头吃多了就会忘记路，所以她必须时刻警惕。It turns out that is exactly what product strategy is all about—figuring out the right product is the innovator’s job, not the customer’s job. The customer only knows what she thinks she wants based on her experience with the current product. The innovator can take into account everything that’s possible, but often must go against what she knows to be true. 这与乔布斯那句“用户不知道自己要什么”的著名论断相得益彰，是不是真的都是英雄所见略同？科技界的每个创新似乎都在反复证明有洞察有勇气的颠覆者服务于麻木而又见风使舵大众这条公式，而不是商学院需求创造产品的概念推理。Early in my career as an engineer, I’d learned that all decisions were objective until the first line of code was written. After that, all decisions were emotional. 也许无论硅谷还是中关村都一样，每个被扎克伯格激发的创业工程狮其实都是感情用事的，他们的创业没有沉没成本（这让其他行业的创业者艳羡），但令人唏嘘的是他们在用理性做成最感性的事，这绝对是世上最为纠结的状态没有之一。
在第3章结束卖掉自己公司的时候，作者说和Andreessen起了创办一家VC的念头，但他要用第4～8章来说一下自己创业经历的感悟，一箭三雕，把本书的核心内容雕进去了，把读者雕进去了，把a16z的VC竞争力雕进去了。这里再穿一帮，a16z的核心竞争力就是区别于其他的科技VC，不拿空降CEO说事儿，而且帮助创始人（founding CEO）成为合格的CEO（professional CEO）。所以这核心的5章实际上就是在教读者（预期你是一个科技企业的创始CEO）如何Get CEO Skills。其实说是Skills也不太确切，作者强调要培养的CEO第一特质应该是勇气：People always ask me, “What’s the secret to being a successful CEO?” Sadly, there is no secret, but if there is one skill that stands out, it’s the ability to focus and make the best move when there are no good moves. 还有这句If a warrior keeps death in mind at all times and lives as though each day might be his last, he will conduct himself properly in all his actions. （似曾相识，对啦，这不又是小乔的经典论断live as you would die tomorrow吗？）CEO自己要有勇气不说，很多创业者之所以会去创业是就是胆子大，这里排除幼稚天真无知所以无谓者。关键是他怎么能把勇气变成一种企业文化特质，这就很难了，一些创始人有意无意地把自己塑造一言九鼎的英雄人物，在他突然出现的场合争论神奇地化为沉默，而Horowitz说A healthy company culture encourages people to share bad news. A company that discusses its problems freely and openly can quickly solve them. 在“允许畅所欲言、言论自由”与“必须有人站出来搁置争议做出向前进的决定”之间又是一次次艰难的平衡。勇气是一种行动，而不是一种感觉：“I tell my kids, what is the difference between a hero and a coward? What is the difference between being yellow and being brave? No difference. Only what you do. They both feel the same. They both fear dying and getting hurt. The man who is yellow refuses to face up to what he’s got to face. The hero is more disciplined and he fights those feelings off and he does what he has to do. But they both feel the same, the hero and the coward. People who watch you judge you on what you do, not how you feel.” —CUS D’AMATO, LEGENDARY BOXING TRAINER 。人们不关心你的感受，他们只看你做了什么。
另外一个可以说是一项Skill的、也是创始CEO需要重新学习的是Organization design，这绝对是技术专家型CEO的软肋，有的甚至软到拒绝去面对这个问题而选择事事亲力亲为，或者让员工们自由组织、自己来定义要什么事情。结果是什么不好说，但Horowitz提到这是必须要做的事情。CEO这个Black art实际上必须要做的是mastering the unnatural。这一段关于什么是好公司和坏公司的对话：
Me: “Do you know the difference between a good place to work and a bad place to work?”
Steve: “Umm, I think so.”
Me: “What is the difference?”
Steve: “Umm, well . . .”
Me: “Let me break it down for you. In good organizations, people can focus on their work and have confidence that if they get their work done, good things will happen for both the company and them personally. It is a true pleasure to work in an organization such as this. Every person can wake up knowing that the work they do will be efficient, effective, and make a difference for the organization and themselves. These things make their jobs both motivating and fulfilling. “In a poor organization, on the other hand, people spend much of their time fighting organizational boundaries, infighting, and broken processes. They are not even clear on what their jobs are, so there is no way to know if they are getting the job done or not. In the miracle case that they work ridiculous hours and get the job done, they have no idea what it means for the company or their careers. To make it all much worse and rub salt in the wound, when they finally work up the courage to tell management how fucked-up their situation is, management denies there is a problem, then defends the status quo, then ignores the problem.”
挑选执行官/经理人，或者开掉他们也是CEO一项必备技能。Horowitz详细讲述了他在Opsware招聘销售总监的过程，这位应聘者最终打动他的是拿出厚厚一本自己总结的销售员培训计划。在书最后的附件“如何招聘销售总监”里也提到应聘者对员工培训的计划是考量其是否是合格的执行官（而不是执行者）的重要因素。I learned about why startups should train their people when I worked at Netscape. People at McDonald’s get trained for their positions, but people with far more complicated jobs don’t. It makes no sense. Would you want to stand on the line of the untrained person at McDonald’s? Would you want to use the software written by the engineer who was never told how the rest of the code worked? A lot of companies think their employees are so smart that they require no training. That’s silly.
再说剧透就太多了，各人的笔记个人自己保存哈，记得需要锦囊妙计或者真诚告诫的时候可以找出来看看。第9章The End of the Beginning就是a16z的开始，作为看官很期待他们带来惊心动魄的投资案例，最后附上书名解读Hard things are hard because there are no easy answers or recipes. They are hard because your emotions are at odds with your logic. They are hard because you don’t know the answer and you cannot ask for help without showing weakness.
P.S.很奇怪作者为什么喜欢用She作为第三人称，She as a CEO, an Executive, an Employee？