- Horowitz has had a long history in the tech industry with success after success.
- He is widely recognized for his management expertise which he expressed through a few published books.
- Horowitz’s work history includes AOL, Loudcloud, Netscape, HP, and Opsware.
Benjamin Abraham Horowitz was born in London, England on June 13, 1966. However, he was raised in Berkeley, California by his mother, Elissa Krauthamer, and his father, David Horowitz. His father was a conservative author and policy advocate.
Aside from an unusual place of birth for an American, Horowitz lived a fairly normal life with a heavy focus on education. He graduated from Columbia University with a BA in Computer Science in 1988. He went on to graduate from UCLA with an MS in Computer Science in 1990.
- Full Name
- Benjamin Abraham Horowitz
- Net Worth
- $3.5 billion
- #87 on The Midas List: Top Tech Investors
- Place of Birth
- London, England
- Fields of Expertise
- [“Computer Science”,”Management”]
- Columbia University, University of California, Opsware, Andreessen Horowitz, Netscape, AOL
- Loudcloud, Opsware, The Hard Thing About Hard Things
Horowitz’s first job was as an engineer at Silicon Graphics. He doesn’t attribute much accomplishment to the work he completed while at Silicon Graphics but rather regards it as a learning experience. He started the position in 1990 at his wife’s, Felicia Wiley Horowitz, behest and stayed with the company until 1995 when Marc Andreessen invited him to work at Netscape as a project manager.
The first two years of his work at Netscape were spent learning the ropes and figuring out exactly what direction the company’s projects needed to take to be successful and survive in a growing, competitive industry. His efforts were highly noted, and between 1997 and 1998, he was rewarded. He was promoted to the Vice President for the Directory at Security Product Line.
Unfortunately, the tumultuous nature of the evolving industry at the time cut his time with Netscape short. America Online, more commonly known as AOL, acquired Netscape in 1998. The lessons he learned as a part of Netscape and the friendship he made with Marc Andreessen set the course of his future.
The buyout of Netscape did not spell out the end of Ben Horowitz’s career. Instead, he spent a year working as the Vice President of AOL’s e-commerce division. It was a far stretch from the product management he had grown accustomed to.
While his position with one of the US’s former internet service provider giants taught him quite a lot about corporate culture and the growth of a business, he decided that his talents were better suited elsewhere.
After only a year with AOL, Horowitz partnered up with Tim Howes, Marc Andreessen, and In Sik Rhee to build a company focused on the future, Loudcloud. While he may have gathered a team to help him, Horowitz acted as the President and Chief Executive Officer. Loudcloud was designed to be a one-stop-shop for enterprises’ internet needs. The goal was to provide infrastructure and application hosting to large businesses and internet customers alike.
Some of the most popular clients to use the services of Loudcloud include The US Army, Gannet Company, Ford Motor Company, Nike, and News Corporation. Loudcloud was successful enough that Horowitz and Andreessen took the company public on March 9th, 2001.
Yet again, Horowitz’s business savvy paid handsomely. The increased investment provided by shareholder backing allowed Horowitz to move forward with different plans. In June 2002, he began to transition Loudcloud into Opsware. The focus of the company narrowed its efforts from a public-facing company to a business-to-business software provider. His first official move was to sell Loudcloud’s core managed services business to Electronic Data Systems for $63,500,000, in cash.
EDS began to take all of Loudcloud’s revenue, but Horowitz had created his first enterprise customer for his newer company, Opsware. Over the next five years, Horowitz grew the business to work with hundreds of enterprise customers with over $100 million in annual revenue and 550 employees.
After once again creating a successful business, Horowitz again decided to pass the torch. In July 2007, he sold Opsware to Hewlett-Packard, a tech industry giant, for $1,600,000,000 in cash. He had created a small cloud-computing company and grew it to be a backbone for enterprise businesses. Then he let it go to reform the remaining pieces to serve a more direct purpose. And when he finished building the ashes of Loudcloud into a multi-million-dollar business, he let it go again.
The sale of Opsware to HP (Hewlett-Packard) gained him the position of Hewlett-Packard’s Vice President and General Manager of HP Software. He was responsible for around 3,000 employees and a business worth $2,800,000,000 in annual revenue. It’s more than fair to say that Horowitz is good at running a tight ship to success, but it wasn’t enough. He only spent a year at HP before leaving to start yet another adventure.
In July 2009, Horowitz and his long-time friend and partner, Marc Andreessen, launched Andreessen Horowitz, a capital investment firm designed to help early-stage startups and other growth companies in technology with investment funds and general business advice. The company’s website, a16z.com, hosts a variety of business/technology-centric authors who are actively promoting techniques and ideas for business management and products.
Horowitz makes use of his skills as an author on the site as a blog writer and venture capital investor. His expertise has even gotten him a position on quite a few business boards, including:
- United Masters
- Nation Builder
- Magnet Systems
What Is Ben Horowitz Known For?
Ben Horowitz has a long history inside the tech industry. He began his career as a software engineer and worked his way to creating a successful startup, Loudcloud/Opsware, and eventually co-founded Andreessen Horowitz venture capital firm as a successful author and Silicon Valley billionaire to continue to invest in future technologies.
While he is well-known in the business world for his product management capabilities and successful business endeavors, he is more widely recognized for his management expertise which he expressed through a few published books. His most notable book is The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers. Along with his personal achievements and written works, Horowitz has been known to be an excellent public speaker such as Nailing the Hard Things, an hour presentation he gave at Stanford eCorner.
Horowitz continues to express his beliefs and thoughts about the industry as an author of articles published at a16z.com, the official website of Andreessen Horowitz, and a venture capital firm co-founded by both Horowitz and Marc Andreessen to allow them to act as industry advisors and investors.
Some of his notable personal investments are spent on anti-recidivism. He outlined his thoughts on what he should do with his success and wealth in a book named What You Do Is Who You Are. He also spends some of his free time on a podcast called Hustlin Tech which can be found on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, and at Andreessen Horowitz’s webpage a16z.com.
Ben Horowitz: Marriage, Divorce, Children, and Personal Life
As of 2022, at the age of 55, Ben Horowitz’s net worth sits around $3.5 billion. While there are definitely younger billionaires, any age someone becomes a billionaire is notable.
Ben Horowitz made Felicia Wiley Horowitz his wife in 1988 at the age of 21. As of date, the two are still together and have been happily married. Felicia had an important role in Ben’s life as a personal advisor and confidant. She is credited as the reason Ben Horowitz took the position at Silicon Graphics and started his career.
Felicia was born as Felicia Wiley in Los Angeles, California. She attended Phineas Banning High School and later attained a degree from the University of Southern California. She married Ben on June 17, 1988, in front of her family and friends. To this day, Felicia says she can vividly remember her wedding day.
The Horowitz family has three children, including Sophia and Jules Horowitz. Not much is published online about their daughter Sophia Horowitz or the family’s third child. Jules Horowitz, on the other hand, is much more outspoken and social media-friendly. Jules Horowitz is a writer and USC School of Cinematic Arts graduate. He is also formerly Horowitz’s daughter. Jules states that he grew up suffering from severe depression due to being a man in a woman’s body. He underwent female-to-male gender transitioning.
This type of behavior dramatically departs from the conservative nature of Jules’ conservative father and grandfather. Regardless, there has been no public dispute over trouble in the Horowitz house. The couple’s third daughter has no presence on social media or in most of the couple’s public appearances.
Ben Horowitz: Awards and Achievements
#87 on The Midas List: Top Tech Investors
While Ben Horowitz has had an incredibly successful career and acknowledgment across the industry, he doesn’t have a long list of awards. However, he was written in as the number 87 on the Midas List of Top Tech Investors by Forbes.
Ben Horowitz: Published Works and Books
The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are no Easy Answers, 2014
Ben Horowitz first published book as an author was written using the experience he gained at Silicon Graphics and Netscape, mostly Netscape. Based on his story working in the early days of the information technology industry and his experience founding, running, selling, buying, managing, and investing in technology businesses, Horowitz offers essential and practical advice for starting and running a business.
Many of the lessons he gives are backed up by rap lyrics and anecdotes that he’s used throughout his life as inspiration. He guides the reader through the many obstacles presented to him throughout his business adventures that aren’t discussed in the university setting and provides his thought process on how to navigate them.
His advice in this book and on his blog has garnered him thousands of devoted and loyal readers who find his words to be useful.
What You Do Is Who You Are: How to Create Your Business Culture, 2019
In this book, Horowitz breaks down his observations around the different behaviors people exhibit and how they come to be who they are. The concept is centered around answering the question ‘How do you create and sustain the culture you want?’.
Horowitz believes that culture is the leader of the thought process behind how companies make decisions. The culture sets how employees act and make decisions to resolve everyday problems. It is Horowitz’s position that if culture is not created purposefully, it will be formed naturally by accident or mistake.
This book expresses his thoughts on productive culture and how to actualize it in a business environment. It explains how to make a culture purposeful by showcasing four different models of leadership and culture-building; Haiti’s Toussaint Louverture, the Samurai, Genghis Khan, and Shaka Senghor.
Good Product Manager/Bad Product Manager
This is a document that was written during Horowitz’s time at AOL with a specific focus on product management in the context of a small division as an in house memo. While it shows a specific focus on a certain aspect of one company, the ideas behind what makes a good product manager and what makes a bad product manager can be applied to many different industries with much the same result.
Can-Do vs Can t-Do Culture
This article was published as an answer to the question of why startups are having a difficult time maintaining a solid path forward. The article outlines the growth of ‘can’t do’ attitudes that create a culture that prevents success from being an option. In the article, Horowitz notes that the technology industry has moved from belief in new and better techniques to a sense of smug superiority. He then defines technology as a new and better way of doing something to highlight that elitist attitudes are the enemy of progress and innovation.
The article can be found published at Vox under the Recode section from 2014.
Some More Things
Some More Things is a compilation of blog posts written by Ben Horowitz discussing topics from culture creation and maintenance to other thoughts and ideas about managing a business.
Ben Franklin and His Notebooks
On a slightly different path, Horowitz published a book intended for young adults and children to inspire the culture he wishes to see in the world.
Ben Horowitz Quotes
- “As a company grows, communication becomes its biggest challenge.”
- “Every employee in a company depends on the CEO to make fast, high-quality decisions.”
- “Often any decision, even the wrong decisions, is better than no decision.”
- “Nobody knows how to be a CEO. It’s something you have to learn. It’s a very lonely job.”
- “People say the most important thing is building a world-class team.”
- “In a company, hundreds of decisions get made, but objectives and goals are thin.”
- “In Silicon Valley, when you’re a private company, the entrepreneur can do no wrong.”
- “Leadership is hard to train on.”
- “One of the things I say to people is: Imagine if we succeeded.”
- “As a startup CEO, I slept like a baby. I woke up every 2 hours and cried.”
- “In my experience as CEO, I found that the most important decisions tested my courage far more than my intelligence.”
- “You know what the difference between a vision and a hallucination is? They call it a vision when other people can see it.”
- “The trouble with innovation is that truly innovative ideas often look like bad ideas at the time.”
We have some more great reads to follow up reading about Ben Horowitz. Check these out!
- The 5 Real Reasons Netscape Failed. Let’s dig a little deeper in the reasons behind the failure.
- Andreessen Horowitz: The History of Silicon Valley’s Kingmakers. The two innovators founded this company together to create a new vision for Silicon Valley.
- 7 Reasons Miami is Becoming the Next Silicon Valley. Miami is the fastest growing tech job market in America.